What's in the bag?

A brief peek into a guide's rucksack - and a quick rummage - Now you know why it gets so big!

Quick note - the actual contents vary from time to time, dependent largely on who the riding is with, where it is, and what they are riding. Some of the kit here you can see you wouldn't need with a group of beginners on hired hardtails in the forest... It would be a rare day to be carrying everything here, but often, it's not far off.

The Bag

I've included this as it affects the way the kit is carried. This is a 22 litre bag (big enough for bike packing normally) with a tool organiser built in.

Kit is carried in the main compartment, and in the tool compartments as well as an internal pocket, and two external pockets

Main tools Section

Stuff that gets fairly regularly used (except 7)

  1. Pedros tyre levers - for stubborn tyres and fitting tubes
  2. Topeak Chain splitter
  3. Needle Nosed Pliers
  4. Set of allen keys with torx key
  5. CO2 dispenser and spare cartridge
  6. Cable ties
  7. Section of plastic for lining split tyres

Secondary Tools Pocket

Smaller bits slightly less frequently used

  1. Wire to hold chain tension when repairing chains
  2. Valve extender for deep rims, in bag with:
  3. Tube repair patches x2 (also double as frame protection)
  4. Spare Derailleur hanger for my bike
  5. Small crank bolt
  6. Small penknife
  7. Bar end plug
  8. Spare links and magic links for 9,10 and 11 speed chain

'Other Bits' Pouch

Much less frequently accessed but useful when you need them

  1. Sugru - for fixing stuff
  2. Bag of Tubeless valves, & chain ring bolts etc
  3. Single speed chain tensioner (I have fancier ones)
  4. Spare brake shoes for common brakes (esp mine)
  5. Kevlar spare spoke (fits all)
  6. Multi- Spoke key
  7. Reverb 'Enduro' collar for when they 'let you down'
  8. Threadlock

Main Compartment

Personal stuff on top, then the stuff you hope you won't have to get out underneath:

  1. Mesh pouch with Chalk (for marking lines) big whistle spare Gel and painkillers and anti-inflammatories.
  2. For Coaching - mobile whiteboard (not often carried)
  3. Big volume stirrup pump
  4. Shock pump
  5. Spare map
  6. Sam Splint
  7. Spare inner tube (usually 650b or 26inch)
  8. Personal survival bag
  9. Warm jacket for a casualty
  10. Group shelter
  11. Basic First Aid Kit
  12. Big repair kit - contents vary more than the others - see contents below

On occasion, there is also a small bottle of tubeless sealant if appropriate.

Top Pouch

A variety of stuff dependant on what's being delivered. The main bits being:

  1. Compass and cheat sheet
  2. Waterproof notepad and pen
  3. Pens for whiteboard and eraser

Other bits may include:

  • Business cards - always opportunities
  • Lipsalve
  • Small GPS (Garmin 200)

Big Repair Kit

  1. More Bar end plugs - some rental bikes just spit them out
  2. Large diameter crank bolt (less likely to work loose)
  3. QR end bolt
  4. Foam fitting pad for a rubbing helmet on a long day
  5. Even more tube repair patches
  6. Spare cables
  7. Bit of old Inner tube  for protection & Ghetto shock lockout
  8. More cable ties (can't have too many)
  9. Ferrules and cable fittings for quality cable repairs
  10. Assortment of brake pad springs
  11. Universal QR derailleur hanger
  12. Small box of assorted bolts and a Shimano cleat
  13. 5-8 speed chain magic links
  14. Little bottle of chain lube for big days out
  15. Spare jockey wheel
  16. Casette removal bolt (and centrelock brake disk tightener)
  17. Universal seaport clamp & Ghetto shock lockout
  18. Shimano crank bolt tightener
  19. Section of gear cable outer for running repairs
  20. Spoke (with nipple)
  21. Coach bolt to replace pedal
  22. Brake pads for my bike
  23. Spare headset spacer
  24. Cone spanners (not usually included these days)
  25. Big spanner (for Cassette removal) - again not often in

Other Stuff (yes there's more)

This isn't the end of it unfortunately. For big epics the side pockets will be filled with Gels and M&M's and in the winter there will be spare gloves, a bag of buffs, and probably at least one bike light and a headtorch.

For communication I obviously carry a mobile phone, but have been known to carry an SOS beacon when things have been very remote too.

There's no camera in this setup. I'll carry a spare mobile phone as a camera and Go-Pro remote if necessary on most rides. This is a commercial operation so I need to show the next potential customer how much fun the current one is having! Spare phone is so I don't drain the batteries on the one that's there for emergencies.

On The Bike

My bike will likely have a spare chain link attached to the back of a brake lever, a spare derailleur hanger taped to the inside of a seat-stay, and under the saddle a spare tube and a tubeless repair kit. Normally I'll have a small waterbottle attached to the frame to take some of the weight off my back, and I have a Timber! Bell (from Cyclorise) attached to most bikes.


This is not quite an exhaustive list - there are other bits and bobs for specialist jobs that might be included - the spare universal derailleur being one. Overkill? - well I've had one 3 day trip ruined after a day and a half due to a dismantled derailleur so no, not necessarily.

It's a massive bag, especially in the colder months when my spare clothing and food (and drink) then has to go in too, so I avoid carrying everything if I can. There's always an element of compromise, but at the end of the day - I'm there for the enjoyment of the client, and so for their enjoyment I should try to be able to fix most issues for them, it's not just good enough to point them to the roadside at lunchtime (if it's available) - they came for a whole day (or more).

Get in Touch

If you've read this and disagree, want to know why something wasn't in the list, or want to know more about the kit selected, please get in touch. Email's fine, but you can also pose your questions via our Facebook page too, and get everyone involved.

Find Out More

We have a practical trailside repair course available through the Coaching and Guiding pages if you'd like to find out more about taking care of yourself in the hills. Just click on the link at the top of the page.