GEAR UPDATE: Clothing
I hope this update finds everyone doing well and enjoying life!
The departure date (August 15, 2013) keeps inching closer and closer, and as it does I’ll be adding more to the blog. Also, be on the lookout for videos to start rolling on to my YouTube channel as well. Exciting stuff!
This is the newest version of my clothing setup for the trek from California to New York. Using my experience & knowledge gained from my 2,000 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, as well as new research, my list has changed slightly over the last 6 months, so I thought I’d take the time to highlight the list in detail here. This will be as close to a final listing as I’ll get. For you gear junkies, I hope I don’t disappoint! 😉
Wigwam “Scout” Socks
I’ll start with the socks: I’ll have two pair of the “Scout” socks. A blend of merino wool & silk, these will be my everyday socks. I’ll also bring along one thicker pair of merino wool “Alaska” socks (below).
Wigwam “Alaska” Sock
I’ll be taking two pairs of footwear with me. One will be a lightweight pair of flip-flops that I can “casualize” in, while the other will be a dual purpose pedaling shoe. The pedaling shoes are made by Keen, and were generously donated by the company for this trip. They are actually sandals, complete with a recessed pedal clip in the forefoot that will work in conjunction with the clips on my pedals. While not on the bike, I can wear these just like a normal pair of sandals, without the ‘click-clack’ common with clip-in bicycle shoes. I’ve been wearing them around exclusively for the past few weeks, and they are super comfortable, airy, yet give just enough overall protection from road debris. Im looking forward to walking around New York in these after riding in them for 5,000+ miles! Many thanks to Keen for the sponsorship.
One of the most overlooked but important pieces of gear, in my opinion. I used a pair of these Ex-Officio Boxer Briefs for 2,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011. A single pair. And they are still in my weekly rotation! Too much information? Not in my opinion, these things are awesome. I liked these so much I’ve added 3 more pair to the collection, and wear them exclusively now. They are by far the best briefs I have ever worn. Comfortable, cool, made of a microbial odor-eliminating fabric (not cotton, folks…stay away from cotton)…these give support, dry quickly, keep their shape, just the best I’ve ever worn.
I’ll be wearing a pair of microfiber surf trunks. Lightweight, quick-drying, flexible & stretchy strong…These can serve a dual purpose, as I can swim, walk around towns, etc., without the embarrassment of always wearing traditional tight fitting spandex style bicycle shorts. I’ll be utilizing a pair from Maui Rippers, a company based out of Hawaii. My current favorite pair of surf trunks is a pair of Maui Rippers, and I’ve had them for over 6 years. They’ve been hands down the most comfortable, well-designed board shorts I’ve ever owned. I’ll be going with a new yellow pair for better traffic visibility.
I’ll be taking two pair of shirts, one a short sleeve and one a long sleeve.
The short sleeve is a more traditional bicycling shirt from Primal Wear, one of my sponsors. It’s very comfortable, has a 1/2 zip for good ventilation, quick drying, and they actually had a design with my favorite music group on the front. That made choosing pretty easy! The graphic design is also pretty “loud,” which helps with visibility. Many thanks to Primal Wear!
The long sleeve shirt is made by Smartwool, with a UV protection rating of 30, which will be good when I’m pedaling in the harsh afternoon sun.
It’s also a 1/2 zip, very lightweight, made of 100% merino wool. I wore a similar shirt throughout the Sierra Nevada portion of my PCT hike. It was the thinner ‘microweight’ version, and it was beginning to show wear towards the end of that portion of trail. Granted, two holes were from falling viciously (if not elegantly) on my face, and that portion of trail is the toughest of the PCT, so I thought going up a weight would be a good idea. I love merino wool mainly because it keeps your body warmer when it’s cold, and cooler when it’s warm, and naturally repels odors. Smartwool makes a great line of gear that’s super comfy & not itchy.
Being fair-skinned is lame sometimes. So to protect my sensitive Irish-Sottish-Welsh skin, I’ll be wearing a 1.3 ounce visor from GoLite, with a specially cut swath of material taken from my REI Sahara hiking shirt that I wore on my PCT hike. That piece will fit over my head, and cover my neck and top of my head. Over that will fit my ventilated bike helmet. It’s a nice setup super comfortable, and offers very thorough sun protection.
For times off the bike while I’m camping, I’ll be able to wear my down beanie from Black Rock Gear. I wore this throughout my PCT hike, and wow…at 1 ounce, it’s wonderful. I often wore it while sleeping, and that made all the difference. Thank you to Black Rock Gear for the sponsorship.
I may already own both pairs of gloves I’ll use, but I’m still looking into the best options for the trip. Right now I have a pair of fingerless biking gloves that I’ve used for a couple thousand miles, and a pair of heavier (but not ‘heavyweight’) gloves that I used on my PCT hike that worked very well for me.
I will be choosing between one of two balaclavas I already own. One is a thinner Smartwool balaclava that I really like, and the other is made by ‘Biker,’ and is designed for motorcycle use. The area from the nose down through the neck has a wind resistant fabric, and I have used it extensively on my motorcycle travels around the country in all types of inclement, cold weather and it REALLY works well.
I’ll be using my Patagonia ‘Houdini’ wind shirt over whatever layers I need to wear at that moment. It’s super lightweight at 4 ounces, packs up into a tiny ball, and keeps the wind and light to moderate rains from affecting me. Really love this piece of gear.
A this point, I’ll be using a sleeveless, lightweight microfiber vest by Blackhawk Tactical Gear. I found it on sale for a song, so I jumped on it.
I used a Patagonia ‘Nano Puff’ lightweight jacket on my PCT hike, and I loved it. On the hike I would wear it as added insulation for sleeping in extra cold weather, as a pillow, and occasionally wore it as a kilt while doing my laundry! It was a great piece of gear. It weighed about 12 ounces, a little on the heavy side, so this trip I’ll be using a Patagonia ‘Down Shirt,’ a mere 6 ounces, and utilizing a 1/4 zip down the front. Less down fill as the ‘Nano Puff,’ but I’ll be sleeping in less snow as well.
For the cold days, or night riding, I’ll use a pair of GoLite ‘ Rogue Valley’ thermal tights. A little thicker to provide better warmth on the colder days & mornings. Great sale at GoLite when I bought all of my GoLite gear. Head over & check them out if you haven’t before. I’ve always been really satisfied with my GoLite purchases.
GoLite ‘Tumalo’ full zip rain pants. I know from experience the disaster that plastic rain gear can be, so I decided to go with a full zip, high quality rain pant. Fairly breathable when zipped, but the zip extends from hip to ankle, so airflow can be moderated. Another great score during a GoLite clearance sale.
I will utilize sunglasses with full UV and polarizing features.
Proof Eyewear has generously donated a pair of their glasses, and if you get a chance, check them out. They make High quality wooden eyewear that’s not only great looking & affordable, but made out of fully renewable materials. Sticking with the theme, my pair will be made from – what else? – bamboo.