It sure is nice to take off for a ride without a care in the world. No hydration pack to make your back sweaty, and no seatbag weighing down your bike.

But it isn’t so nice to get a flat tire or break your chain miles from home without tools, is it?

If you want to avoid the torture of walking your bike home, all you have to do is pack a few basic tools in your seatbag so you’re ready for common mechanicals.

Packing a Camelbak or Seatbag

Aside from the necessities of food and water, here is what you should be packing for each ride:

In Your Hydration Pack

If you are mountain biking, here’s what to pack in your hydration pack or hip pack:

  • Spare tube (one or two 26″ or 29″ tubes)
  • Tire levers (one or two should be enough)
  • Mini-pump (that will fit your valve type)
  • Multi-tool (w/ Allen wrenches and screw drivers)
  • Duct tape (always comes in handy)
  • Money (you never know)
  • Patch kit
  • Chain tool

In Your Seat Bag

On the road, here’s what to pack in your seat bag:

  • Spare tube (one 700c tube)
  • Tire lever (one or two levers)
  • CO2 inflator
  • CO2 cartridges (two small ones)
  • Money ($5 bills are very useful)

Tips

*TIP 1* Don’t just stick your tubes in your pack.

First, coat them with a little talcum powder and stick them in an old sock or wrap them with a rag. That will keep them from getting scraped up by your tools! (The rag will come in handy, too.)

*TIP 2* Don’t carry just any multitool.

Make sure your multi-tool contains at least these tools: Phillips and Flat screwdriver blades; 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 Hex wrenches. If you run disc brakes, a T25 Torx wrench is also required. A spoke wrench and/or chain tool can be nice, too.

That’s it. Just keep these essential items with you at all times and things should be fine.

*Keep in mind that this article assumes you’ll carry a hydration pack while mountain biking and a seat bag while road cycling, and that you’ll be doing a basic ride from 30 minutes up to 3-4 hours. Longer rides and tours may require more gear.

*Don’t forget your nutrition and hydration needs.

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