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Gear Guide

The need to hydrate

Hydration has a strong correlation with athletic performance, especially during endurance-based activity including mountain biking. Some studies have shown that as little as 2% dehydration can have serious negative impacts on athletic performance. Athletes are often unaware of their fluid and electrolyte loss while cycling, leading to unexpected performance dips and suboptimal training. 

One of the best ways to keep up on your hydration is by keeping fluids handy while riding. Recent studies have shown that backpack hydration systems are superior when compared to other forms of bottled hydration due to its greater accessibility and capacity. With a backpack hydration system, riders are able to easily and properly hydrate all from the comfort of their saddle. 

Here at Village Sports Shop, we are prepared to suit your hydration needs, for optimal comfort and performance, with a wide selection of offerings from Camelback, Osprey, and Dakine.  Browse our instore selections and try on a hydration pack.  

Don't be hard-headed! That's what your helmet is for!


If you're looking to cut some costs when assembling your MTB quiver, one area to avoid is your helmet. While flying through trees, cornering berms and tackling rocky descents, a proper fitting helmet with modern MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection) technology is a MUST! It is strongly suggested that riders switch out their helmets with every major impact OR every 5 yrs for reliability and safety.

So the question lies, what should you look for in a MTB helmet? First and foremost, safety features are crucial for all varieties of riders. Technology such as MIPS, which aims to reduce injury by minimizing brain rattling when taking those teeth gritting falls is a great start when searching for a helmet. Other key features you want in a helmet are quality shell material, fitted liner, and well designed ventilation. Making sure your helmet fits properly is also crucial. 

Here at Village Sports Shop we have all the knowledge and gear to keep you safe and smiling out on the trails. Invest in yourself and come on into either of our locations to make sure you're protected. The right helmet is the cheapest insurance policy on the market! Swing through and pick up one of our featured helmets from Smith, Giro, or Specialized. 

Pedals: Flats or Clipless?

Many riders struggle when making a decision on what type of pedals they want. The main two variations of pedals are flats and clipless. While most of the elite and competitive aspects of cycling lead toward clipless pedals, more and more elite MTB riders are making the switch to flat pedals. This trend is growing with the support of top of the line pedal/shoe connectivity. New bike shoes specifically designed for flat pedal riders such as the Specialized 2FO, are designed to match purpose made pedal spikes from manufacturers such as Diety and DMR on its flat sole. This engineered model allows riders to feel connected to the pedals, allowing for an efficient and strong pedal stroke while simultaneously providing them the freedom to better corner, jump, or even dab their foot while riding more technical terrain. Whether it's clipless or flats, here at Village Sports Shop we have all the gear and knowledge to take your riding setup to the next level

MTB Kits: The Must Haves

Refining and augmenting your Mountain Biking packing list is an important part in becoming a more advanced, efficient, and reliable rider. There are many misconceptions around what makes a good MTB pack, leaving people often either scarce of the necessities, or lugging around excess weight.

The Musts:
-Co2 Cartridge/Dispenser
-Mini pump
-Spare Tube
-Tire Levers
-Tubeless plug strips (if tubeless setup)
-Small Multi Tool
-Hydration/Snack:  consume 4-8 oz of fluid per 20 mins of riding, depending on outside temperature.  Consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour (120-240 calories), depending on rider weight and effort level.  

Here at Village Sports shop, we have all the necessities to augment your riding pack….so you’ll always stay fueled and never go flat!


Up in the NEK and New England in general, much of the most gorgeous scenery around is only accessible by non motorized boats. From the depths of Lake Willoughby to exploring the endless meanders of the Passumpsic, having a kayak or stand up paddle board will grant you access to all the untouched serenity Northern Vermont has to offer. With over 4,000 miles of rivers and 40,000 acres of lake, Vermont has become a top destination for those looking to enjoy time on the water.

So, what is the best way to get out there? Well, there are a few options, first being a standup paddle board (SUP). When looking at SUP’s, two main variations will present themselves: Hard-top and Inflatable. Hard top paddle boards are designed more for performance than its inflatable counterpart, being more desirable if surfing or racing SUP’s. However for most interested, inflatable paddle boards have much more desirable qualities while being half the price. Inflatables are extremely convenient, packing in and out of a small bag allowing for quick and easy portability. Amazingly, the inflatable paddle boards don’t lose performance for convenience, being very durable with double layered military grade material that prevents punctures, all while providing a smooth and stable ride.

Another great way to explore Vermont’s vast waterways is in a kayak. There are many different variations, however some of the main variations you will see are sit-on, sit-in, and fishing kayaks. Sit on kayaks are designed more for an easy and enjoyable ride providing plenty of room to easily climb in and out of the boat along with having more perceived leg room. Its counterpart sit-in kayak is built more for performance, allowing for an efficient and powerful paddle stroke. Finally, the fishing boat, as stated in its name, is designed for slow and precise maneuvering to allow you to access all the secret locations, while being adaptable to fit your tackle boxes and any other attachments you desire.

Whether you’re looking for a kitted out fishing kayak or a fun day out on the paddle board, here at Village Sports Shop we have all the gear and knowledge to get you out on the water.

Bike Racks

Whether it’s a cross country trip or just a drive to your local trail system, an accessible and reliable rack is a must have. There are a few different styles of bike transporting systems including: Hitch standing racks, hitch tray racks, trunk racks, and pickup pads. Standing racks such as the Yakima HangOver 4 allows the whole family to throw their MTB bikes up on the rack, while simultaneously keeping all the bikes close and secure to the car creating worry free driving. The HangOver 4 also has an adjustable angle feature allowing users to optimize the degree at which their bikes stand, ranging from 90-180 degrees from the cars trailer hitch. This feature allows users to adjust the rack to optimally fit their vehicle while also allowing for easy loading for shorter riders.
Another common style is a tray rack. Like the standing racks, tray racks lock into the trailer hitch and extend out behind the vehicle. The most notable feature of tray racks such as Yakima’s HoldUp Evo, is the easy racking/unracking. With a tray system sticking out behind the vehicle, the bikes stand straight up only a few feet off the ground, with the wheels locked in place. This allows for riders of all sizes to easily load their bikes on and off the trays. Another advantage of the tray racks is the raised step design, where each bike tray progressively gets higher from the ground creating separation between each bike's handlebars/seats preventing any sort of friction damage.
Trunk racks can also be a great way to transport your bikes. Trunk racks such as Yakima’s fullback 3 can be a great cheaper option for those looking to carry 1-3 bikes. The Fullback securely straps to the back of your trunk, allowing for easy installation and storage. Along with easy spending, the fullback does a great job of allowing for easy use with a simple strapping system designed to be used by all types of riders.
If you’re a pickup driving biker, a must have is a pickup pad. Whether it’s Dakine or Thule, pickup pads allow you to essentially convert your tailgate into a bike rack with a simple installation. The front tire is intended to sit over the tailgate with the rest of the bike standing in the bed. This style allows for secure and damage free transport to wherever your biking adventures take you.
From high end hitch racks to pick up pads, here at Village Sports Shop we have the gear and knowledge to keep you riding easy.