Mountain Biking Trip
Light Weight Gear for Your Over Night Mountain Biking Trip
I do a lot of overnight mountain biking trips with my friends. I'm also an ultralight backpacking fanatic, which most bicyclists are. You want the lightest gear you can fit into your small hydration back without losing room for your bike tools. But out here in Texas the weather can change on you quickly, which means you need to be prepared for any type of weather. Make sure you bring clothes for all weather. Don't be afraid to layer your clothing; if you get too hot, you can always take it off, but if it's freezing and all you're wearing is your super snug short biking shorts and a jersey, then your going to be in for more then a cold night, try hypothermia. This is why I always bring a heavy jacket and other life saving gear that not only will help you stay alive, but makes staying overnight on 30-mile biking trail more comfortable.
Sure Mother Nature provides us with many resources that will keep us safe and warm but it doesn't hurt to bring along a few lightweight items that will make your job of surviving on the trails much easier. The next is a list of things I personally keep on me and in my hydration bag when I go on overnight trips.
1. Water. You must have it. Your body is made up of 55 to 78% water; without it you will die. But don't drink just any water, not until you boil it or have added iodine to it. Boiling water in the woods is not always that easy, in fact, it's impossible without some sort of metal pan to boil with. That's exactly why I carry the sierra 8oz cup with me.
2. Shelter. Shelters will keep you safe from the elements, and I'm not just talking about the wind and the rain. I'm talking about the mosquitoes and other insects that go bump in the night, or should I say buzz in the night. I use a super lightweight tube tent and mosquito netting. I also stay nice and warm in my head sheet.
3. Fire. Fires can keep you warm, cook your food, and lift your spirits when morale is low. Have you ever tried to start a one-match fire? It's not that easy unless you have some emergency tinder that lights easily no matter what, whether rain or shine. Also dry tinder isn't always easy to find and most likely doesn't burn for a long time. But what do you do when your matches are all used up? That's why I carry a flint stick. They last long after you've run out of matches.
4. Signaling. Let's get serious here, if you're lost out on the trails, and you have injured yourself badly you want to know that search and rescue can find you. This is why you should always carry a good whistle and signal mirror. Of course, don't forget to bring your cell phone.
5. First Aid Kit. You take a beating out there on the trails. This is why you need to carry a good-quality first aid kit. Let's get real, we're not all nurses and paramedics, which is why your first aid kit should be comprehensive and have instructions. Also, make sure your first aid kit comes with aspirin, diarrhea medicine, insect repellent, and poison ivy whips, because you will hit poison ivy it's inevitable.
6. Food. You gotta eat! Especially out there on the trails, your body burns off more calories then you take in. Some dried camping foods are good, but to keep you in good health, you should grab weight gainer bars. They are packed full of calories, carbs, and vitamins, everything a growing boy/girl needs.
7. Knife. The knife is a camper's best friend. Not only does it help build a shelter but it's a good weapon of defense against mountain lions and bears. Well, at least it will help make a good weapon of defense.
8. Bike Tools. Last but not least is your roadside bike tools and other equipment that keeps your bike running after you've wiped out 5 times and gotten two flats. All you need to keep your bike up to par are a few items. You will need a spare tube, a good multitool, an Allen wrench, a patch kit, tire levers, a spoke wrench, a small hand pump, and zip ties.
Lookie there I didn't even make it to ten, that's just how little you really need to have a fun and safe time on the trails. You can add anything you want to it, really, but remember, you don't want to go too heavy especially if it's a race.
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