There are some things I always carry on every single ride no matter what.
Here’s what I always have in my pack:
1. A bottle of tire sealant. I always carry this because it’s small, light, and will save your bacon (strips, the kind that go into your punctured tire. See #3 below)
2. Valve core remover. I carry this so I can get my sealant into the wheel if I need to.
3. A multi-tool. Mine has all the usual stuff and a little extra, including a chain breaker, a spot to carry a quick link for my chain, bacon strips, and a fork. Mmm bacon! 🥓🤤
This stuff works! Gone are the days of trying to pop your bead to get a tube in for flat tires (provided that your wheels are set up tubeless. If you're not sure if your bike is set up with tubes or tubeless, find out. On a Johnson Pass ride, I got a puncture when I smashed my way over some rocks. I got my bacon and fork out and jabbed it into the tire. I added my sealant and voilà! It held air not only for the rest of the ride but for many rides after until I eventually replaced the tire due to worn tread.
4. A quick link (aka chain connector, master link, etc.) Make sure you get the right one for your specific drivetrain.
5. A tube. Hope for the best bacon outcome but be prepared for the worst!
This isn't the most economical tube on the market but it is the smallest and the lightest. It's called Tubolito. I haven't had to use it yet (thanks to my bacon strips) but it's there just in case and I don't even notice it because it's so tiny. I use some painter's tape to keep it rolled up.
6. Tire levers. Carrying a tube is useless if you don't have these!
7. First aid kit
This kit is suitable for my level of first-aid training. It's important to know when to call 911.
8. Essentials: water, food, windbreaker.
For backcountry rides
I add a few extra things such as a bivy sack, extra gloves, a hat, electrolytes, a shifter cable, a spare chain, a doggie bag to pack out waste, and, sometimes, a pocket saw. Carrying a little extra gear can make a huge difference as to whether you get to ride out or walk your bike out.
I also carry a spare derailleur hanger. They can get bent and cause your bike to be unable to shift. These are often bike-specific.
That's what's in my pack! What do you carry in yours?