Winter clothing advice

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  • Winter clothing advice
  • Premier Icon coolhandluke

    I’m normally a bit of a fair weather rider but am a bit more determined to get out into the northern elements as my riding time is way less and so I simply can’t be as choosy about weather conditions.

    So, apparel for crap weather then.

    I’ve got a good coat already, thinking legs, head and feet really.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Good gloves and spare gloves in the bag (either warmer or cooler depending on how you start)
    Something for the head/ears windproof skull caps or ear bands
    Good base layer
    Waterproof shorts are popular
    Water proof Socks – very few boots are properly waterproof (due to the massive hole in the top) so better to make sure the water that gets in gets warm.
    Winter boots are better than overshoes off road

    Premier Icon JoeG

    Most people that I know have a closet full of winter riding gear found through trial and error; some is bike specific and some is not.

    I find that I need to vary what I wear depending on temperature, wind, and even sun. Too warm and you sweat, then end up wet and cold. Not warm enough, and you just stay cold.

    Hands and feet are key for me; once cold, I can’t get them warm. So winter boots with heavy wool socks (and some poly ones too if real cold) on the feet. I used to wear some heavy fleece gloves (non-bike) but bought a cheap set of pogies last year and they are fantastic with light bike gloves.

    And the last thing to look at is how things join up. The cuffs of a baselayer, jacket, and gloves all have to play nicely together…


    skull caps and buffs help,

    i find, thin socks, cling film/ rescue blanket wrapped around the feet then thick socks ( sealskinz) for the cold days,

    spare gloves as mentioned above


    Merino wool.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    As said you need to experiment a bit to see where you really need insulation.
    I use a beer-gut to keep the core warm. Couple of thin layers over that and a gilet / arm warmers for regular cold. Jacket or soft shell for proper brass monkey weather. Soft shell is brilliant, but won’t cope with heavy rain.
    Use lycra leg-warmers and some water-proof shorts if there’s going to be standing water on the trails. My legs don’t really get cold with the air temp in the UK, but consistently splashing icy water up your legs from the trail is very unpleasant. Layer of lycra helps.
    Feet are critical – Winter boots / socks or reg shoes with overshoes work for me. Hands likewise, although I hate bulky gloves and will only use them for a full monty snow-on-the-moors ride. I also have a thin balaclava that comes out once in a blue moon for the absolute coldest iciest rides.
    A snood round the neck is good if you’re riding on your own – obv not to be worn in company.

    A big difference for my winter riding is to take a bag – I don’t normally carry one on weekday rides. Dealing with a mechanical or a puncture in the freezing cold can be miserable. A spare top or somesuch is prob a good idea in case disaster strikes.

    Premier Icon scotroutes

    Endura Stealth tights/bib-tights are perfect for winter riding.

    Pogies for your hands.

    A buff or skullcap under your helmet and another buff round your neck that you can pull up round your mouth and nose.

    Goggles for when it gets really bad.

    My favourite winter boots are actually for snow-shoeing. They are waterproof and have a thermal lining. Sealskinz socks under them for maximum protection (with the tights over the top of the socks, obviously).

    A thin wicking top (not merino – it soaks up too much sweat), a good thick jersey (my favourite is a Gore Alp-X Thermo) and a waterproof/windproof outer.

    Edit: and (following on from Garry_Lager) always carry an extra layer with you. Montane Prism works well as it is warm and compact.

    Premier Icon Yak

    Legs – Roubaix tights – toasty!
    Head – Gaffer tape up the front vents. Leave the rear ones open to breathe a bit.

    Feet – I’ve been through a lot of cheap options from sealskins – made the shoes too small and reduced circulation giving cold feet. Tried 2 thin socks with a food bag inbetween – sort of works. But now – just wear one thin pair of wool socks. Maintains similar levels of wiggle room as summer and that’s enough to keep the blood flowing it seems. Still sometimes get chillbains though so not perfect.

    I’d love some dedicated winter boots and I’d imagine that’s the best option.


    keep your ankles and wrists warm! matters more than the gloves in cold weather.

    Depends on whether you care about looks or not.

    Bib tights, and waterproof shorts for when it is wet, decent windproof jersey, long sleeves and decent cuffs. You rarely need a waterproof jacket, in fact you just sweat LOTS!

    Wouldn’t bother too much with “waterproof” gloves or socks, windproof yes!! waterproof, well they have big holes in so you can put them on, which, particularly for socks, means water will get in.

    Ridden to -8C in following last winter if it gives some ideas, Endura thermo bib longs, Assos wind block jacket, Groundeffect merino base layer, Assos Uno shorts. some rose winter socks, Bontrager winter gloves, buff, Northwave boots and overshoes. That was fine. If your night riding be aware you may need to wear more, it may be me but i am always colder on night rides than day rides even if the temp is the same?


    My Shimano MW81 Winter boots are a complete revelation in arctic temperatures. So snug. (They’re only a bit better than normal shoes for wet conditions since your feet get wet from the top anyway but in the freezing cold with snow underfoot, they’re amazing). Full length tights, obviously. Sealskins /other waterproof gloves almost essential IMO.

    Perhaps I don’t experience as extreme cold as others – never needed goggles / pogies although they do look appealing (if a bit gimpy).

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    If your budget doesn’t run to Endura Stealth then the Funkier TPB (I think is the name) is a cheaper substitute. Bit baggy mind for supposed lycra but the legs do go over the top of the MW81 boot cuff to keep the water out of the boot.


    Bottom half, windproof tights without pad, Lycra underneath. Top half layers with zips so yo can control your temperature. I wear roadie, xc stuff because i’m not fat and it keeps the draughts out as it is snug.

    Echo the comments about spare gloves, protecting your wrists and ankles and taking spare gloves.

    I swear by bookie to neoprene socks and have used them for 5+ winters.

    Premier Icon senor j

    Winter bibs,no liner ,over bib shorts.(if it’s really cold I’ll wear 3/4 bibs).
    Merino base layer(s) under Gore phantom jacket.
    Windstopper gloves and buff(skullcap & glove liners if its truly baltic).
    Winter boots with 1 pair woolie boolie socks& 1pair lambswool socks.(if you can get the proper fishermans/offshore socks even better.)


    My season attires vary from:
    Summer – long sleeve jersey or short sleeve with shorts and normal mtb socks
    Autumn – the baabaa or merino base layer with long sleeve jersey or jacket and 3/4 shorts and baabaa thick socks.
    Winter – full bib with shorts or 3/4 shorts, baabaa base layer or merino wool and jacket or jersey.

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