whatcha-packin-bike-storage-230420-09539.jpg
Whatcha Packin'

AJ's Packless On-Ride Carry Solution

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date May 5, 2020
Reading time

Carrying Too Little

Who remembers the days when riding without tools or a spare tube was more common? I mean, there are still heaps of people on the trails with nothing to get them out of the inevitable jam coming their way, but it’s far from a regular habit now. Not long ago I discovered some expert-level racers were hitting the track ill-prepared. During the Whistler EWS several years ago I helped one such individual with a spare tool because he didn’t have one. He frantically tore it open and began wrenching away while I (impatiently) waited, only to receive the tool back missing a part. Can you imagine racing from the top of Whistler Mountain – the longest stage of the entire Enduro World Series – without a tool?

But while I was more prepared in that situation, my karma for helping him was quite immediate and I flatted while heading down to capture the award ceremonies. I got a little excited while chasing a friend down and tagged something on the lower portion of Top of the World. The wheel and tire combo on my bike at the time were a real SOB and even breaking the bead to insert the tube I was packing was a struggle. As I limped the flat down the mountain and after repeated attempts to fix it, I met two wonderfully helpful individuals who had experience with the same wheels and knew more hands were necessary. Those two gentlemen were NSMB’s own Cam McRae and Pete Roggeman.*

*This was the first time we met A.J. in the flesh - Ed.

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When I'm not shooting I prefer to ride without a pack. I've tried a few different setups over the last few years but this is my current on-bike carrying solution.

I’ll never be sure why karma hit that day. I assume it had something to do with my less than ideal attitude toward the unprepared racer. Despite offering to help him, I found myself muttering away internally in disbelief that he didn't have a tool. But perhaps he had one and lost it? Or maybe he made a mistake and simply forgot it? I’ll never know but I do believe I should have been more open-minded, even if my willingness to help was jeopardizing my work during the final stage of the day as the first wave of top racers began to drop in.

Too Much

Then there are riders who carry so much, it’s a surprise there's no kitchen sink. Heck, some riders could come close to building a complete backup bike. They become sherpa’s to their over-prepared minds, hunched over and pushed toward the floor by the mass of gear strapped to their backs. At least they’ll develop a strong neck and core on top of never being stuck on the trail and we all have that friend that’s always able to help in a jam. Then again, unless carrying a second bike on your back, are you ever truly prepared for everything? There’s always a chance for something unexpected to happen, right?

That’s what caught me out all of those years ago. I'd never considered not being able to break the tire bead from the rim. I mean, it went on relatively easily. But there I was, on the mountain, working, fighting with a bead that was pretty much glued to the rim! Once broken there was no way to pull it up over the rim bead without an extra set of hands, or tools.

whatcha-packin-bike-storage-230420-09542.jpg

I don't know if one tire lever would be enough for the situation I was faced with while shooting the Whistler EWS years ago but I no longer use wheels that need a machine to fit the tire.

Enough?

Tools… I had tools but had overlooked one in particular. And it’s not like I was trying to save weight. Lugging around a backpack full of camera gear can’t be far off carrying a spare bike and the kitchen sink. So why weren’t there two, simple little levers in there to go along with the camera gear, food, water, tools, stupid heavy bike lock and tubes? No idea. It's a good reminder to check and make sure I have some in my camera bag now though…

The funny thing is, on that busy day covering the Whistler EWS, I was more prepared than on trail rides at the time. It taught me I needed to improve my on-ride essentials because most of the time I had nothing. Not a tube, not a zip tie… nada. I even used to race the Squamish XC Toonie’s without a bottle. There wasn't time to drink while redlining for 40 minutes on most courses. Instead, I opted to camel up the day-of and then replenish the next day. Who knows what damage I’ve done to myself with that process. Nevertheless, I somehow managed to get away with minimal issues for years. When I did flat, I would roll home on the rim, most of the time carefully. If I busted a wheel, I’d limp it back, and I’ve spent a few rides ‘skating’ my bike because of problems too.*

*I’ll delve deeper into one specific skate mission by bike when I cover my adventure ride camera pack essentials in the future.

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My current setup lives on my bike and will get me out of many jams. It's still minimalist but I can walk home in 30–60 mins from most rides in Squamish.

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A lot of stuff fits into this small amount of space and this shot doesn't include the Dynaplug Pill (which could be traded to save more space) or the 12mm spanner.

Growing Up in Preparedness

I clearly needed something for my everyday rides. It was irresponsible not to be prepared for at least minor fixes so I began with a tube strapped to my frame and soon added an CO2 cartridge and dispenser. You read that right, I carried a tube but no way of pumping it up; young and dumb. One close riding mate always had an CO2 setup for us but we didn’t always ride together, ha! Eventually, I matured to the level of carrying a multi-tool, usually in my pocket, and that’s how I rolled until a few years ago. I'm not a fan of riding with a pack and the same goes for [insert whatever you call a bum bag]. I wanted to be rid of the tool in my pocket and hearing the injury horror stories sustained from friends choosing this storage location made it a must.

When OneUp released its EDC tool a few years ago, I was intrigued but I never went with the in-steerer option. At the time I was testing multiple forks and while less common now, I’m still switching the front end around fairly consistently. I also wanted to ditch the CO2 cartridges. I’m not racing anymore so changing a flat at F1 pit crew speed is no longer important and I find them to be a bit wasteful. On top of that, I’ve always had to limp a low-pressure tire out when using CO2, or use multiples and cut it off before over-inflating. A pump makes more sense for me to carry and has come in handy when travelling too.

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Some SKS straps hold the pump, which acts as a metal tool bag, in place against the seat tube. Any strap would likely do the job though.

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The top and bottom of the pump are secured in place to prevent wiggle and so far they've remained in place regardless of the trail.

So while it may not look like much, my setup of the OneUp EDC 100cc pump and a spare tube remain strapped to my bike at all times. Generally, I’ll only have one test bike going at a time and usually attach the OneUp pump mount beneath the bottle cage of the test bike. If able to use the mount on my bike, I’d likely be doing the reverse and strapping it to the test bike when needed. When testing a bike, I prefer spending large chunks of time on that rather than switching bikes often, so there isn’t much swapping about happening. That’s a good thing because I’d likely forget the pump more than I'd remember…

To attach the pump, I use a set of SKS straps that came with the mount-anywhere bottle cage mounts. Initially, I tried using them with the OneUp pump mount, attaching it securely under the top tube. Unfortunately, thanks to the mount's off-centre design, it sat less than ideally on my bike, which to be clear, doesn’t have a bottle cage mount. So I removed the mount pieces and made use of the straps on their own. The small loops make cinching things up nice a tight a breeze too.

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The pump can be fitted with OneUp's EDC tool which includes a multi-tool…

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And there's space for a quicklink which is a nice backup for when the chain gives out.

Most of my gear sits inside the pump. The EDC tool has a small multitool that includes Allen keys from 2 to 8mm, a T25, and a flat head screwdriver. I can’t remember the last time I saw a flathead on a bike but it’s there if needed for an older derailleur limit screw or something. There’s a tire lever, spoke key, chain tool, spare quick link, chainring bolt, and Presta valve core remover. In the 100cc pump, there’s space for things like zip ties or plugs and it comes with a small canister that threads into the bottom of the tool. You can also thread a CO2 in there if that’s your jam. My pump was pre-bacon bits for tubeless tire repair so I’ve been running a Dynaplug Pill plug kit in the space below the tool. Inside it is a bunch of small parts I’m not sure how to use but also, the all-important plugs themselves. It works well and has gotten me out of countless jams but also fits snuggly inside the handle of the pump. I’ve used a small piece of moto foam between the Pill and the bottom of the EDC tool to hold everything tight and prevent any rattling.

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The pump includes a CO2 nozzle and has space to thread a canister into the base of the EDC tool.

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I opt for a Dynaplug Pill kit in the pump (I had it before the bacon bits were available) and use the pump rather than CO2.

To mount the tube to the bike, I use a cheap velcro strap from Canadian Tire many years ago. In the past, I’ve bought items like these straps with nothing but good intentions, only to find them in a drawer somewhere years later. Thankfully I’ve curbed that trait (I think? I’ll have to check with my wife to be sure) but these have come in really handy since finding them stowed away.

The strap has a loop that allows me to cinch down on it and get the tube tightly held in place. They're also useful for brake bleeds, holding the swingarm in place when a shock has been removed and many other uses. They’ve turned out to be a good purchase and have endured years of abuse. They are yet to strap any TV cables together though… It’s not as nice looking as other options out there but it works, so I struggle to open my wallet for something else. I’ve also tested strap storage options like the one from Race Face and the Dakine Hot Laps Gripper but they feel excessive when all I’m putting in there is a tube.

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A cheap velcro cable strap from a local department store has held my tube in place for years

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I've had to use two in the past and could maybe make it neater with another but one does the job

One item not shown in the images is my small 12mm box head spanner, which I need to adjust the high-speed compression on the EXT Storia V3 shock. It’s not something I typically need once things are set but every time I make a change to the chip configuration (which Nicolai refers to as a mutator) I need to adjust the compression a touch to suit. The 12mm spanner is snuggly strapped to the spare tube, keeping it away from the bike and secure from sliding out.

Aside from these items, I will carry a bit of trail mix and my phone in my pocket and sometimes I may carry some water purifying tablets. They're usually more necessary on bigger rides, when I lug a bag with some more essentials, including my camera. I’ll discuss that setup more in the future.

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Comments

lev
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Collins
Lev  - May 5, 2020, 12:59 a.m.

I run an edc in the head tube with co2 attached.  Blackburn tyre plug thing, which has a strap and that wraps another co2 and head (already loaded) and a wolftooth pack pliers.  No tube because of cushcore in the back and rimpact in the front.  No been caught out...........yet.

Reply

Shortyesquire
+4 joeyrotundo Pete Roggeman Lev goose8
Andrew Collins  - May 5, 2020, 2:05 a.m.

+1 for the Wolftooth pack pliers. They make short work of annoying quicklinks and are good tyre levers. Perhaps too good, I wrap some electrical tape around the lever to protect rims.

Reply

lev
+1 Dan
Lev  - May 5, 2020, 4:24 a.m.

good tip on the electrical tape.  I might look at oneup's pump as well in the future..

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+3 bumVSmtn joeyrotundo Lev
Pete Roggeman  - May 5, 2020, 1:19 p.m.

Several of us feel it's the best mini pump we've ever used. Can highly recommend it. Worth Every Penny ;)

Reply

xy9ine
0
Perry Schebel  - May 5, 2020, 8:46 p.m.

EDC pump is surprisingly effective. Recommended!

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - May 5, 2020, 9:15 p.m.

I've never used the EDC pump, but have have tested my buddies Crank Brothers Klic HV and was blown away by it.  Aluminum build, T-handle with storage, hidden magnetic hose attachment.  I already have the EDC in the steerer but went with the jabber and storage.  Still need a new mini-pump... have you used the CB's?  Any comparison or thoughts?

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Pete Roggeman Lev
fartymarty  - May 5, 2020, 5:09 a.m.

I'm using http://www.kmcchain.com/onepage/missinglinklever-18mar/en/index.html

I have them next to my tube strapped to the frame.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 5, 2020, 5:37 a.m.

I have a set of those levers too but haven’t used them on the bike. Hopefully the lever in the pump is all I’ll need and I won’t need to break a quicklink. Wishful thinking?

Reply

IslandLife
+2 AJ Barlas Morgan Heater
IslandLife  - May 5, 2020, 8:51 p.m.

The EDC multitool has a quick link breaker built-in.  Not many people seem to know about it... here you go - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN3yVEbXSXA

Reply

morgan-heater
+1 IslandLife
Morgan Heater  - May 6, 2020, 9:43 a.m.

That's clever. I also hadn't realized it had an 8mm with the two other tools combined.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 IslandLife
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:07 p.m.

I haven't used it yet. I may have to practice so I'm ready when it's needed. :)

Reply

muldman
+1 IslandLife
muldman  - May 6, 2020, 8:48 p.m.

They stopped including the quick link breaker in the multi tool. I spent an hour watching videos and trying to figure out how it works before mailing them and finding out they changed the design!

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - May 7, 2020, 3:26 p.m.

Ah shit... guess that's why they sell the plug and pliers kit!

Vikb
+2 Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson
Vik Banerjee  - May 5, 2020, 6:17 a.m.

Nice clean setup AJ. I've tools/spares permanently on all my bikes now. It's just so nice to be able to grab a bike and go without a second thought about gear. And not wearing a back/hip pack for 99% of my rides is great as well.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+2 Vik Banerjee Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - May 5, 2020, 8:33 a.m.

Thanks, Vik! It's so nice to have the perma-bike setup and grab'n'go. What's your setup like?

Reply

Vikb
+1 AJ Barlas
Vik Banerjee  - May 5, 2020, 4:52 p.m.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48658928973_990b1ffb37_1b.jpg

GG Smash with a Defiant frame bag under the shock and a Backcountry Research Super-8 Strap on the TT for odd items like a jacket.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49561131002_6f35a19b48_b.jpg

I've got a Porcelain Rocket half-framebag on my Daambuilt hardtail.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:08 p.m.

Sounds great, Vik. Would be stoked to see the GG if you can get the link working above?

Reply

muldman
+3 Pete Roggeman LWK twk
muldman  - May 5, 2020, 8:08 a.m.

Every time I have strapped a bare tube to my frame, I end up with a ruined tube within 5 rides. Grit gets in there and just seems to destroy the tube in a short amount of time. Anyone have a decent solution to keep the tube covered? Am I the only one who wrecks tubes this way, or is everyone else just not testing their tubes once in a while? :-)

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - May 5, 2020, 8:36 a.m.

I've never had issues with debris and grit ruining a standard tube, at least not inside the front triangle. But I have put a tube in to find it was already punctured before, that wasn't fun. It had nothing to do with being exposed and everything to do with no organized tube setup in my garage. I have a tendency to hold onto old tubes for odd repairs here and there. I need to get a couple of small bins and label them old and new tubes. 

That said, you can stick a sock or something over them and I've seen readers here post some clever solutions like that. Hopefully they'll chime in and offer some ideas for us.

Reply

mammal
+4 bumVSmtn AJ Barlas JVP Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - May 5, 2020, 9:08 a.m.

I'd likely just shove the rolled-up tube into a segment of a slightly larger tube, like you've done with your pump.

Reply

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - May 5, 2020, 9:48 a.m.

I used to do that but it was a PITA to get in / out.  I've moved onto ziplock bags

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:08 p.m.

That's purely why I haven't gone the Tube in Tube.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - May 7, 2020, 11:49 a.m.

How many times do you flat? It can't be that much of a pain, unless you're flatting every other ride. If you're racing, where that time is really valuable, I'd assume CO2 would be the choice.

JVP
+4 Mammal muldman AJ Barlas Lev
JVP  - May 5, 2020, 2:38 p.m.

Yep Mammal, that's what I do. Put the tube in a tube condom, with the top folded over to grit can't get trapped in there. and leave it permanently strapped to the bike. I rarely have to use it, so the difficulty of getting it in there is worth it. Even getting pelted in this location they haven't sprung leaks.

Reply

Kevin26
0
Kevin26  - May 5, 2020, 9:24 a.m.

I've heard of that happening and check mine once in a while, has always been fine.

Reply

Kevin26
0
Kevin26  - May 5, 2020, 9:24 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - May 5, 2020, 9:46 a.m.

2x small ziplock bags does it for me.

Reply

andy-eunson
+3 AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman Dan
Andy Eunson  - May 5, 2020, 8:53 a.m.

I always figured that the riders with way too many spare things are the ones that don’t make sure their bike is running well in the first place. The riders that break a chain but don’t replace it when they get home, their cable housing has several kinks in it, tires are worn, spokes loose etc. Or sometimes they are big guys that ride rough and break stuff that way. I’ve been riding off road for 37 years and only bent a derailleur hanger once. It broke a few weeks later because I had straightened it and was steel and not a replaceable one. I’ve broken the odd chain but not in years. 

I pack pretty much the same as you AJ. it’s really all I need. In my bum bag though I do have some spare bolts and a cleat. That’s for longer days where I’m out there. I also have a couple zip ties tucked into my crank axle.

I don’t care for CO2 either but again in my big day pack I have one because when the bugs are bad, it’s nice to get going quicker.

Reply

Kevin26
+1 Pete Roggeman
Kevin26  - May 5, 2020, 9:22 a.m.

Yeah my big 'too much gear' pack I'll bring sometimes when I know we're going with a big group with people that are newer and usually have something wrong with their bike... Lo and behold "hey Kevin do you have a shock pump/spoke tool/bandaid/chain lube etc" it's like I could see the future. But on my own or go-to riding buddies that are keeners the minimalist set up has worked 100% of the time so far.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:10 p.m.

Good point with the mozzies. It would suck pumping up with a hand pump if the bugs were bad. I reckon I'll chuck one in the backpack just for that purpose!

Reply

morgan-heater
+1 Pete Roggeman
Morgan Heater  - May 5, 2020, 8:59 a.m.

Have you figured out a water bottle solution for the G1 that you like, or are you carrying a manny-pack? I've been wearing the little pack since I got my G16, and I don't really like it. I've got the one-up pump with a CO2 cartridge for emergencies and tire plug kit on the frame. I toss snacks, water, a multi-tool, and tube in the pack. After riding without a pack for a couple of years, it's weird how annoying it is.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:01 p.m.

Hey Morgan. I currently have a Specialized side load bottle cage zip-tied to the downtube just ahead of the shock mounts. It fits a 20oz (I think that's what I use) bottle with the XL. I'm trying to get ahold of the fidlock folks to check out their solution and see how it compares. It certainly looks more polished.

Reply

Kevin26
+2 AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman
Kevin26  - May 5, 2020, 9:11 a.m.

Very similar to my 'usual' set up although I don't have the one up pump so multi tool in pocket, tire plugs and a few zip ties strapped with the tube. Plus spare hanger and quick link taped snugly to seat rail. 

Also will bring out a big evoc pack for certain rides that fits the "too much" description to a T and might have the kitchen sink tucked away in the bottom. But needed for my guiding gig in the summer, rides where help is far away, etc. I do get a kick out of it when I save the day with something weird in there though.

Reply

Andeh
+5 Andy Eunson muldman Andrew Collins JVP Pete Roggeman
Andeh  - May 5, 2020, 9:50 a.m.

Are you not using the steerer tube mount for the tool due to issues, or just because you don't need it with the larger pump?

One advantage to using the canister extension to the OneUp tool is they now make a jabber extension, AND you can put in their mini pliers and a few spare pieces of bacon in the canister.

I recommend taking a thin strip of Gorilla tape over the top of the spare quick link, to hold the links in place so they don't accidentally fall out when you're using the tool.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - May 5, 2020, 1:30 p.m.

Key idea on the tape, the links fly out of there all the time.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:04 p.m.

As I mentioned in the article, I'm swapping out the front end of my bikes too often, and then on other bikes altogether that make it difficult to run the steerer tube EDC mount. I have the pump anyway so it makes sense to keep it all in there. 

I've not had an issue with the links falling out yet, they actually are on the side of "will be hard to remove" when the time comes. Maybe I got lucky?

Reply

Andeh
0
Andeh  - May 5, 2020, 9:50 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

andrewbikeguide
+2 Andrew Major Reed Holden
AndrewR  - May 5, 2020, 11:39 a.m.

Moved everything into a B-Rad mini (water and dirt proof): https://www.instagram.com/p/B-9wQYynddP/

And have the OneUp 100cc Pump with the EDC multitool, two quick links, the Jabber (but with ATV plugs rather than the shitty bacon strips) and the EDC quick link tool. 

Finally an Eagle quick link taped to the front brake line.

Everything I need to get me out of the woods on the bike (always as I have identical set ups on both bikes).

If I have a hip pack with me it has a Wolftooth quick link pliers (with another Eagle quick link and an 11 speed quick link), a proper Topeak Multi tool, locking folding knife, a 7" Silky saw and a large packet of jelly beans. Also a proper compression dressing and a triangular bandage - but as a guide I know I tend to consider the worst case and pack for it.

Reply

RAHrider
0
Reed Holden  - May 5, 2020, 12:38 p.m.

That kit is probably the best I've seen with regards to compact and all encompassing. The $50 is enough on its own to get you out of most jams!

Reply

hans-frederiks
0
Hans Frederiks  - May 5, 2020, 12:37 p.m.

I also have an XL G1, what bottle cage fix do you have? My sks anywhere mount no longer fits in front of the shock, was thinking the strapped fidlock, haven't made up my mind.

Really neat place for the oneup pump, a good use of that space!

Reply

DanL
0
DanL  - May 5, 2020, 6:01 p.m.

I always thought packing a Co2 canister would be to reseat a bead if it burped off- is this pointless ? Or are there better/less wasteful ways to do this like pop in a tube and reseat when you get home

Reply

IslandLife
+1 AJ Barlas
IslandLife  - May 5, 2020, 8:59 p.m.

I keep a couple Co2's on the bike, but only because I run CushCore.  So if I get a gash, I jab it with some bacon, and pump back up with Co2.  Generally with CC, you don't lose a bead, but having the Co2 will help if for some reason it does come loose.

If I didn't run cushcore, I'd just have a spare tube and use that rather than be worried about re-seating the bead.

Reply

Shortyesquire
0
Andrew Collins  - May 6, 2020, 2:31 a.m.

That tape trick for the quick links is a top tip.

I've settled on a edc tool in the steerer tube with the bacon strips, with the little quick link tool and an Aussie $10 note for emergency coffee and sidewall tears. 

I've got the big edc pump but found it a bit fiddly and the pump head can lose grip of the presta valve when your pumping like crazy and getting tired.

For a pump I use a Topeak Turbo Morph or the smaller Giyo gm71. These are convertible mini pumps with fold out handles and foot stand, and a gauge! The weight is on par with the big edc pump and a CO2 cartridge, but its way more reliable and you don't have to worry about limping home on a half filled 29x2.4. 

For my tube I use a storage bottle if there's a bottle mount, or a Dakine hotlaps gripper if there isn't. This also fits a Wolftooth quick link pliers wrapped with electrical tape. The tape is to save rims and stick the $10 note on tears. Also a patch kit for triple redundancy.

Finally zip ties in the crank axles. Phew!

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - May 6, 2020, 2:13 p.m.

Solid kit! The Aussie tenna for a sidewall slash is a great point! I've used packaging from gels in the past but that's only when I have a pack during long adventure days out of the area. I may have to grab an Aussie fiver from my stash…

Reply

bumVSmtn
0
bumVSmtn  - May 7, 2020, 10:04 p.m.

did not realize the pill fit in the EDC! 

🤯

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