Bike Touring Clothing We Love
Being comfortable on your bike tour is key to having a good time. High-quality outdoor clothing can be expensive. If you're on a budget, we suggest making your top priority RAIN GEAR! And if you'll be biking in the mountains or touring in the winter, it goes without saying that you'll need reliable cold weather gear.
Lots of outdoor clothing can be purchased second-hand. We've found fleece jackets, bike shorts, jerseys, tops, sports bras, traveller's trousers, and yes--even underwear-- at thrift shops around the world.
What is harder to find second hand is good raingear, a lightweight down jacket or merino wool base layers. These will probably have to be purchased new.
Our waterproof jackets and rain trousers from Portland-based Showers Pass is the best raingear we have ever owned.
There are two things I like most about the jacket: it's very breathable and highly reflective (also stylish!).
As soon as you hit a hill you're going to start warming up. Who wants to stop and take off your jacket because you're too hot? When I'm wearing my Showers Pass jacket, I simply unzip the side ventilation panels. This way I cool off on the climb and also stay dry.
I really worry about drivers seeing us on the road during stormy weather or under low light conditions.
Jackets from Showers Pass are made specifically for cyclists and have built in reflective strips. When we're camping or riding at night and Eric is wearing his jacket, I swear I can see him from a mile away.
For long-distance cyclists, having a good pair of rain pants is just as important as a rain jacket. Our Showers Pass rain pants are fully ventilated and also have reflective strips, just like our jackets.
They're also convertible which means you can zip off the bottom section when you're in warmer climates. I actually wear the rain pants a lot even when it's not raining. They are great for providing an extra layer of warmth and also protect from the wind.
They're fairly slim fitting, so if you're planning on wearing several layers underneath, I suggest getting one size larger than usual.
Lightweight Down Jacket
Just a few months back, I got a Wantdo Hooded Packable Down Jacket. I'd met several hikers and cyclists that raved about how warm, lightweight and compact down jackets can be. I'm completely sold on down. My jacket takes up about the space of a small water bottle and weighs just a few ounces. It's incredibly comfy and stylish, too.
Obviously, it's not made for arctic conditions, but with a few layers underneath, I'm fine to around freezing. I ordered this jacket on Amazon and it shipped very quickly. It's not the absolute top quality, but for the price ($42) it's a pretty good deal. I definitely recommend a lightweight down jacket if you're cycling in mountainous regions or anytime outside of the hot summer months.
When you spend so much time in the blazing sun, protective head gear is a must. I've had dozens of hats over the years, but have yet to find the perfect one. If you'll be wearing your hat on the bike, make sure it's got a chin strap. I suggest the 4-paneled variety for all-around protection. A wide-brim is hardly stylish, but it will keep the sun off your face.
A buff is one of the most versatile items you can pack. It can keep your head warm, protect your face from the scorching sun or keep your hair back when you're cycling into a brutal headwind.
Cycle Aware Safety Vest
The may not look so cool, but they could save your life. Sometimes you just can't avoid biking on busy highways. In heavy traffic, wearing a Hi-Vis vest is the very best way to be seen. This one from Cycle Aware comes equipped with a handy back pocket and has a slightly fitted design made especially for female cyclists.