Getting ready for a day of trail riding can often mean a lot of faffing around, and when you're riding in remote areas, you need to be prepared. So what's the best way to pack your hydration bag?
Unlike road cyclists, who primarily use their cargo pockets and bike bags for storing their essentials, the majority of mountain bikers use a hydration system. These bags contain a bladder of fluid, and everything and anything else we can stuff in there.
Although there's no set rule on how to pack, or what to pack, there are some guidelines we should follow to ensure we have the basics. Watch the video below for a quick guide - and scroll further down for more detailed advice.
They come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Choose the right bag for your ride because it goes without saying that a small pack with a 1L bladder won't be lasting long on an epic all mountain day.
Hydration packs usually have the following features: a bladder for fluids, adjustable straps, zipped compartments and exterior compartments. Some of the more higher end ones, and larger ones will include a micro-lined sunglasses pouch and even an emergency whistle.
The bladder will weigh the most and take up the most room, so fill it up first and get it in there. Capacities will varying depending on the make and model of your pack, but just ensure it can hold enough to see you through the entire ride.
We recently wrote about the importance of first aid on the bike, and whether it's necessary to carry a kit with you. At TWC, safety is our priority and having the basics can really come in handy.
You don't have to buy a full kit, you can make your own with some key items and a zip lock bag. First aid is really just there to patch you up well enough to make it to the nearest help station, or back to the trail centre.
Never underestimate the power of tampons. I always carry two with me on a ride because they are sterile and are perfect for wadding an open wound.
Stash your multi-tool, tyre levers and any gas cannisters in a secure area of your bag. The last thing you want is to have these small objects coming loose and flying off as you hit those trails hard.
Tubes and Equipment
A neatly packed inner tube doesn't take up much room, nor does a shock/trail pump. One of the most common bike fails to happen is a puncture, so be prepared with the right kit and the know how.
Last but not least...
Your phone, keys and purse should all be secured packed away in a zipped compartment. Some bags will have hooks to fasten your keys into, and others will have specific phone pouches to protect your selfie-taking-device.
Looking for more advice? Check out our Ultimate MTB Guide.