How to prepare for your next backcountry mountain biking trip

Backcountry mountain biking is a great way for riders to explore the untamed trails of New Zealand. Whilst they provide a challenge and sense of accomplishment, they do require a degree of planning and good decision making. The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council have put together 5 outdoor safety codes, to ensure you adequately plan your next backcountry mountain biking adventure.


Image Credit: Jason Blair

1. Plan your ride

Planning for a one-day or multi-day backcountry mountain biking trip, is vastly different to heading to the local bike park. There are multiple aspects to consider when planning your trip, to not only have an enjoyable ride but also to ensure that everyone in your group is on the same page – in terms of ride expectations, riding ability, and how long it will take you.

Mountain Biking - Paparoa Track

2. Tell someone your plans

Telling someone your trip plan is vital, as there is always a small chance that something could go wrong. Leaving your trip information with a trusted friend or family member could be life saving, in the event they don’t hear from you or you don’t return from your ride as planned. Along with this, ensure that everyone in your riding group is aware of the plan and the route of the track – incase anything goes wrong.

Paparoa Track - DoC

Image Credit: Jason Blair

3. Be aware of the weather

New Zealand’s weather can change dramatically with little warning, so being prepared for all weather conditions is a necessity. By regularly checking the weather, it will allow you to pack appropriately, keep up to date with any track closures, or reschedule your ride for a later date. Weather can make a huge impact on your trip, be prepared to alter your plan depending on the conditions.


4. Know your limits

Being aware of the groups riding ability, fitness levels, and track expectation helps with the track selection process. By selecting the right track for your group, it will help to eliminate any potential issues arising while riding – and also ensures that everybody has a great time! Remember things can change whilst riding, it’s important to know your limits and to make smart decisions.


5. Take sufficient supplies

Supply planning for a backcountry mountain biking trip is essential, you don’t want to be caught out in an emergency situation and not have the appropriate supplies. Wading through what you should or shouldn’t bring can be a tough decision, but vital. See here for a detailed list on what to pack.

The New Zealand Mountain Council have put together a great document that covers in more detail how to prepare for your next backcountry mountain bike adventure – see here