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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: What Pinkbike's Editors Actually Carry on Rides

Jul 12, 2023
by Dario DiGiulio  
We review a lot of kit here at Pinkbike. In fact, sometimes it can feel like a constant merry-go-round of helmets, gloves, tires, or if we're extra lucky the latest bikes. It often transpires that we spend little time in the things we actually like most and more time trying to understand why things don't fit, work or feel as good as the manufacturer insists they should.

If you're relatively new to mountain biking, you're probably already used to getting bombarded by "advice" about what you absolutely have to carry on every ride to avoid catastrophe and a guaranteed full-bike failure. But after a few years at it, we've all pared down our kits to a relatively slim selection of good tools and spares that should get us out of a bind if shit really does hit the fan.



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I've gone through different phases of what and how much I carry on rides, varying from full-bore apocalypse preparation to truly helpless. At this point, I think I've assembled what feels like a pretty nicely capable and consolidated kit, with enough functional tools to make adjustments and get out of the woods safely if something were to break.
Dario DiGiulio
Position: Tech Editor & chronic optimist
One must-have tool: Basic hex key multitool
Chosen tools: SQ Labs NINE Key Card, Wolf Tooth Pack Pliers, OneUp V1 Tool, Dynaplug, CO2 or OneUp 100cc Pump, Lube, Tube, AXS Battery, Zip-Ties

There are a few key tools I try not to leave home without, but realistically there are still plenty of rides where all I bring is a little folding multitool. I'm lucky enough to live within coasting distance of my local laps, so a walk home wouldn't be too devastating if the unexpected were to happen. On longer rides, which are most days of the week, I bring the kit shown above, give or take a few pieces depending on the bike I'm riding.

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I now swear by this set of hex keys. It's so nice to have real usable tools when you need them, plus there's a hefty rubber band to hold them and some cards/cash in place.
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This is the bare minimum tool, but I'm trying to avoid just bringing this when it's really quite easy to be more prepared.

I have yet to encounter a multitool that I really love to use, so I've landed on carrying the smallest and most neatly packaged set of hex keys that I could find. The SQLab NINE fits the bill perfectly, and they're a real joy to use. As you'll see below, I recently upgraded my Wolf Tooth Pack Pliers to their beefier 8-Bit variant, which has little tool bits that are usable enough to stand on their own. It's possible I'll give up my NINE sometimes, but time will tell.

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For years these were the only chain pliers I owned, and they do the job marvelously. Added tire lever and valve core utility is a plus, not to mention the sleek masterlink storage.
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All that and more. The main value add here is the long-handled 8mm you get out of the tool holder at the end, but the magnetic tool bits are quite usable, so it doubles as a solid multitool.

A broken chain is damn near the hardest thing to bodge a fix for, so I try to make sure I have all the bits required to handle those unfortunate situations. I also have masterlinks for everything from SRAM's new Flattop T-Type chains to old 10-speed drivetrains squirreled away in various places, so hopefully one of those will do the trick if need be.

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If this doesn't work,
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then this probably will.

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CO2 or OneUp pump, depending on space.
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I wrap a bunch of Gorilla Tape around the shaft, because boy is it useful.

I usually run heavy enough tires that flats are less of a concern, but if and when they do fail, I try to have enough to get home. I've started bringing a tube on every ride after recently being reminded of how useful they are. After flatting deep in the woods, I had to stuff my tire with moss to get it to hold shape so I could ride the few miles back to my car. Not ideal, but it did actually work.

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This is the only chainbreaker I own. It works.
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AXS battery and lube, because dead derailleurs and squeaky chains suck.

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Add a healthy grip of zip ties, and you're golden. I've fixed broken brake levers many a time with these handy bits of plastic.
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I carry it all in this handy goggle bag that I found in the woods. As an added bonus, I can also clean my glasses.



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What I carry depends on the length of the ride I'm embarking on, but at the bare minimum I make sure I have a basic flat fix kit and a multitool. My kit has shrunk over the years as bikes have improved – it's much less common for major issues to occur in the middle of a ride.

I used to carry full-sized everything in a huge hydration pack, and now I'm typically stashing my fix-it kit in a hip pack or inside a downtube storage compartment. I prefer having a mini-pump over a CO2, but for short laps where I could realistically walk out if I flatted I'll save some space and carry the CO2.
Mike Kazimer
Position: Managing Tech Editor, realist
One must-have tool: Basic hex key multitool
Chosen tools: OneUp EDC multi tool, Dynaplug Racer Pro, Specialized MTB Mini pump, Tubolito tube, Pedros tire lever

I've only had to install a tube once in the last three years (knock on wood); I've been able to fix all of my other punctures with a tire plug. Dynaplug's Racer Pro tool carries four pre-loaded plugs, which makes it quick and easy to deploy. I usually have the Racer Pro and a small multi-tool in a side pocket on my pack so I can reach them in a matter of seconds.

If the plugs don't do the trick, hopefully the tiny Tubolito tube I'm carrying around will help get me out of the woods. It's super thin and super light, so there's really no reason not to have one in case of an emergency (other than the price – these little things are expensive). I usually store it in a small cloth case to help make sure it'll actually hold air if I do need to use it. I also carry a Pedro's tire lever to help make a tire change easier.

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Depending on the ride, sometimes I'll carry a CO2, and Crankbrothers' M19 tool.

Other tidbits include a SRAM master link, which can be used on most chains in a pinch. I also have a small chain tool, in this case one that was originally part of another Crankbrothers tool. It works well on its own, and it has spoke wrenches on the underside.

Specialized's Air Tool MTB Mini pump is one of the smallest pumps I've found that actually works. It's reasonably priced, too, at around $25. I've wrapped a bunch of electrical tape around it that can be used for all sorts of random jobs. I always carry a couple of zip ties too, since there's no shortage of fixes that can be performed with tape and zip ties.

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Specialized's MTB Mini pump.
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Just kidding, you should read them. I do.

I don't carry much in the way of first aid supplies for shorter rides, but I do like having at least a couple alcohol wipes and some steri-strips to help hold cuts together until someone can stitch them up. For bigger medical issues, there are plenty of sticks that can be used as splints in the woods around where I live, and clothing can be used to create a sling, etc...

The multi-tool that I've been carrying the most lately is OneUp's EDC tool. It's tiny but very useful – it has all the bits you'd need for quick adjustments, and you can get a decent amount of leverage on it by opening up the other bits to extend its length. If I'm not carrying the EDC tool I go with the Crankbrothers M19 tool. It's a fair bit heftier, but the bit lengths are longer, and it has a built-in chain tool and tire plug tool.



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The tools I have, and avoid using if at all possible.


After 9 years of using the same cheap, crap Macpac bumbag, I've upgraded to the big time and got myself something to carry tools in. I largely won't use these tools unless it's for adjustments rather than fixes and my general ethos is that it's not a problem unless you're pissed off about it.
Henry Quinney
Position: Tech Editor & wine country frequenter
One must-have tool: Meh
Chosen tools: A multi-tool, tire plugs that I won't use and a pump that I might for a short time before ultimately giving up.

If I puncture, I roll home. If I break something, I roll home. I always take a phone but that's about it. The little pack I have is good for carrying goggles and gloves on hot days but, if I'm honest, I'll probably use it for a month and then go back to the glorified loin-cloth of fanny packs. Covering the bare essentials and that's about it. The tool I have, which is a Birzman one, is good for everything except it has an annoying L-shape to its two mil, making adjusting limit screws difficult. I'll saw this off when I remember.

Largely, I have it there to adjust cockpit dimensions and things like saddle height or bar roll or tighten a loose pivot bolt. If something major happens - for example, a battered rim, snapped spokes or something bent or maybe a twisted mech - I have no pretense in going full Bear Grylls, thinking of 17 ways I can save the ride and start reaching for the water bottle to fill up with once-cycled Gatorade, hoping to get the really good stuff on the second time of asking. Nope, I'll just ride tomorrow instead and I will immediately head home to fix it there with Radio 4 playing and a cup of tea on the countertop.

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This Birzman tool had a chain breaker, but I have no intention of fixing a chain on the trail side. All the places I ride are uphill from my house, so I can just push off and let gravity take me back.
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I carry this kit mainly for the enduro aesthetic. I have little to no intention of ever using it, and if I do I will give up if it's not immediately successful. It sure does look nice though.

I used to have a nice One Up one bolted to my frame in the past, but when on test bikes I found it irritating, and I thought buying several of them was a slight overindulgence. I mainly have this pump in case I burp a tire and need to top it up. I have zero faith in sealant or my own patience for fixing anything trailside. There will be no energy bar wrappers sandwiched between tube-and-tire with me. Nope, I'm calling it quits at the very first opportunity.

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However, even I admit this little bit is handy for loosening presta cores.
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I like this tiny tiny Specialized pump.



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The basics are all stored in a OneUp Pump and this one has seen some action. I'm still amazing how they managed to fit everything in there.

I'm two-faced when it comes to the tools I carry. For lunch laps I take a minimalist approach with a basic multi-tool and a utility-pump, maybe. On larger days, I typically pack too much, but I'd rather be prepared when you're more than walking distance from the nearest sign of inhabitance.

Those two approaches to self-help can vary based on what the bike of week is, who's along for the ride, and how far the trails are from additional support.

Matt Beer
Position: Tech Editor & unsuccessful multi-tasker
One must-have tool: Basic hex key multitool
Chosen tools: OneUp V1 Tool, 100cc pump, gear strap, Jank Plug Buddy, Powerlink, Tube, Zip-Ties, ANGi sensor
If the bike has DH tires and I'm going for short laps to do comparative testing, I'll most likely just take my phone and a multi-tool because I hate riding with my pockets loaded up like a Navy SEAL. I'd rather carry a small pack, like the USWE 3L Hydro pack and have it all in one secured place.

As trendy as it had become to place tools inside frames, juggling between bikes as us tech editors often do, it makes for tedious swaps and raises the risk of forgetting an important item. That's why I love the OneUp 100cc Pump, which includes all of the basics, and then some.

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All this gear would come along for a typical 2-3 hour trail pedal. The pile includes tools to do bike adjustments and solve minor repairs, snacks, an EpiPen, ANGi sensor, and some shop towel.
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This USWE Hydro carries 3L of water and 5L of equipment. Through the cooler months. I'll stuff a small jacket in there too.

For an average day out, I'll take a few basic tools, snacks, a tube, zip ties, EpiPen, and plenty of water. That should cover foreseen problems like sliced tires, punctured rim tape, broken chains and snapped brake levers. Generally, I don't use tire inserts, so more than one lever is rarely needed. If shit goes further south, I'd rather just walk out in one piece and properly repair a clean bike in a well equipped garage.

Maybe I should have covered this in our editor's choice for helmets, but I've been tacking ANGi sensors onto most of my lids for a while now. I often ride solo when the weather breaks during shorter days of the year, and although it relies on the power and service of a cell phone, it isn't costly or cumbersome.

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Frames with bolts under the top tube get extra points for sleeker, and usually quieter, pump placement. If the pump contacts the downtube, it goes in the pack.
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On massive days, a water purifier might get substituted for filling the bladder to the brim.

This could tee up another article, but for full-day, or even overnight backcountry missions, I'd load up with additional replacement parts, extra batteries, GoreTex layers, first aid supplies, and a satellite communication device. Spreading the equipment out amongst the group helps too - there's no point in taking five pumps and no derailleur hangers.




Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
202 articles

195 Comments
  • 390 1
 My goggle bag!
  • 10 23
flag slayersxc17 (Jul 12, 2023 at 12:44) (Below Threshold)
 People should like this more!
  • 107 0
 thank you for this gift
  • 12 0
 I have two favourite tools I found on a trail. One is a bike-specific multitool and the other is a proper Leatherman. I wish I could have returned them to their owners, but I've made good use of them.
  • 6 0
 @WayneParsons: Someone's Swiss Army standard multi-tool laid in the parking lot for 3 days & I finally picked it up.
Cleaned it and realized it was brand new. Daughter has it at college and loves it.
3 days seemed like enough time for some unscrupulous soul to pilfer it.
I merely saved it's life and gave it a great home free of suffering.
  • 208 0
 Rides and critiques $10k bikes on a regular basis.
"I clean my glasses with a google bag I found in the woods".
The life of a mountain bike journalist Smile
  • 19 0
 some already searching "The Woods" bicycle store to order a shattered goggle bag
  • 1 3
 Pretty confident he could afford to buy something, just doesn't care to.
  • 8 0
 @mkul7r4: Hear hear. Use old gear.
If it works, it works!
Will keep using old velcro computer cable straps and a homemade seat bag until their honorable send-off.
  • 3 0
 Dario is my spirit animal.
  • 5 0
 @not-really: an actual shop in Morzine
  • 3 0
 @trippleacht: a really good one too!
  • 8 0
 Dario: "I carry it all in this handy goggle bag that I found in the woods. As an added bonus, I can also clean my glasses."

Looks at white-bag-turned-green...
"How dirty are your goggles that they get cleaner when rubbing it against that bag?!"
  • 89 4
 Incoming: "Where's levy's tools!? We only want Levy's tools!? Where's Levy!?"
  • 74 0
 Unfortunately I have inside knowledge that levy passed away in a serious zwift accident last month. It would’ve been cool to see that almighty park multi tool in this article, but it ended up in his coffin due to the major sentimental value of it.
  • 7 0
 @davidrobinsonphoto: He is Alive! Thank God.
  • 9 1
 Levy does noy USE tools, Levy IS the tool.
Wait, who's Levy again?
  • 5 1
 @davidrobinsonphoto: "Known for his work with Pinkbike", not *from Pinkbike*... Frown
  • 2 0
 @davidrobinsonphoto: $50 says Levy is changing gears. Who needs Pinkbike when you have its face
  • 10 0
 @CalamityJake: Levy is Pinkbike
  • 3 0
 @davidrobinsonphoto: Looks like Levy has fully gone down the rabbit hole on sim racing, look at that rig next to him!
  • 1 1
 @davidrobinsonphoto: And coincidentally he talks on this exact article topic on the podcast
  • 68 11
 I'll just be honest here; I rely on others.
  • 4 1
 I'm that guy as well. I generally carry water, a snack, and my phone. Only if I go way out backcountry by myself will I pack tools and tire repair.
  • 60 0
 I'll let my friends do this, but I make them call me Trail Daddy
  • 7 1
 @Jvhowube: DH casing tires have long ago cured 99% of my tire woes. sure....now my bike is 32lbs instead of 29. likely slower pedalling too. but still faster than stopping to put a tube in it!!!
  • 5 0
 Pleased to meet you. I'll be carrying your spares this afternoon....
  • 2 4
 I typically ride alone and carry a mobile phone - if I have an issue that means I cant get home my wife is at the other end of the phone and will come pick me up from where ever I am. If she's not going to be home or taking the car I might sling on my hot laps fanny pack with a tool roll and a pump in but that is usually just for the longer rides where i need somewhere to stash a bar or two.
  • 20 0
 If you're relying on others, be sure you carry some cash to buy us a beer!
  • 7 0
 @paulskibum: I'm now picturing a woman in a russian SHERP blasting through the remote parts of the forest wreaking destruction just to pick up a dude with a flat tire that couldn't be bothered to bring some plugs and a mini pump.
  • 12 0
 I legit have a riding buddy who even tries to drink my water..
  • 4 0
 @Jordanh604: "sure, but you have to drink it out of my *tap*, after I have filtered it through my body for you. dont want you to get sick!"
  • 20 0
 @Jordanh604: I've got one of those too... Always wants help going up hill, then has the cheek to say faster. He is 2, but still, he's a bit of a leech...
  • 56 3
 I used to keep a small flat kit with a lighter, small pipe and some weed to make the walk home easier.
  • 10 0
 This guy gets it.
  • 33 0
 I used to keep a kit like that. I still do, but I used to, too.
  • 3 0
 Makes the rides home easier also
  • 1 2
 Salad break.
  • 1 0
 Keep it even lighter especially when the woods have shrooms that can give you the ride trip of your life!
  • 1 0
 The water pipe that is the same diameter as a frame pump and has a convenient cap on one end...not that I've seen one of those before.
  • 32 0
 Really like these articles but can you delineate when another editor is writing? It seems on mobile at least, it’s hard to tell when someone’s bit ends and the next editors begins.
  • 15 26
flag dariodigiulio FL Editor (Jul 12, 2023 at 12:20) (Below Threshold)
 Just look for the grey-shaded box with the editor's info at the top of their section. On web it's even easier.
  • 5 1
 @dariodigiulio: I see now, I guess I get tripped up when I see a paragraph of text prior to the introduction of the editor bio. But I think it’s just an issue on mobile
  • 29 1
 @dariodigiulio: It actually isn’t clear, as each editors section has a few paragraphs before the grey box on mobile. There is a very faint horizontal line that separates them, but it is certainly not obvious or clear, hence the comment.
  • 38 3
 @dariodigiulio: Lol you don't just resolve the issue by telling the person they don't actually have a problem.
  • 22 0
 @tealdub: You clearly aren't American sir
  • 3 5
 @dariodigiulio: Yeah sorry dude but on mobile that line is invisible so you have 2 paragraphs that feel like the previous editor just went multiple personality disorder then you get a text box with the editor info. Either move that up or have a title after the line with the editor's name.

We only want to read Mike and Mike's advice anyway (one because it will be good, the other because it will be bonkers)
  • 1 0
 Cha ching,

Came to make the same comment. Something goofed with formatting I had to work to match editor to kit. For my screen it was worse on MacBook v phone, idk why

Overall nice piece @dariodigiulio! Keep em coming
  • 30 0
 I've carried zip ties in my pack for 15yrs, finally this yr I repaired a friend's broken shoe. Felt bad for cheering but I was just so happy to finally be justified in carrying it.
  • 5 0
 I carried a hiking boot shoe lace in a bag for years until one day breaking a derailleur in a race! and the ferrules at the end of the lace fit perfectly into the missing pivot pin.
  • 2 0
 Tape around the pump is a good one too and it is also good to convince others to do it. One time we went to ride a marathon and I suggested a new rider to wrap tape around his pump. Then early in the race, I crashed and snapped my brake master (no leaks but it just came off the bars). I used all my tape to get it more or less in place, chased the other guy and used his tape too, then finished the race. So eventually it turned out I just let him wrap tape around his pump just for me. Moral of the story, get your friends to bring tools and spares for you too.
  • 18 0
 I recently started bringing a small first aid kit with me after I couldn't do anything but offer words of encouragement to a kid that fell while hiking in my area. It wasn't anything bad, just a small abrasion, but it made me feel grossly underprepared for a more serious incident. Since I ride with a backpack anyways, it was an easy choice. it also doubles as extra padding for my back in case I F things up.
  • 10 0
 They don't take a lot of space, but for a kid they can make a huge difference. I shared one with a kid that had fallen at the Truckee bike park. He went from tears, to up and rolling again with a smile on his face in 2 minutes. whew!
  • 1 0
 Even the $5 ones at Walmart are a good start -- you don't even need to bring along a full kit, just drop the quantities down to about 1/3 and you'll have enough to at least treat a single injury and get you back to a full kit in your car.

I keep my stripped down kit in a ziplock bag on one half of a bag that fits in a water bottle cage (the other half is devoted to tools).
  • 1 0
 Steristrips are really useful and along with a few small antiseptic wipes will even squeeze in your handlebar in a small zip-loc bag. That's a bare min but will stop a nasty cut bleeding too much.
  • 4 0
 Band aids are a waste of time in my opinion. Minor abrasions can be fixed at home. I have the life saving stuff: hemostatic gauze, turnoquit (tube), and a wire mesh splint with triangle bandage. Freak accidents happen even to the best ie Cédric Gracia. Most of us won’t be riding a two-track next to an open field like he was. Hope for the best prepare for the worst.
  • 2 0
 @Rocky-Alta: I've never managed to make a steri strip actually stick to something covered in blood, so I've given up on them!
  • 1 0
 @gticket: you watched the Cedric video too then... That made me up my first aid game too. Alcohol wipes, a few sizes of mepore, scissors (useful for trimming zip ties!), quick clot and a trauma bandage. Got some band-aids, for things like stopping bramble wounds from soaking my gloves etc
  • 18 1
 Big fan of the Tubilito tubes. While expensive, it's actually a cheap way to save weight if you always carry a tube. It worked fine the one time I needed it. The worst part about it was the time a stranger asked if I had a tube they could have. We could see the parking lot from where we were, so I told him no.
  • 5 0
 Tubolito is so much smaller too. I can carry a multi tool, co2, plugs, and a tubolito in my frame bag, with a normal tube I can only fit a multi tool and the tube
  • 21 0
 What kind of goofball asks for a tube when they can see the parking lot?
  • 6 0
 A agree, Tubolito is the cheapest way to drop weight off the bike if you carry a tube. Super small compared to a rubber tube too. I’ve had one for 3 seasons and reused it multiple times without issue. Went to use it recently and the seal where the valve meets the rest of the tube (glued together, it looks like) had come unsealed so no way to fix it. Got another on the way.
  • 1 0
 @danielfloyd: a cheapskate
  • 19 1
 I’ve started riding with an emergency blanket in my hip bag after watching a mate break numerous vertebrae when he hit a tree in the middle of winter.
  • 14 0
 Space blanket & plastic poncho live at the bottom of the pack for dark times. Lightweight & cheap life savers
  • 14 0
 As someone that recently had to use a friend's emergency TP to stop profuse bleeding from my face on a ride. PLEASE PACK A FIRST AID KIT. I will on every ride from now on. Butterfly bandages, alcohol swabs, and an Israeli bandage would totally suffice for flesh wounds. A foil blanket in the winter would be nice if you have to wait for EMS
  • 16 2
 Henry Quinney is a hypocrite. If you really believe heavier is better, you need to carry a spare DH casing tire with you, not those silly little bacon strips. At least a heavy duty butyl tube! Ballast!
  • 2 6
flag maxlombardy (Jul 13, 2023 at 3:18) (Below Threshold)
 His contribution is utter fluff. If you’re not going to use it why carry it? I think he said at some point in the podcast he’s a mechanic for racers..? Like just put in the 2 minutes at the trail side to fix the problem. I almost feel stupid for responding because he must be trolling.
  • 1 2
 @maxlombardy: I thought the same thing, like he's really not even going to try to save the ride just give up and walk home where he has to do the same fix he would have done trailside? Maybe he rides so often it just doesn't matter to him... must be nice
  • 3 0
 @chize: Yeah, I live opposite the trails and often do two shorter rides a day around work. For me, it's quicker and easier to just do it properly at home with my tools.

@maxlombardy: I mean, more often than not things quickly descend into a shit show. I'll plug a tire, and I'll see if it holds air but I generally find it more time efficient to give up, go home, fix my bike, and ride without the failure in the back of my mind as I nurse it home. Maybe from my experience as a mechanic (which did actually happen, honest) I just know a lost cause when I see one.
  • 8 0
 It's really not hard to carry some first aid, mine has gotten at least one mate out of the woods who maybe wouldn't have, and patched up a fair few other mistakes. Saves a bad day from going to a terrible day reaaaaaal fast!
This one is good, and was specced with the input of some of NZs best first responders www.neutroncomponents.com/ultralight-first-aid-kit
  • 7 0
 A shame we won't get to see Levy's legendary large and rusty multitool. This thing has been the key element of like 20 different anecdotes on the podcast and in articles over the last couple of years - and now that there's an actual chance of showing it off, he's not around Frown
  • 6 0
 Can someone explain to me why you would carry a masterlink pliers instead of a chain break tool? I honestly don’t understand.
If your chain breaks on the trail, you need a chain break tool to remove the broken half-link and then connect a master link. At that point you might as well remove another half link and attach the chain to itself without a masterlink. Saving yourself the hassle of carrying masterlink pliers in the first place
If there’s a way to ditch the chain break tool for masterlink pliers, lmk.
  • 3 0
 Using just the chain breaker you've now shortened your chain -- it'll get you back to the trailhead, but you're going to have to do more maintenance at some point if you want to be able to use your full range of gears again. If you swap in a master link for the broken link, you can run indefinitely with 2 master links since it's the same length. From past experience it's also a bit easier and faster to recover from fumbling a master link install vs. pushing a pin too far.
  • 1 0
 For when the chain comes off and gets wedged between the frame and chainring. If the chain isn’t damaged, being able to release the master link makes it much easy to get the chain unstuck and back where it should be
  • 1 0
 I did this recently without said pliers, and I get it. Man was it frustrating to pry apart the quick link already on the chain. Good point tho, why? Had something to do with extra links in my pack and, oh yeah... after losing a couple links, couldn't shift to the largest cog, and so after installing the quick link I had to pull it apart to add more links. Maybe not a typical situation, but any kind of plier would have helped
  • 1 0
 @ghess That was my critique of the Wolf Tooth chain pliers as well. But I've been really impressed with Lezyne's chain pliers, it includes a chain breaker making it much more functional on trail. It holds two master links, has a rotor straightener, valve core tool, bottle opener. It also serves as my main masterlink pliers at home when I need it in the shop. This plus a smaller multitool is much less bulky and lighter to carry in a pack than the M19 or something similar.
  • 1 0
 oops
  • 3 0
 I had a similar thought, but just regarding the pliers (not the chain breaker). I fully understand how a chain breaker and extra missing links can save a long walk if you break a chain. Just push out the pins on the broken link, insert a missing link, and you are back riding. The chain length doesn't change so you should have all gears available. No pliers involved at all.

So why are the pliers necessary out on the trail. If it is the missing link that has broken, it will come out without the pliers.

What scenario am I missing here?
  • 1 0
 @timgross: exactly. you said it better than me though.
  • 1 0
 @TimTucker: that's a good point. I do see the value now but I'll stick to carrying the chain break tool without pliers. I always assumed it was time to replace my chain if I was breaking links.
  • 1 0
 @ghess: Oh and one more relevant bit of info... SRAM emphatically states that you should *never* reuse a 12 speed missing link. If you believe that, the only reason to ever use pliers would be in the shop when the chain is worn out. In that case, you could just as easily use the chain breaker. Maybe if you like maintaining your chain off the bike, there might still be a case to be made for pliers. I personally clean and lube my chain on the bike.
  • 8 0
 Tube, Pedro's levers, and a One Up pump/tool for 98% of my rides. I use the tube once every 2 years.
  • 3 0
 Same, with the tube and levers secured with a voile strap. Everything I need right there on the frame, nothing to forget. Backpack only necessary when one water bottle isn’t enough.
  • 4 0
 I've tried a ton of things... and I agree the OneUp is the best so far. Most of my rides are under 2 hours, so I can throw a bottle on the bike and not worry about the tools being there. Also, the OneUp Pump itself is by far the best mini pump I've ever used. Simple, effective, and pushes a ton of air through without unwinding your valve core.
  • 2 0
 @ridedigrepeat: full size OneUp pump with the tire plug barb, bacon, and an extra link (that I'll never use) down in the bottom is the best. I switch one thing from bike to bike before rides and can go out without a pack on 90% of my rides.
  • 5 0
 That Specialized SWAT multitool is such a great multitool. It doesn't have a chain tool, but the machining and finish is excellent. I don't want to use mine because I don't want to scratch it or lose it. It is like a fine watch to me. Lol.
  • 5 0
 Pro tip, if you fold zip ties in half you can cram a bunch of em into your DUB crank spindle. Then you always have zip ties on your bike in a place where nothing else really fits. Also the Miles Wide industries fork cork is great for storing stuff in your fork steerer if you don't already keep something in there.
  • 6 0
 How about ‘big pharma’ work on a smaller epi pen. I hate the size of those things and they are kinda critical kit for some…
  • 2 0
 I have both epipens and Allerjects for my kid. Much prefer the Allerject as it’s shaped like a mini deck of cards… much easier to pack. Plus it also talks to you and tells people how to use it when you take the lid off!
  • 2 0
 @MB3: Thanks for this heads-up. Went out and bought one of the Allerject. so much more stash-able!
  • 8 0
 No safety meeting gear? Uh huh.
  • 3 0
 For anyone interested and owns a bike without frame storage, the Lizardskin tube/ tool wrap is a game changer. Safely fits a tube, two CO canisters, inflator and plug kit. Between that and the SWAT tool that fits on my water bottle cage i rarely feel the need to ride with a pack.
  • 2 0
 The Dakine Hot Laps Gripper is a good option for rides lasting one bottle in length. Plus, it has the added benefit of inducing the exasperated side-eye from the younger set.
  • 1 0
 @handmedowncountry:

seconds to the dakine hot laps gripper, i keep stuff i don't need to access every ride in one of these (tube, co2 cartridges, tire lever). the dakine keeps these heavier items low and center and keeps my co2 cartridges from rattling around.

the dakine has room for tools as well but i keep my more commonly accessed tools in a small zip pouch in a separate frame bag, same place i stash a phone, keys, gus, whatever i will more likely want to access during the ride.
  • 3 0
 I used to pack my Camelbak with 2L of water, snacks, a variety of tools, a pump, tire levers and a spare tube. But, nowadays my rides are typically less than 6-12 miles. So I usually don't bother with anything beyond beyond water, food and a set of allen wrenches. If I need anything beyond that, I'll just hike-a-bike back to the truck.
  • 4 1
 You realize you just jinxed yourself, right? At least you can enjoy a snack on that 6-12 mile walk while thinking about the tube you didn't bring!
  • 1 0
 @VtVolk: Right? lol
  • 7 0
 Derailleur cable. Can't recreate that with a zip tie or electrical tape.
  • 2 0
 And doubles as a dropper post cable, which we used to save a buddy from riding high-post for the rest of a ride.
  • 3 0
 Tools for loosening and tightening presta cores are easy to find, but being able to unscrew a stuck presta tip to top up a tire was a bigger issue for me. I found that you can use the inside of the Wolf Tooth pack pliers like scissors to help unscrew those pesky buggers
  • 3 0
 Underrated tip here. Sucks when those get stuck
  • 1 0
 Just get a blackburn pump. There's a tool screwed right into the bottom that works really well.
  • 4 0
 Pretty cool how reliable bikes have become, relative to the old days. I almost never use my kit on a ride. Twenty years ago I was using it almost every ride for something or another.
  • 6 0
 I just carry a spare bike. Much easier.
  • 2 0
 Surprised none of the editors mentioned that the OneUp pump head is also a really decent CO2 chuck. You just unscrew it from the pump itself. And if you're running the old school OneUp headset but storing the tool in the pump on your frame, there's a headset cap with threads that lets you store a CO2 in your steerer. FWIW, I'm not a fan on relying on CO2 as my only option -- I've had valve cores freeze and shatter before...
  • 2 0
 The only tool I tend to carry now is the Spurcycle Ti Tool. It’s lightweight and compact and the case/flat design means I’m not worried about crashing on it so it can tuck in nicely to the back pocket on my pants. What helps is making sure my bike is prepared before going out: chain checked and lubed, bolt check (especially linkage and cranks), tires properly inflated every ride, check brake pad wear. And running DH casing tires with cushcore means that likely I will fail before my bike.
  • 5 0
 Chain lube and 200 zip ties seems a bit excessive to me but each to their own.
  • 3 0
 I only carry like 5 of em, but the pack is easier to shoot photos of.
  • 2 0
 Dynaplug kits are a bit pricey, but when it takes you 10 seconds to pop 2 plugs into a snakebite puncture you forget about how much you paid. Also, the look on your friends face when you plug their tire before they can peel a new plug from the plastic ... priceless.
  • 5 0
 Still no semicolon @henryquinney
  • 1 0
 @Grady-Harris patience my sweet child.
  • 3 0
 that oneUp pump can fit bacon & a spare master link in it; not sure what else you need unless you want to also carry a spare tube
  • 1 0
 I'm still loving my 4 year old all in one tool that slips in the crank axle, works on my steel XT cranks but not in alloy spindle ones. How many people have noticed that on many frames once you put a pump mount under the bottle cage the bottle rubs heavily on the frame, I carry CO2's but would prefer to carry a small pump.
  • 1 0
 @watchtower : Which in-crank tool do you have? I bought the Giant one, but my bike tipped over one day and it shot out and broke. Never bothered after that.
  • 2 0
 The Wolf Tooth "B-RAD Bottle Shift" is what you need mate. I had the same issue on my latest frame.
  • 2 0
 @motts: "all in" is the brand, bloody good.
  • 1 0
 I have the swat multi tool that attaches to the bottom of a bottle cage. I mostly use it to straighten my bars after a crash. Basically anything more and I'm headed home like Henry. I could probably get away with just a 5mm allen key
  • 4 0
 One I don't see mentioned: hand pruners!

At least in many areas, the trails don't maintain themselves.
  • 1 0
 Search Amazon for "Compressed Towel", toss a couple in your pockets or frame bag or wherever, and thank me later. I've used them to cool off, wipe myself off from a wreck, as a bandage for something that needed stitches, or to clean my hands after getting them nasty from trying to fix my bike.
  • 1 0
 Pro-tip: Carry the EMT on the bottle cage because it is small and minimalistic. Also carry an 8-bit in your hip-bag because of all the functions and the closing mechanism sounds so good. Also carry a Topeak Multi-18 in your pocket because you've had it for the last 18 years, it's heavy and bomb proof, and non of it's bits get lost.
  • 1 0
 I find it sad that Henry really adds nothing to the conversation about being prepared trailside for bike issues. It would be great to get additional suggestions that help people rather than just say walk home. He could contribute to the body of knowledge, but rather gives up. I carry a pump, tube and full feature multitool on every ride. Check my tire pressure before every ride. Lend out tools and pumps to anyone in need.
  • 4 0
 Are any/all of you guys runnin inserts and still carrying a tube?
  • 5 3
 The "you can ride out on the insert" is a complete and total lie when you weigh more than about 80 lbs and ride trails with rocks in them
  • 2 0
 I do. And I had to use it this winter as my rear tyre got slashed by a super sharp rock edge while climbing. The insert would have allowed me to pedal back home, but I wanted to continue my ride, so in went the tube.
I mostly ride to the trails and prefer to ride back home than call for someone to pick me up, so do everything in my power to make that possible. I also carry a small first aid kit and have used it (on others) 4 times since I got it 3 years ago. Also got to use the spare derailleur hanger I carry with me last Sunday.

That said, I love how riding without a backpack feels.
  • 3 0
 @VtVolk: I've done it more than once. It's not super fast, but faster than walking.
  • 2 0
 @VtVolk: I beg to differ, running Cushcore in my rear tire, got a flat and was able to ride back to the parking lot. This was in Phoenix, AZ on South Mountain, so nothing but rocks. And I weigh significantly more than 80 lbs!

Now, the insert did not prevent me from denting my rim, causing the flat in the first place. So...yeah.

I have no idea with other inserts.
  • 1 0
 @KavuRider: Well, if rim wasn't already dented from the initial hit, it probably would have been from riding down on it. I tried riding down on a Tannus insert and had to go 3-5mph and get off a few times to not smash the rim.
  • 1 0
 Spare tube in a plastic bag large enough to hold the greasy pool noodle so you don't have to wear it like a bandelero!
  • 3 0
 @justwan-naride: Me too. My goal is to never have to walk out of the woods
  • 1 0
 As someone that runs Tannus Tubeless inserts I've riden out 3-4 miles with zero air in my tire and it was fine. I do carry a Aerothan tube though either for worst case scenarios, or for my riding partners.
  • 1 0
 @motts: true. But since it was already dented, I didn't care.
  • 3 0
 DD/DH casing + pump + plugs. Not running inserts anymore but stopped carrying a tube years ago. Extra weight of DD or DH casing tires is worth barely ever getting flats. My in town ride is rocky (only place I've flatted a DD) so I guess I have a better reason than most to use thick casing on a trail bike. The tube strapped to everyone's frame probably has a hole rubbed in it anyway.
  • 1 0
 @succulentsausage: DH casing on the rear is the ticket, I agree.

And yes, the last time I got a flat and went to put a tube in...the tube had a hole. That was a fun hike out. LOL.
  • 2 0
 @VtVolk: 215 lb and have rode rocky trail back to the car on cush core, its squirmy but it works
  • 1 0
 Wouldn't it be cool to be able to add pictures of our set-ups here?
I'm so proud of mine and would arm wrestle anybody who challenges me to a kit weight/capability/cubic footage contest.
  • 1 0
 Cubic footage? “yes for my spacious blanket” No they said space blanket, Tito.
  • 3 0
 First I've ever heard of an ANGi sensor, might have to grab a few given how often I ride alone.
  • 1 0
 Ditto. never heard of it. Often heard my partner telling me off for being out too long/on my own/somewhere unknown. Sounds like a neat idea to put it on the helmet - i turned off crash sensing on my Garmin as its totally unsuitable for MTB use.
  • 2 0
 @dariodigiulio, I figured that since you wear a pack, you would have a 5-day survival kit & half a bike shop with you. What the hell do you keep in there? Water? Smile
  • 3 0
 Reading this on a phone makes it close to impossible to understand which editor is talking about which tools.
  • 2 0
 Major props to Matt for carrying an epipen!

Although have you seen the Allerject? I find them much easier to pack due to their tiny form factor.
  • 2 0
 Does someone need props for carrying a potentially life-saving medication? Or, despite perceived sarcasm, are you, as I think you may be, just referring to a better option?

I hardly go outside without an allergy pill and sunscreen and a big hat. If there was a bug or animal that could kill me on the spot I'd be carrying the thing that would prevent that if it was available. Unless I'm in Australia. Then I'll take my chances with my sunscreen and hat because you can't defend against that many animals.
  • 1 0
 @iammarkstewart: you’d be surprised at how many people with anaphylactic allergies DON’T carry epinephrine with them, or carry expired ones (most are good for only a year). Especially in some place like the US, where the price for them is much, much higher than in Canada or other countries.

Bill Hader, the actor and ex-SNL comedian, described one instance where he was offered a homemade snack. “Does it have peanuts?” he asked. “No” was the reply.

Upon taking a bite, he immediately knew something was wrong. The other person couldn’t believe Hader’s reaction. “It doesn’t even have peanuts in it. Just peanut butter!”

Upon attending the hospital, the doctor berated Hader for not carrying an epipen, calling him, “A dumbass”.
  • 1 0
 @MB3: Maybe you're making my point for me. If I have to trust other people to keep me alive if I don't have my tools/meds/whatever...then I'm carrying my tools/meds/whatever. Probably not the hollywood look to carry a manbag with a needle in it, but that would be my schtick.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if they were riding 10 year bikes like most of us if their selection would be different. Walking out from any ride is soul destroying so I always carry spares and tools.
  • 1 0
 I carry water, camera and I smoke a joint. My bikes are always prep before ride and if I have a mechanical, I usually push it back. Happens only twice in 30 years of riding. I just carry an outdoor ashtray.
  • 2 0
 I just bring snacks, if something breaks you can trade them for help from a better prepared rider
  • 1 0
 You sound like my wife!
Yesterday taking a break from the bike park we rode all around the bike paths up here in Whistler (vacation baby!) and she managed to break a chain with a slightly ugly shift.
I was very happy to bust out my link pliers, masterlinks and chain breaker.
It wouldn't have been a huge deal, but a 25 minute walk back to the condo would have sucked.

I carry a hip pack just to have first aid kit and some sugary snacks as I'm a diabetic. Adding in the tools adds so little weight I can't imagine leaving it behind.
  • 2 3
 I cary nothing. Only recently I got a specialized bike with their SWAT multi tool, so I have that now. It takes 10 minutes to drive to the trails and I've been riding long enough where a mechanical is not going to ruin my day, I'll just walk out and ride again another day. Hate carrying any extra gear than needed.
  • 3 0
 I started bringing a second pair of shoes in case mine wear out.
  • 3 0
 I figured there'd be more guns
  • 1 0
 Epipen is $$, I’m allergic to cashews and ate a larabar after bobsled (thumb covered the first ingredient)

Race to the ER!!
  • 1 0
 All depends where you are riding. Multi tool is all needed most of tlme and water. Maybe pump and some plugs if bit more out of the way place
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer no go for pump touching downtube. But no problem if touching toptube.
  • 2 0
 ive just discovered lezyne loaded bottle cage,
  • 1 0
 Always wondered, what the hell is that flat tool on the Swat multitool? (3rd pic from top)
  • 3 0
 It's a clever little 8mm hex, basically just two of the points and 4 flats to get enough purchase.
  • 2 0
 if i'm lookin at what you're talking about its actually an 8mm allen, it'll do the job but it's not a proper allen.
  • 3 0
 Ah, k. Weeeeird
  • 2 0
 An older multitool specialized put out had the 5mm next to the 3mm and I was able to use them together to snug a crankbolt when no 8 was available. Definitely not torqued down, but better than nothing.
  • 2 0
 OneUp pump and edc tool is all you need.
  • 3 7
flag likeittacky (Jul 12, 2023 at 17:02) (Below Threshold)
 A pump without a hose is garbage.
  • 2 0
 @likeittacky: people that don't know how to use a pump without a hose are garbage.
  • 1 0
 @cuban-b: Like i said, a real class act !
  • 2 0
 At what point would bear spray enter the equation?
  • 1 0
 What can you actually fix with Gorilla tape & zipp ties?

1. Snapped shifter.
2...
  • 1 0
 What chainbreaker is that?
  • 1 0
 It's part of a OneUp tool
  • 1 0
 Tick removing tool should be on everyone's pack
  • 2 0
 No beer...?
  • 2 0
 Not a pipe in sight.
  • 1 0
 nobody running a Fix MFG tool??? youre missing out.
  • 1 0
 No one Camels and a lighter? Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Was expecting @kaz to carry a book or two as well
  • 1 3
 Those wolf tooth tools are absolute rip off- they're just rebranded tools from AliExpress and cost 10x more if you buy them from WolfTooth
  • 6 0
 Our Pack Pliers are made here in our Minnesota, USA machine shop. You're welcome to stop by and we can show you the Pack Pliers machining and assembly process.
  • 1 0
 @WolfToothComponents: ….and likely use a known quality material rather than cheese?
  • 1 0
 Whose shaft, Dario?
  • 1 1
 PRJ, IPA, LSD.
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