Bikepacking is gaining popularity with more and more backpackers because a bike can take you farther and faster into backcountry areas that are inaccessible on foot. Bikepacking also lets you use all of your existing backpacking gear and get even more value out of it. Like backpacking, there are 10 essential cycling-specific safety and repair items that all bikepackers should carry on their trips. Safety and self-sufficiency are still paramount, perhaps even more so because you can get so far off the grid, so fast.
- Cycling Multi-Tool
- Tire Levers
- Glueless Patch Kit
- Front and Rear Flashing Bike Lights
- Tire Boots
- Chamois Butter
- Zip Ties
- Ski Straps
- Chain Links
- CO2 Cartridges
Here are some of tools and products that I use to fit the bill:
1. Park Tool MT-40 Multi-Tool
The Park Tool MT-40 multi-tool has a built-in chain tool for removing and connecting chain links if you bust your chain on a trip and need a temporary fix to get you back to civilization. The MT-40 also includes a CO2 Cartridge adapter that’s Presta and Schrader valve compatible, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex, to T25 and T30 compatible drivers and screwdriver that’s compatible with multiple head types. This multi-tool is so handy the I use it in my home shop all the time.
2. Pedro’s Tire Levers
The tire lever, though seemingly one of the simplest and most basic of cycling tools, is one commonly used by almost every cyclist. Brightly colored, Pedro’s tire levers are hard to misplace if you have to change a flat in the woods or by the side of the road. Unbreakable and made with very hard plastic, Pedro’s tire levers have a unique chisel tip shape that easily inserts beneath the tire bead and a slightly thicker shape that keeps the lever securely in place when changing a flat.
3. Park Tool Glueless Patch Kit
Flats happen but Park Tools glueless makes them easy to repair without any messy glue or bulky packaging. Lightly roughen your punctured tube with the included sandpaper, clean, apply patch, and you’re ready to go. Each pack includes six patches with sandpaper in a neat little carry along box that’s easy to throw into a frame bag.
Forget reflectors. You need flashing lights on the front and rear of your bike to be seen by cars, trucks, and ATVs bombing down backcountry and gravel roads. USB rechargeable lights are the best. This 450 Lumen headlight lasts up to 100 hours on a single charge, while the 50 Lumen tail light lasts up to 200 hours. Both have a pulsing daylight mode that gets noticed by motorists and can be easily switched between different bikes.
5. Park Tool Emergency Tire Boots
Park’s Tire Boots are designed to patch cuts, tears, and holes including side walls cuts in any size tire. A waterproof reinforced vinyl membrane and super strong adhesive provide a quick and easy fix. Each pack contains three emergency tire boots, which will work on road or mountain bikes tires at any pressure level.
6. Chamois Butter
Chafing is a ride killer. Protect and lubricate your skin with Chamois Butter. These small “single serving” 9 ml packets are easy to carry. They’re also greaseless and wash out of your clothing easily with soap and water. Use them for all of your sports!
7. Assortment of Zip Ties
Zip ties have a hundred and one uses on a bike and they weigh virtually nothing. Don’t have a way to attach something to the frame? Something shake loose? Bust a Strap? Sheer a connector? Need to jury rig an attachment. Zip tie it! A pack of 100 costs just 4 bucks.
Voile’s polyurethane ski straps are great for lashing waterproof stuff sacks, fishing rods, tent poles, you name it, to your bike’s frame. There no need to spend hundreds of dollars on specialized bike and frame bags when a couple of these ski straps will do. These babies also have a million and one uses for backpacking and skiing too!
9. KMC Missing Link Chain Connector
If you break your chain on a ride, you can use a KMC Missing Link to reconnect the ends, although a chain tool (like the one on the Park Tool MT-40, above) is still necessary to remove any damaged links. These connectors are also handy to install on your chains to make it easy to remove, clean, or replace your chain in the future. Here (video) is a simple way to open a missing link without a special tool. It also works with a shoe lace.
10. CO2 Cartridges
CO2 cylinders are a lot easier and less bulky to carry than a bicycle pump if you have to reinflate a tube after changing a flat. These large 20 gram cartridges are large enough to refill larger mountain bike tubes or multiple road tires. You just need a CO2 cartridges adapter, like the one included in the Park MT-40, above (which is Presta and Shrader valve compatible) to use it.
Price: $24 for package of 6
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