Aug 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm #1306425
I leave in 5 days for a 2-month bike trip. I start in Vermont, and then head north to Canada, and then west to the Canadian Rockies and maybe Vancouver, if I can beat the heavy snow.
I am debating on bringing my Brooks-Range Itso Softshell jacket with me… I just can't really nail down the logistics of why I should have it. I have room on the bike for it, but I like saving weight.
Expected temperatures will be very warm until about mid-september, then I expect it to get cold quick.
Here's what I'm bringing so far:
Ibex Lightweight Wool LS Crew
Ibex Heavyweight Wool LS Zip-Neck
Arcteryx Atom SV
Marmot Super Cell Paclite
My only insulation, really, is the arcteryx jacket, and that's more for camp and sleeping- I likely will never bike in it. So I really don't have a "fleece" or active layer for cold weather. In theory, the two wool shirts and windshirt were my plan for biking in 32º weather. Is a softshell a good addition to this toolbox as a cold weather active layer, you think?
Thanks for feedback!
MaxAug 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm #2014426
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
It seems like the LS wool shirt and the Arc' squamish need to be used instead.Aug 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm #2014434
deletedAug 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm #2014438
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Given the wool shirt and wind shirt (which is a bit more air permeable than many wind shirts) I don't see a big use for the soft shell. I think soft shells are useful when you want a bit more abrasion / weather resistance than you would get from a wild shirt, and maybe a bit more air permeability, none of which sound like a driving requirement.
I have been comfortable biking in 32F with patagonia cap 4 which I think would be warmer than your heavy wool, maybe the same are both wool worn together + windshirt provided I also had a hat and gloves. But I run a bit warm. I know people who run really cold who would be wearing the Atom while biking in 32F and might even be cold.
–markAug 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm #2014440
I run warm, except my hands and feet, but I've got the other stuff figured out. It looks like the consensus here is that the softshell is extra weight. Glad I asked!
I thought about it for a minute as a quick throw-on layer for eating meals and stuff, but I've got an off-bike shirt with me for this trip (such luxury!) which is a polyester/wool flannel. That'll do for supermarket runs.Aug 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm #2014443
Bogs and BergsMember
Given your other layers, and our weather, I'd ditch the softshell for an unfaced fuzzy fleece. More flexibility, breathes better, dries faster, weighs less. You might want insulation on the move (especially if you hit one of those delightful ice pellet/sleet/gale-of-wind combos in November), but you don't need it to have any kind of 'surface' when you have the Squamish and the rainjacket. I rely heavily on a no-name mid-weight fuzzy-both-sides zip-front hoody, ten months of the year.Aug 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm #2014446
A fuzzy fleece is something I should probably own, but I was dating this girl…
Anyways, I'll buy it in October if I need it. I am kind of edging towards the minimum with winter stuff, with the knowledge that I can always buy the stuff during the trip if I need it and recoup losses on Gear Swap when I get back.Aug 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm #2014450
a soft shell is really meant for high abrasion activities, like others have said … basically it was made by climber for climbers
for all purposes and intents you can consider it as a windshirt+very light fleece in one
some softshells of the non-membrane type may even be more "breathable" than many windshirts … you do however pay a price in terms of the water resistance vs membrane softshells
one thing no one has mentioned is that in intense high aerobic continuous activities you can easily sweat out your softshell … since theres more material than a windshirt, your softshell can end up soaked for a while … while a windshirt can be sweated out … usually a thin nylon one dries very quickly
if you think of how most people climb in the stop and go belay fashion … and climbing on a pitch on longer multipitch/alpine pitches have a lot of resting … youll see why this makes sense
;)Aug 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm #2014451
Bogs and BergsMember
I should have noted that I wear lighter base layers than your wool, year-round, hence the love for fuzz.
And — because it's Canadian weather, and you never know — don't forget you might have to dress for heat! Last November 21st I recorded a temp of 24 Celsius in the shade, in an onshore wind, on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. Got a bit warm climbing a 700m hill in full sun wearing a dark long-sleeved top. :)Aug 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm #2014486
Yeah, one thing I learned about prepping for this trip- I have no idea what the weather will be doing!Aug 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm #2014511
I use my Outdoor Research Ferossi Hoody as a super breathable sleeping base layer, wind jacket, and anti bug shield.
Soft shells usually don't fit into a lightweight backpacking gear list but to me a lightweight version is to useful to leave behind.Aug 11, 2013 at 8:36 pm #2014516
Personally, I'd add a a "microweight" or 100wt. cheap fleece to your list instead of the softshell. It'll be really nice both as an active layer over the wool on cold mornings and at night for sleeping.Aug 12, 2013 at 12:29 pm #2014634
adds a lot of versitility when paired with a windshirt. bontrager makes a really nice hoodie or you can alway go with a pata r1 or nw alpine black spider hoodie. my go-to cool/cold weather combination is a power stretch hoodie and windshirt.Aug 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm #2015103
the layer i probably put the most miles cycling in freezing temps was the first ibex climawool softshell, loved it, but i was commuting. probably too heavy for a tour. the heavyweight wool & squamish will probably serve you nicely. unless you were planning on keeping the heavyweight wool top dry & sleeping in it..then bring the softshell.
when you're cycling, you're in civilization much more, it's nice to have something non-stinky to change into.
a fleece vest could be a nice addition, when cycling, as long as my core & extremities are warm, & no skin is exposed, i'm generally fine no matter how cold it is.
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