Fiona Outdoors logo My independent guide to the best of Scotland outdoors

Essential Gear when Mountain Biking Away from Home

Written by Fiona

July 05 2018

A multi-day mountain trip is a great adventure for keen riders. This article offers a list of some of the kit required for a trip away from home. 

Choose your bike. Credit: wikipedia

Bike gear

The bike

From cyclocross bikes to fat bikes, there is a wealth of choice. You could even travel by e-mountain bike. Choose the bike to suit the terrain and your budget, or hire one for the trip.

The chances are that if you are setting off for a multi-day adventure you will already own a good quality bike.

Bike rack for car

You could ride from your home or catch a train with you bike but if you are planning a trip further afield you’ll need to transport your bike in your car. A bike rack is a good solution and these gadgets are either mounted on the roof with adjustable clams or on the back of the car.

If your car has a spoiler and a roof that cannot support a regular bike rack, it’s advisable to get a bike rack for cars with spoilers. They’re easy to set up, regardless of the car. Some of them even have extra slots for other bike gear, such as helmets or air pumps.

Helmet

Depending on the trail’s difficulty and, obviously, on the weather conditions, you can opt for a full-face helmet or an open-face helmet. Full-face helmets are better suited to extreme off-road biking – they have a sturdier design and the in-built visor adds an extra layer of protection against mechanical shock, rain, puddles, and other things you could encounter along the road.

Still, full-face helmets can become uncomfortable if worn for an extended amount of time. Not to mention that sweating inside one of those can be a major turn-off.

Open-face helmets are lighter and great for biking in hot weather. Do keep in mind that open-face helmets are meant for leisure mountain biking and not for extreme off-road experiences.

Toolkit

Pack a portable toolkit, including: 

  • Multi-tool
  • Allen Toolset (you can find a mini kit at your local bike shop)
  • Spare inner tubes
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Tyre levers
  • Hand-pump
  • Chain lube.
  • Spare shifters and derailleurs.

Bike Lock

It’s a good idea to have a lock handy, just in case you want to dine out or go shopping during your mountain biking adventure.

Bike lights

Don’t forget to charge the batteries of you bike lights before heading off for your trip. 

Water bottles or hydration bladder

You’ll need to stay hydrated so make sure you have a way of carrying drinking water. Take a small water filter system if you are unsure about the quality of water where you will be riding.

Bike packs are a popular way to carry your kit.

Bike packing bag 

The best way to carry your kit is in a bike pack that fits behind the saddle. Supplement these with bags that fit around the frame of the bike, such as under the top tube and on the handlebars. Bike packing is a growing trend and allows you to ride efficiently while carrying your kit.

Or you can use traditional panniers or carry a rucksack. A 30l pack is a good suggestion (and no more because it will be too cumbersome to ride with). Make sure you can fit a hydration system.

Sleeping bag and bivvy bag

If you plan to get off the beaten track, you’ll need to carry overnight equipment including a sleeping bag, bivvy bag (or lightweight tent), as well as a camping stove and pots, food and water. You need all the lightweight basics you can find for a few nights away.

Alternatively, book into guest houses or hostels as you travel, if they are in the right location for your planned bike ride.

Enjoy a trip with a friend or a group of friends.

Clothing for a mountain bike trip

Cycling clothes

Take tried and tested kit, including padded mountain bike shorts, cycling jersey, arm warmers, gloves, waterproof jacket and your choice of shoes (whether clip on or flat soled). Make sure your clothing is comfortable and technical, for example a jersey should be made of breathable and lightweight fabric.

If you are bike packing you might want to take a full change of cycling clothes in case you end up wet or very sweaty.

Off-the-bike clothes

Some people wear their cycling kit for the entire trip, or they choose to take a few items to change into in the evening. A light weight t-shirt and shorts, underwear, socks and a pair of flip-flops or lightweight trainers are good suggestion. 

If you know it will be chilly at night, pack a lightweight insulated jacket.

Anything else to pack?

Maps – a physical map of the location and a GPS watch or phone download of your route. 

Phone charger – you will want to switch your phone to airplane mode to save the battery but it is a good idea to take a small phone charger with you as well.

Mountain biking buddy – as with hiking, it’s a good idea to ride with a pal. 

Toiletries – you won’t need many because it’s a mountain biking trip but sun cream and a toothbrush and toothpaste should be in your bike pack.

And a list piece of advice: Lay out all the kit you plan to take and then try to cut it in third. Don’t leave yourself open to an emergency but do think hard about whether you really need those extra luxuries.

More Like This

Adventure

How To organise a large wheeled suitcase for a month-long trip

Adventure

Seb Batchelor and Katie Wilson win Lairig Ghru Hill Race 2024

Bike

Review: Artilect W-Exposure Long Sleeve Top

Adventure

Ewan Brown sets new Highland Cross record and Cat Graves retains female title

Adventure

Walks on the Outer Hebrides – and other gems

Adventure

The Postie’s Path walk on Harris, Outer Hebrides