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Old 08-17-13, 03:45 PM   #1
Colorado Kid
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Low Cost Cool Weather Gear

I'm in need of some cool weather gear but I'm shocked at some of the prices folks are charging for warm gear. (Even Performance prices tend to get high on some things.) I was thinking of using Military surplus for some of my needs. (Wool blend pants, Rubber overshoes-modified for cleated shoes etc.) My question is this, would it work? Has anyone tried this cost cutting approach to cool weather gear?
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Old 08-17-13, 04:00 PM   #2
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Low Cost Cool Weather Gear

You looking for cycling specific? let me know what you find. if not, Check target for clearances on champion base layer stuff. I got poly/wool long John shirt for 3 bucks last year, actually got a bunch. Base layer IMO is the most overpriced and the least amount of cheap alternatives. Other than that piece of advice, I'd say rei member return sales, and wait til their 20 percent off everything sales, they have them 4 times a year. If not by you, go online . CL, rummage sales, and whatever you do, splurge for wind proof gloves!!!
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Old 08-17-13, 04:02 PM   #3
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The older military surplus is useless. I've been in the Army for almost 14 years, and the quality of the older cold weather gear was atrocious compared to what we use now. I just wouldn't waste your time, not to mention, with the faux love affair joe public has with the military these days, you won't get a good deal on crappy gear.

Check Nashbar, Sierra Trading Post, Backcountry , etc. You'll do much better that way. Invest a little coin now for long term comfort in the long run. For example, I just bought a new winter jacket from Sierra Trading Post that was originally $300, after their discount and an online coupon for another 30% off, I spent less than $140 for it. I am confident it will outperform any of the gear I have in the closet from my various travels.

I'll second the previous poster on the bit for base layers. Don't worry about cycling specific stuff. Base layers are base layers, just make sure they wick.

Last edited by Badger6; 08-17-13 at 04:04 PM. Reason: Add info
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Old 08-17-13, 04:06 PM   #4
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I'm in need of some cool weather gear but I'm shocked at some of the prices folks are charging for warm gear. (Even Performance prices tend to get high on some things.) I was thinking of using Military surplus for some of my needs. (Wool blend pants, Rubber overshoes-modified for cleated shoes etc.) My question is this, would it work? Has anyone tried this cost cutting approach to cool weather gear?
In short, yes. Only cycling specific clothing I have are cleated shoes. Everything else is mid level camping outdoor sports gear. If I'm paying 60 bucks for anything, I'm going to use it for a lot more than just one thing. Many many people will disagree with me in this, but that's just the way I am, and I get to work and back. Could it me more comfortable? Perhaps but I feel just fine.
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Old 08-17-13, 04:22 PM   #5
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i find XC ski stuff is cheap(ish), at least in the Nordic countries and Germany, and I find that it works quite well for cycling.
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Old 08-17-13, 04:58 PM   #6
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Depending on what you get. It's sometimes cheaper to spend the $$ on good quality gear. It'll last longer. My stuff from Sport Hill will be starting its seventh season of everyday cold winter riding use. The XC pants they have retail now for $120. Back in 07' they retailed for $105. I got em on sale for $65 w/ free shipping at Amazon. Their Symmetry jacket, at the time retailed for $250. I got it for $140 at Sierra Trading Post. The winter boots I use are LL Bean Snowsneakers, still going strong after six years. $65. I'm working on my second Showers Pass elite rain jacket as my outer shell. Those are difficult to find on sale. I use that all year long as my primary rainjacket. But in winter it gets used everyday. My gloves are simple cotton jersey gloves that I pick-up at a convenience store for under $3. I use those down to the 30f mark. Lower, I go with Loki convertible mittens. Check em out. They're nice. I use very little cycling specific clothing in winter. Maybe a helmet cover and the Showers Pass jacket. But that's it. I look forward to getting many more years out of my Sport Hill cross country ski clothing. That way I can spend my money on other stuff.

Last edited by scoatw; 08-17-13 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 08-17-13, 05:01 PM   #7
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If you're gona be outside on your bike in extreme weather, then spend a little extra and buy good quality stuff, trust me it's worth it, you'll be more comfortable and good quality clothing will last you for many years.
Cheap stuff just doesn't cut it when the weather turns nasty. You don't need cycling specific clothing but at least get a good quality outdoor/athletic clothing.
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Old 08-17-13, 05:03 PM   #8
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i find XC ski stuff is cheap(ish), at least in the Nordic countries and Germany, and I find that it works quite well for cycling.
Nice tip ill look into those, not sure about the states but definitely going to look!
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Old 08-17-13, 05:07 PM   #9
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Buying good stuff matters but I certainly wouldn't pay a lot for it and there is little need for cycling specific gear for many applications. I like cycling tights. Neoprene booties are awesome. You could try nashbar brand, REI outlet and Sierra Trading post for reasonably priced cycling tights and booties. There is no need for cycling specific gear for the upper body IMHO. There I'd shop around for the best deals. Pile isn't expensive and works well with some sort of shell. Layering is the key and there is nothing you need for cold weather that costs a ton of money. I think some of the prices for cold weather cycling are obscene.
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Old 08-17-13, 05:23 PM   #10
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Nice tip ill look into those, not sure about the states but definitely going to look!
I always find it cheaper than cycling special clothing.

I bought a really nice pair of XC ski gloves for €30 in Stockholm (25% sales tax included) and they're great for winter cycling
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Old 08-17-13, 05:57 PM   #11
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Colorado GoodWill ought to have all sorts of outdoor gear dropped off there , or some of your other charity shops..
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Old 08-17-13, 07:08 PM   #12
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+1 on the Champion clothes at Target...
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Old 08-17-13, 07:27 PM   #13
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Depending on what you get. It's sometimes cheaper to spend the $$ on good quality gear. It'll last longer. My stuff from Sport Hill will be starting its seventh season of everyday cold winter riding use. The XC pants they have retail now for $120. Back in 07' they retailed for $105. I got em on sale for $65 w/ free shipping at Amazon. Their Symmetry jacket, at the time retailed for $250. I got it for $140 at Sierra Trading Post. The winter boots I use are LL Bean Snowsneakers, still going strong after six years. $65. I'm working on my second Showers Pass elite rain jacket as my outer shell. Those are difficult to find on sale. I use that all year long as my primary rainjacket. But in winter it gets used everyday. My gloves are simple cotton jersey gloves that I pick-up at a convenience store for under $3. I use those down to the 30f mark. Lower, I go with Loki convertible mittens. Check em out. They're nice. I use very little cycling specific clothing in winter. Maybe a helmet cover and the Showers Pass jacket. But that's it. I look forward to getting many more years out of my Sport Hill cross country ski clothing. That way I can spend my money on other stuff.

OMG! We bought nearly the same stuff! Sweet!

I bought my Sporthill jacket, xc pants, xc sweater for nearly peanuts on sale and that was about 7 years ago. They wear like iron! I also wear LL Bean Snowsneakers and they are comfy and warm for winter cycling. I layer with LL Bean's medium weight wool long underwear and they are warm and wick away sweat like crazy, and machine washable. I even toss them into the dryer because I'm lazy. Both sets are in perfect shape. My rain jacket is a fleece lined rain jacket from Lands End and I can't kill the thing. My gloves are actually spandex and fake leather work gloves from Home Depot which look very similar to long fingered bike gloves except they cost $9.95 and fit my small paws. I wear a pair of waterproof ski gloves (name brand escapes me) but I don't think I paid more than $25 on them and they are at least 7 years old.

Sales, make them your friend. Also, unless you like matching outfits and are rather fashion conscious, don't worry about the colours. For example, the sage green Symmetry jacket is just as warm as the dark berry Symmetry jacket. But if sage green is $50 bucks cheaper, I'm buying sage green.
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Old 08-17-13, 08:11 PM   #14
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I get a lot of my rain gear from alertshirt.com

It's a road crew/construction clothing supply company.
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Old 08-18-13, 04:30 PM   #15
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The older military surplus is useless. I've been in the Army for almost 14 years, and the quality of the older cold weather gear was atrocious compared to what we use now.
The old 3 button sweaters and polypro zip-necks were nice,but agree on all the other stuff. Sportsmansguide.com has some decent wool stuff on occasion;I've gotten some really nice cold weather socks and neck gaiters for cheap.

Still prefer my M-65's to the Goretex unless it's raining hard. All three of mine(green,woodland,desert) still fit.
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Old 08-18-13, 04:39 PM   #16
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Nashbar Derby jacket with a wool baselayer (along with insulated tights) takes me comfortably down into the low 20's.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...23_-1___202487
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Old 08-18-13, 05:10 PM   #17
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The old 3 button sweaters and polypro zip-necks were nice,but agree on all the other stuff. Sportsmansguide.com has some decent wool stuff on occasion;I've gotten some really nice cold weather socks and neck gaiters for cheap.

Still prefer my M-65's to the Goretex unless it's raining hard. All three of mine(green,woodland,desert) still fit.
I never wore the M65, when I arrived at my first unit, we were issued GTX and frankly it performed a lot better in the environment I was in, and by the time I made my first PCS...the war was on and no one wore the 65s anymore. I still have the original jacket I was issued in basic, somewhere.

+1 on the 3-button wool sweater, too bad the Army wore it out with the end of the BDU.
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Old 08-18-13, 05:23 PM   #18
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I never wore the M65, when I arrived at my first unit, we were issued GTX
My first one was green. Matched my fatigues.

Goretexes didn't come out 'till long after I left the flightline for the computer floor. Fun fact,got issued a desert one for my last deployment to the AOR. For Jun-Sep. Yeah,I didn't take it with me.
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Old 08-18-13, 05:29 PM   #19
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For the big ticket items, like my cycling shoes, jackets, helmet, gloves, etc., I go for Performance brand or better. I expect to get at least three years out of them.
For pants, shirts, base layers, etc., I go to the Thrift Shop or Target's C9 stuff. I've got a few pairs of homemade wool knickers and a ton of cheap tops.
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Old 08-18-13, 05:55 PM   #20
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My first one was green. Matched my fatigues.

Goretexes didn't come out 'till long after I left the flightline for the computer floor. Fun fact,got issued a desert one for my last deployment to the AOR. For Jun-Sep. Yeah,I didn't take it with me.
Dating yourself there, brother! I'm not as old as you, but at nearly 15 years, I see the kids coming in now and think how much crap I endured that they'll never endure...you probably thought the same. Such is the cycle of life.

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For the big ticket items, like my cycling shoes, jackets, helmet, gloves, etc., I go for Performance brand or better. I expect to get at least three years out of them.
For pants, shirts, base layers, etc., I go to the Thrift Shop or Target's C9 stuff. I've got a few pairs of homemade wool knickers and a ton of cheap tops.
You've nailed the key to what one buys- get three years out of it! OP, those of us that have been riding for a few years aren't telling you to break the bank, we are telling you to invest in the future...the future of commuting for your health, enjoyment, and sanity. Spend a little bit more now on the right gear, and get a lot of enjoyment out of the start and end of your day, and keep your motivation up. Wear ill-suited, or just plain the wrong, gear, and watch your motivation plummet.
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Old 08-19-13, 05:36 PM   #21
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Dating yourself there, brother!
Came in '87,retired in '11. My first assignment was working on A-10's in England;we were there to keep the Commie Hoard on their side of the wall. Got out just in time I didn't need to switch to the Stargate ABU's. During one of my out-processing appointments,I was at the Pentagon and was the only person in BDU's. Got lots of weird looks and was just waiting for someone to say something.
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