Mountain Biking - Tips for a Great Ride

Mountain biking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. I love to grab the day pack, invite one of the kids or my wife and take the dog to one of dozens of trails and roads in our area. I love the fresh air, stress-relieving exercise, and views of nature.

In 2020 I logged 200 trail outings and around a third of them mountain biking trips. I added up the mileage and probably logged around 500 biking miles. We biked through forests, over rolling hills, along rivers, around lakes, over tressels, through tunnels, and more. We biked loops and out and back trails that included lakes, loops to outlooks and valleys.

What an awesome year for biking adventures!

How to Enjoy the Perfect Mountain Biking Trip

Over the years we've learned how to set up the perfect mountain biking trip. We've learned how to plan, what gear and supplies to take, how to prepare for the weather, how to stay safe and how to ensure we get back home safe.

Adventure Story: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

...I was riding by the tree in the middle of the meadow with the dog and suddenly saw a wolf running along side me. I stopped my bike and got off it on the opposite side of the wolf. It was staring right at me from here to that rock...

Read the Story

Below you'll find the following topics:

  • Tips for setting up the perfect bike trip
  • How to build the perfect day pack
  • Top biking product reviews
  • Best biking resources

If you're like us you'll love the trail and hiking will become second nature. Let's get started.

Mountain Biking Tips

Over the years we've learned how to set up the perfect mountain biking trip. We thought we'd list a few tips to consider for your next outing:

Basic Tips

  1. Plan ahead - even if you decide to go on a spontaneous biking outing, take a minute and plan just so you're prepared. If your trip is more involved, spend the time you need to make sure you're ready.
  2. Know your route - pull out the map or GPS and locate the trailhead and exit.
  3. Gear up (Day Pack) - make sure you have the right gear and supplies. Most mountain biking rides are single day events. We recommend taking a day pack with you (see below). At minimum carry:
    • tire patch kit
    • chain tool
    • multi-tool
    • water filter
    • first aid kit
  4. Dress right - know your weather, climate and terrain. Be sure to dress in layers so you can add or subtract a layer if you get cold or hot. Consider these layers:
    • Waterproof Jacket
    • base layers (for cold weather)
    • zip off pants  - you can have shorts when it's warm and add the pant legs as it cools off
  5. Footwear - take quality biking shoes. The style of shoe will differ depending on the style of mountain biking you like. I personally love cross country and down hill. I don't clip in so I can use my feet off the pedals if needed.
  6. Tell someone where you're going - be sure someone knows where you're starting, your route, and when to expect you home. Don't forget this one! You want someone coming if you get injured or lost.
  7. Buddy up - Take a buddy with you in case you get injured or lost.

Advanced Tips

  1. GPS - On longer bike rides you've never done before or in terrain where you can get lost easily, take a GPS dievce.
  2. Topo Maps - If you are scaling a steep trail you'll need a topo map so you can read the grade of the territory.

Outdoor Tips

  • Leave No Trace
    Leave the outdoors better than you found it
  • Buddy System
    Always take someone with you
  • Give Notice
    Always tell someone where you are and when you'll be home
  • Safety First
    Be prepared for the elements and first aid situations
  • Layer Up
    Dress in layers so you can adjust your temperature

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Survival Kit - 2 Person

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Safety First

We all have different risk tollerances. As I've gotten older I've consciously slowed down a lot and take fewer risks. I've seen guys with life-altering injuries who can't enjoy the outdoors any longer. I talked with a man this week who has messed up his knees and joints so much he can't go on a simple hike. That can't be me!

When we venture out, we need to keep in mind that we have future outdoor experiences to enjoy so we need to get home safe after every one. Our chances of survival and safe return increase with a few principles:

  1. Prepare before you go out
  2. Take adequate first aid supplies - just in case
  3. know your limits and opt for safety over risky activities.

Having the right first aid supplies handy can help a lot. Make sure you have the right supplies for the activities you're doing. 

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Survival Medical Guide

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First Aid

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First Aid Kit - Tactical

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First Aid Kit - EDC

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Shop First Aid Kits and Supplies

Build the Perfect Day Pack

I take my day pack on every outing. I log between 100 and 200 outings per year. I'm often surprised how often I needed the gear and supplies in the pack. Over the years I've locked down the perfect day pack for my climate and area. This checklist is highly recommended trail gear for every day pack. Of course, you can adjust for your area and outing style.

I divide my gear and supplies into 3 kits: gear, first aid, toiletries. These kits go into my pack and are with me on every outing.

Gear Kit

  • Tire patch kit
  • Chain tool
  • Tire pump
  • Shock pump (if it is air cushioned)
  • Bike wrenches (brakes, etc.)
  • Water filter
  • Multi-tool
    • blade
    • saw
    • tweezers
    • screw drivers
  • Paracord
  • Lighter
  • Ferro rod
  • Emergency blanket
  • Poncho
  • Emergency fishing kit
  • Snares
  • Duct tape
  • Head band (ear protection)
  • Safety pins
  • More...

First Aid Kit (IFAK)

  • Bandages
  • Ace bandage
  • Tablets
    • Pepto
    • Tylenol
    • Allergy
  • Bug spray
  • Sun screen
  • Alcohol pads
  • Burn cream
  • More...


  • Pocket tissues (perfect portion of toilet paper)
  • Carmex
  • Toothbrush (handle cut off)
  • Toothpaste
  • Nail clippers
  • More...

Top Rated Products

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Ultra Bright Headlamp

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Rain Ponchos

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Emergency Blankets

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Top Mountain Biking Product Reviews

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Waterproof Gloves

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Knit Hat - Beanie

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Waterproof Winter Ski Jacket

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Waterproof Gore-Tex Snow Boots

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Wool Socks

Durable, stretchable, breathable wool socks for cold weather

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Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool

The most popular, reliable outdoor multi-tool on the market

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Personal Water Filter - Sawyer

Affordable, long lasting personal water filter and purifier for the trail

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Mountain Biking Resources

Being prepared with some survival skills, trail information, and weather forecasts can make your hike relaxing and help you get home safe.


Don't get lost! Find the right map for your area. We recommend reviewing the map BEFORE your embark on your adventure. Get a feel for the topography, water sources, trails and roads, etc.

Choose Your Map


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Time to Hit the Trail

We love our trail time! We hope your outings this year are memorable, relaxing, full of adventure, and safe. 

We'd love to hear about any memorable stories you experience. Submit them to us and if we feel the story matches the site we'll publish it.

Gear up, prepare, and hit the trail! Enjoy!

1This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
2 As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.


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