Clothing is almost as essential as a bike is for bikepacking and the golden rules of bikepacking planning apply to clothing more than anything;
You need clothing that is light, packs small but is as practical and high performing as possible. It is these demands that led me to approach GOREwear to use their kit for recent cold weather adventures. Their slogan is #alwaysevolve and that’s for a reason – technical clothing needs to do that or it becomes left behind the competition fast. So while I have been supported by GOre I am free to review their kit as honestly as I like and I’ve selected 5 pieces of Gore Kit that worked really well and are now my go to items for my riding.
1. Waterproof jacket – GORE C5 GORE-TEX Active Trail Hooded Jacket
Simple well cut design, no unnecessary pockets, flaps etc. it’s as small and light as it can be. It’s still a Goretex biking jacket that is robust, totally waterproof with a hood, breathable and an essential item in Scotland or anywhere else where it rains a lot for bikepacking. Not the cheapest option but then I wouldn’t expect it to be; buy one if you’ve not yet.
2. Waterproof Gore-Tex shorts – GORE C5 GORE-TEX Active Trail Shorts
These also fit into the Scotland bikepacking essential kit category. I have lived in them all winter here. While they are not branded as such, I see them as pretty good gravel riding kit. Not as baggy as MTB shorts and really well cut for serious riding miles. The clever cut at the back means no rubbing around the knee as I find with some other waterproof shorts that I’ve used. They are light, pretty aero cut and a great option to keep dry and avoiding being in awkward wet Lycra for those cafe stops. So far I’ve used them this winter 4 or 5 days a week on the bike without them showing much wear. However there are certinaly heavier more robust looking MTB specific options out there but these have held up well without being coated in mud. Mostly I love them because they are light and comfortable with high breath-ability levels that means I don’t sweat loads. Click here for more sepcs.
3. Windproof baggy shorts – C5 GORE WINDSTOPPER Trail Shorts
I saw these in the catalogue and thought “Wind Stopper baggy shorts, whats the point in that?” Then I thought about it some more. I love waterproof shorts for two reasons; Firstly they keep me dry but also they cut out the wind on really cold days when touring. While the Gore-Tex Active fabric breathes pretty effectively the Windstopper breathes even better. I opted for these for riding across Kyrgyzstan in winter because I didn’t need waterproofing. They were used over roubaix thermal 3/4 length bibs and with leg warmers too and I was warm enough at well below -10. I’ll be using these a lot I think. A nice snug cut that is a good balance between skin tight and too baggy and flapping about.
4. Windstopper Jersey – GORE C5 GORE WINDSTOPPER Long Sleeve Jersey
I’ll be honest Gore had some fairly dubious styling a few years ago, but recent year’s kit has been a big step up and this Windstopper jersey in particular is an instant classic that simply looks good. I like it a lot. The fit is great for me as a tall skinny cyclist build. Tight fitting but just enough space for a micro fleece underneath if needed on really cold days. It doesn’t flap in the wind which I look for in a windproof, the arms are plenty long enough and the cut at the back is good too. What more do you want? click here
5. Shakedry Jacket – GORE C5 GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY™ 1985 Jacket
Probably the main reason I approached Gore to test there kit. 109gms and so compact it fits into the size of my fist! What more do you need from a 100% waterproof Goretex jacket. OK I wouldn’t use it to bash through thorn bushes or MTB, it’s thin and not bomb proof, but then that’s not what it’s for. I used it to cycle across Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia without issue. If rain was going to be persistent on a trip I’d opt for the power trail jacket (like in Scotland!) but otherwise this is the first item packed on trips or day rides for me. Innovation exemplified and now in some funky colours too….and it’s eagle proof. Click here.
The list could go on with their comfy bib shorts, well cut and designed jerseys, warm thermo socks etc.
However lets face it there are lots of companies making good bib-shorts and jerseys but the bits of kit I have selected are outstanding technical kit and a clear benchmark against what others are doing. They are also bikepacking friendly kit too as they are light and small. You probably think I’m biased but I tend to break kit and hate kit quite happily too if that is what I find!