Biking in the rain

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.           

 

  1. 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.

           

  1. 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.

           

  1. 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.

           

  1. 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!!



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FITNESS LEVELS​

Our fitness levels will start at a 1, but that is a 1 for mountain bikers that are active, workout regularly and are outdoors people or athletes.

Level 1: 

  • You exercise at least 1-2 days a week regularly
  • When you bike you bike for an average of 1-2 hours and sometimes have longer riding days.
  • You have the ability to climb at least 600 feet without walking or getting too tired.
  • Do not get over fatigued after only an hour of exercise.

Level 2:

  • Exercise 2-3 times a week regularly.
  • Bike for 3-4 hours on an average ride day
  • Can ride for 1-2 hours without stopping and getting too tired
  • Enjoy being on the trail for 4-6 hours with snack breaks, photos and rest breaks.

Level 3

  • Exercise 3-5 times a week regularly.
  • Bike for 3-4 hours on an average ride day
  • Can ride 2-3 hours with only stopping for a quick snack or rest break.
  • Enjoy being on the trail all day and enjoy long missions that are physically demanding.

Level 4

  • Exercise 5+ days a week regularly.
  • Bike 3-4 hours on an average ride day.
  • Can ride multiple hours without stopping
  • Look forward to all day rides that are very physically demanding.

Skill Levels

Intermediate: 

  • Intermediate riders have been riding at least 2 years and are confident on their bike. 
  • Own their own bike and ride 2-3 times a week. 
  • Are beginning to ride longer, steeper trails and more obstacles. 
  • Feel comfortable on singletrack trails.
  • Ride at your own pace, do not tackle all obstacles, and do not do jumps or drops.


On our trips Intermediate riders will generally push themselves outside of their comfort zone and will leave their mountain bike vacation a better rider. These mountain bike trips are a perfect way for intermediate riders to step up their riding in a safe and controlled environment, with a guide that will help them on every step along the way. 

Intermediate +:

  • Intermediate + riders have been riding for 3+ years, are very confident on their bike. 
  • Ride 3-5 times a week 
  • Are riding most obstacles (rock gardens, roots, steeper sections, small drops and jumps) 
  • Feel very comfortable on singletrack, and prefer singletrack.
  • Enjoy both climbing and descending. 
  • Are ready to take on new terrain geographies and test their skills. 


These mountain bike holidays are a perfect way for intermediate + riders to push their limits, continue progressing their riding level, and is an opportunity for them to get outside of their local riding areas and see what mountain bike gems are out there. 

Advanced: 

  • Advanced riders live to mountain bike. 
  • Ride 4-6 days a week and live for epic singletrack trails.
  • Feel comfortable on singletrack, freerides and any trail type. 
  • Are always looking for new jumps, freerides, rock gardens, steeps, and obstacles. 
  • Dream of riding new and exotic terrain
  • Are comfortable with exposure.


Advanced riders charge into any obstacle with a huge and grin on their face. These trips are perfect for advanced riders to expand their riding portfolio, ride new geographies and become part of the international bike community.