Mountain Biking Checklist

266 reviews with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars

This article is part of our series: Intro to Mountain Biking

Group of mountain bikers on the trail

Getting ready to hit the dirt? This comprehensive list for mountain bikers is designed to prevent you from forgetting anything important on your next ride. For more information, check out our articles on how to get started mountain biking or read on for our favorite gear picks.

The Two Essentials

Core Gear

Core Repair Items


Gear Options

Repair-kit Options

Freeriding Gear

Personal Items


Our Favorite Gear Picks for Mountain Biking

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite items to help you shred, from full-suspension bikes to snazzy button-up shirts.


Five Ten Freerider Pro Shoes (Women’s & Men’s)

red mountain bike shoe

There are only a few things that mountain bikers agree on: Dirt is better than pavement, down is better than up, and the Five Ten Freerider Pro is the shoe by which all others are judged. The Stealth S1 rubber outsole sticks to flat pedals like glue, while the insole is stiff enough for solid power transfer to the pedal but comfortable enough to walk in for extended hike-a-bike sections. $150

Prefer to clip in? The SPD-compatible PEARL iZUMi X-Alp Summit bike shoes have a stiff shank designed for maximum power transfer to the pedal, and the three-point buckle closure system keeps the shoes snug when you’re pulling up on the pedals.



two hydration backpacks side by side

There are so many bike-specific packs on the market, but it’s the little things that set the Osprey Syncro and Sylva apart. The packs come with an integrated rain cover, a bungee pull on the back that securely holds your helmet when you’re not wearing it and bite valves with a magnetic connection to the sternum strap. As for the meat and potatoes, you get a 2.5-liter bladder, enough storage space for layers and tools and an uber-breathable back panel. $120


DAKINE Cross-X Bike Gloves (Women’s & Men’s)

two bike gloves

DAKINE’s lineup of gloves is relatively easy on your wallet and packed with features. The Cross-X gloves have airy backs and knuckle deflectors, plus silicone grippers on the fingertips. That, coupled with 3 mm of foam palm padding, helps protect your hands for the long haul and provides solid connection with the handlebar. Bonus: They’re touchscreen compatible. $35


Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS Classic Bike Helmet

blue mountain bike helmet

It doesn’t matter what kind of dirt you’re after—cruisey singletrack, sculpted jumps, epic downhill, long cross-country miles—the A1 is the lid for the job. This helmet from Troy Lee Designs has all the bells and whistles, including a MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) layer that helps absorb rotational forces during a crash, intake vents to bring in cool air, an adjustable visor and a one-handed dial-in fit. $145


Smith Ruckus Sunglasses

road biking sunglass

Get the protection of a full goggle with the superior breathability and anti-fog properties of sunglasses with the Ruckus. The glasses come with two different lenses, one for bright light and the other for low light, each with Smith’s top-of-the-line ChromaPop technology for great contrast. Grips on the temples and nose pads help the glasses stay in place, even when you’re sweating hard. $199


Fox Ranger Utility Bike Shorts – Men’s

black mountain bike shorts

The Fox Ranger Utility, which uses a nylon/poly/elastane blend, is designed to handle tough trails, but the shorts are also stretchy and breathable enough for summer riding. They have a removable chamois and a handful of pockets. The 13-inch inseam and slim silhouette help prevent bunching when pedaling—and look nice enough for town, too. $99.95


Wild Rye Freel Mountain Bike Shorts – Women’s

green women's mountain bike shorts

The Wild Rye Freel shorts give you everything you need in terms of functionality with a nylon/elastane blend that serves up four-way stretch and enough protection to defend you from shrubs and raspberries, but they’re no utility cargo shorts. The Freels come in several fun patterns, including sloths (pictured), which says nothing about how fast you’ll feel when wearing them. Note: no chamois. $119


Club Ride New West Bike Jersey – Men’s & Club Ride Bella Vista Bike Jersey – Women’s

two plaid bike jerseys side by side

A button-up may look out of place on a road ride, but not on the trail (especially when you transition from ride to post-ride beer or seltzer). More importantly, there are serious jersey chops hidden beneath all that Club Ride style, like a hit of spandex in the material for stretch, mesh side panels for breathability, the maximum UPF 50 sun protection and hidden zippered stash pockets. $79.95


crankbrothers M-17 Multi-Tool

multi-tool for bikes

If moving parts are inherent failure points, then bikes are chock-full of could-go-wrongs. Be prepared for trailside repairs with this multi-tool from crankbrothers. The pocket-size tool has approximately one million different wrenches, including hexes, spokes, opens and even a Torx for disc brakes. It also has two screwdrivers and a chainbreaker. $27


Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2

brown orange mountain bike

The Co-op Cycles DRT series has something for everyone, from beginners looking for an entry-level workhorse to enduro racers going full send. The 2.2 hits the sweet spot between value and capability, with an entry-level price tag and versatile components. The hardtail’s long wheelbase and slack headtube angle help give you more confidence on the descent, while a 1×12 SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain serves up the right punch for unrelenting climbs. A dropper seatpost is a nice touch at this price point. $1,799


Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3

black mountain bike

Like to charge? The Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 might be your racehorse. With 29-inch wheels and a Gemini suspension system that stiffens on the climb, this bike was built to compete for coveted Strava KOM titles. But it’s also loaded with 150 mm of travel in a Fox Float Performance 36 up front and Fox Float Performance DPX2 on the rear, which gives you downhill-bike capability when the dirt turns rough. Hello, enduro! $4,250


Gear Picks Written by Graham Averill. Graham is a senior writer at Bike and a regular contributor to Outside and Backpacker. He lives in Asheville, N.C., where he rides his mountain bike as much as possible, but never enough.