It’s not easy deciding what to carry in a bicycle saddle bag. You have very little room, but need to be prepared in case of a flat or some other issue. Then there are things like sun, bugs, wind, and—oh yeah—hunger.
Let’s start with the very basics: a cell phone and a road identification bracelet. These will be on your person, not in your bag, but make sure you have them and grab your health insurance card and some money while you’re at it.
Now let’s talk about what you shouldn’t put in your saddle bag—food. Energy bars, trail mix and energy gel can easily fit in your vest or jersey pockets, freeing up space in your saddle bag for other items. Water bottles should go in cages on the frame of your bike, where they can be easily reached.
Saddle Bag Essentials for Road Cycling
The main goal is not to be stranded on the side of the road. That means you’ll want to carry a multi-tool that has wrenches, a chain splitter and a screwdriver. You’ll also need at least one back-up inner tube and a puncture repair kit, plus a tire lever to remove the tire in the event of a flat.
Once you put your new tire on, you’ll need to inflate it. You have two choices: either a CO2 cartridge or a small pump, which can be mounted to your frame if it doesn’t fit in your bag.
In addition to those essentials, you might also consider a small tube of sunscreen, a wipe or two in case you need to make repairs and a small first aid kit.
Saddle Bag Essentials for Mountain Biking
You’ll need everything we just listed for road cycling, but if you’re going off road, it’s smart to pack a few additional items. It’s also important to note that a first aid kit is not-so-optional when it comes to mountain biking, as falls are much more common than on a smooth road.
Consider also packing bug spray, matches, a whistle, wipes and extra food and water.
If you find that you’re running out of space to stash your gear, consider renting a self storage unit. At StorageMart, you can rent a unit as small as 25 square feet or so—or up to the size of a garage. We offer affordable self storage units that can be rented on a month-by-month basis and are always clean and well lit. Need more info? Check out our storage unit guide or rent a unit online today.