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Thinking about the best combination of jackets

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Old 12-05-15, 06:45 PM
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chrisbo654
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Thinking about the best combination of jackets

I am preparing my equipment for my first long trip and still have it dylemn the choice of clothing, especially the top.

Also, most people that I met had complete cyclist look (long back t-shirt and jacket, paded shorts). But they were probably local tourists rather than long-term travelers. Personaly, I am not a bike fanatic. This is probably very suitable on the bike but it means you need to take more conventional clothing.

The choice is even harder than I'm broke so I can't spend 200$ in the perfect jacket.


My trip
Europe, 4 seasons camping (-10C at night +30C), so rain and snow (while avoiding extreme conditions).

I have
I wish I could be content with what I have but it's far from ideal.
- A long sleeved lightweight poly top.
- A very light fleece pullover, 80g
- A classic polycotton shirt
- A synthetic black jacket (like a softshell), 500g, not warm, not waterproof, no hood... but passe-partout.
- A winter jacket, cotton/poly, 1.3kg, cumbersome, without hood, bum style???... but very warm.
- A cheap rainsuit (500g, laminate seam-sealedbut but very ugly).
- A cheap reflective vest (lightweight but ugly to)
- A Buff for head (very light and multifunctionnal)

I need
- Pass winter alive
- A windbreaker for outdoor activities
- A minimal rain protection
- Reflective clothes for cycling (EU required)
- A relatively urban style,smart enough for go back to civilization for few days / weeks or ask a small job without shame.

Possible gear
- Hoodie (cheap, quite warm, casual and multi purpose)
- Fleece, heavy or light? (cheap but ugly)
- Softshell, lightweight or insulated? hooded? water repellent or cheap?
- Rain shell, hooded? (100% waterproof)
- Cycling jacket, reflective? water repellent? long or short sleeved? (only for cycling and expensive but efficient)
- Windbreaker, reflective? (cheap)
- Reflective vest? or jacket?
- Insulated jacket, hooded?, down or synthetic? efficient (and ugly) or casual?
- Classic mid-season jacket (cheap and multipurpose, but require extra clothing layer)

Proposed suggestions:
- Balaclava
- Shower cap, for rain protection under helmet.
- ???

Dilemns
- Mid-season layer:
midweight poly top vs fleece jacket vs polycoton hoodie

-
Rain / dirt protection:
rain jacket vs water repellent cycling jacket vs water repellent softshell

-
Cold protection when static:
insulated jacket vs insulated softshell vs light softshell + midweight top

-
Wind protection when riding:
softshell vs cycling jacket vs windbreaker vs rain shell

- Visibility when riding:
reflective cycling jacket vs reflective vest

-
Head protection:
hood vs balaclava vs Buff vs scarf


I have my own opinion but I'd like to know...

To pedal, would you use specific bike clothes, hiking clothes, or normal clothing ?

What would be your layers combination for the same trip ?
- At least one year without going back home
- 30C to -10C (at night), rain and snow


Recommended products by favouring economic solutions ?


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Old 12-05-15, 06:57 PM
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For the top I'd take:

rain shell with hood
insulated jacket (Primaloft, like the Montbell Thermawrap) or an insulated softshell
long sleeved midweight poly top
long sleeved lightweight poly top.
gloves
balaclava
shower cap.
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Old 12-05-15, 08:29 PM
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chrisbo654
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Shower cap?

So no hood exept for the rain shell. Just the balaclava. The Buff should do the job.

Which one are you using to ride when it's cold? Is an insulated jacket not too much? The poly top with the rain shell?

Nothing more civilized for city tours? An insulated jacket during spring is not discreat. An insulated softshell may look like more casual (if no hood) but I'm not sure this is warm enough for winter (someone tried?).

No bike jacket, windbreaker, no reflective vest.
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Old 12-05-15, 08:34 PM
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I have taken to layering my lightweight fleece pullovers. It is pretty versatile over a base layer or without a base, you can use them for sleeping, casual wear. Non-brand fleece with collar and short zip are $10.
Feet will take a hammering in cold/wet conditions. You need some mil-spec wool winter socks, merino wool inner socks. Waterproof lightweight hiking boots. Also consider rubber wellington boots for muddy camp use, they are dirt cheap.
Windproof smock is essential. Mine is polyester but pertex is std material. Consider a pertex/pile jacket for cold camp wear and cycling in really cold/wet conditions.
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Old 12-05-15, 08:41 PM
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If you are going to the cities, for civilization, or job hunting in particularly takes some time. So if you are going to be in certain cities for any length of time, say more than a week. You might consider shipping your city clothes ahead to yourself so you don't have to carry them thru places where they won't get used. Also they will be less likely to get crapped up while you're cycling and camping.
Just thinking!
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Old 12-05-15, 09:16 PM
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A 3 layer system that my wife and I use is pretty in a wide range of temperatures:
-Medium weight fleece zippered pullover;
-Lightweight synthetic jacket(primaloft);
-Cycling rain jackets.

This allows a nice array of mix and match to meet different conditions. We were riding quite comfortably in -7C a few days ago.
This jacket compresses to the size of a grapefruit.
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Old 12-05-15, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
If you are going to the cities, for civilization, or job hunting in particularly takes some time. So if you are going to be in certain cities for any length of time, say more than a week. You might consider shipping your city clothes ahead to yourself so you don't have to carry them thru places where they won't get used. Also they will be less likely to get crapped up while you're cycling and camping.
Just thinking!
Wondering what cities you are referring to and what would be considered "city clothes?" Have you combined "job hunting" with touring often?
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Old 12-05-15, 10:36 PM
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I am certainly in the "layering" crowd, but given that you are mentioning cold temps (0c to 10c) with periods of rain, you really have to have a good rain jacket that will keep you from getting wet from the rain. Getting damp from sweating is one thing, but in these temps, you really need to have proper jacket, pants and rain booties to keep all three parts dry from the rain.
I commuted just the other day in rain and about 5 or 6c, and sure it was only a 40 min ride, but having the right fleece under my rain jacket, and all the other stuff, I was comfortable.

In the end, you really need to get out and try riding with various layers and see what works for you, because in the end, what may work for someone else may not be good for you. My regular commuting in spring and fall means I have a small group of layers, tight fitting wool tops, short and long sleeved, diff thicknesses of fleeces, windbreaker type jacket (not rain proof, but stops wind, a shell essentially), stuff like a thin toque (beanie, thin winter hat) and balaclava combo depending on temp, various gloves, inner gloves, even a pair of old goretex outer mitts (thin but go fairly high up my forearm) that I put over gloves for when its really cold. Plus some fleece mitts to go inside outer mitts if colder.......basically I have a mix and match attitude BUT its the actual riding in given temps that has taught me what works for ME

to give you an idea, because I am thin, I find I put warmer stuff on than other people, and as I have gotten older, my muscles prefer to be warmer, so what works for me is perhaps overdressed for someone else.
Just like with cross country skiing, undoing zippers, or doing them up, or adding a neckup (buff) or adding a light vest, or whatever, can often make the diff in comfort, and especially with zippers and whatnot, changing things as you feel and maybe changing when in a headwind, or a downhill, or uphill, this is all part of reacting to the temps and what your body tells you.

Still though, you have to get out there to find the various combos that work for you, you aren't going to find answers on forums, recommendations perhaps, but no clear answers.
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Old 12-05-15, 11:31 PM
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Thanks for you comments!

shelbyfv
Obviously, I did not need a costume to go buy my food.
By city clothes, I mean classic enough clothes to allow me to visit a great city for a few days, go to a good restaurant, in a department store, museum, etc ... not everyone turns to me with a nasty air wondering if I'm a bum or a illegal migrant (lived).
I'll probably have to make pocket money along the way by doing some small jobs. I did not need a suit and tie but I do not see me introduce myself with high mountain clothes.

Something like this style, with a shirt for special occasions.



Doug64
I am convinced by the 3 layers system, but not by the moncler as a everyday jacket. That's why I would like to replace the last layer with something more neutral but I don't know exactly what. This mean I will probably have to add one more layer.

djb
That's what I was thinking about rain. I have a taped seams rainsuit tested this summer but it is so ugly that I was just wondering if a (more attractive) hooded cycling jacked / windbreaker would not be more polyvalent. For the insulated jacket, I cannot test it before buying it! And I don't have enough money to make tests.

I have this casual jacket that is very warm for winter, but not water repellent, and take the place of a small sleeping bag so I'm not sure this is a good idea to take it.

Actually my layers idea is:
- A light long sleaved poly top
- A very light fleece pullover
- A classic polycotton shirt
- ??? Quite casual repellent insulated softshell + one layer (to buy)
OR fluffy insulated jacket + light civil jacket (to buy)
OR my big jacket
- A ugly waterproof hooded raincoat that can ony be weared when riding

All in all, the space requirement should be almost the same.
But I don't know if a softshell is warm enough for temperatures near 0.

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Old 12-06-15, 10:14 AM
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You want practical or pretty? you seem hung up on Ugly looking Gear.
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Old 12-06-15, 11:42 AM
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Yes totally hung up! I just want a tradeoff.

It's not that I'm superficial, but I noticed that very few people know cycle touring. In some "civilized" European countries, when you arrive like if you had all your life in your bags and dressed like no one else, people look at you nastily thinking you're a bum (especially if you're alone). It does not facilitate contact.

Am I the only one who felt that way?

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Old 12-06-15, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by chrisbo654 View Post
...
- Reflective clothes for cycling (EU required)
...
The two times I biked in Europe, I was never warned I needed reflective clothing. What are the exact rules?
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Old 12-06-15, 12:10 PM
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Officially, you must always have a "nice" CE EN471 (or newer) normed reflective vest in your bags, and wear it in dark conditions, tunel, fog, etc...
But most people don't know it, and most French cops probably don't care unless it makes night totally. But countries like Germany are more strict from what I heard.

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Old 12-06-15, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisbo654 View Post
Yes totally hung up! I just want a tradeoff.

It's not that I'm superficial, but I noticed that very few people know cycle touring. In some "civilized" European countries, when you arrive like if you had all your life in your bags and dressed like no one else, people look at you nastily thinking you're a bum (especially if you're alone). It does not facilitate contact.

Am I the only one who felt that way?
My wife and I have spent several months riding through Europe, and bring pretty simple clothes. My off-bike attire usually consists of a long sleeve shirt and long zip-off pants. I use these with a "nice" T-shirt for most travel. During cooler weather a long sleeved light fleece is dressy enough for most occasions. This combination covers most nicer restaurants, museums, and general around town wear. If I am in a town of any size, I'm like 90% of the tourists, and in smaller towns the locals know you are not a native, and cut you slack. We tend to tour off the beaten path, and have not felt self conscious about our clothes. In small towns it is hard to hide the fact that you arrived by bike.

I think keeping clean and neat looking offsets a lot of what you are wearing. My wife often takes a lightweight dress when we are in warmer climes.

This is the only off-bike clothes I take (plus underwear, T-shirts, and socks) on most trips.

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Old 12-06-15, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisbo654 View Post
Yes totally hung up! I just want a tradeoff.

It's not that I'm superficial, but I noticed that very few people know cycle touring. In some "civilized" European countries, when you arrive like if you had all your life in your bags and dressed like no one else, people look at you nastily thinking you're a bum (especially if you're alone). It does not facilitate contact.

Am I the only one who felt that way?
funny, but I find that the attitude you are describing is more what I have observed in North America, that in Europe where biking is so much more accepted, people are much more used to cyclists, and people who do little bike trips etc. I'm referring to France, Germany, whereas in places I have been in the states, perhaps moreso in California, the "homeless guy on a bike" thing and view from Mr and Mrs Smith was much more this way.
I always rememeber asking a lady in a car for directions in California somewehre, and her fearful reaction and rolling up the window was so foreign to me, showed me that there was very much the view of someone on a bike was homeless/dangerous---you would never get that here, biking is popular and people do bike touring. A homeless person here on a bike is very clearly a homeless person--I was a clean shaven, neatish young guy with regular panniers, not overflowing baskets and all that sort of image, so it took me aback how the lady reacted.

anyway, thats my take on it, plus throw in all the immediate positive interactions I have had with French people while I was bike touring.
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Old 12-06-15, 04:13 PM
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Doug64
Very usefull comment. I finally do not need a too big jacket. I would have to make a try right now (-3C during night) with a normal jacket and a fleece.
Staying very neat is also one of my priorities, I have a baby face and my bike even looks a bit too posh for my taste. This does not prevent people from being suspicious.

djb
It's true, people are generally curious in France. I was rather referring to Switzerland, which strangely have lot of cycling paths (and unofficially poor people). But some Swiss are clearly anti-French, maybe this explains it.

Which would you choose for €40, in addition to a €10 fleece, considering that this will be your only jacket for a year?
Regatta Icebound Medium fill showerproof insulated jacket.
Jack & Jones Tech 3
Hooded water resistant softshell.
Regatta Nebraska II Almost the same without hood.

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Old 12-06-15, 05:12 PM
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I've been in Switzerland a number of times, and I can only speak for the Swiss German side, but the Swiss are way more reserved and stand offish than the French. One could even say they are cold, certainly compared to the French.
And you don't have to be on a bike to have someone look down their nose at you, simply because you aren't Swiss.
They are funny birds the Swiss.
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Old 12-06-15, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by chrisbo654 View Post
Shower cap?
Yes, it goes over a helmet or a balaclava for riding.....hoods often obscure vision.


Which one are you using to ride when it's cold? Is an insulated jacket not too much? The poly top with the rain shell?
lightweight, mideweight poly tops and a rain shell are good for cold weather riding. The insulated jacket is mostly for off the bike. A lightweight balaclava or a buff are essential in the cold to stop wind burn. I prefer a balaclava as it does everything that a buff does and is more comfortable. Also don't forget sunglasses

Nothing more civilized for city tours? An insulated jacket during spring is not discreat. An insulated softshell may look like more casual (if no hood) but I'm not sure this is warm enough for winter (someone tried?).

No bike jacket, windbreaker, no reflective vest.
The rain shell can be a bike jacket with a hood if you want......it works as a windbreaker and should be bright and reflective.

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Old 12-07-15, 03:42 AM
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Fantastic! I saw the light!

I think I have my combo. The fact that alot use an insulated jacket induced me in error. I made a mistake by buying a cheap (and ugly) rain jacket. This is probably the most important part of the equipment.

Top layers for a one year tour (summer 30C to winter -10C)

- A sports t-shirt
Polyester, breathable, long sleeves (or not?), stylish enough to be worn alone during summer.
Use as a first layer.

- A shirt (possibly)
Long sleeves, fast drying while maintaining a classic appearance (70% polyester?), fited / short, business style, light color but not too messy (light gray?).
Worn under the softshell for the most chic look.

- A wool sweater (alternatively a cheap fleece / poly sweater)
Smart enough to be worn alone, V-neck to be worn with a shirt.
Use as layer when it's cold or alone inside.
Pullover wool elasthan mix - €15

- A softshell
Unlined (light), without hood, with a good fit, with pockets (for phone, keys, etc...), smart enough to be worn without shame in fancy places.
Used everytime it is cool but does not rain, or with the rain jacket when it's colder.
Regatta Nebraska 2 - €40

- A rain jacket
Hooded, highly waterproof, highly visible and reflective.
Used for riding during cool nights, when it rains, or for staying warm when camping in very bad conditions.
chinese waterproof hooded cycling jacket - €50

- A Buff
Classic poly model (or insect / UV?).
Wear it as a muffler for insects, as a hat for sun, beanie or balaclava for the cold, or as a scarf for style.
Buff multifunctional tubular - €15

I still hesitate because there is not much 100% waterproof jackets that are both hooded and reflective (or so expensive).

What do you think about that ?
Some references ?

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Old 12-07-15, 04:09 AM
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For me, I essentially only ride with a rain slicker (or no slicker/coat on warm days).

I like fleece pullovers, and if I need a bit of extra warmth, then I can put two on under the slicker. Thus, no need for 2 or 3 different coats

I do like the Showers Pass jackets. The Transit Jacket is heavy duty, with good ventilation.
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