Autumn means cool weather, beautiful colors and a good chance to catch a quiet moment out in the mountains. A gravel bike can quickly get you to that small stand of aspens or that quiet brook far from the road and trailhead.
But as great as solitude away from the crowd is, flat tires, changing weather and hunger are realities you should be prepared for when you hit the trail on your gravel bike. That’s why we put together this kit, which contains everything you need for jaunts through your local woods or unknown trails that might take longer than expected. It’s designed to be self-contained and easily strapped to any bicycle’s frame, so all you need to do is hop on your bike and go.
Keep weight off your back and out of your way with the Ortlieb Seat-Pack. At 11 liters, it can easily hold all the essentials (though there’s a larger version), but it has a built-in air valve that lets you compress it for a super compact load if you go minimal. The heavy-duty nylon is coated with PU and has welds at common wear points, making this thing virtually indestructible. Nice touch: The pack also doubles as a rear fender thanks to a stiffener. $160; also available in size Large for $175
For gravel riding, any basic lid will do, but we like this one from Troy Lee Designs for its aerodynamic shape, many adjustment options and full coverage. The A1 extends over the back of the head for added safety in a crash (and has MIPS, or a sliding layer inside the helmet that helps protect against rotational force and brain injury during impact). The removable visor can be removed on cloudy days by unscrewing aluminum components, but won’t crack if you overtighten on sunny ones. $145
When space is of the essence, reach for the Platypus Platy, a flexible vessel that can smush away into tight corners and roll up when you’re done. This one carries 70 ounces of water—more than double what a regular Nalgene holds—and weighs a smidge over an ounce. $12.95
The complex carbohydrates and B vitamins in these energy chews help you push further than the sugar bombs you’ll find on most store shelves. It’s almost a bonus that they’re so yummy. PROBAR Bolt gummies are certified organic, vegan and gluten- and dairy-free. A couple of flavors have caffeine derived from yerba mate for when you bonk. $2.50 for one 5-piece pack
Splurging for an aftermarket light like the Cygolite Dash Pro 520 / Hotrod 30 could save your life (or even just your ride). The front light casts a 520-lumen beam strong enough to illuminate a dark trail, and the tail light throws out 30 lumens, so everyone knows you’re there. The batteries are USB-rechargeable. $79.95
Be ready to fix your machine’s flat tire, busted chain link or loose pedal from the side of a trail with this handy multi-tool from crankbrothers. Simple repairs are easy with the M-19, which has hex wrenches, screwdrivers, spoke wrenches, a chainbreaker and more tools than we hope you’ll ever need. It also has a lifetime warranty. $33.95
When you need air on the trail, this 8-ounce pump from Topeak will deliver with a built-in adapter that works with Presta, Schrader or Dunlop valves. The aluminum chamber is surprisingly sturdy and designed for a high-pressure output that’s great even for tubeless tires. $44.95
Put simply: This should live in your bike kit. Getting stranded is a bear, and the Park Tool patch kit can help you get home. It has six adhesive patches for small-to-medium-size holes and self-vulcanizing fluid to reinforce any stubborn patches. Say no to flat tires. $2.95
Pair your patch kit with this pair of tire tools from Pedro’s. The levers help you peel back the tire to get down to the tubes. They’re sturdy in your hand and nimble enough to work the rubber around your rims without any damage to your tire or tube. $5
Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more collections here.