15 items under $15 you should pack on a mountain bike trip

March 26th, 2019

So you have your bike packed along with your helmet, shoes, gloves, toolkit, snacks and gear. You’re ready for your bike trip, right?


Hmmm... not quite. You see, the items below may not typically be included in your average packing list, but believe me - as someone who’s been on a few bike trips - they’ll make a world of difference in your overall comfort, wellbeing and sense of preparedness for the inevitable “oh sh%$!” situation that is bound to happen when traveling.


These items are super cheap, highly packable and plenty useful. Though not all may apply to your specific trip or destination, hopefully this list sparks a few ideas on how you can best prepare and pack for your next two-wheeled adventure.


1. A rolling ball


A rolling ball (or a plain Lacrosse ball) is perfect for rolling out sore and aching muscles, and is much more travel-friendly than a foam roller. You’ll be glad you brought one after a few days in the saddle. Plus, who doesn't love a good old game of catch (preferably with beer in hand) after a ride?



2. Exercise Bands


Resistance bands are a godsend when traveling given how versatile they are and how many exercises you can perform with them. Plus, they take up virtually zero space. Start your mornings by warming up your glutes, quads and shoulders, and don’t forget to use them for post-ride stretching, too.



3. Bike Frame Straps


On a multi-day bike trip, you’ll want to minimize the amount of stuff you have to carry on your back. Use Voile straps to secure everything from inner tubes and C02 cartridges to a bike pump and rain shell.



4. Microfibre towels


Microfibre towels are always handy to dust off your bike and give it a proper clean at the end of a day’s ride. They can also be used in a pinch when going for an unexpected post-ride dip in a lake or when showering with a garden hose before grabbing a pint.


5. Dry Bags


Dry bags can always be put to good use when traveling, especially when needing to separate dirty, stinky mountain bike clothes from the clean stuff. Bring a small one to keep electronics and travel essentials (like your passport) safe and dry, and a larger one to use as your laundry bag.

6. Buff


Buffs are awesome. They can be used as a scarf when trails get dusty, as a beanie when temperatures drop, as a bandana when things get sweaty or as a sling in an emergency situation. Don’t hop on that plane without one!



7.  Clear glasses


These may be a fashion faux-pas, but who cares? Yes, your plain $3.99 protective clear glasses from the hardware store definitely should find a home in your hydration pack. When trails get dusty or the forest gets too dark for your regular tinted sunglasses, you’ll be happy to have these, and your eyeballs are far too precious to go unprotected while riding.




8. Shoe grips 


Let’s face it, bike shoes aren’t always the grippiest when walking. If your trip may involve a few hike-a-bike sections or the odd high elevation snow patch, be sure to bring these along with you. Strap them on your shoes and you’ll automatically increase your grippiness and decrease your risk of awkward faceplants.  


9. Head lamp


You don’t want to be stubbing your toes at night trying to find the washroom, your copy of BikeMag or your favourite midnight snack. Bring a head lamp, and thank me later.

10.  Duct Tape


You never know when you may need Duct-tape, especially when riding or when traveling (and especially when you’re doing both). Duct-tape can be a life-saver when needing a quick DIY repair or in an emergency situation. Instead of bringing a full roll, wrap some around your air pump or tire levers to always have some handy.



11. Zip ties


Similarly, zip ties can be super-duper practical when in need of a quick trailside repair or when packing up your bike and securing it for air travel, or even just for strapping energy gels to your frame for a quick mid-ride boost.



12. Waterproof phone case


Your phone is a pretty essential part of your travels, and mountain biking is a pretty abusive sport. Put the two together and bad things can happen, which is why you should invest in a decent waterproof case. Do a quick search on Amazon and you should find hundreds (thousands?) of options to protect your phone from all the abuse it's going to take.



13.  Wipes + toilet paper + hand sanitizer


Because you just never know when nature calls and you’re in the middle of the desert, jungle or an alpine forest. Also, depending on where you’re traveling, you may need to carry this DIY bathroom kit wherever you go.



14. Ear plugs and eye mask


You need a good night sleep when you’re on a mountain bike trip, so pack your eye mask, ear plugs, Kindle, your favourite meditation app and anything else you need to ensure you fall into a deep, uninterrupted slumber.



15. Hammock


Last but not least, you’ll want to kick back and relax after a full day of riding, and what better way to do that than by chillin’ in a hammock. Super lightweight and highly packable, you’ll be happy to have this little bit of luxury after several hours (or days) in the saddle.