What To Carry In Your Fanny Pack?

By Tom Niemela

When it comes to needing a tool out on the trail, all of us have wished we had packed our Craftsman Tool Box and all of its contents.  Since doing that would make us even slower than we already are (and tool boxes don’t go over logs very well), we resort to packing the minimum items that we deem necessary to occupy the dark crevices inside our lowly fanny pack.  Then there are those that pack them full of every conceivable tool that they could shoehorn into the bulging bag.  Those people are the ones you always want to follow, since their bag zippers usually go south and the trail is littered with toolish gems.  Over the years I’ve seen many a fanny pack spread out on the seat of a broken cycle and had a chance to see what contents various people have stored.  The trick is to have one tool that does everything!  You and I haven’t invented that yet, so the following are what I consider to be bare essentials.  These are in two categories: race bag, and dualsport bag.  The dualsport bag builds on the race bag, so follow me through a trip with “Tool Time With Tommy”.

The racing fanny pack must be small, so as not to get in the racer’s way whilst staying ahead of the competition.  It should also have tools that operate quickly, are reliable and easy to find in a hurry.  What’s the number one tool that should be in EVERYONE’S fanny pack?  Here it is: When working on your bike at home, ONLY use the tools in your fanny pack.  This will ensure that you always have the right tools out on the trail.  No joke here.  Refresh your tool supply as needed.  Also, go through your fanny pack every few months at least and toss all the old wrappers, broken parts and useless, outdated furry creatures that have made your pack their home.  Another couple things to mention is try switching your pack around 180 degrees to where the actual pack resides in front of you rather than in back of you.  It feels weird at first, but often times carries better and doesn’t bounce on your seat over whoops.  Also, when you wash your pack down, be sure and unzip everything to let it dry out.  It doesn’t hurt to spray your tools down with WD-40 once in awhile too to keep the rust at bay.  Rust never sleeps.

This is what “I” carry and works for me, although others may carry different items.  I’m always open for suggestions on different items, so email me if you have some newfangled ideas that work (in no particular order):

Next is the larger dualsport pack.  It incorporates EVERYTHING above, but a few more amenities for those longer, leisurely rides:

Geez, I forgot about carrying a backpack.  On those extended journeys, a backpack is a great way to carry larger items and this is usually what I stow in mine:

That’s all I can think of for now.  I may add more as I sniff around more inside the dregs of my fanny pack.  Murphy's Law dictates that anything that can happen, probably will, so if you have something with you, you probably won't need it.  As the Boy Scout’s motto says: be prepared!