Inexpensive cold weather gear- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Inexpensive cold weather gear

    This year will be my first year riding over the winter. Money is very tight right now because I am working part time but the benefit to that is I have more time to train. I'm from the South so we never get any snow but I would like to be able to ride when its 40-55 Degrees. When its over 60 I am fine just wearing short tights and a regular jersey, but I'm really skinny so I get cold fast when its colder than that. I am looking for good options for long tights, long sleeve jerseys, and gloves. What do people use to keep their head warm without overheating? I have also noticed that my eyes dry out when its cold to the point where I can barely keep them open for more than an hour. Do clear glasses alleviate this?

  2. #2
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    Head band for the head. Wind resistant gloves or just something a little thicker than just long finger.

    Consider a thicker baselayer under a jersey instead of a longsleeve jersey, more versatile and most likely a lot cheaper. Most big stores like walmart, target, etc. have cheap options for the baselayer.

    Get some glasses, they do help.

    At those temps, some thermal arm and knee warmers with a base layer or wind vest and long finger gloves would suffice. At the 40 degree mark I start looking at crotch coverage and wind-proof items more.

    Running items can be used to save money as they're easier to find. I used running tights for a few years and they were great. not as nice as bib-tights but for occasional riding they did well. The low crotch got me a few times when it would snag the saddle but that was usually when trying to get on the bike CX style.

  3. #3
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    Inexpensive cold weather gear

    I wear thermal compression tops for winter riding under everything else. These are cheap, and comfortable.



    As for eyewear, some yellow safety glasses from lowes or homedepot are an easy fix.

    Gloves, you can pick up a cheap generic pair at REI. If u become a member there you get 10% back and if you go through active junky you get another 13% back if I'm not mistaken.

    You would also want a light windbreaker/shell, and that is just a question of where you find one. Just make sure it has vents/breathes well.

    Lastly, I picked up a skull cap specifically for mtb, got one from Jenson for about 20. I've used it twice at 45 deg and under.

  4. #4
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    I'm a big fan of zippered layers. For me the trick is not being so warm that you sweat. I plan on taking a layer off after about 15min. Look for wool at thrift stores as it wicks well and regulates temperature. good luck.

  5. #5
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    Costco sells excellent baselayer top & bottoms for about $15/piece. High quality and very useful for general winter outdoor stuff.

  6. #6
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    Totally agree with this I have picked up some Marino/Lycra mix base layers (top and bottom) as well as Marino wool tops from Costco and they have been excellent!

    Quote Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
    Costco sells excellent baselayer top & bottoms for about
    $15/piece. High quality and very useful for general winter outdoor stuff.

  7. #7
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    Marshalls/TJ Max is another good place to look for inexpensive cold weather gear. They have a lot of running stuff which works fine but every now and again you can also find some bike specific cloths.

  8. #8
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    I have worn synthetic long underwear bottoms as cycling tights in the past. Definitely check out Costco. I picked up merino long sleeve T's for $20 and they are great under a jersey.
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  9. #9
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    Tights?? Some inexpensive cycling shorts are going to rock your world. Something along the lines of the second-cheapest from Pearl Izumi. That's a little bit of a tangent...

    Lately for the temperature range you're describing, which for me is kind of intermediate, I've been getting more and more into the weird bits and pieces of garments that you see sold by a lot of the cycling apparel companies. Stuff like arm warmers and knee warmers. The advantage here is that it extends the range of the summer weight stuff I already own. And I'll wear it a couple rides in a row. It doesn't get as gross as something that's in contact with my groin or my armpits. I also got a wind vest recently.

    I'm not sure if you can get knee warmers that cheaply. Other sports don't use them that much. But things marketed for running are pretty good for us too, and often run a lot cheaper. There are some differences, but they're not a huge difference. And less important for a mountain biker than a roadie.

    I have a wool cycling cap I like a lot when it's colder. Might not fit right with some of the new school MTB helmets, but if you have a road or BMX style helmet, should work great. And they're not that expensive. Maybe $15ish?
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  10. #10
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    Inexpensive cold weather gear

    I wear these under my Baggie shorts, and use the fox ENDURO knee/elbow pads in lieu of arm/lee warmers, plus I get the added protection.

    I also have 3/4 tights, too. I was cycling in 50-55 degree wether yesterday, and long tights would not be needed. I took off my thermal compression top, and finished in shorts and jersey.


  11. #11
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    I don't even consider long pants/tights if it's over 40. Yesterday it was in the mid-30's at ride start. I briefly considered wearing my knee warmers, but nixed the idea at the TH. Just wasn't cold enough. I wore lycra shorts with chamois underneath my NZO Dobies baggy shorts (same stuff I wear in the summer).

    My torso was different. I wore a thin synthetic base layer shirt, a snap-up jersey from Club Ride, and a light fleece vest to start with. I wore "fall" long-finger gloves (I consider them fall gloves - but they are well ventilated with no insulation. I wear cutoff finger gloves in summer). I wore a thin "summer" Buff on my head. After an hour or two, I put the Buff and the fleece vest in my pack because it was too warm. It was in the 40's by then. I was a little cold at first because I was sweaty, but once I got moving again I warmed back up.

    It was overcast, but no precip. Breezy, but not super windy.

    I break out the knee warmers when it's pushing the freezing point and especially when it will warm up and I think I might have to remove them. If it's colder, I have some running tights I will wear over my lycra shorts but under my baggies (extra layers in there help keep you warm because lots of blood runs close to the surface of your skin there). I also have a thin windstopper jacket that replaces the vest when it dips just below freezing, and some softshell gloves.

    I lived in Texas for a number of years and loved riding this time of year because it wasn't so [email protected] hot. I don't think I ever needed tights there. Knee warmers at most and usually not. The vest is definitely not bike-specific gear, but I use it FAR more on the bike than any other time.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all of the responses.

    I like the idea of layering so I went out and ordered some pearl izumi elite leg and arm warmers as well as some pearl izumi thermal lite long fingered gloves and a skull cap. They fit within my budget and i've got about $50 left over.

    Seems like a windproof vest or jacket is the last thing to find. I'll give the polyester under a jersey a shot too. Anyone have experience with those cheap ebay riding glasses with interchangeable lenses?

    Andrwswitch I do wear cycling shorts, I just called them by the wrong name.

  13. #13
    since 4/10/2009
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    Hunt hard for deals. The vest I use makes no claims of being windproof. It's just a thin (~100 weight, with tight fibers) fleece. The breathability helps it avoid sweating out.

    Softshell/windstopper type stuff is expensive, or it is like wearing a trash bag. I really hate feeling like I'm wearing a trash bag (did that for a long time, no thanks anymore). The windstopper jacket I have now I got for $15, but I was DAMN lucky. It was a $120 jacket to start with. And $120 is a decent price for softshell stuff. A lot of it goes over $200.

    Unless you live in an especially windy area, I don't think you necessarily need a windproof layer. mtn biking gets you into the woods most of the time, where you're sheltered from most wind (unless you live somewhere with patchy forest or grassland or you're above treeline). I think if you layer smartly, you'll be fine. A thicker long-sleeved jersey, a vest like I have, or something like that should be fine, and should be cheaper. You can pick up a synthetic baselayer for really cheap at campmor, sierra trading post, and places like that. Even walmart/target type places have these things. I prefer merino wool ones over the synthetic stuff, but the synthetic shirt I wore yesterday has been in my riding gear for I think close to 15 years. I think I paid $15 for it. Thorns are taking a toll on it, but it's still functional. I wear it when I'll be hard on my clothes like my ride yesterday. It was a pretty backcountry ride with lots of thorns hanging onto the trails, a few bushwhacks to get around downed trees, that sort of thing. Don't want to shred my nice wool stuff on that. My bare legs got shredded pretty good.

  14. #14
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    I agree on the wind breaker vest, I like it open in the back (mesh) and high collar. I always pack it for night or colder rides and has absolutely saved me several times when I am sweaty wet and need to descend a few K footies. Without it, the wind chill is an absolute killer, especially if you got a flat, sun just went down and its in the low 40's.

    That is a key piece of winter gear for me. I rarely bring a full jacket.

    If I am warm when I start my ride its too much gear. Just a little chilly and I know I am dialed.

  15. #15
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    If it's 40 or above I'm in shorts, tshirt, zip up hoodie, long socks and skater shoes. It's what I wore today at 43 degrees.

    The only thing I change is I don't wear fingerless gloves. I have a set of Shift gloves I use for the street (I ride motorcycles also).

  16. #16
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    My knees are a bit flaky. You won't see them below about sixty degrees. I'll probably still be pretty happy in a short-sleeved jersey until the low fifties, though.
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  17. #17
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    I personally feel it's a bad idea to not cover your knees when it's cooler out. I'm no doctor so I may be out to lunch. Most of my riding is in knee pads anyway but when it's cool I always wear knee or leg warmers for the climb and then pull up the oads at the top. I also think a vest is a great piece of gear. Very light and packable, but really does the job. My favourite toque is a very thin merino one from Icebreaker that is great until -7C or so. Thin synthetic ones are pretty cheap. It is really east to over heat until you get a feel for it.
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  18. #18
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    Arm and knee warmers. Toe covers. Vests. Baselayers. All will convert your standard ss jersey and shorts into colder weather gear on the cheap.
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  19. #19
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    Sounds like you've got it covered. I was going to say that non-cycling specific stuff is usually a lot cheaper unless you shop the super year end close outs etc. Sometimes they non-specific stuff is actually better. Like the Outdoor Designs fleece gloves I recommended in the other thread. $18 and they work better (for me) than the $50 Specialized gloves I got before that.

    Cheap polypro base layers from Wal-Mart or Costco work fine for temps down to 30 or less. I also always wore tights down below 35 of so but after tearing mine last year I've found that my Fox Launch knee pads are sufficient if the rest of me is properly layered down to 20F.

    A thin polypro skull cap and a zip up neck protecting jersey also are essential. Most of your heat disappears through your head and neck.
    Last edited by KRob; 12-15-2014 at 12:41 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by canker View Post
    Marshalls/TJ Max is another good place to look for inexpensive cold weather gear. They have a lot of running stuff which works fine but every now and again you can also find some bike specific cloths.
    I just picked up a Snowboard/Mountain Bike jacket for $14 bucks, the tag said MSRP $110!! SCORE!!
    I rode yesterday morning with it and a t-shirt underneath..perfect! it was about 50deg out and cloudy misty air.

    I wear NATIVE brand glasses that have vents at the top of the frame and the lenses are swapable from dark to light amber, polarized. Got um from Nashbar for $65, MSRP $140. The light amber is great for cloudy days. It "lights" up the day, awesome!
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  21. #21
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    Stay away from the El cheapo rivbos on amazon. Mine snapped after one lense change.

  22. #22
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    I found a vest for $35 that should do the trick. https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...e-barrier-vest I'm probably gonna go with some hardware store safety glasses to see if they make a difference.

  23. #23
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    I didn't read all of the replys but cheap Chinese thermal compression tops are awesome for the money and truly at 40+ I personally would still be in shorts but if you need more warmth than that wear long thermal compression pants under your shorts. Be sure to feel a little cold as you head out. 10 minutes into my ride I do not want to stop and peel off a layer. Also wearing even the thinnest toque under your helmet will make a huge difference. On a budget? Get everything free of brand names.

  24. #24
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    I have two cold weather items that make all the difference in the world.

    The first is an Underarmour Heatgear longsleeve zip-t neck. It's great on it's own from 50deg-60deg. I wear a shell over it from 40-50. Add a fleece vest and it's good for 30-40. Full fleece for under 30 (which is usually where I draw the line!).

    The second item is a pair of cheap 3/4 length road tights I got from performance. When it's below 50, I take the liner out of my baggy shorts and wear the 3/4 tights instead of a liner. It keeps my knees cozy down to 30.

  25. #25
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    Geez, you all have thicker blood than me. I look like I'm being dropped off at the arctic circle to survive on my own when the temps get around 30 degrees or lower. I'd like to find something to wear on top that breaths out the back, but I haven't hit the bargain that I can or want to afford yet.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyguy1001 View Post
    Geez, you all have thicker blood than me. I look like I'm being dropped off at the arctic circle to survive on my own when the temps get around 30 degrees or lower. I'd like to find something to wear on top that breaths out the back, but I haven't hit the bargain that I can or want to afford yet.
    Try Marshalls. Bought a nice New Balance runners windbreaker for $20 there that has the vents on the back and pits. It is too good and over heats me. I keep putting it on at the start of rides but end up taking it off after a few miles.

  27. #27
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    Try Nashbar.com , they sell Knee warmers pretty cheap.
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  28. #28
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    I need it to be really cold to keep a windbreaker on for a whole ride. Maybe somewhere in the 30s.
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