This page lists the tools and spare parts that are needed to perform the bike repairs that may be necessary when doing bikepacking races. Different people need different tools and parts depending on the components that are on their bike and the level of preparedness they choose to have, so these lists should only be used as guidelines.

Tools & Spares to Carry in a Bikepacking Race Related pages:


Tool Details
Hex/allen keys/wrenches Sizes from 1.5 mm to 10 mm may be needed, depending on what bolts are on your bike. Adapter heads for the larger sizes (6, 8, 10 mm) that fit over smaller size keys can often be used instead of separate large keys if you don’t need very much leverage.
Screwdrivers A flat-blade screwdriver can be useful for all sorts of tasks; a cross-head screwdriver is generally less useful.
Open-ended wrenches/spanners If you have any nuts on your bike then they are probably 8mm or 10mm, so bring the appropriate open-ended wrench/spanner. If the wrench is incorporated into another tool then check that there is enough space to use it.
Chain tool Make sure that your chain tool is strong enough to remove a pin from the chain you are using so that you can replace a damaged link with a quick link. You normally won’t need to use the tool to re-join a chain unless you run out of quick links.
Nitrile gloves Gloves are useful if you have to do something messy like repairing a chain on the side of the road.
Pliers I used to not carry these, but ever since I started carrying a small Leatherman Squirt PS4 tool (Amazon), I’ve found several repairs and adjustments a lot easier to do.
Di2 connector tool & charger It’s possible to unplug and plug in Shimano Di2 wires without a tool, but Shimano recommends against this and it is far easier with the proper tool, which is plastic and light. 1500 km is a typical distance to obtain from one Di2 battery (except in cold conditions, when it can be much less), so you should bring a Di2 charger for any race that is longer than 1000 km.
Spoke nipple tool & spoke holder There are several sizes of spoke nipples, so you only need to have the one or two tools that work for the nipples on your wheels. Bladed spokes will twist before nipples start tightening, so you should have a bladed spoke holder tool if you have that kind of spoke.
Multi-tools vs. individual tools Multi-tools are great at keeping your tools compact and organized, but they can sometimes be awkward to use in tight places. I therefore keep a multi-tool on my minimalist, fast bike for rides closer to home, but for the bikepacking races I bring a set of small, individual tools because they are far easier to work with and barely weigh any extra or take up much more space, but this is a very individual preference.
Smart Phone If you have a bike problem that you don’t know how to fix in a bikepacking race, you shouldn’t call your buddy who is a bike mechanic (that would be a form of personal assistance, so would be against the ethos of being self-supported), but you can use it to search the internet for possible solutions to the problem. There are also app’s available that show you how to do basic repairs.
Tire levers Strong levers that won’t break are important. One lever is enough for some tires but two levers make the job far easier, so I always carry three so that I have an extra in case one breaks, and occasionally all three are needed for really tight tires. I’ve had great success using Park Tool TL-2 levers (Amazon) – they are robust, ergonomic, and easy to use, but for re-mounting really tight tires people often recommend the VAR RP-42500 (Amazon).
Valve core tool Tubeless valves and some inner tubes have removable valve cores, which I’ve occasionally had come loose and leak air. I therefore now always carry a small valve core tool to re-tighten them on the road. Obviously, you don’t need the tool if you don’t have any valves with removable cores.
Pump A minimal, lightweight pump is ideal on a stripped-down race bike where you hope to never use it, but it’s not really appropriate for bikepacking races, where a more powerful and easier to use model is far more practical. Given how much Tire Rolling Resistance and puncture protection is affected by tire pressure, I check my pressure every few days. If you do get a puncture then it’s important to be able to easily achieve a sufficient pressure to ensure that you are not susceptible to future pinch flats. I therefore carry a pump that has a flip-out foot peg, a short hose to connect to the valve, and a pressure gauge. Having tried a few similar models, I’ve found that the Topeak Road Morph G (Amazon) is by far the best option of this style. The GCN crew explain some of the positives and negatives of using and carrying type of pump in the video below.
Chain Oil Oil is not really a tool or a spare part, but is something that you should bring with you. Put a few drops on the chain pins every couple of days or after a big rain shower. If you leave it until your drivetrain is getting noisy then you will have been wasting energy for a while. I recommend oils that aren’t too thin and so stay on the chain for a decent length of time. You don’t need much, so I pour some into a plastic eye drop container and keep that in a small plastic bag so that everything else stays clean. The GCN video below contains a bit more information.

My favorite bikepacking pump, The Topeak Road Morph G (Amazon):


Spare Parts

Spare Parts Details
Inner tubes I bring 4 spare inner tubes for bikepacking races, but some people only bring 1 or 2. Note that lightweight tubes are much more compact than standard tubes, but avoid latex tubes for bikepacking races because they are too fragile, hard to repair, and lose air too quickly. Even if you have tubeless tires, you’ll need spare inner tubes to put inside your tubeless tires if they get holes that cannot be fixed.
Tube patches & glue The number of spare tubes that you’ll need in such an event is more than you have, so bring some tube patches. I’ve had problems with pre-glued patches not working at all or failing after 1 or 2 days, so I now only use traditional patches and vulcanizing glue. See the Bike Repair page for tips on using them.
Tire boots These are needed if a hole in the tire is large enough for a replacement tube to protrude out of. Food wrappers and paper money are possible alternatives.
Tubeless plugs & insertion tool Holes that are slightly too large for tubeless tire sealant to take care of automatically can often by fixed by inserting a plug using a special tool (Amazon).
Tubeless valve Aluminum tubeless valves are too easy to brake, so it’s a better to carry a spare valve, which then also includes a spare valve core.
Presta-to-Schrader valve adapter This allows a pump at a petrol/gas station to be used in case of a pump failure.
Brake pads It’s wise to carry two pairs of spare brake pads. Rim brake pads are quite standard and relatively easy to find, but there are many different models of disc brake pads, so definitely bring spares.
Chain quick-links To repair a chain, quick-links or regular chain links plus connecting pins can be used. It’s good to bring multiple options just in case.
Rear derailleur hanger These can be impossible to find en route because they are so specific to each bike model. They are relatively easy to break or damage, so always bring a spare.
Derailleur cable / Di2 wire Campagnolo, Shimano, and SRAM road shifters each use slightly different derailleur cables, so bring the correct one (see the Bike Repair page). Brake cables virtually never break because they are much thicker and don’t get twisted like a derailleur cable does, so spares are not really needed. If you have Di2 electronic shifting then bring an extra wire of the longest length on your bike.
Di2 battery A spare internal Di2 battery can often be stored inside the seatpost, above the one that is in use; the batteries can then be switched instead of recharging a dead battery. Even so, I would still recommend also bringing the Di2 charger. Extra batteries for SRAM eTap systems are even easier to switch out.
Spokes & nipples You may have different lengths and styles of spokes on your front and rear wheels and they may differ between each side of the wheel, so make sure that you have at least one of each type and at least one nipple of each type. Even if you’ll use a bike shop to fix such problems, the shop often won’t have the correct spokes in stock, so it’s much better to bring them with you. Spare spokes can be taped to a seat-stay or put inside the seatpost.
FiberFix spoke It’s better to use a proper spoke whenever possible, but if you cannot remove a broken drive-side spoke on the rear wheel then a FiberFix Spoke is a very good option.
Tire A few people bring a spare tire with them, either a super lightweight model that would only be used in an emergency or the same tire as the ones on the bike to install on the rear at the halfway point (and keep the old one as a spare).
Batteries Bring at least one set of spares of each type of battery needed for all devices that you have which have removable batteries.
Electrical devices I recommend bringing backup lighting and navigation devices because your primary method may fail and it is normally impossible to fix these items on the road.
Bolts I bring a few M5 bolts in various lengths with one nut and washer, a chainring bolt, and a shoe cleat bolt.
Cable ties Cable ties are useful for fixing all sorts of things and can be stored with the spare spokes.
Electrical tape Electrical tape is another item that is good for fixing a variety of problems. It can be wrapped around your pump handle or seatpost.
Shoe strap Straps on shoes can break, but are normally replaceable. Carrying a spare strap or Boa dial, as well as any necessary tools, may avoid a major problem.
Shoe cleat If you use road pedals and cleats then after two or more weeks of constant use on and off the bike, the cleats may get worn down enough to make clipping in a problem. It’s therefore wise to carry one or two extra cleats, especially if you don’t have cleat covers. If using MTB cleats and shoes, you don’t have to worry about this, which is one reason why I don’t recommend using road shoes and pedals for bikepacking races, see the Foot Comfort: Shoes & Pedals page.
Safety pins Broken zippers on bags or clothing can sometimes be fixed using a safety pin, so it’s useful to carry a few.
Last minor page modification: May, 2021
Last significant page update: November, 2016

The Bike
This is the final page in the Bike Maintenance section, which is in Ride Far, Part II: The Bike.