Not so long ago, bike patch kits referred to one thing: a small lightweight kit you carried during your ride that allowed you to patch a hole in one of your bike’s inner tubes. These kits, which are still very handy and widely used, typically come with a handful of patches, some sort of sanding device, and glue to keep the patch in place (unless the patches are glueless, in which case the patch sticks to your tube much like a sticker). In either case, these bicycle tube patch kits cost little and are easy to carry, meaning there’s no reason not to keep one on hand just in case.

But with the recent proliferation of tubeless tire set-ups, especially for mountain bikers, plug kits have become another indispensable item in the battle against ride wrecking tire punctures. And when used correctly, plug kits are far faster than inserting a tube inside your flat tire or using a patch kit, which is why plug kits are especially popular with cross-country and enduro mountain bike racers where time is of the essence.

Simply find the puncture opening on your tire, load a plugger strip onto the jabber tool, and then jab it into the hole. The plugger strip (which is essentially a small strip of rubber) stops air from coming out. Now check your tire pressure. If you’ve acted fast enough, you may still be good to go. But if you’ve lost a few psi, pull out a pump or CO2, re-inflate to your desired air pressure and get back to riding your bike.

In the rare case that you slice your tire while you’re riding, there are tire patch kits. These bike tire repairs kits are similar to patch kits but are much more heavy duty. They are placed over the cut in the tire so the inner tube will no longer be able to pop out of the hole that was created. Park Tool makes an excellent kit that includes a waterproof vinyl membrane repair patch that has fiber weave reinforcements.

On top of carrying a patch kit with you, never forget to carry tire levers and a pump or CO2 so you can re-inflate your tire. Curious which one of these bike tube patch kit solutions makes the most sense for you and your needs? Give a JensonUSA Gear Advisors a call. They’ll be happy to discuss the various riding scenarios to help you make the best buying decision. You can email, chat, or call them at 888-880-3811.