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Same gear for Bikepacking and hiking?
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Rob Schneider
(BikerRob) - M

Locale: The Corn Desert
Same gear for Bikepacking and hiking? on 10/27/2013 18:20:15 MDT Print View

I live in Eastern Iowa, and have a fair number of county parks within easy riding distance for me. I went on a bikepacking trip last weekend, and discovered that my bicycling clothes, while great on the bike, did not keep me anywhere near warm enough for hiking/geocaching/whatever. Has anyone else here found clothing that will work for both on-bike and off-bike time? I'd rather have one set of clothes that works for both than bring two entirely different sets of clothes. Thanks.

Maris L
(Ablaut) - M
Do it! on 10/27/2013 19:39:36 MDT Print View

These days I typically wear more 'hiking' oriented clothing on my rides, whether it's in the city or on a bikepacking trip. Like you, I found that my cycling-specific clothing just wasn't versatile enough off the bike, and I was tired of paying for it. The biggest difference will be what you wear on your legs and what you wear on your torso. In the end, I now have better clothing that I can wear on the bike, for hiking, for everyday use, and sometimes even pyjamas... vs the one-trick-cycling-apparel.

My cycling-specific clothing typically only includes gloves, padded bike shorts, and of course a helmet.

If I'm not wearing bike shorts only, I'll put on a pair of light softshell pants that are very slim and can roll up to my calves. These are more comfortable for city errands and more useful for bikepacking than tights. If it's really cold, I'll have a very light baselayer under these.

On my torso I'll start out with a Capilene s/s or l/s top, Cap 1-3. I'll put a wind shirt over this when it's cool/windy enough. In the winter when it's freezing but I can manage my sweating, I'll sometimes layer on a light gridded fleece over the baselayer. The capilene tops are long enough for me when I'm in the drops, so I don't miss the drop-tail on a jersey. I don't miss back pockets either, but that takes some deciding on where you'll keep those things you typically might store there. On a bikepacking trip these layers work a lot better for me than light or thicker jerseys. One thing that does annoy me is that my Patagonia Houdini rides up a little on the arms and waist, so I'll eventually be looking for a subsitute - maybe the Montane Featherlite Velo.

I'll wear the same synth/merino socks I usually would. In the winter I'll use a very light polyester neck gaiter and a Polartec wind pro fitted hat. When it gets cold enough, which for me is typically betwen 35-40F, I'll switch to non-cycling gloves and I don't really miss the padding. There's just no cycling-specific gloves/mitts or hat that'll work for me when it gets down to 0f and windy.

One thing I've wanted to try instead of a long-sleeved baselayer top and bottoms is subbing in some arm and knee warmers for even more versatility, but I have yet to try this.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: Same gear for Bikepacking and hiking? on 10/28/2013 11:05:57 MDT Print View

If anything, I need warmer bike clothes than hiking clothes. I do generally find that the clothes I wear on bike tours are mostly fine for backpacking as well with the exception of the fact that I wear bike specific shorts and shoes.

In camp in the evening I am likely to need to add a layer to the clothes worn for either pursuit.

Virginia Craft
( - F

Locale: Feet dangling from the perimeter
It works! on 05/18/2014 16:17:59 MDT Print View

My guy and I just finished bicycling clear across the U.S., and we had no bicycle touring experience beforehand. However, we are both backpackers and, in the end, transferred over a lot of our backpacking philosophies into the bike tour.
I get cold really easily (unfortunately), although I love being in cold climates. I never wore padded bike shorts or knickers--well, I tried, but really didn't like them--, so warm pants (Sugoi, fleece-lined Mid-Zero pants) worked fine when it was cold. Not to mention, a base layer shirt (SmartWool lightweight) and my MontBell UL parka provided just enough warmth on top of the internal heat generated from bicycling-itself (though I only wore the parka in camp or walking about).
I wore lightweight hiking shorts and a tank top on the bike when it was warm so, naturally, this transferred over to other activities perfectly.
The pieces of gear that I relied on the most were my wind shirt (Patagonia Houdini with hood) and a buff for around my ears (fits nicely under the helmet). When the wind was super frigid, I would wear my buff and put the hood up from my wind coat, then put my helmet on; this was a quite comfortable and toasty solution. I also had another buff for keeping around my neck while the other lived across my ears on my head; this buff could also be pulled up over my chin and/or nose and mouth when really cold.

By the same token when off of the bike, the base layers, UL down coat, wind jacket, and buff were really all I needed for most of my body when hiking and camping.

For my hands, when cold, I wore my bike gloves (Specialized BG gel, fingerless) and put my Marmot power stretch gloves over them. For my feet, I LOVE DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks for warmth. Otherwise I just wore my Injini synthetic toe sock liners.

No special bike shoes, only Salomon TechAmphibian (love their ability to turn into camp shoes, how breathable they are, and their ability to turn into comfy hiking shoes). These are more of a 3-season shoe, so for winter I would go with a more tightly knit shoe solution that you could also hike in.

Other than the bicycle, panniers, helmet, and the bike accessories (lights and what not), I found that clothing-wise, all of my backpacking gear worked just fine. True, my bum had to toughen up to the rigors of being in the saddle for thousands of miles, but it all worked out just fine and dandy.
:)Warm on bike, warm on hike
MLD Trail Star and bicycles in Arizona

Edited by on 05/20/2014 14:43:11 MDT.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Re: It works! on 05/19/2014 16:19:33 MDT Print View

Most bike specific clothes are too specific for riding time and are somehow lacking for anything else. Reason being that they were designed with riding only in mind. Any activity that includes anything that's not strictly riding the bike requires or at least benefits from more versatile clothing. This includes bikepacking and general touring too. In general, it includes anything that's not one day ride activities.

Hiking/backpacking can also benefit from some clothing typically found in the biking sections. Neoprene socks and gloves are too good examples. It quite makes sense as feet and hands are very exposed and vulnerable while riding a bike.

In general, hiking/backpacking clothing is perfect for bikepacking or touring. For extended biking trips where the kit must be versatile, I usually carry the very same clothing items that I do for pure backpacking. No bicycle specific piece makes the list -not versatile enough.

People who come from riding and particularly those who come from a road riding background usually find this hard to come to. They usually need to challenge the strong association between cycling and certain specific clothing items.

Virginia Craft
( - F

Locale: Feet dangling from the perimeter
Re: Re: It works! on 05/19/2014 16:45:31 MDT Print View


Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: It works! on 05/20/2014 19:34:46 MDT Print View

I use a lot of the same accessory clothes for both.. baselayers, long finger gloves/mitten shells, hats, neck gaiters, arm warmers.

i do 100% road rides.. many with groups so having specialized road gear has it's place. especially good shorts and tight fitting jerseys with good pockets.

David T
(DaveT) - F
same gear. on 08/06/2014 13:06:49 MDT Print View

For sure! I find that all the UL backpacking gear is perfect for bike touring, whether road touring or jeep road/single track. It's small, light, relatively durable. It makes the transition from backpacking to biketouring/bikepacking easy (other than all the bikes and bike gear!).