Mini Reviews: Everything in Our Pack

The dirt on every product stuffed into our Osprey Zealot 16.

By Ryan LaBar

After reading Sal Ruibal’s Dirty Words: The Short Arm of the Law, I got to thinking of the contents of my own pack. What I always carry, what I should carry and why I carry what I carry. Here’s what I’m packing right now:

1. Osprey Zealot 16 – This pack is loaded with nice features like its rollout tool pouch, clamshell-style main pocket, rigid-framed reservoir and a chest pocket that’s the perfect size for fitting an iPhone. My only complaint is, sometimes the ends shoulder straps poke into my sides a little bit.

2. Blackburn Mammoth 2 Stage pump. This pump has never given me any grief performance wise. Every once in a while, though, I’ll get my hand pinched between the pump’s handle and head.

3. Pro Mini Tool 11. It’s flat and sleek and all the right sizes (4, 5, 6 and Torx) are easy to access, but I’d really like to see the 8-millimeter store somewhere other than on the 5-millimeter key.

4. Two empty beer cans. I forgot to take one of them out after a ride and the other one is supposed to be full of beer–oops.

5. Park Tool Mini Chain Brute Chain Tool. It’s small, durable and it works.

6. Payday candy bar. They will not melt and they taste awesome–plus peanuts are a good energy source.

7. Empty Strawberry Gu Chomp packet. They were delicious.

8. iPhone with RokForm case. Keeps track of my rides via GPS and is my Instragram camera. The case keeps my phone protected.

9. Mavic tubeless valve stem. Was easy to remove when I sliced my sidewall on a sharp rock.

10. Bits of chain. Completely useless. I didn’t want to litter.

11. Dakine Breaker jacket. It’s light and it will keep you warm and dry during brief or light rains. If I didn’t live in Southern California, I’d pack a more waterproof jacket than this.

12. Four tubes. Two 29- and two 26-inch tubes. Last week, all four were 29er tubes (I found that out after I flatted on my 26-inch wheeled bike). The funny looking ones are Michelin’s Protek Max tubes, which have a special shape to help seal punctures–whether by design or luck, I’ve not flatted one of these yet, but they are heavy.

13. Adventure Medical Kit 5. It’s always good to have a first-aid kit. I have not had to open this one yet.

What’s missing? In addition to what you see here, I usually like to have a handful of zip ties and a small bottle of chain lube in my pack.

What do you keep in your pack?

Add a Comment

  • Brian

    I find it interesting that you’re carrying four tubes. My initial problem with 29er bikes is the exact issue you’re seeing here: a logistical problem. Bikes can be complex enough, especially mountain bikes with their suspension, etc… let alone the industry sponsoring an entirely new standard in wheel diameter, with little apparent advantage (29ers are definitely not more durable than a 26″). So, whatever (IMHO: hyped) advantage associated with “rolling advantage” or “feel” of the 29er, the overaching issue associated with adding another wheel diameter is god forbid you have one of each, now you must carry two of each tubes (four total) in your bag, and you only get the benefit of having two actual tubes (but taking up twice the space in your bag, plus the weight, etc). If someone in your club or riding group flats, there’s less of a guarantee now that you can help them, as the elimination of a sole standard makes sharing tubes more difficult/impossible. The complication of a dual standard makes it more likely that “everyone for themselves” on the trail. Mathematically, logistically, the 29er adds too much complexity to a sport that already is complicated enough. …and what makes it funny, is that the initial 29ers launched by the bike industry were mainly singlespeeds and now front suspension bikes, for those riders that were looking for “simplification” in their experience, but IMHO were only adding complexity to the sport. (…and this is just arguing for the added waste of space in your backpack, let alone the added inventory that the LBS, QBP, and other distributers have to handle carrying and maintaining inventory and stock, which in business is usually wasteful.)

  • http://None Javier matos

    One tube, allen set, chain lube, same first aid kit as you, wallet, phone, tire lever, rain jacket, pump and normally cliff bar or equivalent. What do you think im missing?

    • Squirrel

      @Javier – Good list. We might add a chain tool, zip ties, a spoke wrench and bit of duct tape to your pack.

  • Mike

    Wow Brian, who took a piss in your Wheaties? Chill out and go ride your bike!

  • Mike

    That’s pretty much what I carry, but I include a CO2 inflater and a couple of cartridges. Do a better job of resetting a ghetto tubeless tire. Actually I havn’t had many flats with Ghetto tubless with Stanz in any case.

  • Seb Kemp

    I’ve never carried a 29er tube. I carry one 26″ tube because they work fine in a 29″ wheel. You do not need to carry so many tubes. Stop stressing.

  • mtpowder

    only things i’d add to your list are a derailer hanger, a spot locator, and an extra quick link.

  • Boost Boy

    Echo the duct tape (wrapped around a third of a pencil) I would also add the Park Tire Boots in case of tire side-wall rippage. I have used zip-ties once in this sitch to get home but a boot is better and the Park ones come in a 3-pack with a nice-sized boot with adhesive on one side. Noish. I also bring a multi-tool with needle-nose pliers. Have had to use that a couple times for on-trail repairs. In addition to a quick-link, it’s good to bring a chain pin or two, as well. Finally, an extra cleat screw is a good idea. Have seen a big problem there when one fell out of a bud’s shoe cleat miles from help.

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