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Cold weather commuting: Down, Synthetic, or Waterproof jacket

Old 10-11-22, 09:14 AM
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b88
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Cold weather commuting: Down, Synthetic, or Waterproof jacket

What’s everyone’s recommendations for cold weather/winter commuting about 20km each way.

The waterproof jacket would require an additional
expense of inner jacket or layers. They also make treated down jackets these days to keep warm when wet.

Share your gear and what’s been working for you and at which temperatures.

I been looking at

Patagonia micro puff jacket
Showers pass Elite 2.0
North Face Thermoball
Fox ranger 2.5L water jacket
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Old 10-11-22, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
What’s everyone’s recommendations for cold weather/winter commuting about 20km each way.

The waterproof jacket would require an additional
expense of inner jacket or layers. They also make treated down jackets these days to keep warm when wet.

Share your gear and what’s been working for you and at which temperatures.

I been looking at

Patagonia micro puff jacket
Showers pass Elite 2.0
North Face Thermoball
Fox ranger 2.5L water jacket
just quick opinions ... (just for tops?) if it was for me ...

Patagonia micro puff jacket NO
North Face Thermoball NO
Fox ranger 2.5L water jacket THAT COULD WORK
Showers pass Elite 2.0 THAT COULD WORK

I'm a big fan of
  • riding what you have & wearing what you have
  • layers, so a thin outer shell (with pit-zips & back venting if possible) depending on the weather of the day, then a thermal layer, then a base layer, next to my skin (I might wind up w/ more than 3 layers total, especially if the top layer is just a bright wind vest)

Last edited by rumrunn6; 10-11-22 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 10-11-22, 11:26 AM
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My first choice would be a waterproof jacket with lots of vents, and perhaps a polypro (or similar) layer underneath.

Second choice, for temperatures well below freezing, would be a synthetic jacket.

My wife teases me that I break out in a sweat when I look at a bike. There's some truth to that -- I'll start sweating as soon as I start riding. That would render a down jacket useless in 10-12 miles.

Where do you live and commute, and how cold do you anticipate riding in?
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Old 10-11-22, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
My first choice would be a waterproof jacket with lots of vents, and perhaps a polypro (or similar) layer underneath.

Second choice, for temperatures well below freezing, would be a synthetic jacket.

My wife teases me that I break out in a sweat when I look at a bike. There's some truth to that -- I'll start sweating as soon as I start riding. That would render a down jacket useless in 10-12 miles.

Where do you live and commute, and how cold do you anticipate riding in?
Hi, I’m in Ontario Canada most of the time. Winters can get quite cold here.
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Old 10-11-22, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
just quick opinions ... (just for tops?) if it was for me ...

Patagonia micro puff jacket NO
North Face Thermoball NO
Fox ranger 2.5L water jacket THAT COULD WORK
Showers pass Elite 2.0 THAT COULD WORK

I'm a big fan of
  • riding what you have & wearing what you have
  • layers, so a thin outer shell (with pit-zips & back venting if possible) depending on the weather of the day, then a thermal layer, then a base layer, next to my skin (I might wind up w/ more than 3 layers total, especially if the top layer is just a bright wind vest)
A windbreaker , base, and thermal. I wore that when it was 12C, never broke a sweat. Only my arms were a little sweaty.

It makes sense go this route. A waterproof, then which mid layer depending on how cold, and a base.
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Old 10-11-22, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
just quick opinions ... (just for tops?) if it was for me ...

Patagonia micro puff jacket NO
North Face Thermoball NO
Fox ranger 2.5L water jacket THAT COULD WORK
Showers pass Elite 2.0 THAT COULD WORK

I'm a big fan of
  • riding what you have & wearing what you have
  • layers, so a thin outer shell (with pit-zips & back venting if possible) depending on the weather of the day, then a thermal layer, then a base layer, next to my skin (I might wind up w/ more than 3 layers total, especially if the top layer is just a bright wind vest)
No, bottoms also. All the showers pass pants I tried on they have long inseam. Do not work out for me. Other cycling water resistant pants are so tight in the ankles. I thought overshoes like the ones made by Endura or Showers pass might work but they are a bit too short. They hardly cover the pant legs thus defeats the purpose. Plus getting them on to fit correctly with the Velcro fasteners leads to frustration.
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Old 10-11-22, 01:40 PM
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Where and how you ride are huge factors. Where - temperature, rainfall, humidity. How you ride - your distances, the hills and above all, how hard do you ride and how much do you sweat. These are big variables and the best answers are going to be allover the place for different riders, routes and areas of the country (or even the county).

I ride fairly hard, Not what I used to do 40 years ago, but still, I don't mosey. I don't have the patience to dawdle uphill. So mpoisture management is a big factor and here in Portland, OR, I often have to balance the clothes dirtying and body odor producing sweat vs the clean water from the skies (and dirty splash from cars). Sometimes it gets well below freezing in Portland but that is usually only for the ride to work and it may be a lot warmer and wet coming home.

I like the Showers Pass jackets as a very good compromise between keeping outside water off and letting inside water leave. Plus a simple shell allows me a vast variety of layers under to tailor for that particular ride. Showers Pass is now (finally!) back to making their most popular jackets in bright yellows for the dark winter days and nights.
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Old 10-11-22, 01:47 PM
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Another piece of winter gear I love, but that I had to make - cycling gators. Simple, close to waterproof outdoor fabric that wraps around my ankle and velcros in back. Fits under my tights/legwarmers and over my boot or shoe tops. Keeps my ankles dry and warm, water out of my shoes/boots (at least from the top; all of my shoes have holes in the sole. If they don't, I pull out my drill.) Those gators make for much warmer feet! Why they aren't commonly made and sold? No idea. The design is simple, the execution is simple. The need had been there 150 years.
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Old 10-11-22, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
No, bottoms also. All the showers pass pants I tried on they have long inseam. Do not work out for me. Other cycling water resistant pants are so tight in the ankles. I thought overshoes like the ones made by Endura or Showers pass might work but they are a bit too short. They hardly cover the pant legs thus defeats the purpose. Plus getting them on to fit correctly with the Velcro fasteners leads to frustration.
I agree pant leg ankles & shoes must match up, or you will get shoes full of water
I agree Showers Pass pants are long



good luck finding your favorite footwear &/or over-shoe. there are so many to choose from. these seemed pretty good, the few times I used them. not sure how durable they would be for commuting tho
FixWhat Waterproof Motorcycle Bike Shoes Covers,Reusable Anti-Slip Rain Snow Shoes Overshoes Gear Zipped Shoes Men Women Rain Covers





last winter I was very happy with these Columbia Men's Firecamp Boot Hiking Shoe. did not wear them in downpours but did use them all winter. they are lighter than the winter boots I was using
here they are mated up w/ some LL Bean or REI double layer rain pants

they don't mate up well w/ my regular cycling pants

but I still use them together, happily when it's not pouring

Last edited by rumrunn6; 10-11-22 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 10-11-22, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Another piece of winter gear I love, but that I had to make - cycling gators. Simple, close to waterproof outdoor fabric that wraps around my ankle and velcros in back. Fits under my tights/legwarmers and over my boot or shoe tops. Keeps my ankles dry and warm, water out of my shoes/boots (at least from the top; all of my shoes have holes in the sole. If they don't, I pull out my drill.) Those gators make for much warmer feet! Why they aren't commonly made and sold? No idea. The design is simple, the execution is simple. The need had been there 150 years.

Do you have any specific gaitor that you use. Are they sold online.
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Old 10-11-22, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I agree pant leg ankles & shoes must match up, or you will get shoes full of water
I agree Showers Pass pants are long


good luck finding your favorite footwear &/or over-shoe. there are so many to choose from. these seemed pretty good, the few times I used them. not sure how durable they would be for commuting tho
FixWhat Waterproof Motorcycle Bike Shoes Covers,Reusable Anti-Slip Rain Snow Shoes Overshoes Gear Zipped Shoes Men Women Rain Covers


last winter I was very happy with these Columbia Men's Firecamp Boot Hiking Shoe. did not wear them in downpours but did use them all winter. they are lighter than the winter boots I was using
here they are mated up w/ some LL Bean or REI double layer rain pants

they don't mate up well w/ my regular cycling pants

but I still use them together, happily when it's not pouring
Those Firecamps look interesting, waterproof supposedly and comes in wide sizes. With the 200g insulation, did you have to size up or your regular size was still ok.
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Old 10-11-22, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
Do you have any specific gaitor that you use. Are they sold online.
I've never seen anything like what I made. As far as I know, nobody has done anything like them but ... everything has been invented for bicycles except those items that require materials not available in the past. My gators use current synthetic fabric and velcro but no radical ideas. It just seems to me something as good as what I've "invented" should be readily available and if it isn't, why?
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Old 10-11-22, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
Do you have any specific gaitor that you use. Are they sold online.
Any store that sells backpacking and hiking gear should have gaiters.
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Old 10-11-22, 04:20 PM
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I would avoid jackets or pants that are waterproof because they will cause too much sweating. Minimizing sweating is very important when riding in below freezing temps.
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Old 10-11-22, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Any store that sells backpacking and hiking gear should have gaiters.
I cycled in hiker's gaiters for years when I commuted by bike, starting in the late 1990s. Amazon has quite a number of gaiters listed.
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Old 10-11-22, 04:51 PM
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Chicago winters, usually in the 20sF and I'll happily ride down to 15F, not usually wet since when it snows it REALLY snows and I don't ride until they plow the streets. I generally run warm enough.

My kit:
- Uniqlo heattech long sleeve t-shirt, their light one or the heavy one when it gets real cold
- Eddie Bauer down jacket, CirrusLite, which is thin and compact. This is my normal go-walking jacket in the winter
- Thin wool sweater. It's very compact in my pannier or backpack
-Uniqlo packable nylon jacket. It's just a windbreaker but surprisingly warm alone. Takes up no space.
-Ski gloves, have several different weights
-Columbia Newton Ridge boots. Warm, waterproof, my everyday winter shoe. Toe fits my plastic pedal cups.
-A shemagh scarf covers my neck and core around my chest, just right. That's usually the piece I start with at about 55 on those cold mornings.
-I'm less fussy about my legs, but heattech leggings are my go-to layer when pants aren't enough.
-Wool socks, year around. Costco grey ones. Thick, warm, durable, cheap, cool in summer, too.
-During The Plague I discovered that a KN95 is perfect for keeping my lips, chin, and cheeks warm, and if I want to talk on the phone I can hang the mic inside the mask, eliminating noise!

Usually I start with the heattech shirt and wool sweater, then add the nylon jacket or down jacket, depending on how cold. When it gets below 20 I put them both on. The nylon jacket is warmest under the down. If it's warm, I skip the wool sweater and layer depending. Under 20F I ride with ski goggles because the corners of my eyes freeze and burn. Otherwise I wear $7 wrap-around safetyglass sunglasses.

This gives me a range of clothing I can wear from the 50s down at least to 10. Everything is compact, and I will change layers en-route to stay perfectly comfortable. I don't carry all of it at once, but even if I do, all of the pieces are compact, probably totaling the size of one thick wool sweater.

My basic philosophy has been developed from how hikers layer things, using different thin layers that can be combined for a wide range of different situations, rather than single pieces with a limited temp rang.

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Old 10-11-22, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Any store that sells backpacking and hiking gear should have gaiters.
But the simple gaiters I made are far better suited for cycling. Close fitting so no issues with the chain, FD and the like. Designed to go under, not over tights. I've got traditional gaiters. Great for snowshoeing but so-so at best for cycling. My cycling ones are barely noticeable in use, go on and off fast and do the job of keeping me comfortable better.
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Old 10-11-22, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
But the simple gaiters I made are far better suited for cycling. Close fitting so no issues with the chain, FD and the like. Designed to go under, not over tights. I've got traditional gaiters. Great for snowshoeing but so-so at best for cycling. My cycling ones are barely noticeable in use, go on and off fast and do the job of keeping me comfortable better.
There are many different types and designs of gaiters...I bought a pair of gaiters way back in 2007 which I am still using today. They are very tight fitting and fit perfectly over my pants and boots, never had any problems with them being too loose and rubbing my chain.
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Old 10-11-22, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
I cycled in hiker's gaiters for years when I commuted by bike, starting in the late 1990s. Amazon has quite a number of gaiters listed.
Gaiters are one of the best and most practical clothing accessories I ever used. They always worked perfectly to prevent snow and slush getting inside my boots and keeping my lower legs dry, they also add quite a bit of extra warmth on those really frigid days.
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Old 10-11-22, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Gaiters are one of the best and most practical clothing accessories I ever used. They always worked perfectly to prevent snow and slush getting inside my boots and keeping my lower legs dry, they also add quite a bit of extra warmth on those really frigid days.
Next on the agenda, gaiters 👍🏻👍🏻
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Old 10-12-22, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
Those Firecamps look interesting, waterproof supposedly and comes in wide sizes. With the 200g insulation, did you have to size up or your regular size was still ok.
not more than usual. I'm like a 12 1/2 so I always get 13, even just normal work shoes. sometimes regular shoes are little too big but the size works out real well for winter shoes

I agree w/ other posters about wearing as little as possible & "waterproof" is really only needed in heavy rain or wet snow. I can wear a rain jacket & rain pants with very little underneath. I only add layers when it's really cold

I've often read & I agree after your first year of commuting year round you tend to collect items as you go along, so by time you finish the year, you've got your arsenal. try not to buy too much stuff in advance until you know you need it. I wasted a lot of time & money buying NON-cycling specific stuff. my best & favorite stuff is made for cycling

good luck & have fun!
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Old 10-12-22, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
not more than usual. I'm like a 12 1/2 so I always get 13, even just normal work shoes. sometimes regular shoes are little too big but the size works out real well for winter shoes

I agree w/ other posters about wearing as little as possible & "waterproof" is really only needed in heavy rain or wet snow. I can wear a rain jacket & rain pants with very little underneath. I only add layers when it's really cold

I've often read & I agree after your first year of commuting year round you tend to collect items as you go along, so by time you finish the year, you've got your arsenal. try not to buy too much stuff in advance until you know you need it. I wasted a lot of time & money buying NON-cycling specific stuff. my best & favorite stuff is made for cycling

good luck & have fun!
I get your point. Looked online all night and most of the gaiters are not meant for cycling, Too bulky.
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Old 10-13-22, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Any store that sells backpacking and hiking gear should have gaiters.
came across these pics I must have shared in another thread
Altra Running


I can't make out what brand this is


but maybe looking for "running gaiters" would yield something lightweight
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Old 10-13-22, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I like the Showers Pass jackets as a very good compromise between keeping outside water off and letting inside water leave. Plus a simple shell allows me a vast variety of layers under to tailor for that particular ride. Showers Pass is now (finally!) back to making their most popular jackets in bright yellows for the dark winter days and nights.
I've been wearing Showers Pass jackets for several years, and have found them very satisfactory. I'm on my second or third one of THESE. The hood fits under my helmet, and keeps me dry in a downpour. I get the jacket a size larger than I'd normally wear so I can fit a couple layers underneath. In the winter, a long-sleeve Polar Fleece sweater and a long-sleeve Under Armour shirt under the Showers Pass jacket (over my work shirt) keep me warm down to minus 20 Fahrenheit. I like the red color, but I'm glad to hear they make more jackets in bright yellow, which is probably more visible.
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Old 10-14-22, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
The hood fits under my helmet
+1 for hoods under helmets this is just a cheap-o Walmart sweatshirt, but useful none-the-less

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