11th December 2017 / Comments (0)

Bikepacking for beginners – Clothing

bikepacking clothing

The second in our bikepacking for beginners mini-series. Mountain man Scott Cornish shares more of his, hard earned, experience, this time on the subject of clothing.

Back to basics – clothing

Forget cutting a dash as the epitome of sartorial elegance atop your bike, or swaggering around a campsite. Choosing the right clothes means staying warm and dry both on and off the bike. A little bit of thought should steer you in the right, strategic, direction but there’s nothing like checking your list against a truly experienced bikepacker’s.

  • Where are you going to ride – lowland or mountain top?
  • How wet or dry, cold or hot is it likely to be?
  • Will you be under the stars, under canvas or in a bothy?
  • Can you fit it all on your bike?

Après Ride

Having a warm and dry set of clothes to change into will make the difference between being comfortable or cold, wet and miserable.

My favourites:

  • Rab 850 fill, down jacket
  • Rab 120 merino trousers
  • Rab merino, long sleeved top. (Short sleeved in the summer).
  • Merino socks
  • Merino Beanie
  • A light set of alternative footwear. Flip flops or my favourite, the Vibram Five Fingers.

All of these, except the jacket, will double up as pyjamas. The jacket can be stuffed into an empty dry bag to double up as a pillow.

Down jackets do not like getting wet. If the weather is unpredictable, as it often is in the Alps, I’ll double up on the dry bags.

Riding Kit

This may seem like stating the obvious but, choose gear you are super comfortable in – particularly your shorts. We all have our own preferences but these are mine. As you can see, I’m a big fan of Gore Bike Wear because it’s well thought out kit, it just works and has never let me down. For the record, I will generally take one set of riding kit, even for multi day rides. It will probably be a bit whiffy by the end.

  • Gore Alp-X Pro or Power Trail 2 in 1 shorts.
  • Gore Alp X Pro zip off jersey
  • Gore Short Sleeve base layer
  • Arm and Knee Warmers
  • Gore Power Trail long finger gloves
  • Gore fibre socks. Take two pairs for multi day trips, for the ultimate in decadent pleasure!
  • Gore Shakedry waterproof jacket – an amazing piece of kit for its light weight and tiny pack size.
  • Gore windstopper toe shoe covers – minimal weight for maximum comfort.
  • Gore waterproof gloves.
  • Silk glove liners
  • Gore Waterproof cap and/or a windstopper skullcap.
  • A long sleeve, light fleece or lightweight Primaloft insulated top. Basically, you need something that will keep you warm even when  it is wet. If you are planning a trip in the mountains pack for the coldest weather.

Sleeping Gear

I’m a cold sleeper and need a warmer sleeping bag than most people, so I use the Alpkit Pipedream 400. For an extra degree or two of warmth and to keep the bag clean, I use a silk liner.

Using a bivvy or a tent, the Thermarest NeoAir xlite is a welcome comfort. Available in full or 3/4 length, these are high performance items. Weight is minimal, as is pack size.

Other brands are available

I have listed my preferred kit. Others are available and as mentioned previously, choose what works best for you.

All photos © Scott Cornish.

Last modified: 13th December 2017

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