Mountain Biking Travel has taken us to some wild places, and we have done a lot of biking in the rain, and through all that we have learned what is the best mountain bike gear for the rain! Usually there are only two options when riders find themselves facing down variable conditions, keeping riding or hunker down and wait it out. However, if a mountain biker believes in the age-old philosophy, that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad preparation”, then they will be ready for whatever conditions mother nature throws at them. After over 10 years of Mountain Bike Travel we have literally seen everything from biblical rain to dust storms to llama stampedes, and know a lot about biking in the rain. Through all these variable situations we have learned that there are pieces of mountain bike gear that will save you from freezing to death, getting soaking wet, and keep you riding back to safety. So, listen up as we tell you our advice for the best mountain bike gear for the rain that riders should always bring!
We are going to break this down into 4 different pieces of gear that we think are an absolute must bring for biking in the rain!
Here is a list of what we consider to be the best mountain bike gear for biking in the rain.
- Pocket sized rain jacket: That rain Jacket/Windbreaker that does that nifty little macgyver move where it stuffs into its own pocket. These things are light, pack down to the size of a deck of cards and will keep you warm and dry for a least a couple of hours of unfavorable weather. A regular rain jacket is also a fantastic option but will not pack down to the size of a pocket jacket.
- Puffy Vest: So, we have tried puffy jackets, fleece vests, wool base layers, even baby alpaca sweaters, and we have found that the best mid layer to stay warm in any conditions is a puffy vest. They pack down even smaller than your pocket-sized rain jacket, keep your core extremely warm, fit under even the tightest of rain jackets and are totally in right now and great for biking in the rain.
- Buff: As children we were always told that your head is where your body releases the most heat, which is only true because we rarely cover our heads, but on the trail we do lose a lot of heat through those cool vents on our helmet, and in cold situations we want to keep that heat in our bodies. Our solution to this is to always have a buff (cotton or wool) that you can bull over your neck all the way to your head, covering your ears, neck and head. We have also found that a cold head makes people lose focus and control of their bike which can lead to more falls and more dangerous situations.
- Rain Paints: Ok, so we know you are probably shaking your head right now and saying that we are total gear geeks for even mentioning rain paints, but this is the deal. Mountain Bike travel has taken us all over the world to tons of different types of climates and we have seen so much weather, and rain pants have saved us on many occasions! When you ride in the rain your shoes, knee pads, and shorts are all going to be the first thing to get absolutely soaked, and then those items are going to begin to make the part of your body that is responsible for keeping you on your bike numb and unresponsive. Rain pants catch all the water and mud, keep you warm by insulating your body, keep you dry. Let’s be honest- most rain paints can be rolled up to a size smaller than a pringle can (yes, I know it’s a weird analogy). Furthermore, when you get to your vehicle all you have to do is take off your rain pants, climb in warm and dry and not worry that you are going to leave a huge mud-spot on the seat.
All of these pieces of gear are also perfect in any backcountry medical situation to bandage wounds, pad splints, keep you warm if you must hunker down, and even be used as a pillow in the car ride to and from the trailhead. So, think about the mountain bike gear that you use and see if it compares to the suggestions that we have listed above, and maybe take our advice or just keep shredding in a cotton tank and denim short shorts, as long as you’re out there shredding!!