Putting Together a Complete Trailbuilding Kit|
Sunday, November 04, 2001
Over the years I have put together a complete personal "trail survey and repair pack" that I take with me on trail projects.
I use my pack to complement the trail projects I work on. While there are occasions where I go out on my own for routine maintenance, I am not a one-man stealth trail machine. Whether I am working with a group or on my own, I always check with the agency first and get permission. Just as responsible riding is the proper behavior, so is responsible trail work.
1. Pack: Look for a pack that is not too bulky and doesn't have a lot of exposed straps or pockets that can snag on brush or branches when bushwhacking. Look for colors that are easily located when the pack is set down (red, orange, or yellow). Avoid external mesh pockets - these are notorious for catching and tearing.
2. Folding Shovel: I use a shovel that has a polycarbanite handle manufactured by Gloc. The shovel is incredibly lightweight, takes serious abuse, and has a saw blade in the handle.
3. Loppers: Loppers should be durable, lightweight and inexpensive.
4. Rock Hammer: I prefer a chisel blade as opposed to a point because it can break larger chunks.
5. Folding Saws: Gerber makes several quality folding saws, either folding or retractable. I carry two or three saws in case one breaks.
6. Flagging: You can never have enough flagging, especially if you are identifying work areas, realignments, trees to be removed, areas to avoid, etc.
7. Abney Clinometer: I use a clinometer made by Brunton that includes a compass.
8. Altimeter/Temperature Meter: As well as being a useful trail tool, knowing the temp and barometric pressure helps me dress properly.
9. GPS Receiver: Since acquiring one, I have become very familiar with mapping, waypoints, GIS, and all the other advantages GPS has to offer.
10. Webbing & Cord: This is great to have if you are moving large objects and brush.
11. Stuff Sacks: Keeps stuff neat and protected.
12. Multi-Tool: Just good to have around.
13. Gloves: Keeps your hands soft.
14. Safety glasses: Always smart when chipping rock.
15. First Aid Kit: A small one isn't a burden and can be a life saver.
16. Trash Bag: Always carry out trash.
17. Poison Oak/Ivy Cream: I typically will bring some pre-treatment or wash with me when I know there is potential for exposure.
18. Food & Water: Trailwork is hard. Make sure you have plenty of water and food.
Editor's Note: Kurt Loheit of Palos Verdes Penninsula, California, is a pioneering mountain bike trailbuilder and one of IMBA's founders. For more than a decade he has shared his trails expertise and mountain bike knowledge with land managers and volunteers throughout North America. He is IMBA's Trails Resource Director.