There’s nothing quite like pinning it on your favourite downhill trail, going on a wild adventure, or just full-on sending it, but it’s important you’re prepped and ready to handle anything the ride throws at you.
To help you out, we’ve put together our ultimate MTB survival checklist.
1. The Right Pack: First things first, you need a good bag to stash your stuff. A rucksack, backpack, frame bag, or even a trusty old saddle bag for your hardtail, it doesn’t matter – you just need something sturdy that fits your ride style and your bike. We’d recommend keeping it simple with our Utility Frame Strap and Waterproof Cargo Bag Bundle. It’s super sturdy, epically waterproof, and it can hold a spare tube, CO2 inflator kit, cash, cards, and then some.
2. Hydration: This one is super important – Take hydration on every ride, no matter how short. If your frame has the space for a water bottle and bottle cage, you can store your water there. If not, you’ll need a hydration pack. At the very least, chuck a bottle of water in your rucksack. It’s better to have it and not need it rather than the other way around.
3. Snacks: We all love snacks. But you need an extra snack on your emergency list in case you bonk. Bonking can happen if you don’t eat enough, you go too hard for too long, or you just aren’t feeling 100%, so keep an extra gel, bar, or bag of sweets stashed in your bag for when hunger strikes.
4. Neck Gaiter: Show off your Muc-Off pride with a Pink Punk Lightweight Neck Gaiter. Of course, it makes you look baller AF, but it serves a purpose too. It can keep your neck warm, act as a mask, filter out dust and particles, and work as a headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes. Use it to keep your ears warm or even wipe your nose or your glasses, just don’t do both!
5. Puncture Repair Kit: No matter how skilled or experienced you are, you might still end up with a flat. It’s a risk you take any time you ride your bike and if you don’t want to hike-a-bike it all the way home, you’ll need a repair kit. Hopefully you’re running tubeless on your MTB, so a Puncture Plug Repair Kit would be the way to go. They’re super easy to carry along and easy to use, too. There are other options too, like our Stealth Tubeless Puncture Plug - This bad boy can fix your tubeless punctures and be stealthily stowed in the bar ends of your bike when you’re not using it.
6. Spare tubes and patches: Even if you are a diehard tubeless fan, you’ll still want a spare tube and patch. The rougher the trail, the more likely you are to get a flat, and if you get a serious slash, a puncture kit isn’t always going to fix it. A spare tube to get you home is the ultimate failsafe.
7. CO2 Inflator Kit: C02 gets you back on the trail in five seconds…erm…flat. You can inflate your tires quickly, and the cartridges and nozzle are so compact they will fit in most little bags. They're perfect for pumping MTB tires up to 30psi.
8. Chain lube: Bringing along a small bottle of chain lube, especially if it’s very dry or very muddy, can make a big difference to your ride. A long ride on a squeaky chain can get annoying fast - not only will you drive mates crazy, but you’ll lose watts too!
9. Master link and Chain Tool: Another common problem that can happen on a ride is a broken chain. If you're lucky, you'll only break one link. You can remove the broken link with the chain tool and install a master link easily. It’s a quick repair, and you can crack on with your ride.
10. Bike Tools: Being able to fix minor issues during a ride means you don’t have to sacrifice your entire ride if something goes wrong. You can make adjustments on the fly and correct small issues if you have some basic tools. A multi-tool and set of tyre levers should do you, but the more tools you have, the more issues you can fix. Of course, the more you bring, the heavier your bag will be, so find the balance that works for you.
11. Duct tape and zip ties: You can fix all kinds of issues with a little duct tape and some zip ties. You can patch rips and tears in clothing and shoes, attach your seat to the rails, and even use a zip tie to attach your derailleur. You don’t need to bring the entire roll of tape – just wrap a few lengths around your seat tube or the handle of your screwdriver for safekeeping. Just be careful to pack your zip ties in your bag so they don’t damage your spare tube.
12. GPS tracker: You might want to track your bike in case it gets stolen while you’re grabbing a beer post-ride, or your significant other might want to find you if you happen to crash in the middle of a rock garden – either way, AirTags are a good idea – Keep yours safe by using our Secure AirTag Holder or go full stealth and stash it in the tyre with one of our Stealth Tubeless Tag Holders.
13. Phone: To capture those bragging rights or call for help - bring your phone just in case. You may need it to call for help if you get lost or injured, and at the very least, you’ll be able to take a few badass pics for some Instagram bangers. Worried about your phone? Don’t be – just tuck it safely into a Rainproof Essentials Case. It’s handy, water-repellent, and tough, and it can be attached to other bags with the molle strap or tucked in your pocket.
14. Cash: A little cash can get you out of trouble – If you’re really down and out, you might need to call a taxi, stop at a coffee shop to refuel, or even pick up a pair of gloves if the temperature drops, so keep some cold hard cash in your bag at all times so you don’t lose it or forget it. Top tip: A note makes a perfect tire boot if you’ve got a flat bigger than your puncture kit can fix. Fit the bill inside the tire and then insert the tube as you usually would - The cash will keep your tube from popping out of the hole and getting a puncture.
15. First Aid Kit: We know your skills are rock solid, but accidents can still happen, so keep a basic first aid kit in your bag. You can buy a cycling-specific one or make your own with some plasters, bandages, cleansing wipes, and a few other key items.
And there you have it, Muc-Off’s ultimate MTB survival checklist. Now it's time to get your bag packed, get on your bike, and get out there 🤘
Credit: Jason Luke (Guest Contributor)