What Items Should You Put In Your Mountain Bike CamelBak?

There’s nothing like a ride on your MTB, cruising the trails out in the beauty of nature. Your CamelBak is something that should be equipped with everything you need for your trip. Not only should it hold water for your mountain bike ride so that you can stay hydrated, but it also should hold other supplies you might need along the way.

However, knowing just what you should pack into your CamelBak is something that might require a bit of thought. Whether your mountain biking session will be short or long there are always certain essentials that you will want to take with you.

Depending on the style of CamelBak you choose, it will have space for almost everything you could ever need. The first things that you will need are the basics that you will need on every bike ride, no matter how long or in what type of weather.

Every trip you take on your mountain bike should be fun, this fun should not be overshadowed by a lack of preparedness. Neither, on the other hand, do you want to be carrying around a bunch of extra weight that you don’t really need.

Handheld Pump

You will need a handheld pump in the event that you get a flat tire on your MTB ride. There are two types of handheld pumps you can purchase, one is the old fashioned manual pump that uses air and the other is a CO2 pump that uses CO2 cartridges to fill up the tire quickly with minimal effort.

If you choose the regular air pump you will only need to replace it if it breaks. If you choose the CO2 pump, you will need to also carry and replace cartridges of CO2 or your pump will not work. Whichever pump you choose, be sure that it will work with either Presta or Schrader valves.

This should go without saying but be sure that the pump fits inside the CamelBak. When trying to decide which kind would be best for you, there are a few things that you can keep in mind. The first two things are the weight and the size.

Other than that, you should also ask yourself if you are going to be needing to buy a lot of the CO2 cartridges because you get a lot of flats. Also, you should consider how hard it is or is not for you to use a manual pump, since if you find this difficult for any reason then you might be better suited to the other.


Punctured tubes or pinched flats can be common while out on the trail, especially while you are going down rocky mountain trails. Having at least two extra tubes with you in your CamelBak is a good idea no matter how long of a ride you plan on taking.

The good thing about tubes is that they fold up flat for easy storage in your CamelBak. Make sure that you get the correct size tube for your tires. If you have space it might be a good idea to carry more than two. Carrying more than two will allow you to help another biker in need.

When choosing tubes, you really only have to make sure that you are selecting the correct size for your wheel. Also always check that the rubber doesn’t appear to have any stress marks on it like it is old or worn. In addition to your CamelBak, you should also keep a couple of tubes in the car especially if you plan on going on longer trips.

Tire Levers

These are excellent tools that are used to help remove the wheel and tube from the rim in order to make repairs. In some instances, you can remove the tire with your bare hands, but out in the trail you don’t want to risk having your wheel roll away from you and down a mountain.

These are often quite small and you only need two so they will easily fit into your CamelBak. They can be rubber banded together so they don’t get lost in your bag. Choosing tire levers isn’t difficult, there are even types that clip onto the wheel spokes and others that hang onto the wheel spoke with a little hook. The most difficult choice will be which color to choose.

Patch Kit And Plug Kit

While we are still on the subject of tires, you should also always have a patch kit and/or a plug kit in your CamelBak. It may seem a little redundant to have both of these but you never know what could happen out on a trail.

Patch kits patch up small holes when you get a puncture or you end up pinching a bead while on the trail. Small in size, so easy to store, patch kits come in a pre-glued form and a sealant needed form. The kits requiring sealant take longer to apply than the pre-glued but they are also more durable.

Plug kits are more suited to puncture holes and these literally plug up the hole. This is much easier and faster to use than a patch kit which requires you to take your tire off, however it only works for holes that are so big which is why you should take both.

Deciding which kit to use should be easy, just ask yourself how hard you will be riding and how long you think you will need a patch to hold up. You should also consider how quickly you want to fix the problem out on the trail.

You might also want to think about the conditions in which you will be riding, if it will be raining, if there will be an excessive amount of mud. Be sure to consult the packaging for recommendations on weather conditions and use of the patch kits.

Multi-Tool For Bikes

A multi-tool for bikes is a very handy tool. Depending on which one you choose, it has the ability to contain almost any tool you may need to repair your MTB out on the trail. The MTB multi-tools look very similar to swiss army knives in that they fold over and have a variety of various gadgets that fold out of either side.

The basic MTB multi-tool will have a few common sized Hex/Allen Wrenches, a flat head screwdriver, a Phillips head screwdriver, a chain tool, and a spoke tool. Selecting the perfect multi-tool can be as easy or difficult as you’d like to make it.

Decide what tools you want and the ones that you won’t want to carry separately. That will help determine which multi-tool to purchase. Whichever multi-tool you choose, it should be in your CamelBak at all times.

Multi-tool With Pliers

In addition to the multi-tool for bikes, many expert mountain bikers suggest also having a regular multi-tool with pliers. It can be an inexpensive one as long as it has pliers. This other multi-tool is important because it provides the other tools that may be necessary to complete repairs on your MTB.

Selecting your multi-tool is simple, is it inexpensive, does it have pliers? If you answered yes to both of those questions, congratulations you just found your multi-tool!

Derailleur Hanger

One of the most common fixes out on the trail is a broken derailleur hanger. If your derailleur hanger breaks out on the trail and you do not have a replacement, your ride for the day is over and you will have to walk your bike back to the vehicle.

This bracket connects the bike frame to the derailleur and allows for repairs to be made easily without any damage or disruption to the frame or derailleur system itself. Choosing a replacement derailleur hanger might be a tedious task, you have to know exactly what kind your MTB needs.

In particular you will have to know if it is thru axle or quick release, standard or Shimano mount, and if it mounts to the inside or the outside and how many fasteners there are. Also you will need to know it there any special features on the derailleur hanger. Once you know the answers to those questions you can select the right derailleur hanger.

Master Link

You will need master link in order to replace bent or broken links in your MTB’s chain. This can also save you from a long walk back to the trailhead with your mountain bike. It is not uncommon for your chain to get bent while on some trails if you are riding in rocky terrain or in an area with a lot of trees or logs.

You’ll need special pliers to install master chain and usually your multi-tool will come with a chain tool, just make sure yours does. Master links comes in different speeds when choosing yours be sure that you know which speed will accommodate your MTB.

If you are into customization and “tricking out” your mountain bike, the master link also comes in a variety of colors. If you have any doubts about whether or not you are making the right choice, ask your bike shop experts.

Chainring Bolt

Chainring bolts hold the chainrings to the frame, in short, they connect the chain to the mountain bike. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to ride your MTB. They are important and any ride long or short shouldn’t be taken without having extra chainring bolts in your CamelBak.

If you ride hard, you may lose some over the really bumpy terrain if these were not tightened enough. When you hop around some pretty rough terrain, the bolts tend to get loose and eventually come off. Chainring bolts are pretty easy to find and they come in almost every color you can think of.

Bike Chain Lubricant

Mountain biking requires your MTB taking some abuse, whether it’s from the elements of the trail or the weather. Mud, dirt, stems, and other debris may get hit your chain. Your chain might also just get dirty from all the dust, mud and other debris.

To preserve the longevity of your bike’s chain you’ll want to make sure that it remains clean and lubed. It could happen on the trail, a mud clump could impair the chain from working efficiently and cause it to get stuck even. Carrying lubricant and a cloth to apply it in your CamelBak is a good idea especially when you know that your ride will be a long one.

When choosing a bike chain lubricant you have to consider the conditions that you will be riding in. Each type of lube offers special protection for certain conditions. For example, the best type to use in a dusty, sandy terrain is dry lube which goes on wet then needs to dry. This kind also needs more applications because it wears off quicker than other lubes.

There are also wax lubes which are mainly good for keeping the chain clean. Wax lubes are also good for recreational rides of short distances. Wax lubes are not good in muddy conditions. Wet lubes are used for rainy conditions, they usually make the chains waterproof but are not good in sandy or dusty conditions.

If you plan on riding in several different conditions it’s probably a good idea to have a variety of lubes and use them as needed. You of course only need to carry the one you are currently using in your CamelBak.

Shock Pump

If you have air spring suspensions then you will need a shock pump to adjust the pressure inside the spring. You cannot use the air pump for your tires since the amount of psi that is designed to be pumped in differs in each pump.

While on the trails you may get a slow leak in your suspension or you may have to fine-tune it which with all the hopping and downhill action it is not uncommon. Finding a shock pump shouldn’t be too hard, you will want to find one that fits into your CamelBak without taking up too much space. Make sure that it cannot be easily confused with your handheld pump.


This is an important piece of your CamelBak’s contents because depending on where you ride and what season you ride in, you could be riding or making repairs in the dark. Make sure it is LED and strong. This should go without saying, but make sure you have the batteries required to run it inside the headlamp. Also, be sure to change them regularly.

Zip Ties

These are multifunctional, they can be used to make repairs on the fly, and they can be used in some emergency situations. Having a few in your CamelBak is a great way to be prepared for anything, and the first piece of advice any seasoned rider will give you is to be prepared for anything. Grouping the zip ties together with a rubber band is a great way to keep them organized in your CamelBak.

Duct Tape

Another multifunctional piece of equipment to have in your CamelBak is duct tape. This is another example of an item that can be used for repairing your MTB in a pinch or being used in a first aid situation. You don’t need a giant roll, in fact, you can find small rolls that fit perfectly in your CamelBak.

Energy Bar

Let’s face it, burning calories makes you hungry. Having an energy bar in your CamelBak is a must. They provide energy and promote recovery during long periods of exercise. Don’t forget to replace them after you use them and check for expired ones between uses.

Another reason why you should have these is because of the fact that you may end up being out on the trails longer than you intended on being if you have to stop and make repairs along the way or you crash into something and have to walk your bike back for some reason.

Toilet Paper

Not only is toilet paper useful in conducting certain business, but also should you ever need to start a fire this will make great tinder. Being prepared for anything is key, starting a fire may only be necessary for rides that are 3 days or longer. The toilet paper along with the next item should be kept in a watertight freezer bag in your CamelBak.

Waterproof Matches

Depending on how long your ride is and where you are going may determine whether or not you choose to bring waterproof matches in your CamelBak. If you do, they should go in the freezer bag with the toilet paper.

Sunblock & Lip Balm

Your face will thank you for both of these items. No matter what conditions you are riding in your face and lips need special protection from the sun and other weather conditions. Keeping sunblock and lip balm in your CamelBak at all times will increase the likelihood that you will use it. Using them will decrease your exposure to harmful elements that can be damaging to your skin.

First Aid Kit

This goes along with being prepared and a special mountain biker’s first aid kit, also known as a crash kit, or a self-made one would be better-suited than a premade one that you can purchase in a pharmacy. The items you put in your first aid kit are crucial.

They should include disinfecting wipes, gauze, tweezers, bandages, non-drowsy pain reliever, triple antibiotic ointment, gloves, Benadryl/Diphenhydramine for any allergies, and a bandana or other cloth to clean up any messes.

You should also include a whistle to signal for help in an emergency and a card with emergency contact information for any critical conditions where you may not be conscious. You should also have a basic knowledge of first aid and you should be CPR certified or consider becoming certified.

Rain Jacket

These are lightweight and fold up into a little pouch. Storing it in your CamelBak will not be a problem. If you are out riding and Mother Nature decides to make it rain and not with dollar bills, then you will want to be protected. The point is you never know what to expect and you really should be prepared for anything.

Extra Clothes

There are a number of reasons why having a lightweight set of clothes can be helpful, and you will definitely need these if you are going on a trip that is going to last more than one day. This is something that you can keep in your car and put in your pack if you think you will need it

Brake Pads

Having a few extra brake pads can save you from having a potentially ruined minivacation. You can’t ride if you can’t stop. The type of brake pads you purchase will depend on the brake system your MTB uses.

Ultra Lightweight Hammock

This can be used for resting and if you need shelter in an emergency situation. They usually fold up in a little pouch and can easily be stored.

Bike Lock

When traveling on your bike you might want to stop in for a bite to eat somewhere. Having your lock in your CamelBak will save you from your bike potentially riding away without you.


Again this multiday MTB trip is like a camping trip, you will need food. There won’t always be a diner or pub along the trail when you get hungry. Take food that is easy to store and that will help you refuel. Energy bars, tuna packets, more energy gels, and maybe even snacks you like to eat.

Maps Or A Guide Book

When you planned this multiday trip you undoubtedly planned the trails out too, make sure you bring the maps or guide books that lead the way.

Compass or GPS

While you are out on the trails for days you will want to make sure that you are staying where you should be and following the maps. Having a compass or GPS will help you do that.

Hot Weather Conditions

In warmer conditions, you’ll want to make sure that in addition to the water in your CamelBak’s bladder, you have also added ice and electrolytes. You should also pack extra water depending on the length of your ride. You should only plan your ride for early morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler. Remember to carb up, also wear light colors and not necessarily long sleeves. Do wear sunblock and reapply often.

Colder Weather Conditions

Riding in colder conditions requires a bit more prepping than riding in hot weather. Especially if you plan on riding in weather that is below 50 degrees. First, you will need to layer your clothing, start with your base layer. Wear something that will be tight to the skin and keep your body warm.

Make sure that what you are wearing on the outer layer is waterproof, your shorts should be waterproof. Consider wearing a gilet. A gilet is a sleeveless jacket, so basically a vest that will protect the torso area from rain and the wind chill while biking.

You will want to have waterproof or water-resistant shoes. If you do not have them, bring waterproof shoe covers with you. In lower than comfortable temperatures, if it starts raining and your feet get wet, your body will get cold.

To decrease the risks of hypothermia and to maintain a constant comfort level, you will need to stay as warm and dry as possible. You will also need a jacket, preferably waterproof. Make sure you have knee warmers, keeping your joints and muscles warm while on your ride is important for prolonged muscle and joint health.

You will also need to bring winter riding gloves. Headbands are great for keeping your ears warm, you can also use a neck tube to keep your face warm like a scarf. Another item to keep with you for when you take a break is a beanie, stash it in your CamelBak and pill it out when you stop in for a snack.

If your body runs colder than others, you might want to opt for some longer knee warmers, some that cover the entire leg. Also, consider arm warmers and hand warmers in your CamelBak for when you make stops.

Final Thoughts

There are many other items that seasoned riders suggest taking on short and long rides, they all have their favorite routines when it comes to riding in hot weather and riding in cold weather. Some have even suggested having an even more intensely prepared first aid kit complete with antivenom in the car at the trailhead.

Whether seasoned rider or beginner the consensus seems to be, be prepared for anything. Also, take your phone, have money or a credit card, your identification, and a card with the people to contact in case of an emergency.

When out there on the trails anything can happen and you must be prepared to react on a moment’s notice. As long as you have an idea of the type of trails you will be riding, when you will be riding them, and who you will be with you, you will be able to accurately assess what items you should put in your mountain bike CamelBak.

Mike Rausa

I'm a 42 year old married father of 3 that fell in love with mountain biking late in life. Mountain biking quickly became my go to fitness activity. I created this blog to help beginners to advanced riders with tips and strategies to improve your riding experience. More About Me... https://mountainbikinghq.com/mike-rausa

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