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What’s in my pack: Dave Mitchell

Image of the February 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
February 2021 Issue

Mountain bike photographer and writer Dave Mitchell has been refining his pack and contents as technology, bikes and gear have evolved in a headlong race towards perfection. Here’s what he currently packs.

My Norco Range climbs and descends almost anything so long as I’m feeling fit and brave. It’s a far cry from the non-suspended steel frame bikes of my youth.

Bike shoes
For adventure riding it’s important to have a comfortable wide shoe. My Shimano SH-MT71 shoes have been long-lived and their grippy Vibram sole just keeps on keeping on.

Since 1995 I have been using New Zealand made Ground Effect clothing. When it rains, my Storm Trooper jacket and Helter Skelter pants give me great protection, comfort and peddling freedom. I seem to have accumulated enough GE clothing for summer climbs in Otago, winter trips on the Heaphy and everything in between. It also works great for tramping trips.

In my camera bag is a Sony mirrorless A6400 with a Zeiss f4 16-70mm zoom and a Sony 10-18mm wide-angle zoom lens for bush shots. I carry the camera bag attached to my shoulder strap for rapid deployment.

I carry a basic first-aid kit and KTI personal locator beacon. Navigation is handled by topo-maps and a handlebar-mounted Garmin 860 GPS. The Trailforks app often comes in handy on my cell phone.

I always carry a Lezyne multitool that can undo and adjust everything on the bike and includes an integrated chain breaker. I add a BBB high volume pump, two tyre levers, Swiss Army knife, roll of insulation tape and tyre valve stem removal tool along with a tyre patch kit. My folding saw comes in very handy for the occasional windfall.

The 16-litre German-engineered Evoc FR Enduro is my favourite pack. It comes with an integrated back protector for fall protection. The comfortable harness and extra-wide waistbelt gives great support and stops the pack shifting around on rough downhills. The pack is well compartmentalised with places for every possible piece of riding kit. It is designed to carry a helmet, knee and elbow pads externally and is hydration system compatible.

Tubeless tyres
I have been running tubeless tyres for 15 years and can count the number of punctures on one hand. The danger is when the sidewall of the tyre gets cut but I carry some big patches and one inner tube for this eventuality.

One spare tube, re-usable chain links, two sets of disc brake pads as some tracks throw up a lot of abrasive dust and muck. Rear derailleur hanger to replace a bent one, spare tyre valves as these sometimes get blocked by dry sealant and a small bottle of tyre sealant.