When temperatures hover around 0ºF (-18°C), it can be tricky to find the right setup to be warm but not overheat. The right combination of layers and materials will keep you comfortable on a ride with friends or some friendly competition on race day.
This week, Chelsea shares her favorite kit:
I’ve believed for a long time that the only way to get through cold Minnesota winters is to find an enjoyable way to stay active outdoors, because nothing beats exercising and fresh air when it comes to avoiding the winter blues. I started as a cross country skier, and have transitioned into winter fat bike racing, and through both sports I have learned a ton about suiting up through years of trial and error. Now I have the honor of sharing with you what I wear fat biking in that 0ºF-15ºF (-18° to -9°C) temperature range!
Starting with my core, I wear my 45NRTH merino wool t-shirt. It’s comfortable, it’s warm, it wicks moisture away from my core, what’s not to love? Next, I put on my Naughtvind Bibs over my wool t-shirt, then layer a zip up wool jersey, or two, over that. If I’m suiting up to go out for a fun ride with friends, I’ll probably wear two long sleeve jerseys since I’m probably not going to produce as much heat as if I were to be racing in these temps. I like to make sure that everything that I layer over my bibs has zippers for easy access, in case I have to take a nature break at any point before, during, or after my ride. Over all that, I’ll put on an insulating wind blocking mid-weight cycling jacket, like our Podiumwear race jackets, to keep my heat in and the wind out.
On top of my head is the wind proof Stove Pipe cap that can fit under my favorite purple Lazer Z1 helmet that I wear year-round. I like having a signature cycling accessory during the winter, since it’s hard to tell who’s who out there when everyone is all bundled up! Tucked into the neck of my jacket, I have been enjoying wearing a fleece neck gaiter due to its warmth and versatility. I can leave it around my neck, cover my chin, or even pull it up over my ears to double up with my hat. Usually I’ll leave it between my lower lip and my chin in this temperature range, so that it doesn’t direct my breath up into my glasses and fog them up. In the winter, I like to wear glasses that have a photochromic lens, so that they adjust to the amount of light in the environment. This comes in handy for the bright sun reflecting off the snow when I start my ride, then for when there is no light after I stay out too late and the sun has gone to bed early.
Wool socks in my Red Wing Edition Wolvhammer boots seems to be a killer combination for my tootsies. Having a little extra room in the toe box is crucial for ensuring that my feet stay warm. Sturmfist 4 gloves do an amazing job of keeping my hands warm, and only in this temperature range is it actually cold enough for me to start using them!
One of my extra items that I like to carry on me is lip balm to protect my lips from the dry cold air. The other is an insulated Stanley vacuum mug that fits in my water bottle cage. It’s always preloaded with some sort of hot beverage for breaks during my ride, or to sip on post-race. One of my hot indulgences is hot cocoa with a little bit of Rumple Minze peppermint schnapps.
Riding in the winter requires trial and error. Since comfort is personal, the best way to find the right gear is to test it out. Chelsea’s favorite kit is a great starting point to dialing in your own kit for winter riding in 0 - 15ºF weather. Next week, we’ll feature Scott’s favorites for -10 - 0ºF. (-23° to -18°C)