Keep the riding going into the colder months with these essentials. Luke Toritto photo.
It’s fall folks, or even winter depending on where you are in the world. For many people, this shift in seasons means falling leaves, Uggs boots, decorative wreaths that belong on Pinterest, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes. For mountain bikers fall means something entirely different: perfect riding temps, quiet trails, and most importantly HERO DIRT. Dressing for cooler temperatures, however, is not my specialty. I’ve had my fair share of rides where I bundled myself up with far too many layers and felt hotter than an enchilada fresh out of the oven. The opposite is also just as bad. Taking the “be bold start cold” approach has resulted in a few not-so-pleasantly frigid descends. Despite what your friends tell you, being able to feel your handlebars is important for the descent. Don’t make the same mistakes as I did, and properly regulate your temperature. Thankfully, it isn’t rocket science, it just takes the right gear. Here is a list of my favorite cold-weather cycling gear that keeps me focused on having fun, instead of worrying about hypothermia.
Endura Women’s MT500 Waterproof Jacket -$329.99
If you’re going to have one heavy-duty riding jacket, the Endura MT500 should be it.
Let’s face it, not every day in the saddle is a pristine bluebird day. Sometimes the weather is going to be foul, but that doesn’t mean the riding will be. Embracing the harsh elements simply requires the right gear like Endura’s Women’s MT500 Waterproof Jacket. It’s a jacket built for mud, puddles, and torrential downpours with its ExoShell40 fabric. The material is actually comprised of three different layers, all designed to keep you dry. It starts with the fabric’s tough water-wicking outer layer that’s treated with environmentally friendly PFC-free DWR treatment—so that’s a win-win for both you and the planet. Next is a fluorine-free membrane that’s sandwiched between the outer and inner layers, designed to pull moisture away from your skin and keep the garment breathable. Endura was also extra mindful about all the little details like adding waterproof cuffs, sealing the seams so water doesn’t get in, and adding a longer back so your bum doesn’t get splattered in mud. I was skeptical about the jacket’s breathability because of the fabric’s thickness. However, Endura designed the garment with four large zipped vents, making it easy to regulate temperature. Plus, if it works for World Cup legend Rachel Atherton, who regularly rides in pretty heinous weather, then that should provide some added reassurance.
Find the MT500 here.
Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Pants - $269.00
DH pants is a first for Patagonia, but we hope this means they’re expanding their bike line even more.
When you think of Patagonia skiing, mountaineering, and climbing likely first comes to mind. But over the last few years, the brand has been dialing in their bike products, and the Dirt Roamer is a testament to their hard work and craftsmanship. These pants are lightweight, easy to pack, sourced from 100% recycled nylon, and most importantly fully waterproof. With its 3-layer H2No® Performance shell, they’re great for riding through puddles, wet overgrowth, and trails iced over in frost. The overall look is great too, with the section panels it’s got the vibe of old school motocross pants. Like most Patagonia products, they paid extra attention to little details, ensuring that functionality wasn’t sacrificed in the pursuit of fashion. It features unzippable knee-high leg openings, so you can take the pants off without removing pads or shoes. They also reinforced key contact areas like the knees and crotch with abrasion-resistant nylon to keep the pants sturdy and functioning for plenty of rides. The waistband is adjustable and designed so it won’t get in the way of your hip pack. These pants also gained some brownie points in my book simply because Patagonia offered both a men’s and women’s version. While during research for this article, I was baffled by the lack of pants options for women. News flash: our legs get cold too.
Find the Dirt Roamers here.
Dakine Reserve Windbreaker Jacket - $80
A lightweight jacket like this is a no-brainer for backcountry adventures.
This is the kind of jacket that should be always stowed in your riding pack. It’s so light and compact that it would be silly to leave in your closet. You can conveniently pack the whole thing down by stuffing it into its own pocket, making it easy to store. The jacket is ultra-lightweight and has a built-in vent in the back to keep you from overheating, though I do wish it had extra zipped vents. If you wear a good base layer with it, it does a good job of stopping wind chill while riding. It’s also treated with a DWR coating, so it wicks water pretty well. I wouldn’t rely on it for a major downpour per se, but it’s worked great for a light drizzle or unexpected flurry of snow. I’m personally a huge fan of the fit, which like most Dakine products is relaxed and not too snug. The color/pattern options are pretty fun, too. One fun fact about this jacket is that the fabric is considered Bluesign, meaning that the material doesn’t contain any harmful substances, and the manufacturing utilized safe processes for its workers.
Find the Reserve Windbreaker here.
Dakine Noella Tech Flannel Shirt - $75
The Noella Tech flannel is both fashionable and functional.
Nothing says colder weather like cinnamon and fuzzy flannels. I love having a reliable flannel like Dakine’s Noella for downhill riding on a chillier day. Not only does it keep you warm on the descent, but you can wear it straight to the brewery when you’re finished. Simply throw on a five-panel hat, Carhartts, and your nicest Vans and you’ve got the mountain town look dialed. What I love about this shirt is the fit. It’s not too boxy or too snug. It’s also incredibly soft for a technical garment. The material is a blend of Polyester, Viscose, and Elastane, meaning it’s got some stretch for biking and can handle a surprise shower of rain. It’s also equipped with Polygiene® odor control, meaning that if you wear one too many times, you won’t smell like a pair of stinky knee pads.
Find the Noella Tech Flannel here.
SKIDA HEADBAND - $22
Add a little pizazz to your riding kit with Skida
Cold ears will ruin any bike ride, so keep those bad boys warm with one of Skida’s fleece-lined headbands. I prefer a headband over a cycling beanie because they take up less space, and I usually don’t have an issue with my noggin getting cold. Skida’s alpine headbands are super soft and built with moisture-wicking Polartec micro-fleece, meaning you won’t become a sweaty mess if you get too hot. If you run on the warmer side, Skida’s Nordic Headband is probably a better option since it comes without fleece. On top of being both functional and warm, Skida’s products let you add a little pop of personality to your riding kit. Good luck with trying to buy only one thing from the brand. With so many patterns and prints to choose from, I usually reach the checkout screen with a few things.
Find the headband here.
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