Although it would be ideal to pack the lightest, there’s some essential gear I take with me for longer rides. Be that for bicycles or motorcycles, the philosophy is the same. It is centered around a balancing act between safety, convenience, and compactness. Here are what I take and how to combine multiple things together intelligently.
Fire inflator/flat kit: This is likely the most important thing to carry. You would not want to be stuck on a trail with low pressure or a flat. My inflator/flat kit contains an intelligent tire inflator with gauge and a spare tube. The gauge is important because you may need to measure the psi on your tires on the road and inflate as needed. Nowadays, few very intelligent compact tire inflators are extremely feature-packed. These combine an extremely powerful compressor, tire gauge, and even a flashlight. This review discusses the best ones for the price.
Flashlight: Day or night, you need a flashlight either way. I often bike around trails where lighting is suboptimal, especially during evenings. In those situations, it is imperative to carry a flashlight. The great news and a tip is to carry one that is already packed onto the inflator. The number one pick in the review linked in the last point packs a great one (the X8). It’s so small that I can easily put it in my backpack without any hassle. So, it’s a 3-in -one.
Food/Water: Since it will be a ride longer than 1,000 miles – I need to keep myself hydrated and energized. I pack granola bars, water, and sometimes energy drinks.
Appropriate clothes: A real downer on a ride is heat, cold, and rain. I always select the best one for the season. If it’s a summer ride, I’d carry a vest, windbreakers, and shorts. Accordingly, in winter, a light jacket helps. But rain is unpredictable. That’s why I always have a raincoat in my backpack. It is light and takes very small space.
Credentials and money: These are common-sense strategies for life in general. I carry my ID, cellphone, credit card, and some cash too. I call these “survival items”. Try to stay away from coins that would add to your weight. The lighter you pack the more the convenience.
GPS: A GPS is needed if your route is not familiar. However, you can combine this with a cellphone nowadays if you have network service. These days, my smartphone serves this purpose.
And that’s about it. I try to optimize by combining the inflator/gauge/flashlights in one unit, GPS onto the phone, and so forth. This way, you can ride easy, light, and safe at the same time.