For bikepacking and adventure cycling 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 GORE a few years back to use their kit as I knew it was reliable for recent cold weather adventures and I now use it almost everyday. Below I have selected 5 pieces of Gore Kit that has been long term tested and works really well for colder weather riding.
1. Waterproof jacket – GORE C5 GORE-TEX Active Trail Hooded Jacket
A classic for reliability and quality, this jacket is a simple well cut design, no unnecessary pockets, flaps etc. it’s as small and light as it can be. It’s a GoreTex Active fabric so you know it will breath well but stay waterproof on those wet cold Scottish winter rides. Not the cheapest option but then I wouldn’t expect it to be. My oldest Jacket I use most is now 3 years old and it has been used A LOT (almost daily in Scotland!). Considering the high usage and multiple washes without reproofing it, it is amazingly waterproof still. Buy one if you’ve not yet. GORE C5 GORE-TEX Active Trail Hooded Jacket
2. Waterproof Gore-Tex shorts – GORE C5 GORE-TEX Active Trail Shorts
These light and breathable waterproof shorts also fit into the essential Scotland bikepacking kit category like the jacket above. I have lived in them last winter for road and gravel riding and absolutely love them. While they are not branded as such, they are probably better suited for gravel riding than MTB. They are not as baggy as most MTB shorts and while they are renforced around the saddle they’re not a rugged, thick fabric as some MTB waterproof shorts are. However this means the Gore-Tex Active fabric used breaths really well, so more suited to XC/Gravel type riding. To my slight surprise the GORE Tex has worn very well over many muddy rides too. The less baggy fit also works better for faster gravel or road riding and the clever cut means no rubbing around the knee as I find with some other waterproof shorts. Last winter I used them almost every day it rained, so most days, without them showing much wear. I have other cheaper pairs of waterproof shorts from Altura and Madison that look more robust MTB specific but I always go to these GORE shorts, buy a pair here; GORE C5 GORE-TEX Active Trail Shorts
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 with a slightlly soft shell feel to them. 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 have used these most days since in shoulder season riding and on cold dry days. A nice snug cut that is a good balance between skin tight and too baggy and flapping about. I have just about worn through the seam on the seat now.
4. Soft Shell Windstopper Hooded Jacket – GORE C5 GORE WINDSTOPPER Hooded jacket
I’ll be honest I thought Gore had some fairly dubious styling a few years ago, but recent years’ kit has been a big step up and this Windstopper jacket or hoodie in particular looks good and is super comfy for colder days riding. I like it a lot, in fact I wear it all the time on and off the bike! The fit is great for me as a tall skinny cyclist build. Fitted but enough space for a micro fleece underneath if needed on really cold days. It doesn’t flap to much in the wind which is important in a windproof, the arms are plenty long enough and the cut at the back is good too. It also looks very good off the bike too in fact I think mine is running focues but there are bike variants without the hood for more aero , what more do you want?
Womens bike version; GORE C5 GORE WINDSTOPPER Hooded jacket
Mens running version Ed uses; GORE R3 Windstopper hooded jacket
5. Shakedry Jacket – GORE C5 GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY™ 1985 Jacket
Probably the main reason I approached Gore to use their 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 it’s thin and not bomb proof, but then that’s not what it’s for. I used it as my main waterproof to cycle across Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and Russia all without issue. I now just shove it in my pocket for winter road rides. 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 with cloud on the horizon but a decent looking forecast. Innovation exemplified and now in some funky colours too….and it’s eagle proof. Click here.
The list could go on with their awesome GORE-Tex Gloves which I love and never get wet cold hands, comfy bib shorts, windstopper 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 items for winter and a clear benchmark against what others are doing. They are also bikepacking friendly kit too as they are light and small. I tend to quickly discover poor kit as i ride most days in Scottish conditions so hopefully this review is helpful!