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  1. #1
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    Essential Fatbike Winter Gear?

    So I recently picked up a fatbike for this winter. I typically pedal on a trainer and it seemed like a lot more fun! I have some "cool" weather gear but no cold weather gear! I am looking for some suggestions of must haves vs nice to haves!

    Thanks in advance for the ideas!
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    Wet or dry cold?
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    i'm also curious about this. I hear a lot about "layering" and having to do a little trial & error.
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    I live in Green Bay, WI, so it can actually be both. Mostly dry I like to think
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    pogies for your hands, you also need to figure out your feet. I just use 5.10's with good socks and a good over boot. some use specials shoes, some winter boots.

    I also use my rain gear as a wind breaker. cruising down the hill at 20 mph when it is 20 out gets you chilled quick with out some type of wind barrier.

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    I was looking at some shimano MW81s for shoes. Not sure if anyone has a recommendation on this. I like the idea of the handlebar covers. Makes it easier to shift I suppose.

    Thanks!
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  7. #7
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    VBL socks. VBL = Vapor Barrier Liner. Similar theory to plastic going up in home construction: don't let your fluffy insulation get wet, and it'll keep working. Innermost to outermost goes like: skin, thin wool sock, plastic layer of some kind (can be way cheap like a Target bag on up to however much you want to spend), thick wool sock, boot.

    Bonus: after the ride, disassemble the whole mess, and your thick sock is dry. Put it on, feel civil and warm.
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    Wool socks, waterproof shoes or boots, moose mitts, I also use my rain jacket to stop the cold wind.

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    1st and foremost, keep your hands and feet warm. Pogies, moose mitts, bar mits or whatever you'd like to call them help lots. For my feet in cool weather, I use some wind-proof socks over wool, and some fall style unventilated shoes. When it gets colder, I pull out my Lake 303 boots. They are 2 sizes bigger then my summer shoes, and I can wear a thick and thin wool sock on with them and they are perfectly comfortable. Also, don't skimp on leg-base layers. Your legs might not get too cold, but it keeps the blood going to your feet warmer. A base layer on my legs can make a difference between warm and freezing feet.

    Other than that, add or subtract layers as needed under light windproof garmets on top.

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    Because you are a fellow sconi' I will let you in on a few tips. You will need all types of clothing depending on the temps and how much you sweat. I sweat a lot, and need layers to keep the moisture away from my body.

    I always to a tight fitting base layer (think tight underarmour long sleeve turtleneck), then I have a few different thickness wool long sleeve shirts. The heaviest is a long neck w/ zipper when I need to dump heat. On top of the wool I had a custom Foxwear jacket made. It is windproof in the front, and has lots of venting on the sides and back.

    Legs are base layer, light to heavy wool on top of that, then Pearl Izumi winderbreaker type pants.

    Socks are like a hiking setup. Very thin layer, toe warmer stuck to the sock on my toes, than a decently thick wool sock. I use 45north Wolvhammers.

    Hands I use a fairly lightweight glove and pogies (depending on temps). Now the gloves are not warm enough to keep you warm if your hands aren't in the pogies, so know that repairs in cold weather could lead to issues.

    I bought a Giro G9 snowboarding helmet with removable vents for my head. That seems to really work well in temps below freezing.

    There WILLL be a lot of trial and error, and you will be better off if you can buy local in case something doesn't work out.

  11. #11
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    Essential Fatbike Winter Gear?

    I find it to be like jonshonda says, a lot of trial and error. And to be honest, there's no perfect answer . I struggle before each winter ride trying to pick out the perfect combo of clothing to match the weather . I think it's one reason you see a lot of winter bikes with frame bags. The ability to keep a lot of layers and also not use a pack. Sweaty back sucks extra hard in the winter.


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    Pogies are a must! I would also highly recommend contacting Lou at Foxwear and have him make you a Neoshell jacket and pants.
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    Nuff said
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    VBL socks. VBL = Vapor Barrier Liner.
    VBL's. First learned of these from the Nat Geo Explorer Andrew Skurka. Had planned on doing the feet this winter. Good to know they work well biking. I wondered if the rest of the body could be done biking like in backpacking. It works well hiking.

    Supposedly you sweat less because the skin senses the stank moisture trapped within the VBL. Regulation on a bike might be tougher though.

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    Pogies, beard, platform pedals, flask, thrift store wool, and trial and error. Worry about sweating more than worrying about staying warm.
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    The only real requirement is to have a beard.





























    But apart from that, Pogies are a must.

    Good riding pants that breathe, many of the XC-skiing pants work very well. For colder temps near or below 0F I pair these with light nylon shell-pants.

    Either good winter boots and flat pedals or at least Lake 303s, wolfhammers are good if you want to spend that much, but you can get just as warm of a setup with flats and winter hiking boots, and they are more flexible (in terms of function) as the temp drops.

    Balaclavas! Thin ones and thicker ones. These are EXTREMELY important, one of the best ways to keep your heat in and avoid getting chilled.

    Good windproof jacket.

    Heater packs/boot/glove-warmers. I never really used these before last winter, but they work and are well worth it. Tape or fix one of the boot-warmers (they are adhesive) to your handlebars, now it's constantly warm where you grip. Throw glovewarmers in your backup mittens you put in your frame bag. Now you have 150F gloves waiting for when you need them, which on a cold ride with a lot of stop and start, happens.

    Ridden down to about -15 more than a few times, didn't really feel the need for goggles, but you are getting to the temps where you can't breath the air straight without something like a balaclava.

    Remember that help may not be far away, but it doesn't take long for your **** to freeze, stay well prepared out there.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAGI410 View Post
    Pogies, beard, platform pedals, flask, thrift store wool, and trial and error. Worry about sweating more than worrying about staying warm.
    dammit, you beat me to it.
    "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
    The only real requirement is to have a beard.But apart from that, Pogies are a must.

    Good riding pants that breathe, many of the XC-skiing pants work very well. For colder temps near or below 0F I pair these with light nylon shell-pants.

    Either good winter boots and flat pedals or at least Lake 303s, wolfhammers are good if you want to spend that much, but you can get just as warm of a setup with flats and winter hiking boots, and they are more flexible (in terms of function) as the temp drops.

    Balaclavas! Thin ones and thicker ones. These are EXTREMELY important, one of the best ways to keep your heat in and avoid getting chilled.

    Good windproof jacket.

    Heater packs/boot/glove-warmers. I never really used these before last winter, but they work and are well worth it. Tape or fix one of the boot-warmers (they are adhesive) to your handlebars, now it's constantly warm where you grip. Throw glovewarmers in your backup mittens you put in your frame bag. Now you have 150F gloves waiting for when you need them, which on a cold ride with a lot of stop and start, happens.

    Ridden down to about -15 more than a few times, didn't really feel the need for goggles, but you are getting to the temps where you can't breath the air straight without something like a balaclava.

    Remember that help may not be far away, but it doesn't take long for your **** to freeze, stay well prepared out there.
    Good advice. My favorite place for handwarmers is tucked against the inside of my wrist by gloves, or the cuff of my shirt sleeve.

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    I have a full length Pearl Izumi overall suit type thing. I wear that under a pair of Columbia waterproof pants, couple layers on top with base layer being dri fit type material, and a pair of thin waterproof mountain hardwear gloves.
    Typically wear a pair of Solomon Gore Tex hiking boots with wool hiking socks, and thats pretty much it. Works for me....
    Remove layers if you begin sweating
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    Essential Fatbike Winter Gear?

    The right tire pressure is key. A few psi at low pressures will make a big diff. Buy a gauge suitable for low pressure, do a search on this forum for brands. A pair of flat pedals for icy conditions so you can dab your foot for stability quicker than you could if you were clipped in. Light tubes for emergencies if you are running tubeless. And even if you run tubes--pinch flats happen when the snow is powdery or of insufficient depth. A high volume hand pump to carry with you--a lot of riders avoid relying on CO2.


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    I am surprised at the lack of synthetic fleece/windshirt combinations with a down puffy for stops considering the varying MET's in winter cycling/bikepacking.

    The weight to insulation ratio and Iclo's of these garments are very versatile and allow for lots of interchangeability.

    Honest question. Is bikepacking/winter cycling really that much different than hiking?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Kunkel View Post
    I am surprised at the lack of synthetic fleece/windshirt combinations with a down puffy for stops considering the varying MET's in winter cycling/bikepacking.

    The weight to insulation ratio and Iclo's of these garments are very versatile and allow for lots of interchangeability.

    Honest question. Is bikepacking/winter cycling really that much different than hiking?
    Yes for me at least, more aerobic= more sweat=need to stay warm yet vent at the same time. When it gets down below 15f I use multiple layers of thin wool with a soft shell over jacket with a breathable back side (when warmer just lessen under layers). I was always resisting getting an expensive outer layer but it has been one of my best investments ever. I use a Craft but I know there are others that are just as good if not better. Now feet that is a whole nother story and I am still working on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Kunkel View Post
    VBL's. First learned of these from the Nat Geo Explorer Andrew Skurka. Had planned on doing the feet this winter. Good to know they work well biking. I wondered if the rest of the body could be done biking like in backpacking. It works well hiking.

    Supposedly you sweat less because the skin senses the stank moisture trapped within the VBL. Regulation on a bike might be tougher though.
    I want to weigh in here....I have ridden a pugs for the past 4 winters. Last winter I was out almost every night (Chicago area). I go out just about no matter what. I'm usually out for 1 to 2 hours. My feet have always been the hardest thing to keep warm. After years of hearing (put a plasitc bag in your shoe Man! It makes all the difference in the world), I finally decided to try it. I had always resisted this notion because it "TRAPS" moisture and then you get wet, but I thought....let's try it. It was a very cold night, probably about 15 degrees. The first quarter of the ride it was great. My feet were much warmer than usualy. By midway my feet started to feel cool, then I realized, my feet were wet. I could feel the squish against my toes in the socks. (what I wear on my feet for referece: 1 light wool sock, 1 toe warmer, one heavy wool sock, Louie Garnaeu Winter boot). By the last quarter of the ride I was miserable. My feet were wet and cold. When I got home and deconstructed myself, the socks were literally soaking wet.
    Now I sweat a lot, so maybe it's different for some folks, but before you go out on a long ride with Plasctic bags of some sort (Non breathable) on your feet, I would experiment close to your home or car so you can get back to warmth if you need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    Yes for me at least, more aerobic= more sweat=need to stay warm yet vent at the same time. When it gets down below 15f I use multiple layers of thin wool with a soft shell over jacket with a breathable back side (when warmer just lessen under layers). I was always resisting getting an expensive outer layer but it has been one of my best investments ever. I use a Craft but I know there are others that are just as good if not better. Now feet that is a whole nother story and I am still working on that.
    Yep, you generate a LOT of heat and most of your winter clothes and preparation objective is to avoid sweat, not to trap in heat. Although you want to be prepared with an emergency layer or some heat packs/extra gloves for extremities, the amount of clothes you can get away with (as in small amount) is sometimes downright ridiculous, but any other way and you'll sweat and be in a dangerous situation fast. Look at how minimal XC skiing clothing is vs. downhill.

    When I would roll into work in the winter when it was below zero with frost all over my balaclava everyone would ask me: "wow, aren't you cold!!". The complete opposite is true, I can only go as fast as my clothing allows, and if I go too fast, I get too hot and can't get rid of the sweat. This is the limiting factor when riding in to work during the winter.
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    Another 'Sconnie weighing in:

    Boots. Good boots that are actually meant for winter, not shoulder season cyclocross boots.

    A lightweight fleece hat that'll fit under your regular helmet. Don't buy a ski helmet.

    Other than that, it's layering and breathability.

    There is no such thing as a gore tex jacket that breathes enough for cycling, especially the slow grind of winter fatbiking in the snow. My best results have been with wool long sleeve jerseys, fleece jackets and then a windbreaker over the top that can be easily stowed when it's not needed.

    I'm not riding huge long distances or times, usually 2-3 hours at a time.

  26. #26
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    I can't believe no one's mentioned Lake 303's or 45Nrth boots.
    I have Lakes and it was some of the best money I've ever spent.

    Everyone nailed it with the layers. I start with full length Underarmor, then fleece lined bibtights. Then, depending on the temperature, I keep adding light wicking layers and finish off with an old Trek cycling jacket that I really only have because it happens to fit me.
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    Go to your ski shop that specializes in cross country ski gear. The clothing and layering pieces are a perfect match for our winter biking. Once you figure it out come up and pedal our 3 Marquette county snow bike specific trails here in the UP.

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    I don't wear wind PROOF or water PROOF anything. They just don't breath enough and you will be soaking wet inside. I wear a jacket that is wind resistant (softshell) on the front and very breathable on the back. This keeps just enough air moving through to help carry away the moisture. I wear uninsulated softshell pants that I can put various weights of baselayer tights underneath.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishpeming View Post
    figure it out come up and pedal our 3 Marquette county snow bike specific trails here in the UP.
    Would love to try again, last time we got a report the trails were groomed so we headed up made the first big climb only to see the groomer had turned around and went back down. Very expensive trip for nothing, well almost nothing we found Blackwater and The Ore Dock You get hit with so much snow it's a very risky trip to make which sucks because we so want to ride it Being a groomer myself I more than know crap happens, It's actually tough to travel anywhere to ride groomed trails as conditions can change fast.

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    I am a big fan of quality wool products, Ibex wool makes some of the best I have found. They make different layers you can use, I agree with others have posted layering is key. I find a good light, loose fitting wind top layer is a must if you are moving fast or the wind is blowing. If it is really cold out a good down layer over the top of the wool works good also, but if it gets wet it worse than nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slarti View Post
    I want to weigh in here....I have ridden a pugs for the past 4 winters. Last winter I was out almost every night (Chicago area). I go out just about no matter what. I'm usually out for 1 to 2 hours. My feet have always been the hardest thing to keep warm. After years of hearing (put a plasitc bag in your shoe Man! It makes all the difference in the world), I finally decided to try it. I had always resisted this notion because it "TRAPS" moisture and then you get wet, but I thought....let's try it. It was a very cold night, probably about 15 degrees. The first quarter of the ride it was great. My feet were much warmer than usualy. By midway my feet started to feel cool, then I realized, my feet were wet. I could feel the squish against my toes in the socks. (what I wear on my feet for referece: 1 light wool sock, 1 toe warmer, one heavy wool sock, Louie Garnaeu Winter boot). By the last quarter of the ride I was miserable. My feet were wet and cold. When I got home and deconstructed myself, the socks were literally soaking wet.
    Now I sweat a lot, so maybe it's different for some folks, but before you go out on a long ride with Plasctic bags of some sort (Non breathable) on your feet, I would experiment close to your home or car so you can get back to warmth if you need to.
    I think you may have put the plastic liner in the wrong layer.
    Put the plastic bag over the thin wool sock and under all the insulating layers. The thin sock will get wet but the insulating layers will stay dryer. At least that is the theory. I would believe if you put the plastic over everything before sticking the boot on that would cause problems.

    Craig

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    Yes and some wear it directly on the skin too. Stephensons Warmlite has done this for decades. Even way back in the 70's when they had nude catalogs for their sleep systems.

    Thanks for all the answers too guys. Looks like I need to reconsider my gear.

  33. #33
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    Have had these for 8 years. Fantastic in winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ishpeming View Post
    Go to your ski shop that specializes in cross country ski gear. The clothing and layering pieces are a perfect match for our winter biking. Once you figure it out come up and pedal our 3 Marquette county snow bike specific trails here in the UP.
    I'm with you here. I repurpose all my CC skiing gear for winter biking up here in Fairbanks, AK. Even down past -20 I kept finding that I was overdressing - way to hot once I got to huffing and puffing down the road or trail. CC ski pants/jackets are great. As a lot of others have said, breathable layers especially for the upper body are really nice.

    As far as boots go, I really don't think you should have to spend a fortune. Just make your feet as warm as they can be, because I guarantee they'll be the first thing to start freezing up. Just get some decent adn thickly insulated boots - you can probably find some at a thirft store for cheap. I use insulated xtratuffs. Sure, they're not breathable, but they stay nice and warm and are relatively flexible and have good tread. I figure so long as you wear thick wool socks it doesn't matter too much if you're steeping in a pool of your own foot sweat. Additional bonus since they're high enough to tuck your pant legs into , so there's no need to roll up a pant leg to keep it from getting bit up by your chain.

    As far as pogies go I've had good experience with the Dogwood Designs ones. People around here use them a lot since they're local, but from what I understand they're pretty popular with winter bikers elsewhere.

    Face and head I went cheap on and haven't really looked back. I have a "buff" - one of those thin tubes that can be worn as a baclava/headband/faceguard which was five bucks on sale, and I just got a slightly larger winter helmet that will fit a nice thick wool hat under it. I used to try to ride with a scarf on, but found that it was too thick and would frost up all the time.

    Anyway, I suppose my view is that a couple warm breathable and layerable upper body layers and a good set of pogies are important and worth spending some decent money on, but beyond that don't break the bank.

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    Craft pants are pretty nice.
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    Most have covered the basics here very well. Pogies, good boots, layers, lots of wool or synthetic (no cotton against skin). I've built up a wardrobe of gears layers and keep a seasonal log of what layers were for what temps.

    Two other things - water! I use some Outdoor Research bottle parkas with Salsa Anything cages. This keeps the water from freezing. Sometimes I use a water bladder but you need to remember to blow the water back into the bladder so the tube doesn't freeze.

    Lastly goggles eye gear. XC ski eye gear is good, ski goggles too. Remember that you will want clear or very lightly tinted lenses for night riding or overcast conditions.

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    As many others have said, dumping heat is key for me. I wear much lighter gear than what I think I'll need, but take along more just in case. If you sweat easily, get frame bags to keep your gear off your back or you will be soaked pretty quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SRALPH View Post
    Lastly goggles eye gear. XC ski eye gear is good, ski goggles too. Remember that you will want clear or very lightly tinted lenses for night riding or overcast conditions.
    Haven't needed this and honestly don't recall many/any people using them on rides here around Anchorage. Covering up your face with a balaclava usually provides enough of a protective layer where there's a constant movement of warm air to keep eyeballs from freezing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRALPH View Post
    Lastly goggles eye gear. XC ski eye gear is good, ski goggles too. Remember that you will want clear or very lightly tinted lenses for night riding or overcast conditions.
    I've never needed goggles. I wear sunglasses/clear lenses depending on conditions but it's never been a problem. Figure if I've never needed them for XC skiing (in far colder temps than I'm willing to bike) I won't need them for riding. In the snow it's pretty rare that my speeds get much above a fast jog- over 3 hours I might average 6 or 7 mph on a fast course.

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    strip to almost nothing before the climb and than put it all back on for the descent.

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    For me it's three things, merino wool, layers and battery powered wool socks.

    Merino socks to hat as a base layer, thin polar tech fleece for the next layer then a wind breaking outer layer with vents. I also like a light insulated vest so I can take the jacket off when hot.
    That is the key, don't sweat or get wet, use the layers to adjust the temp, it's better to feel cool or even a bit cold now and then and put cloths on than get wet and then freeze.

    The socks were $10 and a life saver, they are first a good thick warm sock that I use as any other, thin wool then thick battery sock on. I have only used them a few times when the toes froze and feeling that heat when your miserable and freezing makes the world a nice place. They take two square 9v batteries and last a long time, I do use them only in emergencys..

    Lots of great advice here!

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    Winter wear

    Boots- I gave up on clip in pedals. I loved my Lake shoes, but I use flat pedals exclusively these days. Insulated boots (LL Bean Snowmonkey boots) with the plastic bag trick worked for me well when I lived in AK. For really cold below -15 I have a set of neoprene overboots. Really, that is just for an emergency if you are out and things turn bad quickly. I have never had to resort to them. I also take toe warmers in case of a real emergency, but have never used them except to practice with them. Getting off and running or walking a bit every hour or so is a good idea too.

    Pogies. goes without saying.

    Clothing. Layers yep. For underwear I use patagonia mid weight capilene underwear. Second layer REI tights with front windproofing. Third layer when it gets below zero, a pair of fleece pants (been thinking of abandoning this layer as overkill), fourth layer is some Helly Hansen breathable shells. Never comes down to wearing all the layers. If it snows in the relatively warm range (0-15) I might use the Hellys with just the capilene undies or the tights. It all depends. Like people said above it's all about dumping heat 95% of the time.

    I don't wear a helmet on snow trails. Can't dump enough heat. I used to just use an ear band not even a hat. But around town you should wear a helmet. I wear a snowboard helmet to commute, but it is a short commute and anything longer would see me sweating like a pig. I barely warm up on my commute. I have never used a balaclava even in AK, but I always brought one in case it got really really cold. I see people wearing them to work here in Idaho sometimes. I laugh. Mockingly, to myself of course.

    Hydration. I wear an old-school thin camelbak UNDER my outer layer when it's really cold. Insulated hose and blow back the water so it doesn't freeze.

    Eye protection- I used to bring goggles but never used them. In a snowstorm I can see it. So to speak. A pair of glasses with clear and tinted lenses works. I have two pairs actually, a cheap pair of yellow tints and nice sunglasses. You don't want to be changing lenses with your hands exposed in real cold. If it's night, quality doesn't matter because there are no UV rays to damage your eyes.
    Last edited by Xylx; 09-30-2014 at 07:59 PM. Reason: typos

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    When I lived in Alaska, snow googles were really only necessary during bright sunny days. The glare from sunlight off snow can be blinding, so it sometimes is necessary to have sun shading of some sort, just to be able to see. The light can be so brilliant it physically hurts the eyes, causing intense squinting which causes the eyes to tear up- which of course at -40, -50 or lower then freezes the tears around the eyes and compounds the misery. I've experienced actual intense pain around the edge of the eye, I think caused by a rim of ice crystals stabbing the eye ball surface. Nasty stuff. In the old days, Eskimo used solid carved googles with a very thin eye slit carved in the wood or bone eye piece - just enuf slit to barely see through- which cut down on the intensity reaching the pupil. Nowadays filtered plastic lenses in snow googles seem to be the optimal thing to have. You won't need them very often, but when you do, it's insane to not have a pair close at hand.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    Another 'Sconnie weighing in:


    There is no such thing as a gore tex jacket that breathes enough for cycling, especially the slow grind of winter fatbiking in the snow. .
    Probably hasn't tried the Castelli Expresso Due jacket. It is designed with a ventilation system. Yes it is crazy expensive, but worth every penny. If you look off season you can find it half price. Sizing is Euro roadie, so go up at least one size. It works over a broad range of temps. When I ride the temperature often changes 20 or 30 degrees. How hard I work is also a variable, uphill versus downhill. Having clothing that works over a range of temps increases my enjoyment. I have a dozen other cycling jackets but the Expresso Due is my goto wear.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by k.b. View Post
    Probably hasn't tried the Castelli Expresso Due jacket. It is designed with a ventilation system. Yes it is crazy expensive, but worth every penny. If you look off season you can find it half price. Sizing is Euro roadie, so go up at least one size. It works over a broad range of temps. When I ride the temperature often changes 20 or 30 degrees. How hard I work is also a variable, uphill versus downhill. Having clothing that works over a range of temps increases my enjoyment. I have a dozen other cycling jackets but the Expresso Due is my goto wear.
    Honestly, that doesn't even sound remotely worth it. There are good windstopper softshell jackets that are nearly perfect for cycling and work over an incredible temperature range, there are also a lot of good light-shell cycling jackets (some that convert into vests). What would be gained by spending a whole lot more on that thing? It's not like it's going to start raining at 5F.
    "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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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slarti View Post
    I want to weigh in here....I have ridden a pugs for the past 4 winters. Last winter I was out almost every night (Chicago area). I go out just about no matter what. I'm usually out for 1 to 2 hours. My feet have always been the hardest thing to keep warm. After years of hearing (put a plasitc bag in your shoe Man! It makes all the difference in the world), I finally decided to try it. I had always resisted this notion because it "TRAPS" moisture and then you get wet, but I thought....let's try it. It was a very cold night, probably about 15 degrees. The first quarter of the ride it was great. My feet were much warmer than usualy. By midway my feet started to feel cool, then I realized, my feet were wet. I could feel the squish against my toes in the socks. (what I wear on my feet for referece: 1 light wool sock, 1 toe warmer, one heavy wool sock, Louie Garnaeu Winter boot). By the last quarter of the ride I was miserable. My feet were wet and cold. When I got home and deconstructed myself, the socks were literally soaking wet.
    Now I sweat a lot, so maybe it's different for some folks, but before you go out on a long ride with Plasctic bags of some sort (Non breathable) on your feet, I would experiment close to your home or car so you can get back to warmth if you need to.
    well its because the analogy to plastic in construction is not really accurate. you put up plastic on the walls to keep insualtion dry, but there are air leaks and drafts in the interior. try to eliminate all the air leaks and drafts in your house and see what happens during cold winter nights. condensation all over your windows.

  47. #47
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    There is no one set of gear I take. Generally speaking I take a little more stuff than most people- it's more fun to not be anxious about staying warm if something goes wrong.

    I think layering is important, but over emphasized. I can usually pick a combo of clothes which, with venting, are good for the ride. Maybe a shell that comes on and off if conditions are variable. What is often overlooked with the guys that bring 6 thin layers is they don't have a down jacket. I don't even ride 3 miles without one in my seat pack in case I need to stop riding for any reason. I have 3 different ones and choose one depending on the conditions.

    I also almost always carry goggles but rarely use them. They fog easy, so I save them for when I REALLY need them, (such as the 2K descent I did last year in a -10 degree snowstorm).

    I'm also two hat kind of guy. One light hat, that often gets sweated out. One heavier hat as a back up or for the down.

    On longer rides I love to have a hot brew up or noodle soup. MSR pocket rocket and fuel is lighter than the water it will produce as well. Down jacket comes on before stove set up.
    Last edited by Teton29er; 10-31-2014 at 10:19 AM.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I can't believe no one's mentioned Lake 303's or 45Nrth boots.
    I've been using Thin Mid Length Sock - Black : SealSkinz? Thermal & Waterproof Socks with a light merino liner sock underneath, and then a bootie over top. Just regular summer riding shoes. As warm if not warmer than my winter Keen -30 boots.

    For snow, I use the Keen's and flats.

  49. #49
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    Just had my first ride this a.m. below freezing. I learned pogies are a must! OOOPH PAINFULLY cold hands.
    I didn't wear them this morning, but, I just picked a pair of Rocky Boots SilentHunters
    Rocky SilentHunter Waterproof Insulated Outdoor Boot, RKYS115
    Hoping they'll do the job for all but the coldest days?
    Anyone wear soft shell pants when they ride?
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  50. #50
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    I ride everyday and find a nice digital outdoor thermometer, mounted in my mud room helps me choose my clothing.

    Protect your airways when it gets really cold. I rode a few weeks of -20f, during last years polar vortex and came down with cold induced asthma.

  51. #51
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    Trying to decide on pogies for Minnesota...my first biking winter ever. Mainly path, trail riding and commuting. Found one LBS that had 45NRTH Cobrafists (and on sale 20% off) but went to another LBS...and after selling me a pair of Bontager RXL winter soft shell pants, showed me Dogwood Designs pogies they had just gotten in.

    Said the DD pogies were warmer than the Cobrafists...but the Cobrafists were more durable. Any opinions on that from folks that have used both?

    Also, while you're at it, no one has mentioned the Bontager pants....but I bought them since I haven't been able to find Pearl Izumi or Craft pants locally....anyone using them?

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    I tried a pair of Hestra Heli-three finger gloves a couple of years ago and haven't needed pogies yet. I ride in occasional single digit temperatures. Mostly my coldest rides are around 15 degrees F. These gloves are too warm for me when the temperature gets above 25 degrees F. I typically ride 1-3 hours with several 4-6 hour rides, so I go through several sweat (climbing) cycles.

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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xylx View Post
    I don't wear a helmet on snow trails. Can't dump enough heat. I used to just use an ear band not even a hat. But around town you should wear a helmet. I wear a snowboard helmet to commute, but it is a short commute and anything longer would see me sweating like a pig. I barely warm up on my commute. I have never used a balaclava even in AK, but I always brought one in case it got really really cold. I see people wearing them to work here in Idaho sometimes. I laugh. Mockingly, to myself of course..
    That must be one amazing helmet you got. I find when it drops to the single digits you need to cover up all exposed skin, including face, the only question is with what/how thick. Most people in AK wear them. The other problem is taking in air that is too cold, at those temps and below it starts to become an issue. There are almost no people here riding without helmets either. You might be surprised how hard ice/stumps are.
    "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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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaxmalloy View Post
    Trying to decide on pogies for Minnesota...my first biking winter ever. Mainly path, trail riding and commuting. Found one LBS that had 45NRTH Cobrafists (and on sale 20% off) but went to another LBS...and after selling me a pair of Bontager RXL winter soft shell pants, showed me Dogwood Designs pogies they had just gotten in.


    Said the DD pogies were warmer than the Cobrafists...but the Cobrafists were more durable. Any opinions on that from folks that have used both?
    Just ordered a pair of dogwood pogies. Haven't seen them in person yet, but they wouldn't have survived for long in Fairbanks if they weren't durable. Dog mushers are Hard on gear. I suspect you will be very happy with them. Probably the three fingered gloves would work well also. Don't know about the bontrager pants.

  55. #55
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    I like wearing ski goggles. I feel like an astronaut sometimes when I step out of the house on a cold morning and don't feel the cold air anywhere on my body. I don't mind the cold wind filtering through to my torso if my head is in its own little containment. I am just my head sometimes.

    Its funny to read people questioning what others use as if there is a superior way to dress. Bike commuting through the winter gives people the perfect chance to develop what works for them through trial and error. Those cold but short rides have helped me know how little core insulation I really need and that has helped me on longer rides where moisture management and foot insulation seem to be the critical focus.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slarti View Post
    I want to weigh in here....I have ridden a pugs for the past 4 winters. Last winter I was out almost every night (Chicago area). I go out just about no matter what. I'm usually out for 1 to 2 hours. My feet have always been the hardest thing to keep warm. After years of hearing (put a plasitc bag in your shoe Man! It makes all the difference in the world), I finally decided to try it. I had always resisted this notion because it "TRAPS" moisture and then you get wet, but I thought....let's try it. It was a very cold night, probably about 15 degrees. The first quarter of the ride it was great. My feet were much warmer than usualy. By midway my feet started to feel cool, then I realized, my feet were wet. I could feel the squish against my toes in the socks. (what I wear on my feet for referece: 1 light wool sock, 1 toe warmer, one heavy wool sock, Louie Garnaeu Winter boot). By the last quarter of the ride I was miserable. My feet were wet and cold. When I got home and deconstructed myself, the socks were literally soaking wet.
    Now I sweat a lot, so maybe it's different for some folks, but before you go out on a long ride with Plasctic bags of some sort (Non breathable) on your feet, I would experiment close to your home or car so you can get back to warmth if you need to.
    Slarti, It sounds like the mistake you made is to put the bag outside all the socks. Put only one thin sock inside the bag the rest outside so they stay warm and dry. I think vapor barriers work better for some people than others but they won't work if they are outside a bunch of the insulation.

    Oops, This was already covered. I obviously did not read enough of the thread before I responded. Sorry about that. Now I will go ride in the snow.
    Last edited by sryanak; 11-01-2014 at 12:18 PM.
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  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    That must be one amazing helmet you got. I find when it drops to the single digits you need to cover up all exposed skin, including face, the only question is with what/how thick. Most people in AK wear them. The other problem is taking in air that is too cold, at those temps and below it starts to become an issue. There are almost no people here riding without helmets either. You might be surprised how hard ice/stumps are.
    Most people up here do wear them but a lot don't. For me dumping heat out of my head is a lot easier without a helmet. If I'm riding fast through tight trees or somewhere the risk of launching off the bike at speed is higher I wear my helmet but if the risk is lower the ability to pull off my hat and stuff it in my pocket to keep from sweating wins over the helmet. Ride length matters to me too, if the ride is only going to be a couple hours sweat really doesn't matter but on a long cross country day trip where staying dry is very important the helmet stays home. YMMV
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  58. #58
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    This is a great thread - not much to add other than that I appreciate all the great info.

    Currently on the fence between 303s, Wolvs and some flavor of 510.
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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckfiddious View Post
    I've never needed goggles. I wear sunglasses/clear lenses depending on conditions but it's never been a problem. Figure if I've never needed them for XC skiing (in far colder temps than I'm willing to bike) I won't need them for riding. In the snow it's pretty rare that my speeds get much above a fast jog- over 3 hours I might average 6 or 7 mph on a fast course.
    Ski goggles do not work very well when you are huffing through the snow, you typically don't have enough speed to keep the air in the goggle changed out and then they fog up as warm moist air is trapped in them (unless you're riding in a blizzard).

    It is better to use ski sunglasses or XC eyewear that allows more air to circulate behind the lens and prevent fogging.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjdog800 View Post
    Ski goggles do not work very well when you are huffing through the snow, you typically don't have enough speed to keep the air in the goggle changed out and then they fog up as warm moist air is trapped in them (unless you're riding in a blizzard).

    It is better to use ski sunglasses or XC eyewear that allows more air to circulate behind the lens and prevent fogging.
    Yes, even regular glasses fog up, but you can usually clear them out by moving. Goggles on the other hand end up a lost case, the fog forms too quickly to easily dissipate. I'd suggest a thick balaclava that you can pull up to just expose your eyes, warm air from your face will pass out through that area and help to warm that skin, some clear or light colored glasses over will provide just enough restriction that you won't be blasting your face. No doubt, if it's cold enough you want goggles, but I've found that to not be the case down to -15F or so.

    It's darn near instant with goggles how quickly they fog when you stop.
    "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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  61. #61
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    I've usually been able to deal with the fog when I stop issue by taking them completely off when stopped. I don't use them anymore because what I could not solve was the creeping ice layer on the inside that slowly but surely obscured all vision. Now if I could just solve that sweating problem.......
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    The most important piece of equipment in my mind is Smartwool Windproof underwear!

  63. #63
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    Anyone ride with Boggs or Muck boots? They seem well insulated, have a comfortable fit, and run high enough to keep pant legs from catching chains or slop thrown up by tires. When its snowing out, or really cold, my contacts take a beating, so I wear Haber goggles with the eliminator fan - no fogging and the fan self regulates. One of my favorite pieces of gear.

  64. #64
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    I'll add this:

    Air Cooler - Lifestyle Accessories - Accessories

    These work much better than the OR coozies in that the zipper is more robust, less prone to freezing shut, they are more efficient, they don't absorb water, they are lighter and they can be attached around your stem to act as 'feed bags' (ie, revelate designs), saving space in your frame bag. They hold a double wall stainless liter bottle or you could drop in a heat pack or two and keep batteries or things you don't want to freeze warm.

  65. #65
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    No pogies yet, but am ordering a purpose made frame bag from Nuclear Sunrise to carry the extra winter gear. No good having all these layers if their is no place to carry them. My Relevate frame bag is wimpy small - under 2 1/2" wide for most of the length - either very poor construction, or even worse quality control. Anyhow, it doesn't have room for much more than one light pullover. And I can't get my thin little rain jacket and the pull'over in it at the same time. Rather disappointing. So,,, going with a custom frame bag that is a solid 5 1/2" wide. This will give me the volume to pack basic spare winter riding gear in one spot. Price is $40 bucks cheaper than the relevate!

  66. #66
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    Appleton area commuter here.
    I wear Kreed ski goggles and just rubbed some generic anti-fog stuff on them and they work great. I like the slight orange/yellow tint for both day and night. No pogies for me yet, I have a nice pair of Carhartt gloves that have served me well for many years. I generally like to be warmer than colder, I'm a wussy. So I tend to go a bit overboard with my clothes and then slowly open up layers to keep just right, but still a bit sweaty. I go with padded cycling shorts then an underarmor base layer top and bottom. Then some Pearl Izumi AmFib bibs on the bottom. The gaiter feature is nice to stretch them over your shoes and keep out the slush and muck. I have a nice fleece cycling jersey I had made a couple years ago that is awesome. Then a water/wind resistant light jacket with zippers in the armpits and a hood to pull over the helmet when the windchill gets stupid cold. Up top I have a thick fleece balaclava with adjustable elastic and my roadie helmet. I like the adjustment of the balaclava so I can chose to not cover my mouth, but when it is below zero I can loosen the tension and pull it up over my nose and the lower part of my goggles. This lets me breathe easier when huffing and puffing, but has the added bonus of keeping my goggles clear. My feet is where I am still struggling. I could just put flat pedals on and wear my super duper winter boots, but they weigh a ton and my pedal stroke gets all wonky. I am currently sporting a pair of Serfas MTB shoes with toe covers. For socks I wear a light synthetic cycling sock and then medium to heavy wool socks depending on temps. Regardless of what I try my toes start to freeze after an hour. I won't/can't afford the sexy Lake/Northwave/45NRTH boots so I'll keep trying to get it figured out. Maybe some battery powered socks or insoles.

  67. #67
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    Axeman leather mittens by Kinco. Get them from hardware store for $20-ish. Have fingers inside. Hands stay plenty warm. Usually take the off & slide on bars when stopped. Finger articulation allow 2 fingers to use levers.

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowride454 View Post
    Appleton area commuter here.
    I wear Kreed ski goggles and just rubbed some generic anti-fog stuff on them and they work great. I like the slight orange/yellow tint for both day and night. No pogies for me yet, I have a nice pair of Carhartt gloves that have served me well for many years. I generally like to be warmer than colder, I'm a wussy. So I tend to go a bit overboard with my clothes and then slowly open up layers to keep just right, but still a bit sweaty. I go with padded cycling shorts then an underarmor base layer top and bottom. Then some Pearl Izumi AmFib bibs on the bottom. The gaiter feature is nice to stretch them over your shoes and keep out the slush and muck. I have a nice fleece cycling jersey I had made a couple years ago that is awesome. Then a water/wind resistant light jacket with zippers in the armpits and a hood to pull over the helmet when the windchill gets stupid cold. Up top I have a thick fleece balaclava with adjustable elastic and my roadie helmet. I like the adjustment of the balaclava so I can chose to not cover my mouth, but when it is below zero I can loosen the tension and pull it up over my nose and the lower part of my goggles. This lets me breathe easier when huffing and puffing, but has the added bonus of keeping my goggles clear. My feet is where I am still struggling. I could just put flat pedals on and wear my super duper winter boots, but they weigh a ton and my pedal stroke gets all wonky. I am currently sporting a pair of Serfas MTB shoes with toe covers. For socks I wear a light synthetic cycling sock and then medium to heavy wool socks depending on temps. Regardless of what I try my toes start to freeze after an hour. I won't/can't afford the sexy Lake/Northwave/45NRTH boots so I'll keep trying to get it figured out. Maybe some battery powered socks or insoles.
    Decent battery powered insoles cost as much as Lakes.
    "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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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by kq100 View Post
    The most important piece of equipment in my mind is Smartwool Windproof underwear!
    100% correct
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