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  1. #1
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    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?

    For me, the toughest part of riding in winter is managing the sweat/moisture underneath the jacket. I have a few jackets but there is always a compromise between wind resilience and breathability. The more wind/rain resilient, the less breathable and vice versa.

    The best solution I have found is wearing a thermal compression shirt under a windbreaker type jacket. However, it is not without problems. Too much moisture builds underneath. It stays warm enough underneath the jacket but my thermal compression shirt is just soaked after. The thermal compression shirt does works well because it acts sort of like a wetsuit against the skin, but I really want to get rid of some of the moisture if possible.

    Anybody have good strategies on managing moisture in cold weather?

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    I'm the winter, when it's actually cold, water-proof stuff just does not breathe well enough. It will soak you from the inside if you are really exerting.

    In Alaska, if it's below freezing, light soft shells or heavier soft shells if it's colder, because they breathe well. If it's above that, just longsleeve jerseys and you might carry a light packable (ok to be a hard shell) jacket for the downhills.

    Manage the moisture by rolling up sleeves, unzipping, packing top layer, etc.

    Generally, look for stuff similar to XC ski clothes, the exertion is similar and they have to be very breathable. Sometimes people are surprised how little we were when it's cold, but that's to keep from sweating.
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    I do several light thin layers and peel as I ride as needed,
    Never had a problem with the wet stuff...

    A base layer with a long sleeve jersey and then a larger size short sleeve jersey over that with a water resistant or water proof wind breaker,
    I add things under the wind breaker as temps drop..

    My legs like to be out if things stay above 55 F

    If It goes below 40 or 45 F I go toes up on the couch with sum hot chocolate
    and a good movie :P
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  4. #4
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    Merino wool as a base layer will help transport moisture off your skin. The hard part is to dress so as not to build up so much moisture. I wear a 1/4 zip wool base(around 200 count) with a vented jersey, then a fleece shell that has a wind liner in it. If your not cold/chilly at the begining of your ride you're already in trouble.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeBurnsie View Post
    Merino wool as a base layer will help transport moisture off your skin. The hard part is to dress so as not to build up so much moisture. I wear a 1/4 zip wool base(around 200 count) with a vented jersey, then a fleece shell that has a wind liner in it. If your not cold/chilly at the begining of your ride you're already in trouble.
    I second merino wool. If I need to cut wind and maintain some breathability, I throw on my vented RaceFace Agent jacket.

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    My first line of defense is just don't push the effort level to high. Save the harder efforts for when its 40+ degrees outside. If you're trying to do serious training to stay in shape for the warmer months do at least one session per week indoors on a trainer.

    When its 20-30 I wear a normal summer cycling jersey with arm warmers as my base layer a wind proof jacket as the outer layer. I usually back down my effort level as soon I feel like I might start sweating. If I do get sweaty then I unzip the jacket or just take it off. Tights are great for your legs since they breath well but keep you warm. If its super windy or road riding I wear a pair of Patagonia wind shield pants. They're expensive but by far the best pants I ever bought for cold weather riding.

    Below 20 degrees I wear a thin compression long sleeve shirt as a base layer with short sleeve over that and the same wind breaker jacket. Definitely wear the Patagonia pants maybe with a layer of tights under them. Never been below 15 degrees to need more.

    In these temps I do keep a down jacket in my hydration pack if theres any chance I'll be more then a 30min walk from home or the car. Eddie Bauer makes down jackets that will stuff into its own pocket and doesn't take up to much space in the pack.

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    I tend to become a furnace (in the core area) if I work hard at all. Almost all merino wool becomes too hot. I tend to wear synthetic base layers that are designed to wick w/ a windproof breathable shell over it. I have had a Patagonia Hummingbird jacket for about 15 years. It is fantastic at moving moisture. It has been replaced by the Houdini which I highly recommend. I've seen it on sale for around $50 a couple of different times.
    Also, if you're comfortably warm in the parking lot, you are overdressed.

  8. #8
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    Some good advice in the comments. I think I may try wearing the softshell and bringing a windbreaker shell just for the downhills. I just don't like to stop when I ride for workouts. Haha.

    Another thing would be finding a jacket that was like a mullet. Windbreaker in the front and breathable in the back. I am going to try to find one.

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    I avoid the need for waterproof, thats the big one. Waterproof means water cant get in or OUT.

    Many think because of snow being water that they have to be waterproof. Actually quite the opposite. Your making your problems worse not better.

    A proper outer layer though with deal with some moisture outside just fine. Will bead up.

    The closest to waterproof anything I have is snowboarding pants and and my boots. Has to be rather cold or riding in more than a couple inches of snow.

    I have thermal base layers (underarmor cold gear). That comes out once it drops blow about 55 for the top. Below 45 for the legs.

    From there I just layer jersey, UA hoodie, thin or thicker softshell jackets as needed.

    One of my Hoodies is my outer layer till it hits the low 20s. Depending on wind and such I will have a thin softshell to help keep wind out between base and outer layer.

    Below mid/low 20s the heavy softshell is my outer layer (hoodie as mid layer).

    I have found keeping extremities and neck warm has reduced how much layering the rest of me needs.

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    I have first lite gear....Merino wool and cocona 37.5 jacket. Can’t be beat. Much lighter than gore Tex and breathes better so sweat vapor gets out. Merino wool is far superior to any synthetic out there for warmth, breathability and stench control. I used to use ua, but now all my hunting gear is first lite stuff...and it doubles for cold weather mtb’ing


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    Another thing would be finding a jacket that was like a mullet. Windbreaker in the front and breathable in the back. I am going to try to find one.
    That's a majority of the XC ski pants and jackets.

    Also, I find the base layer must be close fitting, loose base layers are crazy cold to me. I think the moisture isn't transport anywhere near as effective with looser stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    Some good advice in the comments. I think I may try wearing the softshell and bringing a windbreaker shell just for the downhills. I just don't like to stop when I ride for workouts. Haha.

    Another thing would be finding a jacket that was like a mullet. Windbreaker in the front and breathable in the back. I am going to try to find one.
    My wife has a Pearl Izumi wind breaker jacket with vents in the back but blocks wind at the front. When you unzip the front a little it flows in the front and circulates out the back vents perfectly.

    My Patagonia pants are wind proof everywhere except for on the back side from the knee up. So they do vent out the back but still block my shins, thighs and crotch from the wind. Having a warm twig and berries on the road bike averaging 18mph has been heavenly. I swear wind is funneled straight into the family jewels.

    The zippered arm pit vents in my snowboarding jacket would be awesome. I have no idea why that hasn't been worked into a cold weather cycling jacket yet.

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    I second the "dress like an XC skier" idea. I have a high sweat rate- doing aerobic activity in winter and staying dry is not an option for me. I wear a soft shell of varying weight depending on temp. I also follow the rule for running in the cold- you should feel about 20 degrees too cold at the very start, before you start moving.

    I'm a sweaty mess at the end of a fat bike ride/XC ski/snowshoe. However, I always carry some extra gear with me- a wind-breaking shell, an additional warm layer, and emergency bivy, just in case things go sideways. I can get wet and sweaty and stay warm as long as I keep moving. If something goes wrong, I have a couple of light weight options in my bag to keep me warm if I'm not moving as much.
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    Boo Bear's stuff is spot-on. Sometimes I'll change to a dry base layer mid-ride if there is a warm place to change.

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    The XC skier stuff would probably be more functional but the con would it is like road bike wear. I want to wear some mountain bike looking gear. Haha.

    I'm gonna try a light softshell jacket that I have. Definitely more breathable but not sure how good on the wind resistance it will be.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    The XC skier stuff would probably be more functional but the con would it is like road bike wear. I want to wear some mountain bike looking gear. Haha.

    I'm gonna try a light softshell jacket that I have. Definitely more breathable but not sure how good on the wind resistance it will be.
    Soft shell materials generally have good wind resistance.

    While I fully agree with the layered approach of dressing similarly to XC-skiing, I'm also not a fan of wearing tights. I wear a pair of light, slim-fitting but not tight, soft shell pants. A number of companies make good options for this - Outdoor Research, Patagonia, Club Ride, etc. Underneath those I wear merino long johns of different thickness, depending on temps.

    And, as others have said, there's really no need for waterproof stuff.
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    Softshell jackets are terrible in my experience. They soak up moisture and take forever to dry. I have a high end pearl izumi softshell and I used it twice and haven't touched it since. The thinnest wind shell is the best outer layer. Non waterproof. Patagonia Houdini, Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier or similar are the best.


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  18. #18
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    Easy and cheap...

    I use this set up for anything from cool weather biking to xc skiing down to about 0 F, and for jogging, and trail work, and...

    Russell Athletic thin, long sleeve, collared, zip neck work out shirt. $12 at Wally World.

    Wrangler fleece buffalo plaid button down top. About $10 on sale at Wally World.

    Mesh backed, cycling vest, generic. $7 on eBay.


    Wear all three layers which turn out to be very light.

    I own about 6 of each of these.


    Been using this set up for years. Tried the hi tech, expenstive stuff. Nothing came close.

    Only thing I change is replace is the Russel with a thin wool shirt on camping trips for odor control.

    We deal with a lot of wet and cold here. This weekend is projected to be at least -22 F.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Train View Post
    Softshell jackets are terrible in my experience. They soak up moisture and take forever to dry. I have a high end pearl izumi softshell and I used it twice and haven't touched it since. The thinnest wind shell is the best outer layer. Non waterproof. Patagonia Houdini, Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier or similar are the best.


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    Something seems off here, although no one method works for all people, the majority of people around here in Alaska are running some kind of soft shell and not hard-shell (generally water proof, thicker harder layers, etc) stuff. Are you talking about around 45 degrees F? At that temp you'll usually roast in any jacket uphill, so the best is often a very light nylon type jacket that you can easily take off for the climb (or a vest, or arm warmers ,etc.). For truly cold temps, I have a hard time believing a soft-shell is getting that wet, unless you are way over-dressing with layers or it's incredibly thick. Got any more details?
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    I can’t believe more folks here don’t use merino wool? Just 2 of us here?? There is no better base layer to manage body heat and perspiration from 0-90 degrees. Cotten is horrible and synthetics lose insulating properties when wet (and stink to boot). Good merino isn’t cheap, but most of it is machine washable and lasts for years.


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    Quote Originally Posted by gtsum2 View Post
    I can’t believe more folks here don’t use merino wool? Just 2 of us here?? There is no better base layer to manage body heat and perspiration from 0-90 degrees. Cotten is horrible and synthetics lose insulating properties when wet (and stink to boot). Good merino isn’t cheap, but most of it is machine washable and lasts for years.


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    For what? Stretchy base-layers wick moisture just fine, and if you wash your stuff, at least every few rides, it doesn't stink IME. I didn't buy any, but I was checking out Ross a few days ago down in Texas during the holidays, finding several long sleeve "base layers" that I'd use out on rides, for prices around 8.99 and 13.99, some with zippers, some with extra-long collars that can be used as face-masks, etc. I use wool socks, but apart from that, I've never felt any real benefit with a wool layer up top or beneath my XC ski pants (where I don't use a base-layer, except for 8-panel shorts when it's really cold). The stretchy base-layers wick moisture just fine, better IMO to stock up on a whole bunch of different thicknesses and types, that way you have stuff you can mix and match with a variety of soft-shell jackets to fine-tune for conditions. Example, it was around zero F today in some places, so I went with one of my mid-weight base layers with the longer collar, then a lightweight sleeveless T and my heavier softshell, was happy and didn't have to ventilate much.

    I'm not saying don't buy it, but I'm not seeing a huge benefit either, not worth the sticker price for core base layers, but I'd spend that money for extremities.
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Train View Post
    Softshell jackets are terrible in my experience. They soak up moisture and take forever to dry. I have a high end pearl izumi softshell and I used it twice and haven't touched it since. The thinnest wind shell is the best outer layer. Non waterproof. Patagonia Houdini, Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier or similar are the best.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Something seems off here, although no one method works for all people, the majority of people around here in Alaska are running some kind of soft shell and not hard-shell (generally water proof, thicker harder layers, etc) stuff. Are you talking about around 45 degrees F? At that temp you'll usually roast in any jacket uphill, so the best is often a very light nylon type jacket that you can easily take off for the climb (or a vest, or arm warmers ,etc.). For truly cold temps, I have a hard time believing a soft-shell is getting that wet, unless you are way over-dressing with layers or it's incredibly thick. Got any more details?

    I think it depends on the softshell. There are so many types now that all have varying thickness, insulation, breathabilty, wind resistance, water resistance, etc. Nylon/spandex, polyester/spandex, only polyester. Actually quite overwhelming at the options.

    I have one Royal Racing softshell that looks like it would be really good but it doesn't really do much very well. The wind cuts through it, it holds water, and not very water resistance. It is warm when it is dry and no wind. I just tried another softshell today. A very thin polyester/spandex blend. It worked decent in 50s weather. Wind resistance was good, held some water but was not sopping wet.

    I have yet to try Merino Wool. I should though. It is next on my list. Just haven't felt the need to use it because in my weather, the thermal compression shirt works pretty good. Even when wet it feels decently warm as long as I have something to block the wind. However, I am not riding in really cold weather like some you guys. I don't think I could hack some of the weather you guys ride in. Haha.

  23. #23
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    The windproof fleece lined softshells can indeed be terrible. Think thin and unlined when you look at softshells for anything less than extreme cold, and let the baselayer change with the temps. OR's Ferrosi line is my favorite for jackets-thin and extremely breathable. Marmot's M3 stuff has similar qualities, but would be a step up from that in weather resistance and durability(great for pants, too).
    I'm ok with a nylon windshirt, too, since I like to be cold and underdress, so am rarely going to sweat heavily in cold weather.

    Quote Originally Posted by gtsum2 View Post
    Merino wool is far superior to any synthetic out there for warmth, breathability and stench control.
    Not that it's bad, but none of that is true except the odor part. Merino is the most overhyped material on the planet. "Far superior"

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    Not that it's bad, but none of that is true except the odor part. Merino is the most overhyped material on the planet. "Far superior"
    Interesting article here on merino wool vs "regular".

    Seems the only real advantage may be that it's "softer", which would be good for base-layers, no question there, but insulation seems suspect over normal wool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtsum2 View Post
    I have first lite gear....Merino wool and cocona 37.5 jacket. Can’t be beat. Much lighter than gore Tex and breathes better so sweat vapor gets out. Merino wool is far superior to any synthetic out there for warmth, breathability and stench control. I used to use ua, but now all my hunting gear is first lite stuff...and it doubles for cold weather mtb’ing


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    I'm the same way. I have a combination of First Lite, Kuiu and Sitka gear that gets used for all winter outdoor activities. Merino is always my baselayer choice. If it's a middle ground temp, I'll often wear a merino t shirt with synthetic cycling sleeves. I'm always surprised by the amount of cycling jerseys I see in cold weather. Granted, I do a lot of Backcountry riding, so I tend to think in terms of "what if I get hurt and/or have to walk out of here, will my clothes keep me alive?"

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    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?

    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    The windproof fleece lined softshells can indeed be terrible. Think thin and unlined when you look at softshells for anything less than extreme cold, and let the baselayer change with the temps. OR's Ferrosi line is my favorite for jackets-thin and extremely breathable. Marmot's M3 stuff has similar qualities, but would be a step up from that in weather resistance and durability(great for pants, too).
    I'm ok with a nylon windshirt, too, since I like to be cold and underdress, so am rarely going to sweat heavily in cold weather.


    Not that it's bad, but none of that is true except the odor part. Merino is the most overhyped material on the planet. "Far superior"
    And you know this because you spent the money on quality merino and used it? Or you used some off brand merino? Or second hand info??

    I have all under armor gear for workout stuff...I HAD it for hunting (ie cold weather)...I changed to first lite merino 4 years ago and I would never go back. I am comfortable from 10 degrees up to 80 degrees. When synthetics get damp and wet they do not insulate nearly as well as merino. So, I have spent the money on the different options and tried them....have you?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Interesting article here on merino wool vs "regular".

    Seems the only real advantage may be that it's "softer", which would be good for base-layers, no question there, but insulation seems suspect over normal wool.
    Merino comes in light, med and heavy weight. Layer up as u see fit. Finally, first lite merino can be washed in a washing machine....regular cannot. That is a major, major difference


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    Quote Originally Posted by 101 View Post
    I'm the same way. I have a combination of First Lite, Kuiu and Sitka gear that gets used for all winter outdoor activities. Merino is always my baselayer choice. If it's a middle ground temp, I'll often wear a merino t shirt with synthetic cycling sleeves. I'm always surprised by the amount of cycling jerseys I see in cold weather. Granted, I do a lot of Backcountry riding, so I tend to think in terms of "what if I get hurt and/or have to walk out of here, will my clothes keep me alive?"
    Exactly. Quality gear that performs. Yeah, it is a lot more money, but the performance and benefits and quality are worth it imo.


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    Quote Originally Posted by gtsum2 View Post
    And you know this because you spent the money on quality merino and used it? Or you used some off brand merino? Or second hand info??

    I have all under armor gear for workout stuff...I HAD it for hunting (ie cold weather)...I changed to first lite merino 4 years ago and I would never go back. I am comfortable from 10 degrees up to 80 degrees. When synthetics get damp and wet they do not insulate nearly as well as merino. So, I have spent the money on the different options and tried them....have you?


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    I know this because I listened to people calling it things like "far superior" on the internet and dove headfirst into merino wool to the tune of several hundred dollars up front several years ago, thinking it was going to be a worthwhile investment.
    I bought 3 long Icebreaker bottoms, 4ea of Icebreaker t-shirts and long sleeve tops, a mix of their Bodyfit200, Skin200, Bodyfit150 and "Everyday Merino"(190wt?), and tested it under a wide variety of weather conditions, since I was hiking and backpacking year round. Am also out in the elements on my job, so am usually outdoors almost 365 days per year. I bought Smartwool beanies and glove liners, and Smartwool and Point6 socks, too.
    I know exactly what merino wool does and doesn't do, and was wearing it from the neck down when I posted that. Got a load of it in the wash, right now. I wear merino socks every day(love it for socks, have >50prs in various lengths and weights), and even sleep in a Smartwool training beanie. The baselayers get used on my job, where they're great, because it's so comfortable, and I'm only working hard in brief spurts.
    I generally don't use it at all for high exertion activities, because it gets wet and stays that way. Dries very slowly, and even stays soaking wet overnight in high humidity. My favorite 200wt tops also stretch and irritate the crap out of me on multiday backpacking trips, so have even been left at home when heading to dry places like SoCal, CO, and UT. Here in the Southeast, I've wet out a 150wt top under a light softshell in <3 miles of uphill hiking at below freezing, and don't see how anyone can talk about wearing it for anything active in warm to hot weather. Particularly not when it's humid.

    It's all relative. Like I say, it's not "bad" stuff. It's not like it got thrown in the trash like my 3 sets of UA HeatGear that didn't work out, I'm just not going to buy more when it wears out. Along with being expensive and fragile, compared to a quality synthetic baselayer, merino just falls short in general. It doesn't manage moisture better, doesn't breathe better, doesn't dry quickly, and isn't warmer for the weight. Feeling better on the skin and not getting stinky is nice, but those qualities do not outweigh the fact that it doesn't perform better during strenuous exercise.
    Since I have to wear fire retardant pants and jacket at work, I rely almost entirely on baselayers for cool to cold weather, and have dozens, maybe a dozen brand names alone. That includes multiple sets of Patagonia tops and bottoms from Capilene 1 to R1 weight, and if I was going to call anything "best", it'd be Polartec Powerdry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtsum2 View Post
    When synthetics get damp and wet they do not insulate nearly as well as merino.

    Is that because you say that, or because you have data?

    Synthetics dry out faster, and the data shows merino does not insulate noticeably better when wet. Trying to justify your purchase?
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    Proper clothing does not have to cost much at all.

    Today: Temp -7 F

    3 hours of xc/xcd/backcountry skiing.

    Almost all was up and down. Breaking trail. Ups were steep and done herringbone on my xc skis. Moved and sawed quite a few downed trees and limbs along the way, so had plenty of snow fall on me.


    Used my kit I mentioned above, with the exception of an added eBay thin wool sweater between the Wally World Wrangler synthetic buffalo plaid top and the $7 eBay mesh cycling vest. Underlayer was the Wally World Russel Athletic thin synthetic.

    Pants were 15 year old Cabela's whipcord wool, over Wally World Dickies synthetic long under wear. Wool socks. And under it all were my old Shock Doctor underwear - they have a "pocket" over the junk where the protective cup would go. Now I use folded up paper towel in there. It keeps frost off the "tip", and you'll always have some spare paper if nature calls.

    Old bandana around my head to keep the ears close. Fleece cap I sewed myself from some scrap.


    My whole point is you don't have to spend much at all to dress properly even in extreme weather doing high output activities. Just use your head. Well, ok, the leather ski boots cost quite a bit of cash, but everything else...

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    I use arm warmers and leg warmers quite a bit. For example, it was 27F the trail the other day. I wore tights that are wind resistant on the front from the knee up, a polyester short sleeved base layer, arm warmers, a thicker polyester top, and some medium weight fleece cycling gloves. I was super comfortable, but I had the option of shedding the arm warmers if needed.

    On my 10F commutes last week. I wore the fleece gloves under bar mitts, added leg warmers under my tights and wore a short-sleeved shirt, arm warmers, and a light jacket to deflect the wind a bit. Then on the way home when it was in the 20s, I ditched the arm and leg warmers and wore my short-sleeved shirt under the jacket. I tend to use my jacket only on commutes because it tends to get a little hot on anything over 20 degrees or so.

    It might take some time to develop a system that works for you. I agree with the people saying you don't have to spend a lot of money to be comfortable in a wide range of temps. Most of my layers were purchased at Marshall's for dirt cheap. I have merino stuff, but I'm more likely to wear it for hiking instead of biking. I'm pretty happy with using synthetics on the bike.

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    I'm thinking of swapping my base layer mid-ride also. Back in the day before tech-Ts when i used to hike in cotton T-shirts I would change shirts at the top of the mountain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    I'm thinking of swapping my base layer mid-ride also. Back in the day before tech-Ts when i used to hike in cotton T-shirts I would change shirts at the top of the mountain.
    Sounds strange. Why wouldn't you just unzip or even stash the jacket for the climb or the portion where you are over-heating? I have never once thought about taking off my base layer, if it was getting that wet it's a dead-giveaway I'm overdressed. Last night was in the 20s when I rode out to be above the city at midnight. I wore a lightweight base layer and lightweight softshell. This particular softshell doesn't fare well below 20 degrees and the wind just cuts through it, but since half of my ride was climbing, it was perfect to regulate my heat and prevent sweating. For the downhill, I pulled out my stashed puffy jacket, which was a bit overkill, but I like to be warm and a long downhill can super-cool you even in relatively warm temps. That's why I don't want to get to the top of a climb sweaty, if I have to switch base layers there, that's like certain death, because it'll cool me significantly to expose my body to the cold, even for a few seconds, and then I'm about to start a downhill where my body isn't going to be producing much heat. I also did most of the climb with my pogies rolled back so my thin liner-type gloves were exposed, once again to expel heat.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Sounds strange.
    I'm a strange guy

    I have a marmot softshell but it must be different than yours. Mine doesn't let any wind through it and tons of moisture builds up under it during a strenuous ride. I don't like to use it but the next time I do I'll definitely swap out a layer or two.

    My favorite setup is a couple of base layers and a black Old Navy pull-over fleece that lets air pass through it because it's not too dense. If it gets cold I'll throw on an LL Bean Polartec Windbloc vest.

    On the very cold days (for me that's about 28 degrees) I need to turn to the Marmot softshell for now as it cuts the wind pretty well.

    What make and model softshell do you use?

    Below is a picture of mine on a recent 30 degree day.

    [img]Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?-25550527_10215334836310251_3893261841611976871_n.jpg[img]

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    What temps are people talking about here? To me, anything above 50F isn't cold. 40s is cool, but it's not hard to keep warm (short sleeve shirt, arm warmers, knee warmers). 30s is chilly, especially below 36 (minimal layers on top, leg warmers above 36, tights below). Mid-20s on down is where I think it starts getting more interesting. Once you drop into the single digits, it really gets interesting.

    If you dress right, there shouldn't be as much moisture to manage. Most people I see out on the trails around here are way overdressed for the conditions. I guess if you don't ride regularly in the cold, you won't really know how to deal with it.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    [img]Click image for larger version. 

Name:	25550527_10215334836310251_3893261841611976871_n.jpg 
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    Why the face smear? Isn't that you in your avatar pic?

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    Sorry, the camera lens did that. It was dirty.

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    Either that or witness protection agency

    This is what I was running last night: https://www.thenorthface.com/shop/me...ie-nf0a2vdp-c1

    It has no insulation and wind cuts through it relatively easy. They say it's wind-resistant, but on a scale of 1-10, I'd maybe call it a 3. Used one relatively light base layer last night. Since half my ride was a climb, I needed no more than that with my base layer, otherwise I'd be sweating all over the place with temps in the 20s. If I stopped, I did start to get cold, but that's better than getting sweaty. It says the weight is 472g, so sometimes that's a good way to compare how "heavy" one jacket is to the next, remember this has a hood too. This is definitely one of my lightest softshell jackets, but it's perfect for the warmer more mild winter temps (20s-30s). I don't know what model of Marmot jacket that is you are wearing, I can't find anything in the current catalog like it, but again, this one is not insulated. In fact the shoftshell I was wearing is very similar to a northface packable I have that packs into it's own little pocket, so that kind of gives you an idea of how "heavy" it is.

    For most of the climb last night (2000'+) I was rolling with my pogies rolled up, just exposing my light glove-liner gloves, which are about the same thickness as standard mountain bike gloves. There is a pearl-izumi model I like that adds windblocker material on the front, but no insulation.

    I've never been able to use gloves like that on a ride. My hands sweat in no time and then my fingers get cold and they never return. I also have trouble using the brake lever/shifters and holding on in any kind of technical terrain. One thing though is that our extremities are extremely good at radiating heat. They always say you lose heat through your head, but that's somewhat of a wives tale, the truth to it is that your head has an immense amount of heat radiating capability given it's surface area vs. it's volume, with people often forgetting the inside of your mouth, nostrils, ears, etc. Same applies to hands and feet, but it's admittedly hard to expose your feet and manage that. So doing things like rolling up your pogies, pushing up your sleeves (this softshell is light enough that's no problem), pulling back your balaclava or pulling it down so it's only around your neck, and so on, help immensely to regulate your heat, and when you are still over heating with an unzipped jacket, it's time to take it off. Don't be afraid to climb in only tour base-layer, it's better than getting it wet.

    I'll run the pogies on my normal mountain bikes in november when the ground is frozen but there's no snow, again the great thing is you can just roll them up when they get too warm and expose your normal gloves, which helps control heat significantly.

    On these rides, I can't strip down and change base layers, that'd have a much more dramatic effect to super-cool my body right before I am about to start downhill, which will not be generating heat. Sure, it'd be better to start with a dry layer, but I have to look at the effects of taking off a semi-warm layer too. I'd rather not end up in this situation in the first place, so I'll use the above methods to manage the moisture. Before the downhill last night, I put on a puffy insulated jacket I had stuffed in my frame bag. It was a little too much, but I like to be warm and again, you can really super-cool on a descent, so I wanted to be a little cautious.

    I always keep my eye out for softshells at REI and other similar places. I don't spend a ton of money on new ones, but I look for deals and try to have a few of different weights to choose from to suit the ride. I've never found a reason to go with "cycling" specific, but there can be some benefits if the model is very well thought out. Much of the time, they are over-the-top though, either too heavy, too heat-trapping, and so on. I find in the summer I can use the hard-shells a little easier, because I'm usually a little more concerned about liquid precip and a waterproof can pack in a pretty small volume, as well as boost heat significantly. You probably get a lot more heat-removed from physical contact with liquid water on the outside of the shell too, but some of the same principles still are present, in that you can't insulate up too much when you are under power/generating heat, unless there's a prolonged downhill, but again, that's where a nice light packable can be a good idea, especially from an emergency point of view.

    Maybe there's a mindset too. At first, I was pretty crappy at this whole thing and I had a few nights of cold temps where I felt like I endangered myself a little too much, but since then, I go with the minimum that I feel I can wear and not freeze to death while riding (which means starting out relatively cold). My body heat increases and I reach an equilibrium, and I pack my extra emergency stuff in my frame bag. Much of the time, this is just a packable that I bought one size larger than my normal stuff on purpose so I can just put it on over everything. Emergency mittens and handwarmers are also in my frame bag, along with a couple water bottles, but if you need more space you can wear a minimal camelback under your softshell/jersey and route the hose under your arm to keep it from freezing. With this setup though, I usually don't have to wear anything on my back and everything is contained pretty well in my frame bag. If I need more space or it seems like it's going to be a bit more challenging, I'll put my seat-bag on there to keep some more clothing in. Things like packable jackets and handwarmers weigh next to nothing, so having a frame-bag is a nice way to pack on some of this stuff and keep it out of the way. The basic mindset though is that I go out with the clothing that I think will keep me from becoming drenched in sweat based on the temps and climbs/descents and my prior experiences. The temptation a lot of times is to overdress, but just because my private parts get too frigid doesn't mean I need thicker pants or another entire layer, it just means I need windblocking underwear or to wear some kind of shorts underneath. Then I can retain heat-dispersion with my legs and keep the bits warm. Get a gas-tank bag too, you can put on one the stem area or seatpost area or both, many packable jackets are small enough to fit in these, as well as handwarmers and other stuff. Hands get cold or you think what you are wearing will possibly get sweaty and then you will get super-cooled later? Put some handwarmers (I like boot heaters because they are adhesive) in a second set of gloves and put them in the frame bag, then pull those babies out half-way through the ride for 140° bliss. There are lots of ways to manage this and lots of little "cheats". Try to think out of the box, but I'd advise to think as much as possible about the moisture management. What works for me won't necessarily work for you, we are all different, but it's relatively simple that too much moisture is from too much heat. When I ride to work on those zero F or colder mornings, there is sometimes a maximum speed I can go, otherwise I generate too much heat. I could stop and adjust the layers, but on my commute I try to plan a little more for the worst and I'd rather just adjust my speed. If I go too fast though, I'll sweat and get miserable.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    I still haven’t found a softshell fabric I like better than Schoeller Dryskin. Unfortunately it’s now expensive enough that very few companies use it. I have some classic Cloudveil pieces that still see the bulk of my winter aerobic activities. Although it was designed as an alpine touring jacket, the original Serendipity is hard to beat. I’d change the cut a little, but that’s about it.

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    Thanks Jayem. That Northface jacket looks pretty nice. I appreciate you sharing with me some winter riding tips and what your experience has been.

    I just weighed my Marmot softshell - it came to 816 grams (or 1.8lbs if I did my conversion right). Seems pretty heavy compared to yours.

    Funny, I never knew what pogies were. I'm glad you mentioned them.

    Thanks evasive. It seems using non-bike specific clothing is pretty common place - at least I see that Jayem does it. I've been doing it for some time now too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    Thanks Jayem. That Northface jacket looks pretty nice. I appreciate you sharing with me some winter riding tips and what your experience has been.

    I just weighed my Marmot softshell - it came to 816 grams (or 1.8lbs if I did my conversion right). Seems pretty heavy compared to yours.

    Funny, I never knew what pogies were. I'm glad you mentioned them.

    Thanks evasive. It seems using non-bike specific clothing is pretty common place - at least I see that Jayem does it. I've been doing it for some time now too.
    Biking specific=$$$$ and you need options with your clothing IMO. There are a few pieces that work well over pretty wide temperature variations, but it's impossible to cover everything. There's a lot of overlap in many sports as far as the requirements so you keep your eyes out for something that would work well.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    "since then, I go with the minimum that I feel I can wear and not freeze to death while riding (which means starting out relatively cold)."

    ^^ That's the key to moisture management, IMO-not creating much of it to begin with.
    I've long noticed a tendency for people to overdress, thinking they have to be comfortable from the moment they start. That means stopping to drop layers within minutes, or soon being miserable. Yet they do it. Seems strange to me, being the opposite, but a lot of people would rather be hot than cold. The problem with that is that if you get hot, you end up being cold as a result.
    When I was heavily into hiking and backpacking, and averaging 75 nights out per year, I read backpacking forums as opposed to a mtb one. I do run very warm(~20F warmer than "normal" based on EN and clo ratings), but it was not unusual for me to see people posting about clothing for active use in the 50s that I don't break out until temps are in the teens.
    Any performance fabric is easily overwhelmed if you are sweating heavily and continuously. Even the best ones are only going to allow so much moisture to be pushed through them in a given time. Ironically, that desire for comfort is what drives the purchase of some of the worst performing pieces. Softshells and fleece with a baselayer-crippling windproof membrane are a prime example. You want to give that moisture you're constantly creating somewhere to go, not trap it.
    Aside from a windshirt that sees occasional use at temps low enough that I'm not sweating much, I forego any kind of wind or waterproof layer unless conditions demand raingear. If you're going to be wet, regardless, then things like wind/waterproof outer layers and wool baselayers make more sense, but you don't want to be wet BECAUSE you're wearing those things.

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    To answer Jayem's question about changing base layers: sometimes you may ride to the trail on roads or Rails to Trails that are open to the wind, fast moving and cold. If you are with an aggressively moving group, you don't always get a chance to change or shed layers when you hit the single track and hills. Being dressed appropriately for both of these segments is impossible. After a hard session on the trail, the group is more likely to take a short break. Another example is when the day warms up faster or the temps go higher than expected during the ride or the exertion level ends up being higher than expected. Also, I tend tend to sweat a lot more than most.

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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    What temps are people talking about here? To me, anything above 50F isn't cold. 40s is cool, but it's not hard to keep warm (short sleeve shirt, arm warmers, knee warmers). 30s is chilly, especially below 36 (minimal layers on top, leg warmers above 36, tights below). Mid-20s on down is where I think it starts getting more interesting. Once you drop into the single digits, it really gets interesting.

    If you dress right, there shouldn't be as much moisture to manage. Most people I see out on the trails around here are way overdressed for the conditions. I guess if you don't ride regularly in the cold, you won't really know how to deal with it.
    The cold temperatures I talk about is in upper 40s and 50s. I know most people here are probably laughing and saying that is like warm tropical weather compared to what they are riding in. Haha.

    I am in California and am pretty weak in the cold. Also, I am really lean so I get cold easily. People in much colder areas are much sturdier than folks in California. Lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    The cold temperatures I talk about is in upper 40s and 50s. I know most people here are probably laughing and saying that is like warm tropical weather compared to what they are riding in. Haha.

    I am in California and am pretty weak in the cold. Also, I am really lean so I get cold easily. People in much colder areas are much sturdier than folks in California. Lol.
    Ha! Yeah. It was 5F this morning on my ride in to work. 40F seems downright balmy right now.

    Definitely don't wear a jacket at those temps. I'd suggest getting some arm warmers and knee warmers and see how those work for you. Or else you could throw a light long-sleeve wicking shirt over a short sleeve wicking shirt and you should be good. If knee warmers on the legs with some decent wool socks aren't warm enough on the bottom, I guess you could do tights, but that seems like it'd be overkill.

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    In the 40s-50s, I wear a longsleeved wool shirt. Mine is definitely a luxury item, as it’s Kitsbow, but there are other options. It’s awesome and sees a lot of use. Watch for sales and buy once, cry once.

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    I am a sweaty warmblooded guy and generally wear half the pieces of clothing that others seem to be wearing. So I only start thinking about covering my legs below 8 celsius/45 fahrenheit, and then when its a race i race in shorts and short sleeved till freezing point.
    However, how warm you need to dress for a certain temperature does not mean thath there are not some general things that work for everybody i think:

    1. Avoid getting your baselayers wet.
    This means do not wear waterproof gear when it is not raining because it makes you sweat. In mild rain it is still often not necesarry if only your outer leyaer gets mildly wet. When you really need raingear, please get the most breatheable you can get and adjust your exercise to match the breathability so you do not get wet from the inside. i have never been as cold as in a badly breathable jacket completely wet on the inside with a actually mild temperature Outside. I get plenty warm when wearing just a breathqble fleece over q baselayer down to -7 as long as it is dry.

    2.prepare for windchill.
    Wear something windproof or an extra layer when standing exposed in the carpark, put something on when going downhill for a longer stretch. Prepare for open exposed flats compared to forests. Can make a huge difference. Look at the roadie guys for nice gear, light jackets etc. Can also make a huge difference not going full speed downhill but go slower and stay warmer.


    3. beanies, gloves , hats.
    a beanie or baclava to cover your neck is great in lower temperatures and actually scientifically helps against catching a cold and improves oxygen take up because it keeps the temperature of you breathing channels up.
    Gloves: expert tip from the first aid guy helping all the undercooled riders at the local competition: change your gloves which can get quite damp with fresh dry new ones helps really a lot.
    Hats: most heat loss comes from your head. If you are cold inclinded, wear a beany or hat under your helmet AND bring a spare dry one to change. Never needed it myself, my riding buddies never go without.

    4. zippers. I like stuff with zippers/vents so that i can regulate the temperature and my sweating easier. Up, down, little u, side vents halfway open, everthing closed for the downhill. the subjective temperature in colder conditions has a much bigger range then in high temperatures. Windchill, time of day, that nice 12:00 spring sun in march that can actually be quite hot on a south slope compared to the shade etc.

    4) more related to going out in remote locations and no personal experience with mountainbiking but do have it from other sports: bring stuff to keep you warm when everything brakes down. Your xc jersey is nice when in full exercise mode but when you are a few hours away from civilisation might kill you, so bring something warmer in your backpack. put one of these alu foil insulating blankets in your first aid kit for when your buddy goes down injured. What do you have in your car to keep you warm when the engine doesnt start? You can last a day without water in the summer, but you can freeze to death in a few hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    The cold temperatures I talk about is in upper 40s and 50s.
    Heaving read that: skip the hard waterproof layer except for when it is raining. Just wear a thin breathable fleece over your base layer, or try a longsleeved thermo shirt combined with light short sleeved or full sleeved jersey. Base layers come in different types, from cooling ones to extra hot ones, try a warmer grade. Try a bib to keep your back warmer. If you wear a bib and you get a wet back, try riding shorts to improve breatheability.
    Try a long pant or bib with windbreaker material on the front of the legs.

    For when it is wet: get the most breathable waterprooof layer, gore-tex active wear or polartec neoshell. Less waterproof, but all the other stuff will make you whet on the inside. Expensive Though.

    It sounds like you have more of a moisture problem which gets you whet then a temperature issue. Try dressing down, wearing less so you sweat less might keep you warmer. You are not in direct threat from undercooling.
    As a californian, try swimming in the pacific each day to get used to lower temperatures...

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    The cold temperatures I talk about is in upper 40s and 50s. I know most people here are probably laughing and saying that is like warm tropical weather compared to what they are riding in. Haha.

    I am in California and am pretty weak in the cold. Also, I am really lean so I get cold easily. People in much colder areas are much sturdier than folks in California. Lol.
    So you have too many layers. Boston guy here, winter is mostly 10 F except for the past two Fxxxx, goxxxxx, weeks. to say 30 ,35 F. Jayem seems to have real winter, CA only a little. For me, merino wool base layers, I like smartwool and patagonia. Followed by a thicker wool sweater, sometimes a windproof front fleece vest. 50's? Long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve base layer. For me, keeping my hands, feet and head warm are key. List of full outfit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    That's a majority of the XC ski pants and jackets.

    Also, I find the base layer must be close fitting, loose base layers are crazy cold to me. I think the moisture isn't transport anywhere near as effective with looser stuff.
    Running stuff as well.

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    Some great commentary from Lochnes. For me, at least, his points are SPOT on. Thanks for taking the time to write that so clearly. Very affirming and good reminders for me.

    JA

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    I agree, Lochnes has it right, especially for those of us who tend to overheat. I would add this: if you run hot, merino is not a good choice for the core. I love my merino sox and liner gloves, but can't wear it for a core base layer. I will start sweating very quickly.

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    I have found a great winter setup. At -15oC (5F) i start with the following from inside to outside:

    1. a long sleeve mesh style base-layer for the top, pear izumi tights for the legs.
    2. A long sleeve 200tpi merino wool base layer top (quite thin)
    3. A long sleeve light breathable fitted jacket (sportful fiandre)
    4. A loose fitting long sleeve windbreaker with back vents (dhb flashlight), generic black wind/water resistant pants with a light liner

    For harder workouts, or warmer temps, the windbreaker comes off. Then I unzip the jacket. Then off comes the jacket...

    I have yet to get sweaty. A few times i felt a bit damp, but by the time i was done, i was 100% dry. It is just a bunch if thin layers, but the mesh fabric baselayer keeps the dampness away from the skin.

    5. Head: balaclava (thin), helmet, and for the bitter stufff a fleece face bandana that Velcro's at the back of my neck.
    6. Hands: 45Nrth cobrafists, and cheap fingered winter gloves. Perfect.
    7. Feet: just upgraded from cheap walmart winter boots to winter hiking boots. Also got thermal wool socks to wear over basic thin socks. Super warm... but so warm that i may need to shed one of my core layers... or at least skip the thermal socks.

    Big take home that i am sure you know by now... is go in layers. Also, if your hands/feet/head are warm, the rest will sort itself out. For prioritize the extremities, and shed layers on the rest as needed.

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    "Be bold start cold"

    But in your pack have a good down jacket, and warm glove. My rule is the second I stop that jacket and gloves go on. Keeping warm well moving isn't the issue, it is keeping warm when stopped or after I have stopped that is.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Thanks Gliding_serpent. Your apparel setup looks great.

    A few questions, if you don't mind:

    1. What brand mesh style base layer do you recommend? A google search for "mesh base layer" only showed a Castelli short sleeve shirt.

    2. What jacket do you use?

    3. And last but not least, how do you find a 200tpi merino wool base layer? I search Google but didn't find anything under that description (200tpi).

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    Thanks Gliding_serpent. Your apparel setup looks great.

    A few questions, if you don't mind:

    1. What brand mesh style base layer do you recommend? A google search for "mesh base layer" only showed a Castelli short sleeve shirt.

    2. What jacket do you use?

    3. And last but not least, how do you find a 200tpi merino wool base layer? I search Google but didn't find anything under that description (200tpi).

    Thanks.
    You are over-thinking this IMO. Get some different weight relatively close-fitting base layers, doesn't matter much where you get them or how much they cost. Doesn't really matter synthetic or wool (if you at least wash your clothes every few rides). You are going to need to mix and match stuff on rides anyway.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    You are over-thinking this IMO. Get some different weight relatively close-fitting base layers, doesn't matter much where you get them or how much they cost. Doesn't really matter synthetic or wool (if you at least wash your clothes every few rides). You are going to need to mix and match stuff on rides anyway.
    Yeah, I agree. It's not rocket science. Everyone should start with what they have and go from there.

  59. #59
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    I have been ridding road and MTB in the cold weather months for over 20 years and my favorite base layers are; ASSOS LS.SKINFOIL_EARLYWINTER_S7 BODY INSULATOR and the CRAFT ACTIVE EXTREME 2.0. The Assos for cooler temps and the Craft when its warmer.Both keep me drier than other wool or synthetic ones I have tried. I pair them on MTB rides when its under 40 degrees with a Assos IJ habu5 jacket (160.00 on Ebay).Rode for 3 hours at 18 degrees last weekend with the skinfoil and was plenty warm and more importantly completely dry during and after my ride with lots of climbing and hard efforts. I continue to be impressed with the temperature range this combo works in without getting cold,wet or too warm.
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  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    You are over-thinking this IMO. Get some different weight relatively close-fitting base layers, doesn't matter much where you get them or how much they cost. Doesn't really matter synthetic or wool (if you at least wash your clothes every few rides). You are going to need to mix and match stuff on rides anyway.
    Probably, but the moisture buildup I had during a cold ride recently was very uncomfortable. Stopping during my ride contributed to this for sure. Also, a friend asked me to sit down for awhile before we headed out (I was fully MTB dressed) - I'm sure I was soaked before I even started to ride!

    The "mesh" base layer does sound cool (pardon the pun).

  61. #61
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    Great info Cannonf600. I'll check out the apparel you mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscott36 View Post
    The "mesh" base layer does sound cool (pardon the pun).
    They are. Haha. Always my first layer in the upper body. The “holes” allow high breathability. When layered, this allows the sweat to wick out to the outer layers, helping to keep you dry. No wet shirt against the skin feelig. Some people use them in the summer too to keep a wet jersey off their back.

    In the winter i top it with another solid mereno wool base layer. The mesh air pockets now also act like an insulator.

    They are great. Here is one example of one i use. My sportful one is even better for the winter as it is longer, and has a high neck.

    wiggle.com | dhb Lightweight Mesh Long Sleeve Base Layer | Base Layers

    Sportful Bodyfit Pro Base Layer LS AW17 | Chain Reaction Cycles

  63. #63
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    Here is the wool baselayer i use. Thin, but excellent paired with the mesh under it:

    wiggle.com | dhb Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer (M_ 200) | Base Layers

    Her is the jacket... or a version of it. It is a mesh/baselayer and wind/rain barrier in one... and it breathes. I think I paid 200$ for it... and it has been awesome 3 seasons a year. In a milder winter, it may be all you need, possibly with a mesh baselayer under it. Mine was a closeout from last year. It was a lot ng sleeve version of this:
    https://www.bikeinn.com/bike/sportfu...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Here is my wind breaker.
    dhb Flashlight Waterproof Jacket | Chain Reaction Cycles

    Got them all on pretty good sales. But focus less on the specific product, and more on the type of layer.

  64. #64
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    Awesome G_S. Thanks!

    I appreciate the links and hearing you've had good success with this setup. I have a merino wool layer but its not very comfortable against my skin so I never use it. However, I think if I use the mesh base layer you pointed out I should be able to wear it under my merino one.

    Thanks for sharing this product. I had never heard of a mesh base layer before. I'll take a close look at the jacket and wind breaker as well. This is great.

  65. #65
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    No prob. I hate wool against my skin also.

  66. #66
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    A lot depends on how you ride as well. If you just keep it mellow and ride at a slow pace, it is easier to not sweat. However if you are crushing it, managing moisture is a really tough task.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliikane View Post
    A lot depends on how you ride as well. If you just keep it mellow and ride at a slow pace, it is easier to not sweat. However if you are crushing it, managing moisture is a really tough task.
    It is, and if you are going slow enough, sometimes you have to move to the "next level" of insulation to stay warm. Sometimes when I do group rides I have to dress like it's -10 degrees when it's actually +15, because I'll inevitably have to wait for people. Very important to consider.

    The biggest thing that taught me about moisture control was riding to work though. I wanted to be warm on those -10°F or colder days, but I found that after a new-fallen snow I could overheat so bad I'd be soaked by the time I got to work. Taking less clothes wasn't as easy of an option though, because I wanted to have those clothes if the temperature dropped a bunch before the evening commute, and space was kind of at a premium too (not so much now). So I had to adjust my speed and make sure I left early enough so I could slow down and still get to work when I wanted. Even getting your clothes just a little wet makes it difficult to impossible to dry them at work, so I have to arrive dry. I started experimenting more with clothing and layers and what can keep me dry. Adjusting neck gear, gloves/pogies, balaclava, zippers, and other stuff becomes very important. You must do this, ideally you can do a lot of it while riding, if you don't, it doesn't matter what you are wearing, you'll soak it. You have to realize what parts of your body are effective at radiating heat and utilize them for that. They may even feel a little cold while doing so, but you are removing heat from another part of your body and it can all work out in the end. Even now, I still regulate my speed to work, but I'm not as overdressed.

    I have found that almost no matter what the conditions, it takes my body usually about 20 minutes to reach "operating temperature" when riding, so I also have to take that into account. I have to be careful about trying to get too warm too fast, but having more insulation sooner, because that usually quickly gets me to the "too hot and can't adjust fast enough" situation. So I'll ride harder if I have to, but I won't make any changes in the first 20 minutes and I'll make sure I start out cold/cooler. I do like warm extremities so keeping my bike in a heated car/indoors before riding, throwing my boots in the oven on "warm" or on the boot-drier that I now have, all help, but I want to feel cool/cold starting up, because I know in 20 minutes I won't be, else I'll be sweating. If it feels like I'm going to get dangerously cold, I'll stop and do something about it, but that's a lot more rare now that I know the temps and know what to expect.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Craft’s active baselayers are amazing. However, they are quite warm. I only pull them out when temps are below 45F. They are my go-to when temps drops below freezing.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spillway View Post
    Craft’s active baselayers are amazing. However, they are quite warm. I only pull them out when temps are below 45F. They are my go-to when temps drops below freezing.
    To add to that, they have an incredible range too, below the 45-50 or so.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  70. #70
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    For me a light vented outer shell with ventilation helps. I use Gore bike wear with zippers in the arm pits and 2 more in the back. Open & close to regulate temperature as needed. I also dont wear a camelback or backpack in winter because it makes my back sweat too much.

    Under the shell a merino wool base layer under a long sleeve Under Armor shirt. If it's really cold another thicker insulation layer.
    No moss...

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffw-13 View Post
    I also dont wear a camelback or backpack in winter because it makes my back sweat too much.
    This is something I just thought about/realized on yesterdays ride. My back seems to get soaked and it seems like my vented outer layer isn't able to actually vent like it should. Being only a couple of months into mountain biking I have found dressing properly to be significantly different than road biking. Many of the things that worked on the road do not work as well on the trails.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by AF2NR View Post
    This is something I just thought about/realized on yesterdays ride. My back seems to get soaked and it seems like my vented outer layer isn't able to actually vent like it should. Being only a couple of months into mountain biking I have found dressing properly to be significantly different than road biking. Many of the things that worked on the road do not work as well on the trails.
    For road riding, I've found I need to dress far warmer than I would for a mtb ride at similar temps. With greater exposure to winds and higher speeds, it makes a huge difference.

    For mtb riding in subfreezing temps, I avoid waterproof layers as much as possible. I might carry a light hard shell so I can throw it on for a long downhill that will cool me off fast, but generally not. Usually what I go for are multiple thin layers. And honestly, I don't like merino wool as a next-to-skin layer for high intensity aerobic efforts when it's cold enough that I have to put other layers above it. It's comfy, for sure, but it holds moisture more than a good wicking synthetic. And when I have to stop, or speeds pick up, or I ride from the woods into a more exposed area, it gets cold fast with that merino layer being wet. I prefer a thin, snug-fitting synthetic layer against my skin. I might add a wool layer above that if the temps warrant, since wool does insulate well. And being the next layer, it's less likely to soak through. I prefer to have any wool layers as close to the outdoor air as possible to help them dry. If there's enough over them blocking airflow, they soak through uncomfortably so.

    I also make use of a lightweight fleece vest quite a bit. The one I have is an Eastern Mountain Sports brand, and has a pretty dense pile. It's not a "wind blocking" layer per se, but it cuts the wind well enough that it generally makes a pretty big difference most of the time. And that high breathability still allows sweat through.

    I generally do believe that over-dressing is a major problem most people can't wrap their brains around. When I show up for a group ride in the 20's (F), I'm generally dressed in 1 or 2 thin layers. More layers on my core than on my arms. I shake my head at the people who show up to the very same ride wearing thick insulated jackets (with 2 or 3 layers besides). They wear all those clothes when gearing up at the TH AND when starting the ride. I have a warm jacket I wear when gearing up, and right before the ride starts, I throw it in the car or my pack. That pic jscott posted at 30F is WAY OVERDRESSED for me.

    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?-12694644_10154088778335312_4599486795462605228_o.jpg

    In this one, the temp was somewhere between 13 and 20F. The tights are Bontrager RXL softshell tights. Waterproof front, breathable back. I originally bought them for road riding in temps just above freezing, actually. Regular chamois underneath. I usually wear baggies over anything I wear on my legs (for the extra wind blocking of another layer of fabric), but this was a bit of a test ride for them in mtb conditions. The softshell front did do a nice job blocking wind for the most part, but afterwards, I did start wearing the baggies over these in these kinds of temps, because they weren't perfect for windblocking over the important bits. The top you see is just a synthetic long-sleeved shirt. I was wearing something else long-sleeved underneath. Either synthetic or merino.

    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?-10592863_10203237531649714_5747742461267242257_n.jpg

    In this one, it was a touch warmer. The low that day was 16, but the high topped out at 35, so the likely temps for this ride were somewhere in the 20's. Chamois shorts against the skin, thin base layer leggings (these are merino), and baggies over. On the upper body, thin base layer LS shirt (again, I think this one was merino), and a synthetic snap-front short sleeved shirt on top. You can also see my orange, lightweight fleece vest over my core.

  73. #73
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    It was warm here today in Alaska. Started out in the 20s, but as I climbed above the city a few thousand feet, it was 40 degrees and you could feel jets of warm air pouring down the valley.

    Even climbing in the 20s, I overheat pretty fast. I rolled up the pogies first and unzipped my jacket, then took my balaclava off, then finally pulled up my sleeves as I continued to climb. That base layer is all I wore under it. For lowers, just my craft pants, although I have snow-gaiters, which I definitely needed for the mashed-potatoes snow that had turned soft due to the warmth.

    For the descent I threw on a packable jacket over my softshell, but that was a bit overkill and I probably should not have. I like to be a little over-prepared for the significant-vertical descents, because you can super-cool very fast. I definitely had to remove that before I over-heated, but even still there was a little extra moisture that I had to expel when I took it off. Not so much that I got cold, but you can tell.

    Feet were pretty moist, but warm. Hard to do anything about that, except vent in other places and use that to regulate body temperature. Stopping to manage this though is critical IME and you have to be willing to make the changes.

    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?-img_4390.jpg

    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?-img_4389.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  74. #74
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    US military ECWCS (Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System)

    I have had good luck following this strategy. Start with the first 3, if still cold, add/bring along next layer -

    3rd Generation[edit]
    The third generation 3G or GEN III Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System is a radical re-design of the system. It features seven new layers of insulation including three Polartec fabrics: two layers of Polartec Power Dry and a layer of Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft. It has also featured PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation USA in the extreme cold weather parka and trousers. The 12 components of the GEN III ECWCS include:

    lightweight undershirt and drawers
    midweight shirt and drawers
    fleece cold weather jacket
    wind cold weather jacket
    soft shell jacket and trousers
    extreme cold/wet weather jacket and trousers
    extreme cold weather parka and trousers
    Initial fielding of the system began in August 2007 to the 73rd Cavalry Regiment in Afghanistan.[1] The water-resistant "soft shell" is far more breathable than any "waterproof-breathable" garment and is used for most field applications, back-stopped by a waterproof nylon parka.


    I really love the feel and performance of items made of Polartec. Need to keep an eye on Cabela's for sales.


    Strategies for managing moisture in cold weather?-climate-layering-guide.jpg


    This is how the Special Operations Forces layer clothes for 40F to -50F

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  75. #75
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    When I was in the Army, I learned to not trust the Army's clothing suggestions

    But, we are more active than static, and we are closer to XC skiing/running than more sedentary stuff, no one in their right mind would think of running in DH ski pants or jackets, but some people think these will work when riding. It's important to understand where you will be riding and what your output will be.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  76. #76
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    Yep, first 5 layers are only applicable to biking (minus the trouser) Thermal weight spandex at most



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  77. #77
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    If riding below 45 degrees:
    Base layer- super thin synthetic (made with polypro)
    2nd layer- Merino wool
    3rd layer- Any windbreaker that has vents.

    I frequently remove layers during the climb and add before descents. A mistake people make is getting too warm and sweaty during the climb and then expecting to be warm on the descents.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtsum2 View Post
    I have first lite gear....Merino wool and cocona 37.5 jacket. Can’t be beat. Much lighter than gore Tex and breathes better so sweat vapor gets out. Merino wool is far superior to any synthetic out there for warmth, breathability and stench control. I used to use ua, but now all my hunting gear is first lite stuff...and it doubles for cold weather mtb’ing


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    That's great, I also use my First Lite hunting gear for winter biking! Their merino base layers are the best.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

  79. #79
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    Just adding my 2cnts :
    - generally also do not like to ride with a backpack over several layers, and really not over breathable layers as well, gets my back wet.
    -i really like merino but not for intensive activities, when it gets wet it seems to stay wet and also the tearing strength seems to be reduced (pulled some in half). Like them a lot for hiking, not for mountain biking.
    - ordered the craft extrme active 2.0 baselayer as recommended above..
    - tried the endura mt500 breathable (rain) pants. In a xc race at +3 celsius instead of wearing tights..... I would recommend them for breathable stuff and realized i need to buy a cooler tight that is morr elastic for this temperature because the one i used to be wearing sucks.

  80. #80
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    Oddly enough, some good suggestions from MTBR.com: 5 clothing hacks to save your winter rides - Mtbr.com

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddoh View Post
    Oddly enough, some good suggestions from MTBR.com: 5 clothing hacks to save your winter rides - Mtbr.com
    Most of those suggestions are very good, with the exception of packing another base-layer. Although it sounds good on paper, the conditions where I'd ever even consider doing that would cause you to freeze and drop way too much body temp during the process (especially to hands/arms/head). Never have I thought this would be a good idea. If you've packed breathable layers that can dry (synthetics, soft-shell stuff, vented stuff) then you should be able to dry as you cool-down your exertion, not perfect, but better than taking the warm-soaked stuff off (which will in turn cold soak it fast) and putting on a cold-soaked layer underneath. Better to pack some pack-able jackets as outer layers to use in case you get cold. Some of these pack down real small and are great to throw on as an emergency outer layer if you made sure to buy them large enough to fit over your main gear, such as your main riding softshell.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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