So you’ve booked that dream mountain bike trip – maybe you’re finally checking Moab off your bucket list, or you want to see if Brevard is all it’s talked up to be (it is). Great, but now you have to get all of your gear there. We spend tons of money and effort dialing in our setups to get our bike to the local trailheads, but getting them across the country is a whole different story. Aside from transporting your bike, there are all the small things like clothing, parts, and accessories. Read along and we’ll help you get your gear together and pack like a pro.
What Clothing to Pack
If you’re serious enough to be planning a mountain bike trip, you probably know what kind of gear you like to ride in, but there are still a couple of important guidelines to remember. This part of your packing list will also greatly depend on the weather and climate in your destination, as well as the time of year.
In general, you’ll need enough jerseys, shorts, and chamois to last you the duration, and the right layers to keep you warm and protected. For most trips, we recommend one shirt or jersey for every two days of riding, two pairs of bike shorts, and as many chamois or liner shorts as you have – there’s nothing better than slipping into a clean and fresh kit on the tail-end of a long trip! Plus, a large majority of our lodging choices feature washer/dryer options, so you’ll be able to “refresh” your clothes halfway through. Off the bike, you’ll probably need fewer clothes than you might think. On trips where you are really riding hard, you’ll hit bedtime nice and early.
Some regions, like the desert, require special considerations. Locations like Moab is a ton of fun, but it’s important to remember that temperatures can swing wildly throughout the day. This means it’s important to be ready for both hot daytime temps (80s-90s) and cold (40s and below) morning and nighttime temperatures. Oftentimes rides start in the morning when it’s 45 degrees, and end in the afternoon when temps climb into the high 80’s!
Riders heading to a more wet climate, like Brevard or Crested Butte in the summertime, some extra layers like more bike shorts, shell jackets, and gloves are a good idea so that you can always have a dry kit. For areas that see a lot of moisture, it’s nice to have both a riding shell and a separate waterproof jacket for after your ride.
Bringing Your Own Bike
While a mechanical issue on your local trails isn’t a big deal, the same problem can ruin a trip. Arriving at your destination prepared can help to keep you riding instead of being bogged down with you a busted mountain bike. The first step towards success is getting your bike in tip-top shape before leaving. The next important thing to remember is to pack extras of any proprietary parts or unique aspects of your bike that might be hard to find at your destination. Chasing Epic always has extra parts for their own demo fleet, but there’s a good chance your bike has a different set of needs. Bringing other spare parts like chain links, derailleur hangers, and brake pads, in addition to your normal on-trail kit, is a good idea, too.
Another part of your setup that might need some tweaking for a trip is your backpack and water storage. For example, if you’re a PNW rider coming from cool dark forests, you might not be used to needing to carry so much water – you might need to step up from a fanny pack to a full hydration pack.
Air Travel with a Bike
Right off the bat, you have one big decision, is your bike traveling with you, or will you be demoing a bike when you get to your destination? Many riders spend countless hours tinkering and customizing their bike setup, this means there’s no way they’re going to leave their bike at home. If you fall into this category, you have a couple of options. You can drive to your destination with your normal rack setup, or if you need to fly there you can 1) ship your bike, 2) fly with a bike box, or 3) fly with a dedicated bike bag.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of bringing your bike to the airport, you can send it ahead of time. With airline baggage fees climbing, sometimes this is even cheaper than checking your bike on your flight. This option has the downsides of needing to have a destination address, and the time without a bike you have to allocate for shipping. If you do go down this road, check out services that are dedicated to bike shipping.
If you’re taking your bike on the plane with you, you can either pack it in a bike box, or bike bag. Fitting into either means taking off the wheels, handlebars, and pedals. Dedicated bike bags have the advantage of wheels and other features meant to make travel easier. They cost several hundred dollars, however. Boxes, on the other hand, can be obtained for free or relatively cheap at your local bike shop. Navigating an airport with your bike in a box can be difficult – meaning there are tradeoffs for both methods.
A couple of things to remember when flying with your bike:
- CO2 cartridges are not allowed on planes
- Bring the tools you’ll need to reassemble your bike, like a pedal wrench and allen wrenches
- Use your clothes and bike gear to pad the bike in the bag/box
- Consult the website or call your airline before departing to learn their specific policies for bikes and oversize baggage
Sample Packing List for 4-day Trip to Moab
- 3 bike jerseys
- 2 pairs of bike shorts
- 3-4 pairs of chamois or liner shorts
- Bike helmet
- Bike shoes
- Saddle (if you want your own!)
- Lightweight shell jacket
- Hydration pack
- Knee Pads (optional)
- Bike gloves
- 4 pairs of bike socks
- Casual shoes
- 1 pair of casual shorts
- 1 pair of casual pants
- 3-4 casual shirts
- Shell jacket
- Sweatshirt, fleece, or insulating layer
- Insulated (puffy) jacket
- Warm hat
- Casual socks & underwear
About the Author: We are evo – a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through our evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.