How to Carry Tools on the Trail

Carrying Tools on the Trail

If you happen to come across any mechanical problems while you’re out hitting the trails, it’s always best to be able to fix them yourself and keep riding or at least be able to get yourself home.  What no one wants is to have you walk your bike home.  Here are a few different ways you can carry all the tools you’ll need while you ride.


The good old-fashioned backpack.  Still the best way to carry the most amount of tools and spares on a ride.  Nothing comes close to what you can fit in a backpack.  The major benefit of most mountain bike pack options is that they come with a large amount of water storage as well, so you can carry upwards of two litres of water, as well as anything you might need to get you back on two wheels.

The only issue here is that packs are heavy, and can affect your movement on the bike.  Not everyone loves the feeling of a pack on their back, so it’s a good thing there’s a whole bunch of other options out there.


To check out our range of hydration packs, click here



Second to the pack in terms of storage capability, is the bum bag.  These have come back into fashion with the enduro crowd in recent years.  They still have a vast array of storage options within them, and the ability to carry a water bladder similar to a pack.  Their major benefit is keeping the weight low and off your back.  This allows a great ease of movement around the bike, while also allowing your back to breathe.  No one likes those big sweaty patches on your back, ick! 


Check out a range of MTB hip packs here, or for a combination of the two, check out the brand new Enduro Lumbar pack from Tassie brand Henty



Tight fitting XC and road jerseys typically have a bunch of pockets sewn into the back.  This allows storage for the vitals; tube, multitool, phone, maybe a spare water bottle.  The problem here lies in the limitations, not a huge amount of space available, and items can bounce free with relative ease.  There also becomes an issue if the event of a crash, all those pointy things in your pockets can hurt a fair bit.  Then again, so can the ground.

Most trail shorts out there come with pockets as well, these are a little safer to crash on but can flap around a fair bit as you pedal.

There are numerous pairs of knicks out there that also have pockets, as far as clothing is concerned, this is typically the safest way to carry stuff, as the pockets are usually nice and tight, and your jersey goes over the top, adding to the security.


On the Bike

Now, this is where it gets pretty funky.  There are heaps of ways to store things on your bike, it keeps everything off your back and makes riding that much more comfortable, plus, it looks super enduro having all your gear dangling from your frame, or tucked away in sneaky places.


If you’ve got two bottle cages on your bike, an easy option to carry some tools is with a tool bottle.  They’re effectively a little storage capsule that you can fill with whatever you like, pack it with bubble wrap so it doesn’t bounce around, then throw it in a bottle cage.  Only recommended if you have room for two bottle cages, you don’t want to be replacing your only water bottle with a tool capsule, water comes first.

For sneakily hiding tools in unused space on your bike, there is the All In multi-tool.  This neat little tool plugs straight into the hollow spindle of your cranks.  It doesn’t sport a huge array of tools, but with 6 options of whatever bit you’d like, it will get you out of most sticky situations.


Another sneaky storage option is the OneUp EDC tool.  This nifty piece of kit gets stored in the steerer tube of your fork, or inside the EDC pump.  With 17 tool bits from Allen keys and nipple drivers, to cassette tool and tyre lever, you’ve basically got a full toolkit in easy access on your bike.  It also features various storage options of its own; built-in chainring bolt and quick-link storage, as well as a thread at the base for CO2 canisters or a storage capsule, you can fix virtually any problem you can think of out of the trail.


“But Mountain Bikes Direct these are all great for tools, but what if I get a flat tyre?  The most common issue that plagues mountain bikers?”

Well, we’re glad you asked!  Tubes can be stored almost anywhere on your bike, so long as it doesn’t affect your suspension or any other moving parts.  An easy way to do this is with duct tape, and taping the tube to under your saddle or on to your frame, but this leaves a sticky residue on your frame and on the tube. 

So in comes OneUp and Back Country Research.  Both of these companies offer dedicated storage straps for your tube and stuff like tyre levers or CO2 canisters and whatever else you can roll into the tube.


There's a whole bunch of other cheeky ways of storing little things around your bars; $10 note shoved inside your bars, quick link taped to your gear and brake cables, spare tube jammed inside your hollow seat post.  Let us know how you store your spares and tools!


Comments (4)

Dakine Hot laps Gripper bike bag

By: on 7 February 2018
I have one of these for my MTB. works well , good quality. Carries everything you need. They come in black as well.


By: on 29 January 2018
I don't always want to ride with a backpack so my bottle cage is taken up with a bottle. A saddle bag interferes with my dropper post and strapping a tube to my top bar doesn't look that cool. Still looking for a better solution for a tube, co2, and leavers.

Mountain Bikes Direct Response
Hi mate, The Race Strap from BCR is a great option here, as it's small enough that your rear wheel won't hit it with your dropper down, but still has enough storage capacity for a tube, two CO2 canisters, an inflator head, and lever or two!

Another carry option

By: on 25 January 2018
What about the good old saddle bag?

Tools should be on the bike

By: on 7 January 2018
I like those options where the tools sit in the crank or the steerer tube. My tools are in a seat bag with a spare tube, I have a different set of tools for my MTB and my road bike and obviously different tubes. For example I don't have a valve removing tool on the road bike but I do on the MTB as I run it tubeless and often find I need it. Tools should not be carried in your jersey otherwise if you come off you can be seriously injured. I carry my socks, jocks and an iron free shirt there when commuting (I leave shoes, trousers, etc.. at work in the change room) which I doubt would injure me if I came off. I do use a camel back for very long rides in summer in locations I know I can't get water but generally prefer to use water bottles. The new valves on camel backs work a lot better than the earlier ones. My 2006 26inch Trance has two water bottles spots and I use both a lot (energy drink in one and plain water in the other for races/ events for example). I want to upgrade to a 29inch bike as I know my bike is getting pretty old and want two drink holder spots. For some races they want numbers on both the front and back so removed the seat bag and I used one drink holder for my tools in a tool bottle and water in the other. Hint to bike manufacturers - we like drink bottle spots and if you are cheap and nasty and don't supply them I will not even test ride your bike let alone buy it.

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