Friday Five: Five Essential Items For Your Backpack

You need less than you think

Photo 15

Carry a pack for long enough and you’ll start to accumulate a host of useless items, gubbins and knicknacks. I urge you to take five minutes to repack your riding pack before you head out this weekend. All you need are these five things:


A hipflask can be used to collect water samples for later assessment, as a trackside noisemaker, or as a weapon for fending off a bear/cougar/dog.

Not many people know this but they also hold special liquids, like Scotch, rum, tequila, whiskey and Fireball.

Rubber gloves

You just never know when the moment will strike and what seems like a luxury item become a must-have bit of gear.

They are also great for when tending to the injured or when your winter fingers are so cold and wet they might fall off.


All the groovy hipsters have one. How else are you going to open that bag of potato chips or shotgun a can of PBR?

Knives are awesome and are almost as useful as a hammer. Hammers, on the other hand, are heavy and don’t pack well into a fanny pack.

Inner tube

What can an inner tube do? They can be used to carry a full face helmet on your shoulders for long enduro climbs, as a tourniquet, as a tow rope for unfit/bonked/chainless ride partners.

What can’t an inner tube do? Keep air in.

Tubeless valve stem

What if you need to perform an emergency trailside tracheotomy? Put on your rubber gloves, slice a hole in the patient’s throat and ram the valve stem in there. Bingo! Everyone is smiling and the ride can continue.

Actually, all this is useful for is remembering those two magnificent rides you had at the start of spring when your tires held air before the sidewalls blew out, leaving you running proletariat tubes again. Likewise, carry all the valve stem washer thingamajigs from all the tubes you’ve had to replace since. That really keeps the heart rate up.

It’s also worth considering packing the following items:
several innertubes
tire levers
tire boots
gear cable
quick link
derailleur hanger
contact lens (if applicable)
zip ties
gaffer/gorilla/duct tape
spare brake pads
empty energy gel packet for use as a tire boot
shock pump
emergency blanket
emergency survival kit (I use the Bear Grylls Signature Survival Kit)
first aid kit
cash money
house/car/rental condo keys
toilet paper
chain lube
spare riding jersey


Sound off in the comments below!

Join the conversation