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Thread: Wool Pants

  1. #1
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    Wool Pants

    Sorry if this has been discussed, but I haven't had time to really do a thorough search of the forums. I know that bike specific gear is the best, but I need less specialized equipment. I would like to start riding year round and I am investigating clothing options. I found these http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...set=ISO-8859-1

    My commute is about six miles from Grove City, Ohio into downtown Columbus, Ohio. Need something warm, breathable, and versitile. I work for a small law firm and go to law school part-time in the evenings.

    Has anyone had experience with these?

    Thanks,

    Eric

  2. #2
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    No clue about those, but they look like an option. Are you looking for something you do not have to change out of for the office ? I would think anything that is warm enough for real winter riding might get too warm in an office setting. You could layer underneath, but then you are changing at the office to remove that underlayer.

    When you talk about warm, breathable, and versatile, you gotta look at softshell pants, There are a lot out there. I use sporthill XC pants, but they probably aren't office wear. I also use the REI mistral pants, (they've been replaced by a different model) Those look like pants, but are schoeller dynamic fabric, easy to layer under. You could wear them in an office.

  3. #3
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    They look like some darn nice pants to me. Army stores are frequently good sources for stuff like that.

    I used to ski in Russian army surplus pants. They were fantastic. Comfortable and warm in all conditions down to -40deg and windy. Dead of winter to the spring, I'd wear those with light longjohns underneath (the pants were scratchy as hell - Stalin didn't care about Ivan being comfortable, just effective!) and they were great. The only problem was that the snow stuck them and at the end of a powder day they'd weigh probably 30lbs!
    Last edited by GV27; 10-29-08 at 11:28 AM.

  4. #4
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    When you talk about warm, breathable, and versatile, you gotta look at softshell pants, There are a lot out there. I use sporthill XC pants, but they probably aren't office wear. I also use the REI mistral pants, (they've been replaced by a different model) Those look like pants, but are schoeller dynamic fabric, easy to layer under. You could wear them in an office.
    Those essentially are "softshell" pants. With a tight weave and fairly heavy, those suckers are as warm, breathable and versatile as any fancy "softshell" pants. The nice thing about wool is that is has a very wide usage range. I'm sitting here in a wool shirt I wore (under a jacket) for my commute and am perfectly comfortable. I'll go outside where the temps are still in the 50's and still be perfectly comfortable. Plus I just can't stinkify it - I can wear it for days at a time with out stinking. If I did that with cotton or a synthetic they'd smell me 5 cubes over.

    Wool FTW.
    Last edited by GV27; 10-29-08 at 11:44 AM.

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    I would still change for work, but might wear them to school or pull them over my khakis to get to school (about 1 mi. from work). I was also thinking about snow time with my 3yo.

  6. #6
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    Welcome to BF from another Columbusite. Check out some of the army surplus stores in the area for wool pants. I know Cousins on 8th and High had a few pairs the other day.

    and check out Consider Biking, our Bike Advocate here in Columbus.
    Andrew

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    Cabela's is a lot cheaper than these ones, and machine washable too. Nice find.

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    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Despite my support of softshell pants I really believe in wool I have a ton of wool stuff I wear it every single day. My point and opinion is that dress type wool pants aren't as high energy activity versatile as some of the softshell fabrics and construction, be it one pair that works super well for all sorts of cold weather activities hiking, climbing, skiing, riding, showshoeing, sledding. And some of the softshell fabrics are wool blends, I have an iBex climawool softshell jacket that has honestly been out and out dissapointing, And that stuff is 'spensive as hell.

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    What are softshell and hardshell anyway? Fleece and fleece backed w/ nylon?

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    I love wool. I wish our slated Cabela's would go ahead and build nearby. I suspect the economy will slow that up though. Anywho, darned that they don't have those in Women's sizes. I am not averse to wearing men's but would need to try them on.

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    You might need lightweight long johns (silk FTW!) if the pants are scratchy. Silk breathes, insulates and is ummm...silky. The pants look ok, but they also look high waisted which is fine if you ride upright like on a hybrid, but if you're bent over like on a roadie or some mtbs, it may bunch up at the waist.
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    7ft of Cet-Bak Nightdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    What are softshell and hardshell anyway? Fleece and fleece backed w/ nylon?

    This has become a questions of semantics in the outdoor industry, and everyone has their own interpretation. However, hardshell usually equates to being waterproof (and windproof). This can take many forms, ranging from Paddington Bear-style rain slickers to fancy membranes (Gore, eVent, proprietaries) under any sort of outer fabric, whether that be nylon, poly, wool, etc.

    Softshell used to mean "very breathable" (in comparison with membranes), while still providing some weather protection. These were originally developed for cold weather, high-aerobic output sports where snow was more likely than rain. However, this term now covers a lot of ground and generally is anything that provides some modicum of weather protection without being 100% waterproof (not seam sealed).

    It occurred to me that your question might have been meant as a joke. If so, sorry for this long-winded explanation.

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    No it was a serious question, thanks for the answer.

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    Here is what I did for winter pants - I got the idea from elsewhere on these forums. I went to a local thrift store and for $4 I bought a pair of 100% wool dress pants that were too big for me (waist size 40 where I am down to about a 36). Then I brought them home, ran them through the wash machine in hot water and through the dryer on high. Now they fit just about right, keep me nice and toasty, and are machine washable. They don't look like anything special, but you can't beat the price. I just wear bike shorts under them and I'm good to go.
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    Bander, that's a good idea. I thought about the thrist store first, but I was also thinking about washability and I didn't think that could be accomplished by regular wool pants. If they only shrink once, then I don't mind investing a few bucks in a used pair.

    I appreciate all the feedback. I really wasn't sure I was one the right track with wool pants, but everyone's posts seem pretty affirmative. Thanks!

  16. #16
    Senior Member d2create's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrfunnieman View Post
    I was also thinking about washability and I didn't think that could be accomplished by regular wool pants. If they only shrink once, then I don't mind investing a few bucks in a used pair.
    I wash my wool stuff in Woolite. And wool doesn't stink so you can go longer between washings.
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    So I went to my local Cabela's to check these out. I had been wondering what 'whipcord' was, and it turned out I knew all along and I even already have a pair of pants made out of it. 'whipcord' is basically the finest possible steelwool.

    The pants (and shirts) at my local Cabela's were the previous version to the one linked in the OP, 24 oz fabric rather than 18 oz. So for my ownself I got 2 pieces of info out of the trip: what the fabric was, and what waistsize to order (the comments on sizing at cabelas.com are confusing at best).

    Anyway, I did order a pair but not for biking even the 18 oz would be way to heavy for me, but I do have other uses for that kind of thing.

    If someone was more budget conscious it would probably be better to scope military surplus for E German or Swiss handmedowns, that kind of thing, and if fabric-weight-specific, go the thriftstore dress pants route.

  18. #18
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d2create View Post
    I wash my wool stuff in Woolite. And wool doesn't stink so you can go longer between washings.
    WHAT?!?!? You don't use Kookabura?!? The Dust Mites' Bane? Shocking.........

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    Senior Member d2create's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GV27 View Post
    WHAT?!?!? You don't use Kookabura?!? The Dust Mites' Bane? Shocking.........
    Never heard of it.
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    re-newbie Zdad's Avatar
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    Codet pants, very warm and rugged. Haven't used my for cycling yet (coming up on 1st winter since riding again) but have the 6 pocket version for walking the dogs, good to -24degF at least when just walking with a down parka on top.
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  21. #21
    Light Makes Right GV27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d2create View Post
    Never heard of it.
    C'mon now - I thought you had the Riv catalog memorized!

    http://www.rivbike.com/search/wool?p...product=25-002

  22. #22
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    whipcord wool pants are generally nice enough to wear with a blazer and tie- i wouldn't wear it to any power meetings, but shlubbing in the stacks, working is fine.

    I have a couple of pair of whipcord pants referenced by hardyweinburg and find whipcord wool both warm outdoors and comfortable at room temperatures.

    suggestions of codet wool pants or army surplus will put you in totally the wrong weight and kinds of wool.

    the suggestions of wool at thrift stores is very valid - i've found some great wool at thrifts as well, these get cut into knickers without worries.

    Filson also makes some amazing cotton pants that dry in a couple of hours after a seattle rain commute - i bought a few pair of shelter cloth pants about 10 years ago and have been amazed at how well they both wear and perform.

    cheers, happy riding in the winter, you won't go wrong with whipcord wool!
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    Hey Bek, I'm not commenting 1sthand on the whipcord Filson put out, I am only comparing by the transitive property pants that Cabela's calls whipcord to a pair that I picked up at Warshal's back in the day. I used to love that store. While they have dress-pants style construction around the waist (both my old ones and the Cabela's ones), I wouldn't ... yeah what you said, no power meetings.

    w/ Filson's new mgmt, stuff I haven't previously handled 1sthand I wouldn't buy sight-unseen off their website anymore.

  24. #24
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    high quality whipcord looks similar to a herringbone twill, and acceptable with a nubby or camel hair type blazer.

    I wore some Filson Whipcord wool to a Seattle Art Museum society function and got positive comment, they truly blend with most of my winter blazers quite nicely...


    maybe 'seattle dress-up' is less stringent than the rest of the country!
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  25. #25
    Senior Member steve-in-kville's Avatar
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    I've ridden in work trousers (like Dickies) and long underwear. Recently I invested in some UnderArmour wear and I really like that, too.

    As long as it's not raining and you will get soaked, most street clothes can work for cycling in the winter.
    Best regards - steve
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