Mon Dec 10, 2012, 02:07 PM
Denninmi (6,581 posts)
Layering for cold weather.
I posted about this in a dedicated biking forum, and I think they all thought I was nuts for having so many heavy layers. I am on a few meds that do make me cold, so that is part of it.
This is what I wear to ride in temps under 40. It took some trial and error cold rides to get to this.
Base layer - Columbia OmniHeat metallic mesh compression shirt and long tights. Followed by UA compression shorts and shirt.
On the bottom - UA thermal sweats followed by Avia breathable nylon track pants. On top - my new Columbia OmniHeat Electric inner liner, heat on medium or high. Then two hoodies, thermal fleece, the outer one safety green
A Polar Fleece neck band, UA insulated stocking cap, ski goggles for eye protection. Balaclava if necessary. Full winter weight Pearl Izumi riding gloves. Salomon no-laces ankle high hikers with thick socks.
Sounds like overkill, but keeps me warm and sufficiently reasonably dry on a 20 mile ride.
How about you?
10 replies, 1380 views
Layering for cold weather. (Original post)
|happyslug||20 hrs ago||#10|
Response to Denninmi (Original post)
Thu Dec 13, 2012, 10:24 AM
happyslug (12,358 posts)
1. Discussed before on this forum at the following threads:
I will not repeat what was said on that thread, but winter clothing and biking in the winter was discussed on that thread AND reference to even longer threads on DU2 are referenced.
Response to Denninmi (Reply #2)
Thu Dec 13, 2012, 11:16 AM
happyslug (12,358 posts)
3. I went through my comments and rewrote it and posted it here:
Last edited Thu Jul 24, 2014, 03:02 PM - Edit history (1)
Below I wrote about the Specific of what to wear in Winter. See my Comments on materials attached to this paper before you read teh follwoing.
Remember three things when riding in Cold Weather:
1. Protect against the wind
2. Thermal protection from the Cold.
3. Make sure your Sweat is removed from your body.
The first two are related but are different, the third (Sweat) is your worse enemy in winter and will be addressed separately. Wind Chill is nullified by protection against the wind, even if the protection provides NO thermal protection from the cold. Thus a good wind proof outerwear is important including for your head, feet and hands.
Thermal protection from the cold should be obvious, but one of the problem with such protection is that people wear to MUCH clothing. People tend to dress to be comfortable as they exit their home. The problem is once you start to peddle your body will increase energy use and thus internal heat. In simple terms you start to overheat. You really can NOT prevent this, you have to address it as you exercise.
In winter I always travel with Panniers so I can put away clothes that I no longer need, and pull them out as needed. The problem is excessive heat, you have to leave it escape your body, and the only way to do that is to take off layers of clothing,
On the other hand, at times you need extra clothing do to excessive wind (i.e. going down hill, little peddling, thus little heat being generated, but you need a lot of protection to keep what heat your body is producing to fight off the wind hitting your body by you just going down hill).
The only solution I have found is to take off clothing if I am to hot and put it back on when I am to cold. Unlike walking where you can often just open up your coat and leave it hang, biking, do its greater speed, you have to take off the excess clothing when not needed. The problem is you have to have a place to put it, and that is where panniers come into play.
In my panniers I carry Gore Tex bib overalls with insulation. The overalls are easy to put on and take off over my boots. I have a chain guard to make sure the legs of the overalls do NOT get caught in the chain (and if the legs do get caught, I have learned to live with it, i.e. leave the overalls get chewed). I use the bib overall when temperatures are in the 20s, occasionally lower.
I tend to wear a Gore Tex type outer garment, with a liner and a sweat shirt. I take them off as needed (often the Jacket stays on me, even as I take the goose down liner out of it and put it away in the Pannier). I do this to permit my body to cool down as I pedal. If i get to cold I stop and add another layer of clothing.
As to Gloves, I carry on me three (four if you count liners as separate Gloves). A light weight leather glove, that can take a polyethylene or silk insert (Silk is preferred, through I have used wool, the problem with wool is it tends to be to thick to fit under a glove unless the glove is designed for that insert).
I also carry with me a set of water proof Gore Tex type gloves for use as temperatures of about 20-40 degrees. I buy them big enough for use with the same insert as the leather gloves.
The third pair of gloves are US Army winter mittens, which I tend to use when temperatures drop below 30 degrees (I recently saw, for sale at the Sportsmen's Guide, gore tex army surplus Mittens, appears to be a new product the Army has adopted, I am thinking about trying them out but I suspect the only "improvement" will be in the temperatures ranges of 25-35 degrees, the temperatures when most snow falls).
Side-note: See my comment about the Sportsmen Guide the the footwear section below, before you buy anything from them.
The old Army Trigger finger mittens are NOT water proof, but at the temperatures I tend to use them at, 25 degree Fahrenheit and lower, Gore Tex is not needed (the Snow is to cold to melt AND at such temperatures you tend to have very little snow compare to 30-35 degree range). These can fit in my handlebar bag and I change them as needed.
Remember the advantages of mitten over gloves is the ability to pull the fingers and thumb into the central cavity of the mitten, thus keeping them warm. Army Mittens are generally so bulky it is easy to move fingers and thumbs even of you are biking (It is easier to put the finger and thumb into the finger and thumb parts then to pull them out, but you can do both while biking).
I use the leather gloves from about 50 degree Fahrenheit to about 35 degree Fahrenheit, 30 degree Fahrenheit with inserts (On uphill climbs I have used just the leather gloves down to 30 degrees, but then on downhills have to use Army Mittens up to 40 degrees, both depend on how much heat your body is generating in addition to the temperature).
The water proof gloves I use from about 35 to about 25, the Mittens below 32 degree Fahrenheit. Notice they is a good bit of overlap, the reason is simple, water is you main enemy even in winter and the Gore Tex gloves is the best at handling water. The temperatures when water is the worse is right around freezing, thus the Gore Tex type gloves at the temperatures. Leather gloves are best at getting a feel for the handlebars thus the best for temperatures where rain/snow/water is not a major concern.
I use to wear tennis shoes with Neos overshoes (I Still do,except when it is raining or snowing BEFORE I start my bike trip). It was a good combination and in summer I keep the Neos around if I decide I need them when I am biking in tennis shoes. Today, I use Army Surplus Gore Tex boots if it is raining or snowing at the time of start of my bike ride. Due to the fact my feet run hot, I use summer rated boots even in winter. The Gore Tex keeps the feet relatively dry and thus not a problem,
For socks I tend to go with army wool sock. These tend to be THIN, unlike the wool socks you see in sporting goods stores. In the 1970s these were 95% Wool, 5 % nylon for strength (And in Army Green), today the Army issue 50% Wool, 40 % cotton 10% nylon, not as good as the old 95% wool socks but the best sock you can get today, Remember wool is second only to silk at absorbing, AND removing sweat from your body and that is important if you are biking in winter. Please note, if your feet gets to cold (and you are already wearing a tick winter hat), then go with thicker socks. On the other hand, if your feet are cold, and you are NOT wearing a HAT, put on a good winter hat, Your body will draw heat from your legs and arms to provide heat to your head, thus the old saying “If your feet are cold, put on a hat”. Putting on a hat is the best way to warm up your feet.
Note on the Sportsmen Guide:
I tend to buy the combat Boots surplus from the Sportsmen's Guide, but you have to watch what is sold at the Sportsmen Guide, he tends to push the limits as to the truth of his products, using a lot of terms like "Army Surplus like". "Similar to Army Surplus" when they are crap (He sells “Army like socks” that are 100% cotton and as socks are almost worthless unlike actual Army wool Socks). On the other hand he does sell some good items at a decent price, but be careful what you are buying for he will sell you what he has while making it sound better i.e "Genuine Artificial Diamonds" i.e, he hopes you hear "Genuine Diamonds" when he is selling glass (i..e "Genuine Artificial Diamonds").
As to boots, the one's I bought seems no longer to be in stock, but given what the Department of Defense is spending, the Sportsmen Guide is a good place to look for bargains, but be careful. E-bay has some good items but like the Sportsmen Guide be careful.
The Sportsmen Guide:
For Head gear, I tend to use a Russian Usannka (Also called a "Trooper" hat for State Troopers tend to use them in winter as do letter carriers and quite a few people who are outdoors. These hats were even issued to US Army personnel before the adoption of helmets during WWI, the army found it was hard to fir a helmet under them and have been looking for a replacement ever since).
The Trooper style hat has one major problem, the front "lip", in my it was removed and with it removed fits under my bicycle helmet quite well. I have used balaclavas, the main advantage of the balaclavas is that there fit over your head and under a helmet but at the cost of being made of knitted material and as such hard to water proof. I tend to like balaclavas but always have something over them to water protection (Such as the hood to my water proof jacket). I have been known to use BOTH a Trooper style hat with a Balaclava underneath it in temperatures below 25 degree Fahrenheit. I also tend to take them off and put them into my panniers or handlebar bag as needed.
Other salutations to winter biking include using Army Helmet liners. I tend to like them for they tend to be woven and wrap around your head instead of being pulled over your head like a knitted balaclava. Being woven they are wind proof (Knits tend NOT be be wind proof). I have used them, but have not had one in years, more due to lack of access to a place that sells them at a decent price for an extra large, 7 3/4 head, then for any other reason.
Side note on Long Underwear: I tend NOT to wear long underwear in winter, the reason being it is the HARDEST thing to get out of when you are to hot. I have them, I have used them, but only in temperatures below 20 degree. Over-pants are a better option, for they tend to be thicker, water proof, wind proof and easy to take off or put on on the side of the highway. If you wear long underwear, make sure your outer clothes are still easy to get off. Only use long underwear as part of your "base" of clothing, clothing you need even if you are going uphill for hours at a time. If you are getting to hot with the long underwear when doing you your highest workout level, then GET RID OF THEM.
Second Side note: Avoid Cotton Long Underwear. Cotton Long Underwear is design for people to sleep in, NOT to work in. Cotton absorbs any water it comes into contact with AND does it best to retain the water. Wool and Skin are much better at getting rid of any water, be the water the product of Rain, Snow or Sweat. Polyethylene is good at retaining heat, but is terrible at both absorbing water AND getting rid of water. Polyethylene is best used next to the body, to wick any sweat away from the body to some wool outwear, the wool then gets rid of the sweat.
As to polyethylene and other "Wicking" materials, such materials are terrible at getting rid of sweat. Such material do wick it away from the body, but then the sweat sits until you go down hill and the air takes it away. Wool and Silk will get rid of the Sweat, at least partially, while you are going up hill, polyethylene will NOT. Furthermore Wool and Silk will retain some of the sweat as you go downhill, but that is part of the reason how wool and silk keeps your body warm (polyethylene has been called Science's latest attempt to make something that can do what Silk does, in some ways polyethylene does what silk does better then silk, but in most things silk remains the much better material with Wool a solid second). I like polyethylene and have used it in the past and use it today, but you must remember its limitations, just like you must remember the limitation of Wool and Silk.
I am sorry, but I suspect you choose of clothing is the problem. You are wearing to much clothing and of the wrong type. That explains the perspiration, something you should NOT be doing. People perspire to cool down, in winter you should be leaving the cold air do that. If you are perspiring you are probably wearing to much clothing. Ditch the long johns, buy a set of panniers to hold over pants in. Only wear the bid overalls if you are still cold after biking for about a 1/4 mile or so. Wear a balaclava under your helmet, but be prepared to take it off if you are to warm elsewhere (and be prepared to put it back on if you get cold elsewhere, remember the old story of the frontiersman when ask what someone should do if they feet gets cold, he retorted "Wear a hat". Your body will pull heat from other parts of the body to heat the head and then the lungs and heart. Thus if such body parts are cold, put on a hat.
Also protect yourself from wind, but that does NOT mean you need a thick coat, often all that is needed is something wind proof, with your work peddling the bicycle doing enough to keep you warm once the wind is taken care of by a piece of wind proof material.
Here are some other articles on the subject of biking in cold weather:
Now to address you worse enemy in winter, sweat. You must get rid of Sweat. Silk and Wool are you best material to absorb sweat AND move it from your body, and disperse it to the outside. Polyethylene is good at the first two, but weak at the third. Cotton is even worse at getting rid of sweat. If you decide to go with Cotton be prepared to change often (i.e. every hour or so) if you go with polyethylene remember it will get soaked as fast as cotton but retain some ability to keep you warm, Silk and wool are the best material (Through you will feel better if you change any underwear every so often on your trip as the underwear gets saturated with your sweat).
The best way to get rid of Sweat is to change clothing (If you are using cotton this is ESSENTIAL). When I take a three hour ride, about half-way through it I change my T-Shirt. It makes my feel a lot better and warmer. I have done this in a open field (no wind) in 20 degree temperature so not a problem is done quickly.
Now to the bike itself, I use studded tires only when the road is NOT cleared, Other than that I stay with Slicks. The reason for this is Studded tires will increase the roll Resistance of your bike. Basically I would say 3-4 times the effort. I have NEVER taken my studded tires on any real long trips (Just to commute to and from work). I suspect if I did it would be just to tiring. One good thing about using Studded tires, when you switch back to Slicks you are in good shape to do a long trip without building your self up.
This brings me to lights, batteries lose power during Cold Weather. WHEN i WAS USING A incandescent Night Rider Light set, it rarely last more than 2 hours in sub-freezing weather. For that reason I switch my front wheel to a Generator Hub and a LCD front and rear light. Such a light set permits constant lighting without worrying about batteries or if you charged your battery. This is a big factor at night.
Generator Lights and NOT cheap (and if cheap NOT worth buying, cheap generators just tear up your tire as opposed to providing lighting). I get my lights from Peter White Wheels out of New England:
But you can get a Cheaper (Through effective Generator) from other places like:
Now, one of the advantages of high end Generators, was the tendency to give any improvement in light technology to such generator based systems then in the cheaper (and lower profit margin) battery market. Thus you had very good LED lights for Generators starting about 2005 (The last time I obtained a Generator). Since 2010 battery based bicycle lights have finally caught up with Generator LED lights, thus the advantage of Generator lights is much less TODAY (2014) then it was just ten year ago (2004). Very Bright LED Battery lights can today last 6 to 10 hours, something IMPOSSIBLE just ten years ago. LED lights have improved for both Generator and Battery lights within the last few years, but the big jump was 2005-2010 when larger LED bulbs came into use. Both are at the limit one needs (You can NOT blind people coming the other way, thus today's high end very bright LED can cover most of the road you can light without blinding drivers coming the other way).
Side Note: There is no such thing as a LED light dimming do the electricity in the battery reaching zero. That was true of old incandescent lights, but is NOT true of LED Lights. In LED you either have full lighting or no lighting. With a battery system I would either carry spare batteries OR a back up light if the light would go out do to the battery being "Dead".
Other Old DU cites on Winter Biking:
I have been using a Brooks saddle with a Carradice "Longflap" Bag attached. A little old fashioned (first produced about 1930), but works. The Long Flap is large enough to carry my Rain Gear, Jacket, Pants and Neos for my feet in Summer AND anything else I can need on a short one summer day ride WITHOUT the use of the "Long Flap", with the "Long Flap" in use I can carry more.
For more on Carradice Bags:
I have also converted to Arkel bags to hold my extra clothing. I presently like Arkel for their handlebar bags and Panniers. I retain the Carradice for a seat bag, but everything else I use is Arkel
I use to use Ortlieb packs, till I lost one and then bought the Arkel as a replacement. I still use a Ortlieb laptop computer box (my term) on a Tubus rear frame, but both seems no longer to be made, replaced by a Computer "box" (my term) that use an adapter to attach to any frame instead of just the one designed for the box, which was the situation with my Computer box and rack:
Ortlieb panniers and Tubus frames:
I can NOT find a picture any Computer box available from Ortlieb. I did find one on the Peter White Wheels website NOT the Ortlieb website, so the present box may be in the process of being replaced by some other product:
Old man Mountain use to be 100% made in USA Bicycle Racks, most are still made in the USA, but at least two are made in Taiwan, but the made in USA racks seems to be very good:
Response to happyslug (Reply #3)
Thu Dec 13, 2012, 02:35 PM
Denninmi (6,581 posts)
4. You really know your stuff.
I just looked at panniers at REI at lunch. Pricey but looks worthwhile. Right now I have a rack with a case that slides into grooves. Can't remember the brand. I also ride with a standard size backpack, but could use more room when I ride to the gym. Last Sunday, had to tie gym shoes and a bag of clothes to the top of the case on the rack.
Response to happyslug (Reply #3)
Thu Jul 24, 2014, 06:20 PM
happyslug (12,358 posts)
10. Comment on Materials in any type of Weather
People have been wearing clothes for millennia, some material are better then others in certain activities and weather. This thread is to discuss the pro and con of various materials.
First: Color. I am amazed at the people who want to ignore color when biking. When the US Army adopted its BDU uniforms in 1981 I was issued one to replace my old Army Greens. The first thing I noticed about them was they were HOTTER then the Greens had been. One factor was that the material had changed, the Greens had been 100% cotton, the BDU was 50% Cotton and 50% Polyester (of this more later, these are often referred to as 50/50 BDUs), but the real difference was the color. The BDUs had a lot of patches of Black and dark Browns. These colors just absorb the sun. Thus you felt the heat retained by the BDU if you were in the open, if you were in the Shade they were NOT as hot. This came up when the US invaded Granada under Reagan, and again with what was called the six Color Desert DBU uniforms during Desert Storm. The First Solution was to issue everyone Rip-Stop Cotton BDUs (of this uniform and material later), these were a lot cooler then the 50/50 Uniforms, but not as cool as the old greens do to the retention of the Black and Dark Browns patches in the COLORS of the uniform. Finally around 2005 the Army finally admitted the blacks and dark browns made the troops to hot and adopted what is called the Three Color BDU Desert uniforms (No Black or Dark Browns).
I bring up Color for in the 1990s I decided to buy some Khaki only BDUs (NOT Military surplus, but available from US Calvary and other sources). I notice how much cooler they were when compared to my old BDUs. Part of this was that they were in Rip Stop cotton, but most of it was that it was in 100% Khaki, a color that REFLECTS most sunlight. This was true even when I converted to 50/50 Khaki only BDUs, In many ways the COLOR was what made the original 50/50 BDUs so hot as opposed to the material.
Second: Thickness. The thicker the material, the more heat it will retain, but it also gains strength. The thinner the material the less heat it will retain, and the weaker the material will be. Back to the Army BDUs. From the late 1980s till about 2005 the US Army issued Regular 50/50 BDUS AND Summer 100% Rip Stop Cotton hot weather Uniforms. I was NEVER issued any Desert Uniforms, but I was issued Hot Weather BDUs in normal BDU colors. One thing I did notice, even out of the Sun (Where the color was much less of a factor) the lighter weight made them cooler. One of the problems with Hot Weather 100% Rip Stop Cotton Uniform is there only lasted three months of harsh usage, as compared to 24 months for the 50/50 regular BDUs. This was a combination of Material AND the thickness of the Material. Thin Cotton is NOT an durable as the much thicker 50/50 weave used in regular BDUs. About 2005 the US Army decided to replace the 100% Rip Stop Cotton Hot Weather uniform with a three color Desert 50/50 material but of a much thinner weave then one specs for regular BDUs. The Army called these 50/50 Hot Weather Uniforms and seem to have replaced all of the old 100% Rip Stop Cotton Hot Weather uniform. The reports I have read is that the troops are happy with them, they are much cooler then the old regular thick 50/50 BDU material but can last 18 months of harsh use (Much more then the old 100% rip stop hot weather Uniforms). The Combination of a thinner weave and using only light colors in the uniform seems to have made them comfortable. These uniforms are HOTTER then the old 100% rip stop Cotton Uniforms, BUT last six times as long.
I bring up these 50/50 Hot Weather Uniforms to show that THICKNESS of the material can sometimes be more important then the Material itself.
The Actual Materials:
Since this is geared for WINTER biking I start with Furs. Furs are idea in sub zero weather. Furs can absorb water and get rid of it even at such temperatures. Thus the US Military retain fur on Mittens and hoods (and the Russians retain them as hats and Canada retains them in boots). Artificial furs are NOT as good as real furs in this regard. On the other hand if you are biking in sub zero weather, furs are the way to go for hats and mittens and to a degree boots.
Now, some furs are better then others. One of the reason the Sea Otter almost went extinct was it had one of the best "furs" (In the case of Sea Otters, Skin more then Fur) for wet weather. It retain heat, kept water OUT and permitted sweat to escape. Gore-Tex material does a similar job today at a much lower price and thus a better choice.
Beaver was the idea material for hats for centuries, again it permitted sweat to escape, but also kept water OUT and heat in (and being thin, permitted excess heat to escape). When it comes to hat material still considered one of the best material, Gore Tex is good, but in many ways beaver is still better.
Leather can be broken down into two classes. Top Grain and other. Some Leather is better then others, Kangaroos is considered the best leather, through leather from cattle that are "Range feed" i.e. wonder the range as oppose to a feed lot, is considered better then leather from the same animal kept in a feed lot. Leather is a strong material and can confirm to your body. It permits sweat to escape, and to a degree keep water out. Best used when you need a strong material, that confirms to your body and permits water to escape. Thus best use on Bicycle seats (Your body in ON that seat), boots/shoes and gloves. If any of these get to thick you lose the ability to confirm and retain AND release water. Thus well thin leather gloves are ideal, if you have to go to thicker gloves you are better off just staying with thick cloth gore Tex Gloves (Go to my section on Gore Tex for more information).
Top Grain is the material that is the most water resistant. It is the top part of the hide. Before Gore Tex, the US Army would insist on Spit Shine shoes, for between the polish and the leather, most water (Except a soaking rain, or walking in water) would be kept out of such shoes and boots. Recently the army has gone away from spit shine for spit shine boots were detectable by ground radar devices and and rough leather boot, with an Gore Tex liner provided better water protection AND retain the toughness or leather AND its breathability.
Top Grain leather is still the preferred material for boots, light gloves and seats.
In this section we are talking about material from animals, most silk and wool. Both of these materials, being animal based, can retain heat but also take sweat from your skin and release it into the atmosphere, something no other material does as well. Silk is preferred but it is expensive for it only grows on one type of tree (the Mulberry) and then only in one small insect. Silk is also one of the longest NATURAL fibers and the longer a fiber is the stronger it is (Thus the Chinese and Mongolians used skin as armor).
Wool is a much smaller fiber, and to make it strong enough wool tends to be made thicker then other materials. This is one of the reasons wool is viewed as a winter material.
Other Animal hair and fur are used to make various material. Down from Geese is liked for it is very warm and like wool removes sweat into the atmosphere.
When it comes to Sill. wool and down, Silk is to expensive, but a good choice for materials protected by other material (I.e. long underwear, Silk glove inserts and head coverings.
Down, is a material best reserved for winter vests. Wool is the best for all other purposes except protection from water (and remember wools and other Animal Fibers retain the ability to keep you warm even when soaking wet.
Given the natural of Shoes, in activities where you can NOT change your Soxes hourly, Wool is the best choice.
The two most common Plant Fibers used for Clothing are Cotton and Linen. Prior to 1792 and the invention of the Cotton Gin, Linen was the more important of the two. Linen can be grown almost anywhere, Cotton has be be grown in areas with a long summer (The Virginia-North Caroline Border is the approximate northern limit for the growing of Cotton). Prior to the Cotton Gin, only what is called low land Cotton was really usable, its seeds readily fell from the ball of cotton, but is needed almost swampy conditions to survive. Thus low land cotton could only be grown in very limited areas. The Cotton Gin solved the problem of Highland Cotton. Highland Cotton can be grown almost anywhere south of Virginia and Kentucky. The problem was how to removed the seeds, which tended to have very strong bonds to the cotton ball. The Cotton Gin solved this problem and Cotton replaced Linen for most clothing by the 1820s.
The upside of using Cotton and other plant material is such material absorb water (including Sweat) better then any other material. The problem with Cotton and other plant material is it then wants to RETAIN that water. In fact Cotton can retain five times its weight in water (and Cotton is stronger when wet then dry). Cotton generally has retain its max level of water within one hour of heavy exercise. Thus if you wear Cotton next to your skin (i,e. underwear) you should change it every hour. In winter this is essential, the rest of the year it just makes you feel better. I have been know to change my Cotton T-Shirt on a bike trip outside when I am in 20 degree Fahrenheit weather (I am male so not a problem exposing my "Skin" but I tend to do the change quickly).
Cotton and the other Plant material are great summer material IF YOU UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THEIR LIMITATIONS.
Artificial Material can be classified as follows:
1, Nylon and other flat thin materials. Kevlar is another example of this type of artificial material, The long length of both fibers (and even longer length of Kevlar) makes them strong. Nylon has been called man attempt to duplicate Silk. While inherently strong, nylon has no ability to retain or repel water, thus will NOT get rid of Sweat. On the other hand Nylon is so strong that it can be made into very thin material and thus many people like Nylon as a summer hot weather material.
Nylon is preferred when Strength is wanted, but the ability to sweat is NOT a factor. Thus for Tents Nylon is idea. A water proof coating an sell the Nylon, and it does NOT absorb the water so retains its light weight even when wet (unlike Cotton Tents).
Before Gore Tex made other material idea, Nylon was preferred to Vinyl for rain gear for it was more flexible. US Army ponchos were made from Nylon for its light weight and flexibility.
Nylon being a very strong material is the idea material for sewing.
Rip Stop Cotton: Rip Stop Cotton is a material made up of very thin Cotton, that has in the material a nylon strain every 1/4 inch. This produces a noticeable at close inspection a square grid pattern in the material. Rip Stop was developed during Vietnam to provide uniforms that would be cooler for they would be thinner then the Army Greens of the time period. Thinness had the side affect of making the material subject to tears. The nylon thread was to STOP such tears do to the superior strength of Nylon. It is a classic example of how to get two materials to work together to produce clothing superior to both. you had the coolness was cotton and its ability to handle sweat, but being very thin cotton could not absorb that much. The weakness of being cotton was compensated by the Nylon, and nylon neutral as to sweat was off set by cotton's ability to handle sweat. I consider Rip Stop Cotton the best hot Weather Material, but I also accept it does NOT have the strength of Nylon or even thicker Cotton.
2. Polyester and other hollow Artificial Materiel. Nylon was a US DuPont invention, Polyester was a British Invention of about the same time period (the 1930s). Nylon has been called artificial Silk, Polyester has been called Artificial Wool. Polyester is a circular material with a hollow center. This design makes Polyester a warmer material then nylon for the hollow center can act like insulation. The Hollow center also permit a rougher look, so polyester looks more like natural material, unlike the shine one gets with Nylon. Polyester is NOT as strong as Cotton, but stronger then any natural fiber. Polyester is often combined with Cotton to strengthen the resulting material. The Cotton provides SOME absorption of Sweat, and the polyester provides added Strength.
Just like Kevlar was a variation of Nylon, the basic design of Polyester has been the basis for other artificial materiel. Many of the materiel used in Sleeping bags (Quallofil, Hollofil, Polarguard, Loftguard) are example of this type of material (Hollofil has one hollow center, Quallofil has that hollow center divided into four sections, the other material are variations of these. This paper is on Material TYPE not which sub type within that category is better).
The advantage of Polyester type artificial material is all of them are NOT affected by water (they do not absorb water, do not retain water, and can keep you warm when wet). The down size is they do NOT get rid of Sweat, thus excellent material for sleeping bags but not much more when it comes to active activities where you may sweat.
3. Vinyl. Vinyl was used as rain material for decades. It was cheap, could take a lot of punishment, any Swed holes could be easily sealed. The down side it had NO Breathability, you sweat in them. Vinyl is still around, but you are better off getting wet except in temperatures between 60 and 20 Degree Fahrenheit. Below 20, the snow is a cold snow so unless it lands on your skin, it will NOT melt, it just lay on whatever is your outer layer of coat. Above 60, it starts to get warm enough that you do not mind being wet. My advice goes with Gore Tex instead
Gore Tex Gore Tex is a development of Teflon. In a accident Robert Gore gave a sudden tug a a piece of Teflon tape, the resulting jerk produced a material which was 70% air, but with air pockets larger then water vapor, but smaller then water droplets. i.e. sweat as a vapor could flow out through the Pockets, but water in a liquid form (Rain, pools ) could NOT leak in. Now the Teflon tape is itself is weak and easily torn, thus is generally put between two sheets of none water proof nylon (or other material) to protect it. The US Army present book has the Gore Tex between the outer leather of the boot and an interior cloth. It has basically replaced Nylon in more expensive wet weather clothing.
Spandex Spandex is a clothing material that can expand and contract without breaking in most activities. It does NOT have the Strength of Nylon, the warmth of Polyester, nor the water resistance of Vinyl and Gore Tex, but it can be used to make any of those material be able to stretch more then normal for that material. I tend to wear loose clothing so that sweat can be exposed to air and absorb by the atmosphere, but Spandex can be useful in clothing you want tight fighting.
I plan to expand this section in the Future to add comments about the above material and add new materials, but these are the main ones in use today.
Response to Denninmi (Original post)
Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:12 PM
Kennah (7,429 posts)
5. Depends how far I'm riding
On my 1.4 mile commute, it's not long enough for me to get really warmed up, but I don't bundle up like it's the Arctic.
On longer club rides, a light polypro shirt, my bike jacket, light polypro underwear, pants, and my rain pants if it's wet. A balaclava if it's REALLY cold, but mostly just a fleece mask covering the lower part of my face. Warm gloves are always a must. If my hands get cold, it's miserable.
Response to Kennah (Reply #5)
Sat Dec 15, 2012, 02:14 AM
happyslug (12,358 posts)
6. If your hands get cold, go with mittens
I am sorry, but the best mittens are Army Surpluss:
Here is what I use: Please note Army Trigger finger Mittens are isued and often sold without liners (i.e. just the Outer Shell). If you buy one, make sure you get a liner with it. When I was in the Service, we were issued one Shell AND two liners. I would also use a very thin glove liner in tempertures below Zero. Above Zero the issued liners were good enough even on Guard Duty (Where you had to stand around, you get cold quick standing in the Cold).
Here they are in DBU Cameo:
Here is the Arctic Version of the Mittens: I have NEVER used them, the regular Trigger Finger Mittens were good enough till the tempertures STAYS below Zero Fahenheit:
The Army has to much money, thjey seem to have come up with new Mittens in Gore Tex:
Response to Kennah (Reply #7)
Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:35 PM
happyslug (12,358 posts)
8. I had to convert to my Mittens the last week or so
I use by gloves from work to home, for I am going uphill most of the way, but in the morning I have to go downhill and end up having to use my mittens for my hands get to cold at 10-30 degrees.
Just a comment on the use of gloves and mittens, mittens are best in very cold temperatures, especially when you are inactive.
Response to Denninmi (Original post)
Wed Jan 9, 2013, 04:39 PM
Kolesar (30,565 posts)
9. Bellwether Windfront Tights
I bought them at Nashbar five years ago and cannot say enough good things about them. They have a wind-stopping front and multidimensional stretch fabric on the backs, which pulls the fabric right back into my knees. They are breathable and wind stopping and just what you need.
These padded "liners" are way more comfortable than lycra cycling tights:
The padding is very compact, between that and the winter layers I have enough padding.
I have a yellow waterproof helmet cover. I wear a balaclava and some sort of extra beanie under my helmet.I wear clear or yellow wrap glasses for my eyes. The balaclava is the tricky thing: I want to cover my nose, but when I stop for a traffic light, I have to pull it off my face or else my breath fogs up the inside of my eyeglasses.
I put a lot of lotion on my face before going out in that wind, too.
The real winter monger snow bikers convert their pedals back to platforms-and-straps and wear hiking boots. Many hiking boots have a layer of foam under the top to keep your feet from getting bruises, and it does keep your feet warm.