Heading out at 15ºF can often be scary, but with a little knowledge, the right gear, and a few comfort foods to keep you fueled, it just might become your favorite time to ride.
This week, Brand Manager David Gabrys presents his gear:
Hands and feet are often the first thing to get cold on a ride. Luckily, 45NRTH makes a variety of options to keep them warm and comfortable no matter the temperature or level of exertion. At this temp range, the Sturmfist 5 gloves are the go-to to keep my hands warm and dry. The merino liner wicks moisture, so even if I sweat, my hands stay warm. There’s a good amount of dexterity, too which is great for controlling the bike and for when I stop for few photos with my Fuji camera.
The Wolvhammer boot was one of the first projects I worked on as Brand Manager at 45NRTH. These boots have gone through a few revisions since the original launch in 2012, but the warmth and comfort has stayed consistent offering comfort from 0 - 25ºF. This years’ boots are the best yet and I never have to think about my feet getting cold while wearing them. At this temp range, the Knee High sock offers the perfect amount of warmth without taking up too much space in the boots. The knee high length adds a little warmth on the calves, too which keeps blood warm as it flows to the feet.
At these temps, layering and adjustable ventilation are key. The Naughtvind Pants and Jacket are the perfect combination of on and off bike comfort. While riding, the thigh and pit vents are usually open to let air flow in and keep the body temp regulated. Sweating at these temps can lead to getting cold later in the ride as the sun sets and the temps drop. Being able to ride with the vents open but close everything up when stopping for a few pictures or a mid-ride snack makes all the difference in comfort throughout the ride.
Beneath the jacket, one or two light weight wool base layers wick moisture to keep sweat off the skin while also preventing overheating. The 45NRTH Wool Tee is light enough to not overheat but provides just enough warmth to keep you comfortable at these temps. When the temps dip closer to the 15ºF mark, adding an additional lightweight layer, like the Smart Wool 150g long sleeve, adds a little more warmth, even if you sweat a little.
To top it off, the Stovepipe hat in combination with the Blowtorch neck gaiter offer great versatility to moderate heat retention. The blowtorch is a super versatile piece that can be used to keep your ears and face warm, or just left around your neck to keep cold drafts from going down your jacket. Throw on some Oakley Radar EVs to keep cold wind out of your eyes and you’re ready to ride!
In addition to my kit, I tend to carry a few other items on rides at these temps:
Big Chet’s Spicy Fennel Sausage by Red Table
My friend Mike Phillips started Red Table Meat’s 4 years ago in our hometown of Minneapolis, and this spicy version of his cured salami collection has become my favorite for mid-ride snacks. The spiciness hits the spot on a cold afternoon and pairs perfectly with a super soft brie cheese. This specific combination is a tasty, calorie-rich snack that bridges the gap between lunch and dinner during a cold afternoon ride.
Justin’s Almond Butter
Peanut butter sandwiches were a staple of mine as a teenager, so the Justin’s Almond Butter product immediately resonated with me. I don’t like sugar-filled energy foods while riding, so I prefer the compact, shot-size almond butter to provide an energy boost and supplement of protein. They also happen to be way more tasty than most other fast-energy foods on the market.
These can be easily found in the USA now, but I bought mine while traveling through Belgium so I could cut up baguettes, meat and cheese on-the-go. The high carbon steel keeps the blade sharp, and the wood handle is not only stylish, but very light. The barrel around the blade attachment is super easy to use with gloves for when you need to secure the blade in place while open. Everything about this knife is perfect and awesome for winter fat biking and camping activities.
This is a Midwest classic from my 1990’s road racing days. Growing up in the woods of Northern Wisconsin, Power Bars were difficultto find and Clif Bar didn’t exist yet. Every gas station and convenience store had Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls for sale in the standard and king size offerings. These are the perfect for fat biking in so many ways. They are packable and hold a long shelf life for when you forget them in your frame bag (c’mon, we all do it). The packaging allows you to partially eat them, and then stow them away (possibly forgetting them in your frame bag). They also pack a solid serving of protein, sugar and salt. This combination will snap you out of a mid-ride bonk, while also encouraging you to keep drinking fluids because of the salt. When I run out of Justin’s Almond Butter these are always at the bottom of my bag for emergency calories.
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. David’s favorite kit is a great starting point to dialing in your own kit for winter riding in 15 - 25ºF weather. Next week, we’ll feature Brand Ambassador Chelsea Strate’s favorites for 0 - 15ºF.