mtb backpack

The testing Lab: SJ Works first aid kit

I'm always looking for ways to optimize what I take on my MTB rides, smaller and lighter things makes the ride more enjoyable.

Granted, the first aid kit from Decathlon that I was using for a while now is not ideal for my MTB rides, it's fairly big and takes a lot of space in my backpack.

Looking around on Internet and after a bit of research, I found the SJ Works first aid kit and I have decided to give it a try, and see if I can remove from the equation my heavy backpack, especially now when the days are hot.

Despite the small package size, the kit is surprisingly well-equipped, and contains all the items that will fix you up in case of a small injury.

sj works first aid kit
sj works first aid kit
sj works first aid kit

The content of the kit fits well inside of the pouch and there is enough space to add some small items or maybe even a folding allen key set.

Many sterile bandages and antiseptic toweletts in the kit. Quite useful is the sterile eye pad, I don't know how many times I had flies in my eyes.

There is even a space blanket in the kit, small but efective.

Nice touch is the easy access to the patches, easy to take out and to apply on minor cuts.

sj works first aid kit
sj works first aid kit

The sadle pouch fits very well under the dropper post, and doesn't affect the functionality of the dropper. The straps are firm enough and I had no issues during rides on rough trails. As a safety feature, the back of the pouch is made of reflective material making the rider more visible on the road.

For the cross country rides, I found more useful the smart phone solution kit. It's a bit bigger, and it can fit a smart phone,  useful to check a map.

sj works first aid kit

The phone is safe enough, the case is waterproof and dust proof. Also, the touch screen is working through the transparent plastic cover.

There is also a 3.5mm headphone extension cord.

The straps are sturdy and the kit is not moving around on the bike frame.

sj works first aid kit

The content of the kit is identical, same ammount of towelettes and antiseptic bandages.

Pros:

- light box.

- well-equipped.

- waterproof material.

- good price.

Cons:

- The first aid kit smart phone solution doesn't fit in all frames, it's recommended for XC and road bikes.

- A scissor and a tweezer would be nice to have.

Overall, the SJ works kit is a good solution for short cross country rides. fits well on the bike and is very well-equipped.

More info about the product.

What to carry when mountain biking

I have been asked so many times what I have in my mtb backpack.

Having a long experience in mountaineering I know for a fact(and I learned it hard way) what you have in your backpack can make the difference between a very good ride/hike and a very bad ride.

- Backpack

The backpack should be big enough to fit all the things you take around and must be comfortable on long rides.

Backpack with camel bag. Having a camel bag is very useful when you don't want to stop :)

- Bikepack content

 

- First-Aid Kit

Accidents happen, so it's a good idea to have some patches for your body and not just for the bike. Use a basic kit, a small pair of scissors, bandage tape, steri-strips and antiseptic wipes, some band-aids, a whistle in case you want to signal for help. Also, it's very good idea to have a 'space blanket'. It's very small and light.In case you need to spend a night in the woods it can help avoid hypothermia.

Another thing that I like to have in my first-aid kit is a small spray for treatment of minor skin wounds and scratches.

Very useful in case of broken legs or arms is to have a lightweight reusable splint.They are very light and easy to use.I use it also as a protection for my camera :)

- Mini pump

Flats are by far the most common cause of unintended ride interruption. If you can't fix your flat tire, you go home hiking your bike, not fun. Some people do use CO2 canisters.

- Patch kit

Handy to fix a punctured tube. Easy to use, and you will reuse the tube.No need to get rid of the tube yet.

- Spare inner tube

Even you run tubeless, it's good idea to have a spare tube. Just in case. For long rides, take two. Even if you ride 29'' or 27.5'', a 26'' tube can save you, it can stretch to fill the 29''/27.5'' tire without problems.

- Tire levers

They come in handy when you need to take of the tire.We all know how fun is to change a tire. They are made of plastic, very light.

- Shock pomp

I have mine all the time with me, you never know when you need to adjust the pressure inside of the suspension.

- Derailleur hanger

This is one small thing that can ruin your ride. They are design to break easily. They should brake first before your expensive deraileur. Keep in mind they are different for every bike. Take one with you on every ride.

- Multi-tool and folding knife

We've all seen 127 Hours movie. You never know when you have to cut something, or to open a beer :)

- Bicycle multi-tool

Having a multi-tool hex wrenches is a must have. You can fix a bike on the trail with this. 

I used to carry also a chain tool, but it's heavy and I want to cut some weight of the backpack.

- Micropur water purification tablets

To be honest, I never had to use them. There is enough clean water on the mountains, but you never know. Statistical,  fatal accident on the mountain is due to dehydration. Good to keep this in mind.They are very light and small, so no reason not to have some of those with me.

- Action camera and spare batteries

It's clear why I have this, no need to explain.

- Glow/chemical light sticks

I always have one of this glow sticks with me. They are light, not expensive and they will give some light if your flashlight batteries are dead.

- Other things

If I go in long rides, I carry with me also a flashlight/headlamp. It happen to me to be on the mountains in the night without a flash light, and that was not a happy experience. Take one with you. It can be used also to signal for help

Rain jacket, weather can change fast, especially when you are in the mountains. It's good to have something to help you stay warm and dry. Having a hypothermia on the mountains it's very very bad.

Zip ties and duct tape. From a broken shoe, or a hanging cable, they are in handy all the time.

Matches or lighter. A very important piece of survival equipment. You should have this all the time with you.

Food and gels

ID card and money.

GPS&Map. Golden rule in mountaineering is not to go alone in remote&unknown areas, unless you are looking for trouble. Take a map with you and a GPS(I use my phone for this)

In case of emergency software. I have installed on my phone Emergency kit software. It will replace your lock screen with useful information, like contact number in case of emergency, allergies, blood type, birth date. Also, it can send a SMS with your GPS location, work as a SOS flash light.

With water and all this stuff, my backpack is 2.6kg. Try to have all the heavy stuff(spare tube, keys, first aid kit) on the bottom of the backpack. Having a low center of gravity will help to be more stable on  the bike and you will fill much more comfortable.

In conclusion, try to be safe, don't do something stupid. And be prepared for everything, learn how to use your tools, go to some first aid training. Having a tool without knowing how to use it, it's like not having a tool at all.