Since I can look out my back door and see the local ski slope making snow and the forecast is calling for rain and sleet over the next few days, I decided tonight’s ride would help me to test out gear for peddling at 30F.
My estimate was off a little bit. At 10 minutes my core warmed up and I could sense that I was a little too warm. It appears that I have three pieces of kit that will easily take me down another 10 degrees.
The first is a Patagonia down jacket that I have a love-hate relationship with. The intention of the purchase was to combine it with a pair of Mountain Hardwear Compressor pants to stretch the Montbell sleeping bag another 10 degrees colder. The problem is I haven’t tested it all yet, but one of these nights, despite my wife’s squawking, I’m going to camp in the back yard and see if this plan works.
The jacket is impressively light, very warm, and stuffs down, uncompressed, to the size of a small cantaloupe. It could easily be thrown into a compression sack with some other clothing and hardly take up any room.
What I hate about it is the color. It’s this awful blaze orange, making it impossible to wear for anything other than riding.
The second piece of ultra warm gear is an Outdoor Research Peruvian cap. I also purchased it for sleeping in colder weather.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njXGrGR8DzI While it looks a little goofy, the sucker is warm and works out great. I wore it over a synthetic balaclava, and my noggin’ was steaming.
Thirdly, I have these cheap wool blend gloves with leather palms that have yet to leave my hands cold. In fact, the cuffs cause my wrists to sweat where they are tucked under the sleeves of what ever jacket I’m wearing.
Elsewhere, the only cold spots were my face; and my feet were chilled, but not freezing. I had on a pair of wool blend sport socks under a pair of camp shoes that I use for cold weather riding.
So now for 30F, I’m going to try the same gear, but switch to a lightweight wool base layer shirt instead of the midweight, and a lighter weight wool balaclava instead of the synthetic. I don’t really have a different pair of gloves to try. But overall, this should at least get me closer to a comfortable level at this temperature.
Distance: 8.7 miles 2013: 1119.5