Every winter, we dig into our closets and pull out all our winter riding gear hoping to remember what worked last year. We’ve put together our favorite items to get you riding in any winter weather.
This week, Garrett presents his gear:
For many in the United States, the 25-45ºF (-4°-7°C) range is the bulk of winter riding season. While factors such as sunlight, humidity, precipitation and elevation can complicate things, this is my go to mix of items for riding in the front range of Colorado.
I like to start with a great base layer. The 45NRTH wool tee is an athletic cut wool t-shirt and is particularly great in cooler months because it’s soft, warm and wicks moisture. It also has the beautiful quality of merino which makes it highly resistant to retaining odor from working out or daily use. For riding, I like to size down from what I would normally use and what was a great t-shirt becomes an incredible cycling base layer.
From there, in warmer winter months, I like to wear a thermal bib short with leg warmers. Why not full tights? Well, I like how bibs fit and I love the versatility of layering. If it’s 45ºF, I can use a merino or super lightweight leg warmer, while if it’s in the 20’s, I can just run thermal leg warmers. In both cases, your larger leg muscles get maximum insulation and warmth without cooking the rest of your legs. My current favorites are the Rapha classic thermal bib and leg warmers.
I sincerely love our 45NRTH socks. With high thread counts, these Merino blended socks breathe well, don’t stink and add a little visual pop to my kit. For most days in this range, I go with the Lightweight Merino socks, which give my feet some warmth without bulk that would consume the dead air space within my boot. Dead air within your boot is crucial to warmth. Often I find a thinner sock actually keeps my feet warmer.
You can’t beat the 45NRTH Ragnarok. While we call these a transition season boots, as long as your dogs don’t run crazy cold, this boot is a great all-around winter boot depending on your riding climate.
For gloves, I use the new 45NRTH Nokken. If I go out longer than a few hours, I’ll also bring a set of 45NRTH Sturmfist 5’s just in case the weather goes south or I plan to descend from high elevation for a sustained distance.
If it’s in the 20’s I’ll double up on long sleeve jerseys, but still won’t use a jacket since that will often trap my sweat and eventually make me cold. Overheating means sweat and sweat means cold.
Topping it off is the 45NRTH/Podium Wear team vest. This cuts the wind and I love how it also features three rear pockets, so I can access my food, phone, etc without unzipping to get to my jersey pockets.
For headwear, I like the versatility of the 45NRTH Greazy. With full Merino wool construction, this hat has great articulation over the ears and the brim protects from wind, sun and snow.
As for additional accessories, because I’m a recovering racing nerd, I rarely ride without my Garmin 520. My POC Octal keeps me visible and safe if I encounter a fall. For eyewear, you can’t beat the superior optics of Oakley sunglasses. My favorite for colder days is the Radar EV with photochromatic lenses, which features great coverage and the ability to change with light conditions. Honey stinger is one of my favorite foods and in the winter; I love the waffles.
Lately, I’ve also been bringing my Fuji XT-10 with 18/55 lens packed on my handlebars in an Outershell drawcord handlebar bag. Finally, ending a ride with a good beer is best. While I can’t get them out here in Colorado, during my time living in the upper Midwest, I grew to love Blackrocks coconut brown.
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. Garrett’s favorite kit is a great starting point to dialing in your own kit for winter riding in 25 - 45ºF weather. Next week, we’ll feature David favorites for 15 - 25ºF.