Let me provide some context to the question. I mostly cycle alone and cover distances in the range from 45 km to 65 km; depending on the route, these rides last from less than 2 hours to well over 4 hours. The bike is a Nakamura highlander (a trekking bike).

Most of the routes I cycle involve (very) long stretches of road with no villages nearby. Apart from water, and sometimes a phone and a wallet, I do not carry any equipment. My fear is that when something goes wrong---I get a flat tire for instance---I will be in major trouble.

What basic equipment---like patches and a bicycle pump---do you carry on such trips? Where (and how) do you carry them?

Edit (July 12th 2015). The question seems to have some overlap with the question Riding Repair Kit, asked by @mfg, although the two are not equivalent: I am asking about basic equipment on longer bike rides whereas @mfg is asking about minimal repair kit for intra-city commuters.

  • 2
    Are we talking road bike or MTB?
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 10:21
  • I have a Nakamura highlander bike (an image of the bike: s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/ceneje/www/images/products/mother/…). Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 10:22
  • 5
    You should at least carry the minimum equipment needed for a tire change. Plus lightweight rain gear, if there is any chance of rain. Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 12:56
  • 1
    Two related points: (i) Make sure your on-the-road tools are actually useful -- many can be tested by using them for regular mainenance at home (some of the multitools apear to be made of cheese instead of steel, others won't reach, etc.). (ii) If you need an odd tool at home, consider whether you need to carry it (e.g. my kickstand bolt can't be tightened or removed with a multitool, I'd hate for it to fail and make me ride over the double kickstand, yet it works loose riding).
    – Chris H
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 15:48
  • 1
    The loose kickstand scenario is a good argument for carrying a few cable ties. Can be used to tie up many things (bags, fenders, kickstands) that might come loose. And very light and compact to carry. Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 0:17

5 Answers 5


Answering as a road cyclist ...

For a ride of this duration (less than a day), before starting I take notice of the conditions, and decide what to wear, in how many layers.

I want to carry a spare layer to put on during stops, and in case of bad weather. Usually it'll be my lightweight wind and (so called) water proof jacket. Sometimes it's just a windproof vest.

I always start every ride carrying two full water bottles. I would expect to refill them somewhere on an all day ride. I have a mini pump clipped to the frame.

I always carry

  • My bike multitool. It has more tools than I need, but it's amazing how often I come across someone in need. (My brother asked me for a 5mm hex key once and I gave him the multitool. He said he only needed to tighten something, not rebuild the whole bike :-) Mine is 10 years old and is a BBB version of this Park Tool. I should also mention that I wrap the multitool in a plastic bag. It stops it from rattling, and a plastic bag can be placed between my cap and helmet if it gets really wet!

  • Puncture repair kit. (Note to self, replenish the used patches). Just a plain repair kit from my LBS. It had chalk, glue, patches, and a piece of emery paper. I lost the chalk but replaced everything else multiple times. This Park Tool Kit is similar.

  • Three plastic tire levers. One always seems to go boing off into the bush. Again, just generic plastic levers from my LBS.

  • Two spare tubes. On a bad day ...

  • Mobile phone.

  • One banana. For a big day, two bananas.

  • Wallet.

Except for the banana and wallet, the stuff I carry is all wrapped up and in my middle back jersey pocket. The banana and spare top is the left back pocket, the wallet in the right pocket.

If I have the rain jacket on and have to remove it, I'll roll it into a ball and stuff it the back left pocket. If I have to remove another layer, I'll plan a stop to roll the garment up into a small thin roll and put it the back right pocket. Most of my bike gear has full length zips; I can unzip them to get lots of ventilation before needing to take the thing off. Never had to take off more layers than that; some people suggest tying them around your waist, various bike parts ...

  • Thanks! Could you provide more details on (i) the multitool, (ii) the puncture repair kit, and (iii) the tire levers? In particular, could you give a URL to a decent choice for (i), (ii), and (iii)? Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 12:15
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    +1 for bananas. Depends on where you're riding but, for road, I like to leave my phone at home. I just carry some cash or a card and know that if I get in trouble I can hail a cab a throw my bike inside or make my way to the L and take the train back home. Same with the multitool...too big. I just take a single torx for my bars and that's it. Make sure everything's tight before I leave.
    – ebrohman
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 12:27
  • 1
    @ebrohman - Of course, a lot depends on where you will be cycling. Where I cycle there aren't any cabs within 20-30 miles (and the cab fare would be outrageous anyway). Of course a phone does little good if you have no one you can call. Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 12:53
  • @blazs going offline, intend to respond in the morning my time.
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 13:14
  • Okay, take your time. Perhaps you can include the details in the answer. Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 13:17

My ideal packing includes:


  • Hex keys to fit your bike : 2mm, 4mm, 5mm the most important, 6mm and 8mm. Some bikes use 2.5mm and 3mm.
  • A T25 driver if you have disk brakes.
  • Phillips and flat screwdrivers.
  • Chain tool and a master link or two (may need to remove twisted links).
  • Tire Levers
  • Patches, glue, extra tubes and pump or inflator.
  • Spare Valves, valve nuts, and vbrake nuts and spacers.
  • Crescent or adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Small knife
  • Small File
  • Sandpaper (Emery paper)
  • Patches

Actually my toolbag consists of a bike specific multitool that has the hex keys, screwdrives and chaintool. An "outdoors" multitool from a hardware store that has the pliers, knife, pliers, can opener. A small (8 inch) crescent wrench and the patching kit. It all fits in one jersey pocket, a small pencil case or one pocket in the backpack.

Food and Liquids:

  • Fruits, cereal bars or peanuts. According to the trail and thinking what I would need in case of bike failure beyond on site repair possibilities.
  • For short rides (2 hours or less) I carry only water (600ml per hour), each extra hour add 600ml of isotonic or sports beverage.

That is why I have two cycling backpacks of different sizes for mountain biking. For Road biking I fit my bike with 3 bottle holders and affix toolbags under the saddle or handlebar.


  • Personal documents, Identification and a card or bracelet indicating a contact number for emergencies, blood type and known allergies, if any.
  • Money in small denominations (Think of what is needed to buy a snack or beverage
  • Phone and an on the go charger (extra battery or power bank)
  • Protective eyewear, gloves, extra layer of clothing.
  • What sort of ride would this be a packing list for? It's pretty extensive, almost a touring set of gear. Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 2:44
  • 1
    The first part, about tools, is actually my every ride tool set. Listed individual tools but they are actually 4 separated objects (Counting the patch kit as a unit. As for food I suit accordingly to each ride, That's why I mention liquid amount per riding hour. The Full pack is thought for a ride longer than 4 hours in which at some point I would be alone and further away than one hour walking to get help in case of bike failure not repairable with the carried tools.
    – Jahaziel
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 3:48
  • Maybe add a pump or an inflator of some sort?
    – dlu
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 18:31
  • Indeed, @dlu, I had forgotten that. Edited accordingly.
    – Jahaziel
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:55
  • It was either that or I really wanted to know where you got your tubes :-)
    – dlu
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:20

Everyone's going to have different list depending on how confident they are of getting assistance in an emergency or gear breakage. I do some solo rides into the forests in New Zealand. When in the forest alone I do tend to stick to 4x4 tracks where a may see one person an hour but also take jungle tracks alongside the road and very rarely see anyone. I carry a small reservoir pack and also use my pockets to carry:

Gear Repair

  • compact multitool (covers all screws and bolts on my bike - I have ht2 cranks so don't have to worry about big hex for crank bolt)
  • chain break
  • spare master link
  • cable ties
  • small pill bottle of lube
  • spare tubes
  • tyre boot patches
  • tube glue patches
  • pump
  • tyre levers
  • 2 spare tubes
  • brake pads if a long distance ride (50+km)


  • 2l water pack
  • 700ml electrolyte drink (in bottle cage)
  • peanut butter/ nutella sandwiches
  • high energy snack bar
  • chocolate bar
  • additional electrolyte tabs
  • energy gels (sometimes)


  • windproof/ shower proof layer
  • polypropylene layer
  • emergency blanket (sometimes)

I don't tend to carry additional food, just enough for my planned ride and maybe an hours delay. If I had a catastrophic gear failure I'd (and have done) single speed the bike and take the shortest route home (this sucks btw). My biggest concern is punctures. I always carry at least one extra layer of warmth, no matter how warm it is outside you start to cool very quickly when you get off the bike and stop moving. If I get off the bike for any length of time I put a shell jacket on until I'm at a good temp.

  • 1
    +1 Very similar to what I (used to) carry for XC skiing.
    – andy256
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 0:59

Not much: A mini pump mounted on the bike, spare tube, tire leavers and the hex keys you might actually need in a Frame Bag. 1.5l of water with carbs (glucose and maltodextrin) as food. For longer rides an extra plastic bag with enough carbs for another 1.5l in the jersey.

I’m usually experienced enough to pick the right clothing for several hours or a whole day. When the weather is a bit cooler I’m mostly using arm/leg warmers which can easily be rolled up or stored in the jersey pockets.

For colder weather around or below 0°C (273k) a good softshell jacket is surprisingly flexible and rarely gets too warm. Overshoes and gloves are important for long rides in colder weather and almost never get too warm.

For rides in the mountains I installed a third bottle cage to carry a raincoat (its stuffbag has the shape of a bottle), since the weather can get really harsh and unpredictable there.

I hate carrying heavier stuff in jersey pockets and would highly recommend some kind of frame bag or saddle bag.

  • 1
    +273 for Kelvin!
    – dlu
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 18:33

I found this Bikepacking Repair Kit on Pedaling Nowhere. I like the way it is broken down into components of a tool kit and spares collection. There is some good stuff in the comments section too.

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