Sometimes Tools Banshee Titan NSMB AndrewM.JPG
EDITORIAL

Lugging About 'Sometimes' Tools

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date May 25, 2021
Reading time

B-Rad Again

It all starts with my love of the original B-Rad Roll Top bag. From spectacular Cumberland mud to a regular drenching on the Shore, it gets most of my 'sometimes stuff' off my back. It's accessible enough that I don't think twice about using it as needed but also out of sight, out of mind, in its own little weatherproof world. I just quietly shuffle it back and forth between bikes every ride.

Or, I should say, that's what I did until around September of last year when my grom started mountain biking. Once I had to think about extra food and layers for two, I made the switch from often using a fanny pack (wallet, phone, snacks, camera) to running a proper backpack full time. Also, due to testing a range of different stashed tools like Bontrager's BITS and the One Up EDC Lite, my needs varied from bike to bike. Some tools have chain breakers and others don't and so on.

Now we're in the warmer months, carrying fewer layers and only a single light, my daughter is taking responsibility for hauling most of her own stuff, and Wolf Tooth has a new version of the B-Rad out. It's still seam-sealed and weatherproof but the new TekLite material is a lot more flexible while remaining durable enough for me to stuff a bunch of tools in it. It saves a few grams over the original, but I did mention I'm stuffing metal tools in it right?

Wolf Tooth BRad NSMB AndrewM.JPG

The original 0.6L B-Rad Roll Top bag tucked up tight on my Marin Alpine Trail...

Wolf Tooth Mini Roll Top Mounting NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

...wedged neatly into the front triangle of the carbon, carbon, carbon, Carbon Chameleon...

Bash Guard Wolf Tooth NSMB AndrewM (8).JPG

...mounted snugly behind the bottle on my custom Waltworks V2...

Wolf Tooth Mini Roll Top Mounting NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

...and getting a proper test in the mud on my Waltworks V1.

With a fresh TekLite B-Rad bag in hand, I went through my pack, and my hip pack, and reviewed the tools I carry on my bike and sorted out all my sometimes stuff into a pile and just like that I was back swapping my bag back and forth between my bikes every ride without another thought, sort of.

The first half dozen rides were on my single speed and they went off without a hitch. I normally carry my B-Rad bag inside the main triangle strapped to the seat tube, behind my lower water bottle but that's not really a proper test of durability or weather-proofness. Instead, I added a couple of washers under my bottle cage and mounted the bag under my down tube so it would get a proper soaking and had more chance of getting dragged across rocks and logs. And it certainly has.

When it came time to mount the bag on the Banshee Titan I'm testing, that was a little different story. It prefers to be strapped on the top tube and after having it mounted above my shock linkage for a couple of rides (as I did with my Marin Alpine Trail), I've moved the bag to the front of the triangle as I did with the carbon Santa Cruz Chameleon. It works, but my bottle is a touch harder to remove and every once in a while I catch my knee pad on the bag - ever-so-slightly but enough that it annoys me.

Sometimes Tools Waltworks NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

As it sits my Waltworks is armed with a OneUp EDC Lite tool in the steerer and a Wolf Tooth EnCase chain tool in the bar. I've used the EDC Lite tool a bunch, the chain breaker, not so much, but I'd feel like a total tool if I was caught out without it.

Sometimes Tools Waltworks NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Usually, my Waltworks V2 is sporting an additional 474 grams of additional stuff I (basically) never use - for myself. But do I notice the extra weight when I'm riding with CushCore inserts, big tires, and two water bottles...

It may be that the Titan's straight, oversized aluminum down tube doesn't allow me to push the bag far enough forward compared to other bikes I've ridden. I'd love to see more frame companies release frame bags that fit their bikes - strapless options being particularly sexy - but in this case I'm adapting a one-size-fits-most frame bag to a 6" travel full suspension bike, so I can't complain too much.

Either way, I've yet to leave the B-Rad at home - and I'm certainly in no hurry to move all that stuff back into my pack, but it does have me begging the question, do I really need all this extra stuff? It's not that any of the products I'm carrying in the bag have gone unused but the vast majority of the time it's been to fix someone else's bike. Further, since I filled up the new B-Rad I've opened it thrice. Twice to get out my Emotional Support Jacket, to sit outside with a coffee or a beer after a ride, and once to pump up my daughter's tire before a ride when I could have just grabbed the floor pump out of the car.

Sometimes Tools Banshee Titan NSMB AndrewM.JPG

The Banshee Titan doesn't have a perfect place to carry the 0.6L B-Rad bag. After playing around with mounting it above my shock linkage as I did with my Alpine Trail, I'm happy-ish with it up front under the top tube.

Sometimes Tools

I replace my chains when they're worn out, keep them properly lubed, and I always back off the gas when I ask my drivetrain politely for a shift. I also run smaller chainrings to bring more of my cassette into play along with other efforts to achieve better chainlines. Whether through my efforts, or simple luck, I can't remember the last time I used one of my chain breakers on a trail. On my hardtail, I carry a Wolf Tooth EnCase breaker in my handlebar. On my full suspension bike, it's been a Bontrager BITS or OneUp EDC breaker in the steerer tube. Either way, it's an investment in grams and money in a tool that I've used dozens of times on the trail, but only once or twice for myself in all the years I've been riding.

On that note, I run CushCore Pro or Plus inserts and can't remember the last time I needed my mini-pump on a ride. I did use a couple of Dyna Plug tire plugs last year, on a friend's worn-out tire. I also used the quick-link tool on my 8-Bit Pack Pliers not that long ago to almost straighten a brake rotor (not mine) that was driving me crazy. Somewhat recently I used the 8mm hex key attached to them to help a fellow traveler tighten their crankarm that fell off.

Sometimes Tools Wolf Tooth NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Based on my history of use, for my bikes, I could just leave this neatly packaged 474 grams of stuff at home and never have a care in the world.

I enjoy the run-flat qualities of riding CushCore Pro or Plus inserts, particularly for rear tire deflations, but for a lot of my rides, I end up with a decent ride-to-the-ride pedal before and after, so the option to plug and pump up a tire could be nice. Although, knock on cedar, I haven't wrecked a tire since I started running the inserts.

Of course, there's my Emotional Support Jacket. I carry it on every ride but I'm certain my friend Jac has worn it more times than I have. I suppose in that way it's an investment in not hearing her whinge about being cold. Actually, at least once she's fought off another friend who had their eyes on it. And I know what you're thinking, wouldn't it be a slightly more perfect world if everyone just carried their own 110-gram super lightweight shell? Yes, yes it would.

Since repackaging all of my sometimes tools into the B-Rad, I've started thinking more and more about just not carrying that stuff into the woods but I don't know if I can do it. Sure, I could move the 100-gram jacket into my pack with my heat blanket, and certainly I could do the same with my pump or go back to strapping it on my frame (though I've had incidents) but I'm also big on having proper leverage with the 8mm and 6mm and even 5mm hex heads not to mention a massive preference for Dynaplug over using the bacons I have stored in my handlebar.

The fact that my sometimes tools are, basically, always being used to help someone else has me seriously second-guessing myself lugging them on all but the longest rides. The majority of my riding is not of the epic-adventure variety and generally walking back home or to my vehicle is going to be inconvenient time-wise but certainly not a big deal for decade-level parts failures.

Balanced against the love of never having to beg & borrow a tool from another rider and my goal to not lose to my bicycles when it comes to battles of will, it's a one-pound conundrum that most of my fellow travelers don't seem burdened with.


When it comes time to pack for a ride, where do you sit between prepared for the apocalypse and not being able to tighten a pedal cleat or fix a flat?

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Comments

olaa
+1 Andrew Major
olaa  - May 24, 2021, 11:56 p.m.

That's a good set-up! Love that 8-bit tool, might have to get one of those.

I'm still rocking a backpack, albeit a minimalist Camelback Chase protector vest, so that i have some back protection when rolling out of a crash. I have about the same gear that you do, but with my first aid kit and an inner tube. That first aid kit is the ultimate "sometime tool": when you need it you really need it. The inner tube is probably not needed on my daily shorter rides so that might have to go. On the longer rides it'll go back in though, it's useful both for flats and as part of the first aid kit :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Andy Eunson
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 6:37 a.m.

I’m almost always rocking the Chase Protector Vest too. I especially love the easy access to my phone for solo rides. Also great how the back protector separates me from my camera in a crash. 

It is really nice having no tools or water in there though! 

I should add some first aid bits to my dry bag inside. Been thinking about a lightweight splint forever.

Reply

olaa
+1 Andrew Major
olaa  - May 25, 2021, 6:53 a.m.

Love my chase vest as well! Yup, water on the bike for sure.

Your splint idea is good, i'll steal that one and replace the innertube with a sam-splint.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Cr4w olaa
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 7:02 a.m.

To be fair, Alex (Craw) has been harping on and on about splints so long it’s blazed in my mind... so rather than stealing you’ve just become another victim to his layers of his Inception.

Reply

craw
+2 Andrew Major olaa
Cr4w  - May 25, 2021, 7:46 a.m.

Haha! After I took industrial and basic wilderness first aid it seemed crazy to not travel better equipped. I used to carry an array of stuff but I've pared it down to this, which is very light:

1 sam splint, 1 triangle bandage, 1 tensor, a bunch of tape. With that you can secure a forearm/elbow/ankle, easily make a sling, manage most cuts/lacerations. 

TBH if you're just going to carry one thing: the triangle bandage is the cheapest, lightest and most versatile piece of first aid kit. Every person should carry one on every ride.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 7:59 a.m.

Inception.

sanesh-iyer
+3 Andrew Major Cr4w Pete Roggeman
Sanesh Iyer  - May 25, 2021, 1:21 p.m.

Someone (us?) needs to invent a better version of the Sam-Splint for riding. My ideas:

1) Fender shaped Sam Splint. Shit. Don't steal that idea. Andrew, it would be a perfect fender on the back of a Titan....

2) Nested Telescopic pump (like triple action or whatever it's cold) and a folding handle. All aluminum. That isn't shit. i've splinted a handful of injuries with those and it works awesome, but have yet to find one that can reliably inflate a tire. 

3) I carry plenty of Gorrilla tape as well. Great call

4) Abdominal pads are a must for me. 

5) I carry aquatabs or iodine purification religiously. not only to prevent dehydration, but to flush larger wounds if they pop up.

I know it's not the best practice, but I typically don't carry a jacket when I ride. I'm always eying up a super light shell but at the end of the day if it's cool I ride with my fancy Gore one and if it's hot I dont and I just commit to it for the ride. If I'm far enough into the woods that I need an optional rain jacket, I want my fancy one anyways and will upsize the pack, as I probably need some other things.

AndrewMajor
+3 Cr4w Sanesh Iyer Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 2:28 p.m.

Sanesh, interesting idea with the fender splint. You can’t see it clearly in the Titan photo but I have a great fender made from a Bontrager Ass-Saver style off-the-saddle fender. 

Someone, Topeka? Blackburn? Used to do a triple-telescoping pump that actually worked. Never thought to use a pump as a splint when there’s always sticks around but I could get into that.

Gorilla tape wrapped around my pump always. Have used it to patch tires from the inside before and in place of busted zip-ties, and etc.

andy-eunson
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Tjaard Breeuwer
Andy Eunson  - May 25, 2021, 12:02 p.m.

Same here for the Chase. I bought one last year based on your review and recommendation and it’s been really great. I do use a bladder though because I have bear spray in my bottle cage. 

The first rule of lightening the load is to make sure the bike is in good working order. So many people don’t do basic maintenance and leave things too long. The only problem I’ve had in recent memory is smashing my derailleur on a rock. Twice which sent my chain into the spokes with a slightly bent hanger. Parts seem to function better these days and have been more robust for me. I carry pretty minimal stuff. Tube and pump, EDC and a handful of bolts, quick link and a cleat. On a light ride where I don’t need lots of water or a place for a jacket, a bum bag with a tube and pump, battle on the frame and bear spray in the bum bag battle holder does the trick.

Reply

sanesh-iyer
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Sanesh Iyer  - May 25, 2021, 4:09 p.m.

I quite like the folding handle pumps as splints. The ability to brace someone's palm or foot with the 90deg bend lets you really fix the wrist or ankle in place quite easily.

Reply

YDiv
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
YDiv  - May 25, 2021, 12:43 a.m.

OneUp EDC Lite has been good enough for me 99.99% of the time. Much quicker to use than the full EDC tool, and the extra functions usually aren't required.

I think it'd be nice to somehow stealthily include a chain tool, but I ride light enough that it's more for peace of mind rather than an outright necessity.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 YDiv
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 6:39 a.m.

I much prefer the EDC Lite over the regular EDC setup. I think OneUp should do a chain breaker, plugs, quick link storage, quick link tool setup that fits in my handlebar. 

I know I could stuff that in pump but I’m so unlikely to need a pump on a ride I prefer the smaller, lighter, SKS in my waterproof sack.

Reply

YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - May 25, 2021, 9:02 a.m.

Used to have the Wolf Tooth EnCase sleeves, but I found that sometimes handlebar scrapes had the chance to pull on the bar end and slightly mangle the sleeves. Surprisingly though, the extra weight didn't affect handling much. 

I wonder if the EDC Lite leaves enough space on the bottom of the fork? One could use the Giant Clutch or Fork Cork, and possibly fit a chain breaker + quick links / plugs in there.

Usually, I stuff quick links on the back of the brake lever blade, they seem to fit that notch pretty well. And since I only use one finger on the edge of the lever for braking, the tape in the middle doesn't affect feel. Not sure if exposing the quick link to the elements might make it wear prematurely though.

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AndrewMajor
+1 YDiv
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 9:11 a.m.

With the Banshee Titan my steerer is long enough to accommodate the EDC Lite and the Giant Clutch. I have a modified EnCase sleeve that I was using briefly to carry my Chainbreaker/plugs/quicklinks.

Reply

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - May 25, 2021, 11:50 p.m.

The EDC Lite is the best tool I have bought and use it a ton.  I like the look of the EDC threadless carrier but would rather have a chain tool rather than plugs (they can go in your bars or elsewhere).

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 27, 2021, 8:17 p.m.

I'm on the same program. Either a chain breaker in my sometimes-tool pouch or stashed in my handlebar a la EnCase or even rammed up the steerer using the Giant Clutch.

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papa44
+5 Andrew Major Allen Lloyd Cr4w Pete Roggeman Timer
papa44  - May 25, 2021, 3:16 a.m.

Topeak alien from 2002, a cheap mini pump, an inner tube and a knife. I carry these things out of superstition not because I have used any of them once in the last decade, neither on the streets of london nor the alps of Switzerland nor the Pyrenees of France. But I know if I take them out of my bum bag I’ll need every last one of them exactly 10km uphill into my trip. Also a peanut butter sandwich and a banana because once you do it once it becomes just something you do.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 6:44 a.m.

Peanut & Banana is tasty but have you tried Enduro Potato?! Hahaha. 

Those Alien tools sold like craft beer on the only open patio in town during a pandemic but I never loved actually using them on the trail side. Then again, if you’ve never used it that everything-and-the-kitchen-sink in one tool trail-karma must be flowing in your favour!

Reply

papa44
+3 Andrew Major Cr4w Pete Roggeman
papa44  - May 25, 2021, 9:30 a.m.

I firmly believe that more is more so I just bought it for the 30-something-in-one of it all, but now I’m thinking about it I’m not sure if any of the tools fit a modern bike. I don’t even think I could undo a maxle with it, which spoils the point of taking an inner tube with me. Oh great. Looks like I’ll be popping an enduro spud in the oven and ordering a new multi tool that has more functionality than leverage.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Cr4w Corinne Summers Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 11:20 a.m.

The true power of Enduro Potato is on a big group ride when everyone is unwrapping their dried turd - Clif, Powerbar, whatever - and you bust out that cheese-bacon-and-chive (maybe a little smoke paprika? I mean, it's up to you) baked potato and get to vampirically feed off their jealously. 

That said, for my next actually-epic ride I'm seriously considering trying to bake some pocket pies! 

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papa44
+1 meepmoop24
papa44  - May 25, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

That’s got smooshed pocket goo written all over it

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papa44
0
papa44  - May 25, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - May 27, 2021, 9:06 a.m.

Let's start talking pies, Andrew. The potato sound ok, though I haven't tried it, but I'm ready to put the pie in my pack, like, tomorrow.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 27, 2021, 8:20 p.m.

You have to try the potato a couple of times to get the saltiness right for on the ride. I've also tried mini potatoes in a salt and smoked paprika mix and that was pretty tasty. 

I too am curious about the best way to keep a pie a pie whilst mountain biking but it could be another thing that my Chase Protector vest is brilliant for... we'll see. It's absolutely on my to-do list.

blackhat
+6 Andrew Major Martin Cr4w Andy Eunson Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman
blackhat  - May 25, 2021, 5:27 a.m.

I’ve always packed lite on the belief that if you take care of your bike you won’t need emergency tools in the woods.  Your experience seems to support that, and almost every trailside issue I’ve experienced has had a forensic trail that I chose to ignore.  Perhaps I should read between the lines and admit I’m not going to keep up with it all the time like I should. 

It’s always seemed like a lot of people were substituting carrying shit for actual planning and thought with their ride kits.  One time they needed something like sunscreen so now they carry it on every ride - apparently until they die.  I can’t understand how people live their lives like that.  Shit happens, you deal with it and move on. Not weigh the rest of your life down with an ever increasing list of past one offs.  

But I’m a bit at a loss about chains recently.  3 QL failures, and one straight up broken chain in the past three months.  All but one of the QL’s were new, and the chain was well within service life.  Not sure what is wrong of if I’m just unlucky, but I guess there will be a chain breaker until it’s sorted.

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AndrewMajor
+2 blackhat Cr4w
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 6:52 a.m.

I couldn’t not have a multi-tool, chain breaker, and a quick link. Just could do it. Plugs and a mini-pump are just a bit back in the must haves and only because so run CushCore. Even with the best maintenance (sealant topped, regular bolt checks) I’ve needed all those things for myself at some point. Everything but the pump I have stashed on my bike already. 

Do very much agree though that it’s a slippery slope down to the needed-it-once / carry-it-always conundrum. I have friends who carry little bottles of chainlube, cassette tools (Wolf Tooth does make some nice lightweight ones), shock pump (every ride, not just for setup) - basically stuff I’d consider for a multi-day back country adventure but not a ride.

Based on my experiences in the last say five years and my regular maintenance all I absolutely would/should carry every ride is the EDC Lite or sone equivalent quick-to-use multi tool.

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craw
+3 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian JVP
Cr4w  - May 25, 2021, 7:51 a.m.

We aren't minting kitchen sink carriers like we used to. That's PTSD behaviour for people who rode in the 90s and 00s when major mechanicals happened on every single ride. I've had to do some disciplined paring down over the years as major breakdowns happen so rarely now.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 8:05 a.m.

It’s true. And the catastrophic failures aren’t really resolvable on the trail anyways.

E.G. Most derailleur hangers and much more robust/complex so riders don’t carry spares. Single speeding an FS bike to ride out isn’t a thing (never was really a thing with hardtails without sliders either - seen a few folks write off chains for no reason because they read an out there repair article in a magazine years ago). You aren’t field rebuilding a hydraulic disc brake (have done a few lever bleeds for folks using a water bottle though).

Sort of like modern cars. They’re either working or they’re not.

Still, I’d feel like such a Joey if I couldn’t resolve an issue in the woods after ditching my sometimes stuff.

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craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - May 25, 2021, 3:39 p.m.

I used to ride with a spare derailleur hanger in my pack but in all my years never used one. The worst I ever do is bend something, which I ultimately just bend back to get home. I started leaving the spare hanger in the console of my truck so that if said bending does occur I can drop my bike at my favourite shop on the way home.

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velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - May 26, 2021, 3:29 a.m.

"We aren't minting kitchen sink carriers like we used to." 

Poetry.  The long termers have bloodied their knuckles in the bush sufficient to leave psychic scars.

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JVP
+1 Pete Roggeman
JVP  - May 26, 2021, 9:55 a.m.

This is so true. Everything used to break all the time. PTSD for sure. Remember pivot bolts that would back out even with Loctite red? And like many commenting here I'm "that guy" who ends up doing trail repairs/tunes/troubleshooting for my friends. 

What have I actually used or needed lately? Of course the usual hex/t25 wrenches, pump, bacon strips, and freaking valve cores. I have a valve core in my EDC pump hole now along with the bacon. 

A broken or lost valve core can ruin your day when you're a 3 hour walk from civilization. Or in subfreezing and windy conditions like what happened this winter. Holy crap we were cold after fighting that damn thing for 30 minutes at the top of the climb. Friends bike, of course. We both retired our Lezyne pumps after that day and got OneUps.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - May 27, 2021, 8:24 p.m.

You know, you guys say that but I still find a bizarre number of mandatory-bicycle-bits on the trail most years. Like parts where I'm a bit suspicious of their provenance because they're kind of key to a bike being rideable. Like suspension linkage bolts, or flip-chips, or ~ half the clip-in guts of an HT pedal. 

I'd guess there's a whole next generation of riders learning from their mistakes. 

Heck, just the other day I ran into some gents looking to borrow a big ass Allen key so they could properly torque their headset. HUH?! Yes, they were short one headset spacer. I've seen the exact scenario so many times I usually carry an extra 5mm one but I hadn't restocked it since the last time I gave one out.

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velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - May 28, 2021, 9:39 p.m.

I got hassled for carrying a spacer. Anyone who needs one out and about better not be laughing.

Gbergevin
+2 Andrew Major hotlapz
Gbergevin  - May 25, 2021, 5:58 a.m.

I love my BRAD bags - I've got the original big one on on my cargo bike with two tubes (20 &26), a crank bro multi tool and a short 15mm box wrench to deal with the rear bolt on axle. I've got tubes, CO2, zip ties and a $20 in a zip lock bag in mini bags on my both my trail bikes... it fits perfect in a little pocked on my cargo bike, and on the BB shelf on my Knolly.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 6:56 a.m.

Great use for Knolly’s... unique... frame layout! 

Only used the 0.6L of the original version but have a 1L of the new for the cargo bike with the same plan! Just don’t know if I’ll be able to bring myself to leave it on when I lock the bike. Might as well just have that stuff in the outer pocket of my pack otherwise (pack lives in the boat upfront not on my back).

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Gbergevin
+1 Andrew Major
Gbergevin  - May 25, 2021, 9:02 a.m.

Honestly, I don't think anyone around here is bright enough to spot the bag and identify it as stealable. 

What cargo bike did you end up with? I've been hauling my kiddos on an Urban Arrow for 4 years now, love that thing. 

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AndrewMajor
+1 Gbergevin
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 9:18 a.m.

I have a de-badged Cetma that I bought used off Clint at VeloStar, who’s the local guy for cargo bike knowledge in my experience.

I haven’t used it as much as a I thought I would since my daughter started mountain biking but I love it and we do at least a couple missions a week whether it’s riding her to school or attaching her trailer bike and doing a grocery run (or picking up at Bad Dog Bread). I also ride it to work most Saturdays as it’s perfect for hauling home beer tips!

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AndrewMajor
+2 Gbergevin Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 9:18 a.m.

Here’s a shot with the trailer bike attached too!

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martin
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Martin  - May 25, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

I'm also carrying quite a few things that I very rarely use but I always did and I don't mind it. I make sure everything is perfect on my bike before leaving for a ride, but my friends never carry tools and even if they do, I always take mine out first because I am often the one hearing a noise from their ride. Nothing is strapped on my bike, it all goes in my Camelbak Repack (1.5l of water, CrankBros multitool, clif bar, quick link, patches and tubeless plugs, small pump, tire levers, bandana and band-aids).

Since I carry water in my hip pack, I just bought a B-rad plate and strap to carry a Zoleo satellite communicator on my bike. It seems like the perfect location to make sure it doesn't get damaged if I fall on my bum bag (and to keep it as far as possible from my reproductive organs haha). 90% of the time, I'm riding black diamond trails alone, an hour or two away from any cell phone service so it adds some piece of mind.

I almost bought the B-rad version with the bag, but since the Zoleo is water and shock-resistant, I only needed the plate and strap. All my Wolf Tooth products have been awesome, well made and durable, I love what they're doing!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Martin
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 7:10 a.m.

Satellite communicators for MTB is a fascinating rabbit hole. I know at least a couple folks that always carry messaging-equipped-beacons for backcountry skiing and hiking who have started packing them for solo rides or rides where cell coverage is questionable. 

Interesting use of a B-Rad plate! I wonder if most folks wound carry it on body v. bike? I guess unlike skiing riders don’t generally get separated from their equipment.

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martin
+3 Andrew Major Cr4w Pete Roggeman
Martin  - May 25, 2021, 7:54 a.m.

Rabbit hole you say! I went from riding alone in the Yukon without bear spray or a cell phone to carrying a satellite communicator on my rides. But this decision arose from two things : having a kid coming in early August and a few crashes over the years in the "problematic" zone where my favorite trails are.

In late October two years ago, when riding the far away trails with no cell coverage, I stopped and put my feet on a stump so I wouldn't have to lower my seat (stupid I know haha) to take a small break. My foot just landed besides the small stump and I fell down in the river, back first onto a big rock with my bike falling over me. Completely drenched in cold water, I was holding my bike waist-deep in the current trying to get some purchase to find a way back to the trail. When I got out of the water, it was maybe 8C and I had a numbness feeling starting from my lower back, 15km away from my car with no cell phone reception even at the parking. 

Maybe I wouldn't have used the satellite communicator even if I had it, but if something ended up complicating I would have. I broke a rib two years prior to this riding at 3kph on the same trail but I was with a friend and was able to ride out relatively well. That's why I bought it, but it was the cheapest one (200$ on sale until the 31st) and I'll only use it when riding this area. 

This was a bit out of context, but maybe some will find this story interesting : )

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AndrewMajor
+2 Martin Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 8:14 a.m.

That’s a heck of a tale - freak-fall and a half! 

I ride solo with my cellphone in a place where I’ll be able to get to in most crash situations in a place with fairly blanket coverage. I would be keen on the satellite messaging for sure if cell coverage was poor.

Congrats on the addition to your family!

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martin
0
Martin  - May 25, 2021, 9:02 a.m.

Thanks! : )

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DanL
+2 Andrew Major Martin
DanL  - May 25, 2021, 9:20 a.m.

Have a look at the Somewear  - it ticks an awful lot of boxes for this - Jeremy Jones appropved as well! 

Also, chainbreakers - the only thing I have to find a place on my bike for as my EDC has the plug/bacons. I knew I was missing something.

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Pete Roggeman  - May 27, 2021, 9:33 a.m.

Where you keep your phone when riding solo is something most people probably don't consider, but that's important. There are a few devices (like Specialized's Angi) that address the issue of not being able to get to your phone in a crash, that will call for help on your behalf, but it's important to consider that if you're incapacitated, that sucker better be close at hand and easy to access or it's useless.

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sanesh-iyer
0
Sanesh Iyer  - May 27, 2021, 9:54 a.m.

Has anyone found a good spot? 

I carry mine in my pocket. OtterBox cases, modern guerrilla glass screens, and ipx rated phones are wonderful (knock on wood). 

That said, there is basically no where on my body which i could reliably access in a fall. Closest I've come is my shorts zip pocket. But even then I've fucked up my hands enough to not be able to operate a zipper in a fall.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 27, 2021, 8:28 p.m.

I carry mine in the Chase Vest chest pocket and short of having an automatic system for crashes like Pete noted, I can't think of a better spot in terms of likeliness I'll be able to access it in any crash.

I do still have to undo a zipper though it's true.

rigidjunkie
+1 Poz
Allen Lloyd  - May 25, 2021, 7:24 a.m.

I did a "what can I stop carrying?" exercise this year and decided that I am just going to wear a heavy camleback to my grave.  The risk vs. reward was too strong and I am too lazy to move things in and out based on my ride.  I have also started short rides then ran into a friend on a long ride and decided to just keep going with them.  

This year I added the EDC lite and didn't remove any tools from my pack.  I love being able to pull the tool make an adjustment and then keep going without digging in my pack.  BUT the flip side of that is when something from the pack is needed it is nice to dig it out and ride home instead of walking.

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craw
+4 Andrew Major Poz Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman
Cr4w  - May 25, 2021, 8:03 a.m.

I did a little investigation in trying to shed my beloved Osprey Raptor 14 pack. Anything smaller fits more poorly and moves around a lot more, carries less and generally works not as well. And curiously, the Raptor 14 in Large, is actually lighter than most of the other smaller options I was looking at. So I abandoned the bum bags and smaller backpacks once and for all. If the bigger pack is more comfortable, more secure, and weighs less then use it. Also I drink way more water out of my pack than a bottle.

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Vikb
+2 Poz Cr4w
Vik Banerjee  - May 25, 2021, 7:27 a.m.

I like the feeling of having each mountain bike equipped with everything I need to work on it [under normal circumstances] so I can just grab it and go. That feeling is worth the extra weight I carry that I rarely use. Otherwise I'd need to assess each ride and determine if I need my tool bag or I could ride without it. That process would be annoying enough to eliminate any minor benefit I get from riding a bike that's 1-1.5 lbs lighter.

Not riding with a pack these last few years has been great. I just equip each bike with its own frame bag(s) and tools. No moving stuff around. I do have to buy a few extra tools, but nothing that's particularly expensive.

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Poz
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Poz  - May 25, 2021, 7:28 a.m.

The ride you don’t bring the gear is the one you need it. It kind of depends your main area of riding. While most of my rides are short where I live it doesn’t take too long in some areas to get just far enough away to get into trouble. I also ride solo 90% of the time so that changes the calculus. 

For the mtb I carry a Crank Bros m20, leatherman, small pump, tube, zip ties, couple energy bars and minimal first aid. All in a chase protector based on your review    . That pack changed pack riding for me forever. Just enough gear for any ride while being out of the way. 

The gravel has a b-rad with tool, zips, tube, couple energy bars, and space blanket.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Pete Roggeman
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 7:42 a.m.

Chase Protector Vest! Especially for solo rides. I’ll still hip pack on a short group ride where I’m not taking my camera but when I’m on my own I haven’t found a pack that comes close. 

Sadly, tore the mesh outer pocket on mine trying to ride under a tree. Still good for big stuff (jacket) but can’t keep my wet gloves there anymore. Not an obvious thing to fix. Still wear it 95% of rides though.

Good reminder I used my last packed zip-tie! Thanks.

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Poz
+1 Andrew Major
Poz  - May 25, 2021, 9:18 a.m.

For two years I tried to hip pack game with periodic back pack when needed. and I found I disliked always having to think what pack to bring which also brought the risk of forgetting something. Riding solo or with my kids I like to at least have enough to solve most problems. 

Now I just have one pack and the only thing I worry about is for super long rides which admittedly I don’t do all the time.

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nothingfuture
+3 Andrew Major Martin Pete Roggeman
nothingfuture  - May 25, 2021, 7:33 a.m.

I ride with a waist bag on my mountain bike. Knife, CrankBros Multi tool, Pedro's tire lever, spare tube, valve core tool, zip ties, spare valve, and a half dozen carefully chosen bolts.

I've got first aid that I often carry, but that really needs to be gone over and optimized.

Honestly, I'd rather have the weight of that on me (where it's a much lower percentage addition, if I'm honest) than on the bike (where I already often have two 24oz water bottles...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 7:45 a.m.

Body v. bike is a funny thing, especially since I carry a pack. I do often carry a micro 4/3 camera in my pack, which weighs plenty, but even when I don’t I prefer dead weight (water / tools) on my bike. I do know other riders who like in on body (pack or stash bibs or etc) and feel that’s more dynamic.

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Kenny
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Kenny  - May 25, 2021, 10:13 a.m.

On my Ibis HD5 I have the Ibis/Blackburn collab "porkchop" bag that slots into the frame with no straps and it's super handy. 

Holds pump, tube, multi-plier, wolftooth pack pliers and an ESJ or first aid kit (which I always put one or the other in there because it stops the hard items from rattling around). 

I've tried a few flavors of inserts and I get the point, and I still run one on the back of my hardtail, but I find if I kill a tire bad enough the sealant can't close it, a plug ain't gonna do it either. 

So for the most part its run heavy casings and no inserts, and carry a tube for me these days. Heavy casings are harder to kill and still allow me to air down some and have some sidewall support, and for the extremely rare case I murder a double down level tire, putting a tube in is no big deal and will effectively fix any tire damage.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Kenny
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 11:27 a.m.

I was running heavy casing (Bontrager G5) tires without inserts for most of last season. I have to admit for my preferred trails (slow and janky) and riding 'style' (slow and janky) I prefer the ride of a more supple casing with an insert. 

I think there's a strong argument that the combo G5 + Tough Carbon Rim is a perfect no-insert setup. With aluminum rims I haven't found any combination of sidewall and rideable pressure that keeps me from denting rims. 

That 'Pork Chop' bag is exactly the sort of product I was thinking about. The B-Rad is awesome and has worked with a huge variety of frames, which is also awesome, but I'm surprised more companies don't have clean co-lab solutions.

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cooperquinn
+3 Cr4w Verskis Timer
Cooper Quinn  - May 25, 2021, 10:26 a.m.

All this from the guy who doesn't carry a spare tube.

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Kenny
+2 Andrew Major Martin
Kenny  - May 25, 2021, 10:36 a.m.

I think it's because dudes who mostly run inserts generally want to avoid unseating tires at all costs, especially on the trail, so it's better if a tube is not even on the menu.  :)

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AndrewMajor
+5 blackhat Andy Eunson Perry Schebel Martin Tremeer023
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 11:30 a.m.

Exactly, I've seen a poor Gumby riding down Fromme with a sealant-soaked insert bandoliered over his shoulder like he was delivering a pre-lubed adult toy... no f***ing thanks. If I can't fix it with a plug I'm running flat.

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fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - May 26, 2021, 4:48 a.m.

For me a tube is the absolute last resort - almost as low on the list as walking home.  I carry extra sealant and multiple sized plugs to avoid.  Also having a reasonable rear casing helps.

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xy9ine
+3 Andrew Major Andy Eunson DancingWithMyself
Perry Schebel  - May 25, 2021, 10:39 a.m.

what's this "tube" of which you speak?

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Timer
0
Timer  - May 28, 2021, 2:29 p.m.

I always carry a spare tube which always ends up in someone else’s tyre. The amount of gratitude, prevented desperation, happiness and thank-you-beers I got out of those tubes was totally worth it.

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - May 25, 2021, 2:07 p.m.

I've (finally) gone the other way for most rides. I even ditch my bum bag as long as I'm riding on inserts that run flat well - and right now I'm on Octamousse - which tested great for this purpose - and Flat Tire Defender, which look to be capable in this area but have yet to be certified in the field. Which leaves my EDC lite tool and a Neutron Components Ultralight first aid kit strapped to both bikes. My plan is to use OneUp's pump carrier when they are back in stock (although like Andrew I've had issues carrying other pumps this way) and stash some sort of bacon strip device inside and that will be all I'll carry for most local riders. 

So far so good and I love riding without a pack. It gets a little trickier when I have a test bike without the EDC and I'll need to remember to swap the Neutron kit but I can easily carry a multi-tool in a pocket and set up the tester with some appropriate inserts. This is a work in progress, and not what I would do for long rides that are a long way from any support, and I will likely gradually add items to the bike if I decide I want more tools for every ride. 

#everybikeshouldhaveSWAT

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 2:32 p.m.

The Octamouse looks interesting! Any beta on setup, ride feel, etc v. CC Pro and CC XC?

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cam@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - May 25, 2021, 2:53 p.m.

I need to swap them out for some Tannus to do a reset. Having only ridden inserts recently my frame of reference is getting skewed. But... they have a firmer ride because of their large volume, they are incredibly light and not terribly difficult to install, despite their octagonal shape they support the sidewalls well (and perhaps somewhat indirectly unlike Tannus and Cushcore which press directly into the sidewall firmly) and they saved a wheel in what would have likely been a costly step-down case. I flatted but could ride out at close to top speed as long as I kept my weight forward cornering. Now I've already said too much!

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craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - May 25, 2021, 3:44 p.m.

Did you find you could run flat on the Tannus Tubeless Armour? Maybe I should be abandoning the spare tube as well. Swap it for a dynaplug kit.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Kenny
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 4:09 p.m.

Sadly, have not witnessed it myself, but have heard a couple hilarious tales of dudes riding with the newer gen (no tube) Tannus system over their shoulder after having to install a tube that lead me to understand that the system offers zero run flat capability.

It is lighter weight and requires less thought to install than CushCore... but still does running no insert.

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Kenny
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Kenny  - May 25, 2021, 4:34 p.m.

I ran tannus for a few weeks and didn't like them, not firm enough. At least with double down rear exo+ front. Maybe with exo's they have more merit. 

Definitely couldn't ride one out flat, and with 18-20psi I had bottom outs on the rear that felt downright scary. 

I only get the odd scary bottom out at 22psi on a double down without inserts, so it literally just didn't feel like they were doing anything except being heavier than air. 

I have an ARD in the back of my hardtail so I car air down the 27.5+ tire and keep my rim and tire in one piece, and it works awesome. Only slight sidewall support  but the rim strike support is awesome. 

Since I have had decent success with higher density foam inserts like the ARD, the octamousse might be interesting since it might provide a little more sidewall support. 

But at least with doubledowns and carbon rims, for me tannus was a fail because I couldn't really drop pressure enough to offset the additional firmness of the insert and the rim strike prevention was not significant.

andrewbikeguide
+1 Pete Roggeman
AndrewR  - May 25, 2021, 10:04 p.m.

I've ridden out (Man Boobs, LOA, Mashiter, Roller Coaster to Perth Drive) with 7 psi in the rear tyre (Michelin WILD Enduro REAR) and a Tannus Tubeless Insert because a faulty valve (my mistake - installed it with the incorrect base) that I couldn't remedy on the trail.

The upside of the Tannus was I could roll the bead enough to inspect the inside of the valve (inside the rim), I then managed to seat the bead again with the EDC 100 ml pump and get 22-24 psi in the tyre before I decided I had enough air to start rolling.

As long as I carved rather than squared any corners I managed to roll out (and climb - it seemed rude to pass LOA just because of a flat rear tyre!) without damaging the tyre or the rim.

It wasn't the most fun lap ever but it was better than a long slow walk and better than the insert out/ tube in pfaff that I have seen occur.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 4:06 p.m.

Oooo... the Octomouse sounds pretty promising!

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skooks
+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Skooks  - May 25, 2021, 2:21 p.m.

I carry a similar kit in my small evoc Fanny pack. It's not intrusive at all.  Rule number 1 is don't die, so I also pack a few essential first aid bits to fix broken humans (or at least keep them alive long enough for NSR to reach us). Triangle bandages, pocket mask, gauze pad, tape, and space blanket.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Timer
Andrew Major  - May 25, 2021, 2:33 p.m.

Space blanket always. So cheap and essential I think I have one in every bag I own!

I need to up my game with some other lightweight first air stuff since I always have a pack anyways... I say every time I write about packing gear.

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cheapondirt
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
cheapondirt  - May 26, 2021, 4:50 p.m.

Pack first aid stuff, that's what I took away from this article and the comments.

I keep a kit in my hiking backpack but have never used it hiking (aside from the ibuprofen for sore muscles). Meanwhile, on the bike, minor cuts happen all the time and need cleaning. And with the potential for shock following a big crash, I can't even defend not having a space blanket

Thanks Skooks and Andrew.

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AndrewMajor
+1 cheapondirt
Andrew Major  - May 27, 2021, 8:31 p.m.

I'm guilty of not having the first aid dialed - but the Space Blanket is an easy always-carry. Have snacks, emotional support jacket, knife, tape, zip-ties... I like to think I can make most of what I need in the field but I definitely should add a triangle bandage and some iodine tabs for cleaning water.

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skooks
+2 Pete Roggeman cheapondirt
Skooks  - May 26, 2021, 10:32 p.m.

Great takeaway Cheap!  I think my space blanket is the most important thing in my pack. I have used it once when a buddy broke his back and was starting to go into shock. Luckily north shore fire department got to us quickly. Can't say enough good things about those guys and gals.

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Lynx
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major
Lynx .  - May 27, 2021, 4:21 a.m.

Going to have to read through the replies later, bet they'll be interesting, but just wanted to commiserate with you Andrew, most of the stuff I carry with me I hardly ever use, normally it's to fix someone else's bike. But, also like you, I don't like to have to walk my bike for any reason, even if it's something might only happen once in 5 or 10 years, so my pack is always way heavier than it needs to be. Unlike you, I generally like to keep my already not light bikes free of stuff strapped to them to add weight, 'cept for a spare tube under the saddle of all my bikes and my mini pump on my Unit.

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DancingWithMyself
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian
MuscogeeMasher  - May 27, 2021, 11:17 a.m.

This is shockingly normal!  No mishmashed, frankenstein multitools or the like!  :)

I've always wondered what people are doing with those pack pliers, especially if they're not carrying a tube.  Is there really a need to remove a quick link in the woods?  I always put a nice coat of grease on the threads of my valve stems so I can get them out by hand if all the dynaplugs I carry don't the trick and I have to resort to a tube.  So, I don't need for that either.  Generally curious.

On the first aid front, a great tip is to put some prescription pain meds in there.  Even if you or your buddy is just waiting to be extracted, they can make things a lot more comfortable.  

If you're going to try to get out on your own, they can make the pain of doing that more bearable and increase your chances of success.  Obviously, need to be careful with how many and it's best if you've taken them before (i.e., past surgery) so you have some idea of how you handle them.  Don't be stupid.  Important variables are whether you're by yourself and whether route finding is involved.  

Is there a commercial first aid kit that's worth a crap?  Light enough to carry with what you really need and without a bunch of stuff you don't.  Not sure I've ever seen one.  Would be an interesting review/article.

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velocipedestrian
+2 Andrew Major DancingWithMyself
Velocipedestrian  - May 27, 2021, 3:42 p.m.

Ground Effect (NZ made bike clothing) stock a Bigger and a Smaller first aid kit. Being the slacker that I am, I've not bought either yet... Still really really planning on carrying more than the space blanket and emotional support jacket that are in my bag now.

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DancingWithMyself
0
MuscogeeMasher  - May 28, 2021, 4:29 a.m.

Those look pretty darn good.  Vacuum sealing to make more compact is nice.  Thx!

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cheapondirt
+2 Andrew Major DancingWithMyself
cheapondirt  - May 27, 2021, 7:49 p.m.

The one I have is from Adventure Medical Kits. They label them by activity, group size, and length of trip. So while I haven't actually dissected what's in it, at least I know someone was thinking about it at some point.

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DancingWithMyself
0
MuscogeeMasher  - May 28, 2021, 4:35 a.m.

Thx for the response.  They make solid stuff for sure and you won't be missing anything.  But I'm super minimal, hip pack whenever possible and there's stuff I don't want on a non-overnight ride like blisters, ticks and bug bites, allergies, etc.  Know I could take them out, but then why not just build my own.

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DancingWithMyself
0
MuscogeeMasher  - May 28, 2021, 4:35 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
+1 DancingWithMyself
Andrew Major  - May 27, 2021, 8:39 p.m.

HAHAHA, sorry to disappoint with the lack of franken-tools! 

So I have used pack pliers as pack pliers on the trail. But again not for my own bike. Buddy's chain was so embedded in his cassette that his wheel was seized. The beauty of separating the chain at the quick link was that it wasn't necessary to break it and add another link.

I've found them handy for other things (including removing a lock-nut on a valve stem so a guy could install a tube) but I certainly have used the 8-Bit much more as a multi-tool. There's a reason it lives in my sometimes tools but it sometimes nice to have a bit more leverage than the average multi-tool delivers or the swivel head to get into weird spots 

If you look close you can see that mine looks thoroughly abused and I only use it on the trail so...

Certainly, my dream setup all starts around an EDC-Lite esque tool. It's so nice just being able to grab it, do something, and put it back. You don't realize how much faffing about there is with the regular OneUp EDC until you use the Lite. Then it's just a question of where the other stuff lives.

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DancingWithMyself
0
MuscogeeMasher  - May 28, 2021, 4:18 a.m.

thx.  wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.  Hear you on the leverage and swivel head.  Bet the hex key function is really choice compared to a smaller, folding multitool.

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Lynx
0
Lynx .  - May 29, 2021, 8:52 a.m.

OK, so seems that there's still quite a few of us out there despite what the marketing depts would like us to believe. The one thing I always carry is my trusty, original Leatherman multi tool, had it since I think '94 or '95 and it's served me well, but the thing is a tank weight wise and I've suffered a broken retaining spring on one side, which somewhat relegates the tools to not being so useful. So my question is, what tool would give me almost the same sort of range as the original Leatherman tool, but maybe be a bit lighter? Must have the serrated and straight blade, saw,  [hilips, flat and can opener.

Oh and yes, I also carry a  few headset spacers for those wannbe mechanics who didn't cut their steerer quite right and/or put enough of the proper height and didn't manage to properly pre-load the bearings and hence are getting play and can't figure why. Also few common size M4&5 bolts, rotor/cleat bolts, get me home worn brake pads, valve stem, valve cores, 10/11/12 speed quick links, velcro straps, cable ties, pad spacer blocks and I'm sure I'm forgetting much :-D

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 Lynx .
Pete Roggeman  - May 31, 2021, 9:31 a.m.

Lynx, whether for you or anyone else reading this, REI's Memorial Day sale is on until today (May 30th) and they currently have the Leatherman Skeletool CX on sale (which is rare) for members. Between the sale and the strong Canadian dollar, it's a good buy

Why do you need two blades? I find serrated blades to be totally overrated, and way too much of a hassle to sharpen.

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Lynx
+1 Pete Roggeman
Lynx .  - June 2, 2021, 6:03 a.m.

Hey Pete, thanks for the tip on the sale, unfortunately not too applicable to me down here, but will take a look at that model. Sorry, meant a saw not serrated, use that quite a lot to trim branches poking into the trail etc and sometimes for bigger stuff.

Oh and little anecdote to the topic - went out on my 2nd proper ride since we locked down sometime beginning of Feb and decided to take the Prime out, had been playing around with it, decided to try a different stem, thought I'd compensated for the slightly different stack height, but found out I hadn't once I hit the rough stuff and noticed a slight knocking. Stopped and checked for what it was and headset wasn't quite pre-loaded enough, opened up the "essentials" pouch and pulled out a 2.5mm spacer, put that in there and voila, perfect, glad I didn't decide to "pair down" and leave that little essential at home.

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