I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lucky to have a pump, some extra food or a jacket. Every time we turn around (o.k. so not every time) we read about someone who goes out for a hike and never comes back. Alive. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but my point is that many of us have forgotten how to be self-sufficient. And many of us are intimidated by changing tires so we pretend we won’t need a tube. Either way, it won’t end well.
It doesn’t matter if you are the best mountain biker in the whole world or if you have the best cardio of all your friends or if (like me) you’ve laughed in the face of lightning. You must be prepared. If not for yourself, for someone else.
Every time you go out you should have these things:
- A pump/CO2
- A spare tube (even if you run tubeless you can pop a tire in)
- Tire levers
- Extra nutrition
- A lightweight jacket
- A small first aid kit
- Cell phone (if you have one)
- ID or RoadID®
- A map if trail is unfamiliar
- $$ in case you pass a café or tap room
You should always carry water (duh) and if you can, carry extra (some in your pack and some in a bottle). I like to have a bottle of water with some Skratch in it as my second hydration source. I always try to have extra water in the car (multiple bottles of water) just in case. That came in handy the other day when at Betasso a guy came up to me and asked for some water. He had brought one bottle and on a 90+ degree day that’s not enough. I was more than happy to share.
You just never know. I’ve lent first aid to strangers. And obviously I’ve given people my water. But I’ve also put myself into situations where I’ve been out too long or in too deep. Just a few weeks ago far away in the Soquel Demo Forest in Santa Cruz I started planning where I’d sleep for the night. But I had two extra layers and extra water and lots of food so I knew I wouldn’t die. Although I would have been freaked out by bugs and snakes and bears I wouldn’t have died.
It feels good to have you what you need. It’s fine if you have to ask others for a tube or pump but it’s so much better if you can be the one offering to help. Being self-sufficient isn’t just cool it’s smart. Don’t be the one who never has what they need. That’s not cool.