Gear Guides

Chrome's Guide to Trail

two riders on bicycles by the golden gate bridge in Chrome gear

Spring is here, and the bike trails are in action. Having the right gear is crucial for any ride, especially if you're planning on going from pavement to trail. If you’re dirt-curious or need to brush up on your knowledge of riding essentials, we got you covered with our quick city-to-trail ride guide.

Helmet: Ride essential number one.

Person on mountain bike in the woods

Obvious, yet true. What might not be so obvious is which type of helmet to have. Helmets differ in price, weight, and type of riding. MTB helmets are the most recommended for trail riding because they offer more head coverage, advanced construction, and increased protection against angled impacts. For even more protection, consider a full-face helmet, which protects your mouth and chin. Need to carry your helmet when you're not wearing it? Consider using the cargo net of one of our Barrage bags. Either way, wearing a helmet is better than no helmet at all.

Riding Shorts: Not your average pair of short.

Person standing with bike

It's always good to plan what you'll be wearing on a ride, especially when it comes to bottoms. Never skimp out on getting a good pair of riding shorts, which will last longer than basic shorts and keep you comfortable on the saddle. The Sutro Short is a technical short designed to hit the trails with its 4-way stretch and impressive quick-dry, stain- and water-resistant DWR finish. It has a built-in adjustable hook and loop belt and 5-bar Flexi waistband for mobility and comfort. The looser fit also accommodates accessories, like knee pads for extra protection and a chamois short liner (sold separately) for additional padding. Riding shorts = quality > quantity.

Extra Layer: The emergency layer we should all have.

Person zipping up their hoodie

Riding conditions can be unpredictable sometimes, so it's always good to be prepared and carry an extra layer to avoid getting hit by breezy winds or spontaneous drizzle. The Merino Cobra 3.0 is not only the best Merino performance hoodie out there, but it's also moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and breathable thanks to the Merino Wool and recycled poly combo. It's perfect for when the temperature drops going through dense trees. Store it in the Doubletrack Handlebar Bag and pull it out when you need it most.

Another layer every rider should consider having is a windbreaker. The Wind Cobra 2.0 Packable Jacket is a lightweight shell that's windproof, water-resistant, and can easily pack into the rear pocket of the jacket. It offers performance and protection when you need it most during wet or windy conditions. When you don't need it, just stash it in a Doubletrack Frame Bag MD. Your body will thank you.

Eye Protection: Use it or lose it.

Person leaning on their bike wearing a helmet

Eyewear is crucial for protection while riding, especially when hitting a dusty road, muddy trail, rogue bug, or surprise tree branch. Depending on the weather and trail conditions, your best bet is MTB sunglasses, which have larger lenses for coverage, air ventilation, durability, and specific lens technology. If you like to have options, interchangeable lenses can be swapped out based on riding conditions. If you need a spot to stash your glasses, put them in the Doubletrack Frame Bag SM, which sits close to your seat tube and allows for easy access to the main compartment based on your side preference.

If you're using a full-face helmet, it's best to wear MTB goggles, which fit snugly around your face and helmet. They're more common for folks that like to go downhill and do all the jumps and bumps. Either way, it's important to protect your eyes from all the things when you ride.

Tool Kit: It's like a mini toolbox for your bike.

Tool roll under a bike saddle

Anything can happen during a ride, like a flat tire, crooked saddle, or even loose brake cables. No matter what mechanical drama arises during your trail ride, it's important to carry a tool kit. Your tool kit should consist of the following: a multi-tool made for any bolt you encounter and a CO2 Inflator to get air into your tire quickly and effortlessly.

Depending on the type of tire you have, you'll want to carry tire levers for removing the tire from the rim, a patch kit to fix the tiniest hole you find in your tube, and an extra tube in case you need to replace yours completely or your friend forgot one. For all the tubeless folks out there, you can ditch the last part and carry a Dynaplug for a quick and easy tire puncture repair.

Keep your tool kit organized in the Doubletrack Saddle Roll, which mounts underneath any saddle and keeps tools safe and secure. Keep it on the bike or stash it in your bag, but whatever you do, don't leave home without it.

Hydration: Water is life.

Water bottles on a bike

Water is a necessity, and no matter what the terrain is, every rider should have a water bottle on them for every ride. For longer rides, an electrolyte tablet is great at helping maintain hydration and retain fluid. For those that need even more water, the Tensile Hydro Pack is great for drinking while you ride. It's a lightweight rolltop backpack built from recycled, laminated ripstop nylon and has a water bottle pocket on each side. It can carry a 2L hydration reservoir (sold separately) and comes with a clip to attach to your drinking tube. For an extra water bottle carry, check out the Doubletrack Feed Bag.

Snacks! Refuel and recharge.

Person on their bike

Snacks! Everybody loves them and every ride needs them. Not all snacks are created equal, so it's important to bring what you'll most benefit from on your ride. Energy bars are packed with carbs, fats, and protein, which help boost energy, but also take a while to kick in. Energy gels are small gel packets that contain carbs, sugar, electrolytes, and caffeine, which gives you more energy and micronutrients and also works faster than an energy bar.

Fruits like bananas, dates, raisins, and figs contain potassium, carbs, sugar, and fiber to help you keep moving. Stash all your snacks in the Doubletrack Feed Bag, the ultimate snack pouch that makes it easy to access the goods one-handed, while also keeping your trash in one of the external mesh pockets. There is no such thing as too many snacks.

Need more suggestions on what to carry for your next ride? Check out our on-bike bags, cycling gloves, and other accessories.

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Barrage Backpack worn by a person on a bike
Allan Shaw wearing Chrome shorts