Sweathog cold weather apparel advise needed- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Sweathog cold weather apparel advise needed

    So, I sweat a lot. It wasn't a problem in the summer but now I am into fatbiking and cold weather bikepacking, and desperately looking for recommendation on proper TESTED apparel from people who sweat a lot like me

    I tried several options, including quite expensive cold weather windstopper jackets from Gore Bike and Endura but without success. They just don't breath enough. I am using merino base layer, it works great transferring moisture from body but then it all stays between base layer and those jackets.

    I don't want to waste money on expensive stuff just to learn it doesn't work for me. I am not looking for the cheapest option. I need something that will work on longer rides in late autumn and then in the winter. One more thing - I prefer loose fit over fitted athletic road apparel. Something more mtb/enduro in terms of style.

    Looking forward for your recommendations

  2. #2
    EAT MORE GRIME
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    just add more wool layers
    and skip shells,

    just bring a shell folded up
    for emergency when you find it is too cold
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  3. #3
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    I always sweat and am damp riding. I use jackets or vests that block wind in the front and vent freely in the back so I can use the zipper or vents to regulate air flow and my temperature. Moving slowly and putting down power when climbing it's fully open. Descending, I zip up as needed.

    I try to not get chilled because once I do It can be very hard or impossible to get warm again and get blood flowing to the hands and feet. If it's really cold, I'll warm up before going out.
    Do the math.

  4. #4
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    I have a friend that has a light ski jacket that has a windproof front and shoulders and a poly back. I can't find any designs like that, unfortunately, but I wonder if it's time to get good on a sewing machine? A top, and pants of that design would seem to be a good workaround. How often is it windy behind you on a ride?
    Otherwise, if you can keep your head, neck, hands and feet warm and dry you can afford to layer your torso and peel or add when necessary.
    I have the same issue skinning up in the winter and have just about given up.

  5. #5
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    You are probably just wearing too much. Remember that sweat is your body trying to cool down - if you are dressed too warmly, you'll sweat, and no matter how good the breathable coating is on your jacket, you'll wet out.

    Curiously, this actually puts you at greater risk of hypothermia, because once your layers are wet, if you stop and cool down, you won't be able to warm back up again.

    I'd recommend NOT wearing a shell, but having one close at hand for when you stop. My usual layers for biking and backcountry skiing are similar - a long-sleeve light-weight merino wool top (lightweight Icebreakers), a breathable mid-weight polypro hoodie (Black Diamond Coefficient, or similar), and either a light puffy (Arcteryx Atom AR) or a softshell (Black Diamond Dawn Patrol).

    I almost never have the puffy or softshell on while working hard - they live in my pack and I put them on as soon as I stop to preserve my warmth. The hoodie goes on and off based on the current temperature and wind, and the base layer stays on most of the time (unless, you know, there are ladies about).

    I was skiing last season in Wyoming in -20F weather, and for most of the ascent, I was only wearing the baselayer on my core, and my pants vents were all open. However, the second I stopped I would put the puffy on to stay warm. I use a similar strategy on the bike - very little material on my core, with a jacket I can put on as soon as I stop.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for advise, I will try wool layering and already ordered Icebreaker jacket. My only concern how it will perform with wind.

    What about Polartec Alpha? I read it has best breathability of all synthetic insulation fabrics. I am really interested to try it, particularly want to buy an OR Uberlayer jacket.

    phidauex
    No, I don't think I wear too much. I just sweat plenty when I workout In dojo where I train I am usually the one who gets wet faster and more than others. I got used to it. On a summer day 6 hour heavy ride I usually drink at least 3L of water and never go pee. Today when I was riding backcountry, it was around 10C/50F and windy. I was wearing merino base layer, Gore Bike alp-x pro windstopper vest (it doesn't have any insulation) and mtb summer jersey (doesn't provide any warmth, just cool looking layer). I was ok - not very warm and definitely not overheated. I was riding some hills up and down, and in an hour my windstopper vest was wet from inside and I started to chill. When I got back home I was close to hyperthermia - chest all wet and cold.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    Today when I was riding backcountry, it was around 10C/50F and windy. I was wearing merino base layer, Gore Bike alp-x pro windstopper vest (it doesn't have any insulation) and mtb summer jersey (doesn't provide any warmth, just cool looking layer). I was ok - not very warm and definitely not overheated. I was riding some hills up and down, and in an hour my windstopper vest was wet from inside and I started to chill. When I got back home I was close to hyperthermia - chest all wet and cold.
    Well, naturally everyone's bodies are different, but this does jump out at me. You had three layers on (all of which do contribute some to insulation and wind blocking). I was riding the other day at about 50F, and was literally wearing a merino t-shirt. I had the before-mentioned hoodie with me, but only put it on while I was hanging out between laps at the bike park.

    If you wet out your base layer you will get cold - and at a certain point, breathability isn't going to keep up with it. That is where the less-clothing thing may seem counter-intuitive, but can work. Maybe dress a little oppositely - instead of putting so much on your core (shirt, vest, jersey), try a thinner shirt with no vest, and maybe a pair of arm warmers or a Buff on your neck to protect the extremities, which do get colder faster than your core.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex View Post
    Well, naturally everyone's bodies are different, but this does jump out at me. You had three layers on (all of which do contribute some to insulation and wind blocking). I was riding the other day at about 50F, and was literally wearing a merino t-shirt. I had the before-mentioned hoodie with me, but only put it on while I was hanging out between laps at the bike park.

    If you wet out your base layer you will get cold - and at a certain point, breathability isn't going to keep up with it. That is where the less-clothing thing may seem counter-intuitive, but can work. Maybe dress a little oppositely - instead of putting so much on your core (shirt, vest, jersey), try a thinner shirt with no vest, and maybe a pair of arm warmers or a Buff on your neck to protect the extremities, which do get colder faster than your core.
    This doesn't work for me. The other day I tried riding only with merino layer and thin summer jersey at 50F and while I wasn't getting wet, I definitely felt cold despite active pedaling and had literally no protection against wind. It is quite windy here, especially at backcountry, and windstopping apparel is a must. If I am not protected against the wind, I start to chill even faster than with wet extra layers.

  9. #9
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    Ok, just making recommendations as asked. I would strongly encourage that you continue experimenting with layer combinations - not much is more breathable than merino wool, so if you are wetting that out, then the solution is probably based in your system of layers, rather than any specific fabric technology.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex View Post
    Ok, just making recommendations as asked. I would strongly encourage that you continue experimenting with layer combinations - not much is more breathable than merino wool, so if you are wetting that out, then the solution is probably based in your system of layers, rather than any specific fabric technology.
    I appreciate your feedback. Well, I don't have issues with merino layer - it does the work transferring my sweat out. But then sweat is stuck under next windstopping mid or top layer I have used so far, unless it is something really thin and very breathable. I know I am not alone with such issue

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    Today when I was riding backcountry, it was around 10C/50F and windy. I was wearing merino base layer, Gore Bike alp-x pro windstopper vest (it doesn't have any insulation) and mtb summer jersey (doesn't provide any warmth, just cool looking layer).
    I'm also a serial sweater, for a 50F mtb ride, I'd be in a summer wicking T-shirt/jersey and shorts & would still be sweating if any climbing was involved. I follow the belief that you need to start the ride feeling under dressed & pretty chilly. As soon as you start riding you WILL warm up (or at least I do). Road riding is a little tougher since you really make your own "wind chill" consistently.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebaru View Post
    Thanks for advise, I will try wool layering and already ordered Icebreaker jacket. My only concern how it will perform with wind.

    What about Polartec Alpha? I read it has best breathability of all synthetic insulation fabrics. I am really interested to try it, particularly want to buy an OR Uberlayer jacket.

    phidauex
    No, I don't think I wear too much. I just sweat plenty when I workout In dojo where I train I am usually the one who gets wet faster and more than others. I got used to it. On a summer day 6 hour heavy ride I usually drink at least 3L of water and never go pee. Today when I was riding backcountry, it was around 10C/50F and windy. I was wearing merino base layer, Gore Bike alp-x pro windstopper vest (it doesn't have any insulation) and mtb summer jersey (doesn't provide any warmth, just cool looking layer). I was ok - not very warm and definitely not overheated. I was riding some hills up and down, and in an hour my windstopper vest was wet from inside and I started to chill. When I got back home I was close to hyperthermia - chest all wet and cold.
    Yeah dude, you are wearing too much. Unless it's a straight descent, you gotta take off some of those layers. If I'm climbing in 50 degrees F, I can't wear much more than a jersey, if it's down around 35 degrees F, if I'm working hard, I STILL can't wear much more than a jersey, maybe a long-sleeve jersey, so the options are, go much slower, or take off layers. When I ride to work in the winter, at temps from around 32 degrees F to -15 degrees F, I can only go as fast as my clothing allows. I don't want to make a bunch of changes while riding to work, so I'm locked in as far as my exertion level. I usually hope it's colder, because that means I can usually go faster (without overheating and sweating).

    I've been doing this for a few years now in Alaska. In most temps, down to single digits, a simple THIN stretchy base layer close to the skin and a breathable soft-shell jacket is plenty. When it gets into the 30s, you'll often have to unzip that jacket dramatically or even take it off for short periods. This is where frame-bags and other carrying mechanisms help. Sure, keep a puffy-insulated jacket or something else in your frame bag for emergencies or maybe for the odd extended downhill, where you really do need to beef up your core, but otherwise realize how much damn heat your core puts out when you ride.

    If it's warmer than 30 degrees, you probably got to drop the windstopper jacket at some times, because it's going to trap more moisture and heat than a long sleeve jersey or something similar. Pack it in the frame bag until you need it again.

    If you want an extreme example, go run 3 miles in a downhill ski jacket. I am certain when you get done, you'll be miserable and soaked in sweat. No one does this because that clothing simply doesn't breath enough. That clothing is designed for going fast down ski runs where there is way more airflow around you and then to insulate you when you are on a lift doing absolutely nothing. Sure, there are certain events that can peak your output, but generally, mountain biking is higher exertion and your core produces more heat, more akin to XC skiing, where they realize how much breathability you need. Once again, for your lower half, breathability is key, lots of good XC ski pants around that have wind-proof front sides, like Craft Storm pants. It's literally what more than half of the riders use up here, usually just the pants and something like some silk underwear. If it's going to be colder than the single digits or closer to zero then I might layer a set of 8 panel bike shorts under the craft pants, but no base-layers or extensive suffocating stuff. We do often use snow-gaiters that kind of boost the heat on the lower half of our leg, so there is some additional protection there, but again, don't overdo it.

    With your extremities, hands, face, feet, it's almost as if you can never protect those enough, as far as having backups and options. That's where to throw the resources IMO. If I'm doing it right, I can control my body temp by only adjusting my balaclava, opening it or closing it. Usually has to be decently cold though for that

    On one ride last winter, when it was around -10F, I remember taking off and putting on my backup outer-layer jacket something like 4 or 5 times in just a few miles. Regulating my heat and not allowing myself to sweat too much was far more important than worrying about stopping and going through the fuss to do this.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  13. #13
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    I use merino wool base layers of different weights. Then a wool sweater, usually thin. I take a windproof fleece vest, but only wear it once in a while. Keep your head, hands and feet warm, the rest will follow. You are wearing too much, start with less.

  14. #14
    Ride More - Suffer Less
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    Lots of great advice in here already but I will say for me a vest with windstopper in front and mesh rear works great for that wind chill and lets all the dampness out with zipper vent control....


    I like the Endura Gilet myself.

  15. #15
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    Same here! I sweat a lot too, I use to wear merino as base layer and bring an extra with me to avoid catching cold.

  16. #16
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    The Smartwool Propulsion 60 Jacket is a nice piece for 40-55 degree temps. The insulated front panel blocks a ton of wind and the mid weight jersey is enough once you're moving. Get another 10-15 degrees with a long sleeve wool jersey underneath. Other layers I personally use are a synthetic REI packable vest for stopping, Patagonia Houdini packable jacket for ultimate wind protection. The Revelate Designs Alpine Hoodie is also a really nice piece. Pairs well with a merino wool tshirt(as suggested on their site) and offers moderate wind blocking ability. It's very comfortable, enough you may not want to take it off after the ride.

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