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What's in your bag?

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Hi all, I've been wondering what you recommend to bring in a bag for medium/ long trail rides? I always bring water and tow straps, but I feel like I am still missing lots of stuff. Any recommendations on what to bring would be helpful, thanks!

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The “invisible” content of my riding pack is the quality and quantity of maintenance and checking/inspection that I do on my bikes---the few nightmare “walk-out” breakdown experiences I had years ago are what mainly power my obsessiveness there.

My typical ride is some 30-50 miles of pretty-challenging terrain with elevation changes of 4,000-5,000 feet, significant sweating, significant weather variations, and significant larger and smaller critter habitat (yes, often including bears and mountain lions).  You don’t want to have to hike up-and-down out of there, especially in motorcycle boots and especially if the hiking were to extend into nighttime.

So other essential components include some layers of clothing, lotsa water, and lotsa natural-sweetened Gatorade [your ride-control-center (i.e., brain for those of us in Cadiz) is basically fueled by sugar].

In addition to the fluids, clothing---and tools/materials that others here can suggest so well, I add this item that has served me well in some of the worst circumstances:  QUICK-HARDENING EPOXY RIBBON.

A nephew of mine once dropped a bike of mine onto some sharp-edged granite along the steep, challenging Miller Jeep Trail, miles out of Gorman; the granite punctured a side case and oil started pouring out.  I grabbed the mandatory “kit” that I insist has to accompany each of my bikes, mixed some of the ribbon, and pressed it right onto the leaking case.  Believe it or not, the motor heat cured the epoxy even faster than the advertised “5-minutes” and I rode that bike for a few years more without any leaks from that epoxy patch.  (OK, the green color of the patch looked a little cobby. So what?!)  And yes, the nephew drank all of his water before the ride was over. 

Ironically, that nephew had before that ride whined about not wanting/needing to carry the “heavy” pack of tools and fluids I’d assigned him; my answer was that he was not going to ride that bike without that pack and its contents (by the way, with the water and tools the pack weight was less than 10 lbs.).  Today that nephew is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and he uses that story to illustrate to his troops the importance of preparation.

Edited by BSAVictor
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