Words and photos: Mike Blewitt

Having a nice toolbox, home workshop and time to maintain your own bikes is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your equipment and time out on the trails. But being prepared on the trail to fix any mechanical issues for you or your friends will have the most immediate impact to your ride.

While you don't need to load up a backpack with your workshop kit, here are some suggestions from the AMB crew about what to take on every ride to reduce the chance of it getting cut short.

1. A multitool with a chain breaker

This one takes a bit of thought and planning. You can get some really light multitools, but often the tools may be too short to be useful, as they won't reach into where you need them, or you won't get anywhere near the torque required. Take a look over the fasteners on your bike to see what you need, noting whether it's a Torx head or hex, and the sizes.

My choice is the Topeak Mini 18+ thanks to the range of tools, the spoke keys and a chainbreaker that I know works. It's not very light – but it does everything.

2. A spare tube and tyre boot

Tubeless systems running well are very good, and a tyre plug can solve many unfortunate cuts. But sometimes – you just need to put a tube in. I always carry a spare tube and a tyre boot, which will help keep the tube in the tyre if you've put a huge cut in it. Park Tool make some, but firm plastic or a $5 note can also do the trick. The new range of light and strong polymer tubes like the Pirelli Smart Tube or RevoLight tubes do cost a lot more (about $50) but they're light and compact and don't degrade the same way many butyl rubber tubes do.

3. A plug kit

Whether you choose one of the older styles with 'bacon strips' or a modern system like the Stan's DART or a DynaPlug tool, just make sure you have it close at hand. Each plug system has its merits, but they're all best used quickly to limit the air loss so you have a faster repair. DynaPlug have a tool that attaches to a CO2, so it's your plug repair and inflation in one! It's a must have if you're racing.

4. A quick link

Almost all chains on modern mountain bikes can't be repaired with a pin or link being reused. So a spare quick link is a must have. You can keep both sides together with tape or even a bread tie, but one half isn't even half as good as both.

5. A mini pump

A CO2 head is great to quickly fill a flat or top up a burped tyre – but they do create a lot of waste and you only have as many refills as you're happy to carry. A good quality mini pump will serve you for years, and is exactly what you want on the days where you have angered the puncture gods. I wrap gaffa tape around the centre of mine as you never know when it'll come in handy to repair a bike or a rider.

6. Derailleur hanger

A spare derailleur hanger is a must-have especially on longer rides. A bent hanger can be worked around, but not a broken one. Some frame designs need the hanger for the rear wheel to be fitted properly, so even if your derailleur is broken you may still need a new hanger to limp home with a single speed setup. Make sure you have one that's correct for your bike, and know how to fit it. While the SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger is being adopted, it's not universal yet. So ask your local shop if you're not sure on the hanger you need.

7. Handy extras

On longer riders I take a Leatherman Squirt, as it has small pliers, scissors and cutters all for about 50g. The cutters go hand in hand with a few zipties, and a small chain lube can ease the load on your chain if the conditions are wet. A small first aid kit is a smart addition for every ride, and Neutron Components Ultralight First Aid Kit can stay secured and out of the way on your bike 24/7.

AMB Crew Tips

"I used to take a phone, that was my repair kit. But now, a Commencal telescopic mini pump is mounted to the drink bottle cage, plus a tube and tiny set of allen keys in a bib pocket.” - Chris Panozzo

“I’m always damaging tyres so I don't leave home without a digital pressure gauge, tube, Lezyne HP hand pump (no gauge) and a heap of the biggest tubeless bacon plugs I can. I like the Lezyne driver and plugs, they are big and block big Stromlo rock sized holes.” - Ryan Walsch

“My go to plug kit is the Stan's Dart, I even have one on the redundant front mech mount of my gravel bike. It's light and you can just cable tie the body to your seat so you can rip it out fast!” - Ben Morrison

“While I prefer to travel light, I never leave the house without a multi tool. My favourite is the Lezyne V Pro 7. It is tiny, and has just enough head options to fix up a loose bolt or screw that might arise mid ride.” - Hayden Wright

“I like having a mech hanger and quick link on all bikes. There’s nothing worse than breaking your hanger, and having a quick link can also save a ride.” - Will Shaw

Ready to head out on an adventure now? Read our Bikepacking Pocket Guide