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Whether it’s your first time heading out on a mountain bike trip or your 100th, having a go-to mountain bike trip packing list is essential. You don’t want to find out too late that you’ve left something important at home (like your helmet!). I always jot down a checklist before I head out on a trip.
In this post, I’ve included all the essential pieces of mountain bike gear, clothing, tools, and spare parts you’ll need for your mountain bike adventure. This list is easy to tailor to your trip needs and duration, so be sure to download the checklist to make you pack everything you need for a great mountain biking vacation.
Start planning your next mountain bike trip and make sure you have everything you need with this complete mountain bike trip packing list
Mountain bike clothes
I typically like to pack 2-3 mountain bike jerseys for a 5+ day trip. What I pack depends on where I’ll be riding, what the conditions are like, the weather forecast, etc… If it’s going to be super hot and humid, I’ll pack more jerseys because I know I sweat a lot and they’ll need time to dry.
I also pack at least one long-sleeve jersey in case we ride trails that have a lot of brush and branches.
I never go anywhere without my Patagonia Houdini jacket. It’s super lightweight and packable (it only weighs 3.2) and it’s a great layer for cooler weather or light precipitation. This jacket doesn’t breathe super well, though, so if you will be pedaling you might want to consider the Houdini Air Jacket, which has better airflow and ventilation.
Bike shorts & liners
I typically pack two pairs of baggy bike shorts and 3 pairs of chamois/liners. Depending on your trip duration, you may want to pack more or less. I don’t like to wear chamois more than twice in a row, so for a 6-day trip, three pairs are perfect.
If you’ll be doing a longer trip, you’ll probably have a chance to rinse or wash your chamois somewhere, so I wouldn’t recommend packing more than 3-4 pairs of liners.
Don’t forget your socks! I typically have 3-4 pairs of synthetic or merino wool socks on my mountain bike trip packing list. Avoid cotton socks because they don’t dry well and can leave your feet chilled and wrinkly (and smelly).
I like to wear a buff around my neck if I’ll be riding in hot, exposed conditions or in colder climates. It can also be used as a face mask in a pinch and as an eye mask if you’re trying to get some shuteye on the plane.
Bring at least 2 sports bras and switch them out throughout your trip so they can dry or air out.
I always like to bring at least two different weight layers – a lightweight long-sleeve layer and a mid-weight long-sleeve layer – that I can wear over my bike jersey or stuff in my pack for ‘just in case’. I’m a big fan of the Title Nine Henerala Long-Sleeve as a lightweight layer and the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Long-sleeve.
Even though you’re heading on a mountain bike trip, don’t forget to pack some normal clothes for walking around town in, going out to eat, and for relaxing post-rides. Here’s what I typically pack for my mountain bike trips:
- Pair of jeans
- Two pairs of leggings
- 1 pair of shorts or a skirt
- Two t-shirts/tank tops
- One long-sleeve shirt
- Puffy jacket or warmer sweatshirt
- Bathing suit
- Sneakers or shoes to walk around in
- Flip flops or sandals
- Ankle socks, underwear, bras
Mountain bike gear
Your helmet is perhaps your most important piece of mountain bike gear, so don’t forget it at home. If you’re in the market for a new helmet, I really love my Bell Super DH helmet. It has a removable chin bar, so you can use it as a ‘normal’ helmet or as a full-face if the riding gets real.
Glasses &/or goggles
I usually bring both a pair of mountain bike sunglasses and goggles. I use sunglasses if I’m wearing my normal helmet and I wear my goggles when I’m wearing my full-face helmet. Be sure to pack your sunglasses in a hard-sided case so that they don’t get smashed or scratched while traveling. Goggles will usually come with a soft sleeve you can store them in.
Mountain bike shoes
Be sure to add your shoes to your mountain bike trip packing list because they can be easy to forget since you probably aren’t walking out the door with them on. I have my Ride Concepts Livewire shoes that I really like and bring with me on my trips.
If you use clipless shoes, be sure to bring your pedals with you even if you’re renting a bike!
I always wear knee pads when I ride. I love my Fox Enduro Sleeve knee pads because they’re easy to pedal in and they don’t slip down like most other knee pads I’ve tried. If I’m heading to a bike park, I’ll wear my Fox Launch Pro knee pads, which have more protection, but you don’t really want to pedal in them.
If you’re looking for more body protection ideas, head to my post on Mountain Bike Protective Gear.
Chamois cream is a lifesaver, so be sure to pack some for your mountain bike trip. If you’re flying and don’t want to bring a full tube, Chamois Butt’r also comes in small packets, which is super convenient. Bring one pack per day per rider just to be safe.
Whether you use a hydration backpack or a hydration fanny pack, it’s a good idea to bring it with you on your trip, even if you’re doing a multi-day full-service mountain bike tour. You never know how long the rides will be or whether water is readily available.
Bike Tools & Spare Parts
If you’re traveling to a destination with access to a bike shop, they’re probably be able to fix most problems and issues that arise on your trip. However, keep in mind that you will be on the bike shop’s schedule and you’ll most likely be paying premium prices. As such, it’s a really good idea to add these tools and spare parts to your mountain bike trip packing list:
Tools & maintenance
- Shock pump (Amazon, Jenson)
- Hand pump (Amazon, Backcountry, Competetitive Cyclist)
- Multi-tool (Amazon, Jenson, REI)
- Tire plugs & tool (Amazon, Jenson)
- Chain lube (Amazon, Jenson)
- Small tube of grease (Amazon, Jenson)
- Small bottle of tire sealant (Amazon, Backcountry)
- Tire boot (Amazon, Jenson, Backcountry)
- Zip ties (Amazon)
- Tire pressure gauge (Amazon, Backcountry, Jenson)
- Small bottle of rubbing alcohol to clean rotors
- 1-2 rags
- Gorilla or masking tape. This is useful for packing your bike back up at the end of your trip if you’re flying with it.
- 1 pair spare brake pads (Jenson)
- 2-3 spare valve cores (Jenson)
- 1 spare derailleur hanger – These are bike specific! (Jenson)
- Master link – Be sure to get one that matches your chain speed and brand (Jenson)
- Spare tube – specific to wheel size and tire width (Jenson)
- Spare shifting cable (Jenson)
Optional mountain bike trip packing list items
First aid kit
I think it’s always a good idea to ride with a first aid kit. Depending on where you’re heading and who you’ll be riding with, it could be a good idea to pack a first aid kit for your trip. I really love the pre-made kits by MyMedic. Their Solo Pro has everything you might need in case of an emergency. It also has basics like bandages and ibprofen.
If you’re just looking for a simple kit, check out the Cyclist Med Pack.
GPS watch or computer
If you’re like me, you love data and tracking. I always wear my Garmin Fenix watch when I ride so I can track mileage, elevation gain, elevation loss, and GPS tracks, and more. Just remember to pack the charging cable, too!
GoPro of Camera
If you want to capture some footage of your trip, be sure to pack a camera. I go back and forth between using my iPhone and my GoPro. I really like the GoPro, but it’s the editing afterward that I struggle with…
Snacks & hydration powder
Even if I’m packing for a fully-supported and guided ride, I still like to bring a few energy bars and hydration packets with me. My go-to bars are Bobo’s Bars because they’re delicious and the Skratch single-serving packets for hydration.
Sunscreen and lip balm
Regardless of where you’re heading, it’s a good idea to pack a small tube of sunscreen and lip balm. You’re probably going to be spending most of the day outside, so sunscreen is important! I also always carry some lip balm in my pack, which is especially helpful in dry, windy conditions.
If you think you’ll be pedaling or descending in wet climates, be sure to add a rain jacket to your packing list. The Fox Ranger 2.5L is a popular choice because not only is it waterproof and breathable, but it’s also designed for mountain bikers, so it’s helmet compatible and longer in the back to keep you covered as you ride.
What are your essential mountain bike trip packing list items? What else would you add to this list? What questions do you still have? Leave a comment below!