Winter is coming! With warm summery days behind us, I dug up our bag of winter cycling gear and filmed a video on our glove strategy that we’ve used the last couple of years. For those that would rather read than watch, here’s the executive summary.
After a lot of trial and error and lots of cash spent, we’ve found that there is no ONE perfect glove to cover the varying degrees of cold and wet here in the Pacific Northwest. It is a constant balance between breathability, warmth and affordability. A glove that is waterproof may be too hot or not warm enough in certain situations. Likewise a glove with lots of insulation will keep you warm when its dry, but will turn into a sponge when the sky opens up. This is our current setup for winter gloves.
Think of it as a baselayer for your hand. By itself, a liner glove is perfect for those early autumn days when it is crisp but not actively raining or snowing. On a spirited road ride or short commute this might be just the right amount of glove. A good liner glove also forms the base of a winter glove system. Liner gloves come in a range of materials from synthetic to wool. Our preference is for wool like this Ibex glove since it will still insulate when wet.
When it is cold and starting to rain, we reach for our waterproof gloves like the Pearl Izumi WXB. We will wear them by themselves if it is a “warm” rain or pair them with the liner glove when it is a cold rain. They also come in handy for long descents in the winter where you’ve built up a sweat climbing and now have to bundle up for the downhill. While the Pearl Izumi WXBs claim to be waterproof, I have managed to fully saturate them in a long enough deluge. Anything with seams will leak eventually so take waterproof claims with a grain of salt. That said, they are a winter staple.
Insualted Lobster Gloves
When the weather turns downright frigid BUT dry, we reach for our Planet Bike Borealis gloves. We’ve had these for years and they perform best on freezing days with no rain. The Borealis gloves also include a fleece liner glove which alone is pretty warm in its own right. These gloves are semi-lobster mitts with a bit more articulation than other mitts so you can still easily use brifters on your road bike. The downside is that they are not waterproof and will soak in a lot of water once the rain really starts coming down.
So those are our tips for keeping your hands warm in the winter. One way to simplify it is to think of it as if you were layering clothes for winter. You start with a wool baselayer and add a waterproof shell or down puffy jacket as the weather dictates.
In this vid, we review the Leatherman Squirt PS4, a tiny multitool packed with lots of useful tools for everyday tasks. For those that would rather read than watch, here is the written executive summary
I’ve owned and lost many tools during our travels, but the only one I’ve decided to repurchase is the Leatherman Squirt PS4 – it is just THAT handy. What really sets it apart from similar tools like the Leatherman Juice is the size. The Squirt weighs in at 56 grams compared to the Juice’s 125. At less than half of the Juice, the Squirt is a multi-tool you can have on your key ring that won’t feel like a boat anchor at the end of the day.
Beyond just the size and weight savings, the Squirt also has really useful tools. The primary tool is a pair of pliers which are capable of most light to medium duty tasks. The bonus is that they also manage to squeeze in a pair of scissors! Scissors are one tool that is pretty unique and hard to replicate with another tool, so it is such a boon to have them included in a small multitool.
If you’re looking for a great tool to take on tour or just for every day carry purposes, we highly recommend the Squirt PS4. I probably use mine atleast half a dozen times a day! Buy yours locally, or if you want to support site, you can order one through this link.
In this vid, we interview our friends at Swift Industries about two new bags they are releasing. One of them is specifically made for the popular Wald 137 basket, which we are super excited about. Watch the vid to get an exclusive sneak peek.
In this video, we review a pannier from the Swift Industries Hinterland Collection. Lightweight, svelte and black, this pannier if perfect for an overnighter, commuting or if you prefer to do light weight bike touring.
Arkel has recently entered the bikepacking scene with a new set of rear seatbags that they are calling their Seatpacker line. What’s unique to their design is that the bags work with a mini support that lifts the bag from the top! Check out how the support works and if we like it in our video first look.
In this vid we take mountain bikes and tenkara rods on some local Missoula water.
The best camera is the camera that is the most readily accessible and the one you use the most. Period. We have a lot of different cameras for the work that we do, so it might seem a little strange that we’ve gone “backwards” and are using an iPhone. The truth is that we’ve shot lots of footage but they never see the light of day. The workflow of downloading them to a computer post-trip and then editing them is sometimes enough of a barrier that we don’t ever produce something from the stuff we’ve shot. In an attempt to remedy this and be more active vloggers on our Youtube Channel, we are experimenting with just using an iPhone. We messed around with it on our Lodi trip and got a glimpse of how we can use it for storytelling. Here are three tips we’ve learned so far from using the iPhone for shooting AND editing.
Just posted another video review on our Bicycle Travel Channel (you’d know if you were a subscriber…hint, hint :), this time looking at two popular titanium pot supports for bike touring and bikepacking. Watch the vid below, or scroll down for the executive summary.
+ Lightweight at 2.5oz
+ Very stable base, good for larger pots and pans
+ Compact when folded down
+ Works with alcohol stoves and solid fuel tablets
Vargo Titanium Hexagon Stove
+ Light at 5oz
+ Compact, one piece design
+ Very heat efficient
+ Works with alcohol stoves, fuel tablets and twig fires
– Warps over time and doesn’t fit together as snugly
– A little dodgy to move once lit because of loose fit
Both filters have a place in our touring gear, but they each work optimally for certain situations. Here are some pros and cons of each.
+ Large opening on bladder makes it easy to fill
+ Great basecamp water filter
+ Best option for filtering for 3-4 people
– At 12.5oz, twice the weight and pack size of the Sawyer Squeeze
+ At 5oz, half the weight and volume of the MSR Autoflow
+ Small and convenient enough to take even on long day rides
+ Filters for 1 to 2 people
+ Comes with syringe to backflush the filter
– Stock bladder is too small, must immediately upgrade to a larger one like the Platypus Platy bottle.
– Small mouth on bladder makes it tricky to fill in low water situations
As always, shop local. But if you want to support site click through and purchase them at the Amazon links above and helps us buy a cup of coffee