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10 Essentials Every Mountain Biker Should Have

10 Essentials Every Mountain Biker Should Have

When you're preparing to take your ride off road it's important to plan accordingly. Going from the paved road to an unpredictable trail requires some technical tweets for the rider and equipment. That's where this list comes in, it's your guide to gearing up for the challenges encountered by every mountain biker.

Must Haves

1. Bike - Before you can think about tearing up a single track you'll need a properly fitted, well maintained mountain bike. When it comes to specifications there are limitless options. From the size of the wheels to the construction of the frame and everything in between - full suspension or front suspension, disc brakes or V-brakes - the bike can be customized to suit any rider or terrain.

2. Helmet - Protective headgear needs to be a non-negotiable. So, if you're purchasing a bike be sure to buy a helmet. Then when you ride, think of the helmet as an extension of the bike; don't leave home without it.

3. Repair Tool - Off road riding is likely to result in some type of mechanical trouble. At the very least, you can expect a flat tire from time to time. That's why you need to have a basic repair kit. Pack a simple saddle bag with a multi-tool, tire levers, a patch kit, mini-pump, CO2, and a spare tube.

Style in the Saddle

4. MTB Shorts - combining a paddled liner with a baggy outer layer mountain bike shorts will prevent chaffing and stand up to the ruggedness of the outdoors.

5. Wicking Shirt - Stay cool and dry while you're tearing up the trail. A technical shirt that is well ventilated will make your ride more enjoyable. There are a variety of options for different elements and temperatures so be sure to choose your attire based on the forecast and season.

6. Cycling shoes - clipless pedals and cleated shoes make for a more efficient and comfortable ride. Getting into and out of the locking pedals will take some getting used to, but will be worth the effort. Be sure that your shoes and cleats match your pedals.

Nice to have

7. Hydration pack - combining a backpack with an insulated water bladder makes sipping while you ride simple. Sure you could use a water bottle and cage, but there's a good chance that mud and dirt will be kicking up all over your frame and bottle. The hydration pack is much more convenient and holds more water making it a better option by far.

8. Sunglasses - Yes, sunglasses can be used to shade your sight, but eyewear can also keep mud and other debris out your eyes. Look for glasses with interchangeable lenses that can be swapped out based on the conditions of the ride.

9. Gloves - protect your hands from the damaging off road elements with a pair of cycling gloves. Full finger gloves will serve as an added layer of protection while improving your grip and absorbing the shock produced by the trail.

10. First aid kit - This item is pretty self-explanatory. Pack the basics like band aids, tape, scissors, and alcohol swabs that can be used to tend to abrasions.

Ready for anything

With all of the essentials on hand you're ready to ride. Before you head out the door perform a performance test on your bike to ensure proper function. Then make some last minute additions to your repair kit or hydration pack. A map or GPS will help with navigation and keep you from getting stranded. Similarly, snag some extra cash and stow your cell phone because you never know when you might need them.