Stream Line Your Kit and Carry Less

March 24th, 2017

By Andrew Dodd in Features

Stream Line Your Riding Kit – Carry Less And Enjoy The Ride More…

In the last few years, we’ve noticed a lot of mountain bikers carrying huge hydration packs, loaded with gear they’ll probably never need on an average ride.

Unless venturing out for a full day on the trails, most mountain bike rides seem to be in the 1.5-3hr zone. Which asks the question – how much kit do you really need to take with you on your ride?

Stream Line Your Kit and Carry Less

I’m carrying a water bottle, and a Fabric Tool Keg here. In the keg is a spare tube; tyre lever and a couple of CO2 cartridges. In my jacket is a phone, multi-tool and some cash. Enough to solve most trail side issues, but also the bare minimum I like to carry.

Before hydration packs, mountain bikers carried a minimal amount of kit.

Typically there would be a bottle and cage set up; and a saddle bag stuffed with an inner tube, some energy gel and a multitool. Check out the bikes below – one is from 1991, and the other is present day. Things are going full circle in an effort to improve riding experience – less kit, more freedom.

Stream Line your kit

To keep out of trouble, the bare minimum we recommend to carry is the following:

  • Water
  • Multi-tool, ideally with chain tool
  • Some form of Pump
  • Phone – for SOS
  • Money – keep some cash or a card with you
  • Spare Inner Tube. Carry a 27.5, with a long presta valve. This will fit all rim drillings and depths, and you can stretch it in to a 29in wheel too.
Stream Line Your Kit and Carry Less

I recently stream lined the kit I carry, and besides the phone that stays in a pocket – this is the gear I carry. Tube; tyre levers; CO2 cartridges; cable ties; knife; multi tool; mini pump; tyre plugs and nitrile gloves – which fit inside an old Oakley sunglass case. The gloves are useful for keeping clean when working on the bike as well as an extra layer to wear under gloves on cold days. They also stop the bits rattling around inside the case.

Storage Solutions

There are loads of ways to carry kit on your bike and body these days, ranging from full sized riding packs and bike packing frame bags to bum bags and base layers with pockets. Here are our favourites – which are all perfect ways to stream line the kit you carry.

Race Face Stash Vest

These base layers from Race face feature pockets on the rear, and can accept a hydration bladder too. If you want to go ultra minimal, this is a brilliant way to stream line the kit you carry. Race Face also make the Rip Strip (review here), which is an ultra compact lumbar strip with storage; and a bib under short with pockets. Check out the range right here.

The Stash vest costs £57.95 and they make mens and woman’s versions. Get them from Silverfish

Hip Packs

There are various bum bags on the market, but these are two of the very best. The Source Hipster is very compact – big enough to carry the supplied bladder and a few small items – great for those using on bike storage for tubes and tools. Read our review right here.

The Evoc Hip Pack Race is quite a bit bigger and will suit those not willing to give up using a pack completely. I can carry my full trailside set up – minus the Oakley case – in this pack, along with a full 1.5litres of water. Full details and pricing right here

On the Bike Storage

There are various ways of carrying gear on the bike, but the most popular we’ve seen are the Fabric Tool Keg and the Backcountry Research tube straps.

You can fit a surprising amount of gear in the keg, and it keeps it clean too – but if you’re a racer and want faster access to the tubes and CO2 cartridges, the Back Country straps are a great idea to stream line your gear – and are used by a lot of the Enduro World Series racers.

Frame bags

Saddle bags have long been used, and are still very effective for stashing the bare minimum. There are loads on the market like this tiny Fizik pack. It can hold the same amount of gear as the Back Country strap, but keeps that gear clean.

We’ve also been using the Topeak Mid Loader frame pack. This can take a huge amount of kit – and is great for longer rides and completely ditching a riding pack. It comes in two sizes and costs from £36.99 – but won’t fit all bike frame designs. More information right here.

Tool Storage

Another good way to stream line what you carry are these excellent tools from Topeak, that stash away in your bike! The bar end plugs feature a chain tool – which means you’ll never be without one – and the bottle cage has a compartment for storing a supplied multi-tool.

Both are excellent quality and great value too – the bar end plugs cost £27.99 and the bottle cage with 23 function multi tool is £47.99. Full details on them in our article right here. 


There are loads of products popping up on the market that can help stream line your riding gear – all are well worth checking out as carrying the minimum really can improve your riding experience.

Do you use any of the products we’ve shown above?

We’d love to hear how you stream line your kit…

Let us know in the comments below!

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