A bit of a selection of gear I use on my body and bikes to make the long days and Iron Butt rides more comfortable. Starting at the inside out.
LD Comfort Base Layer
From LD Comfort these dual layer tights and tops wick moisture away from your skin and keep you dry. Tip some water on them in hot weather and allow some hot air up your sleeves or through some minimal venting and you’ll stay cool. I originally bought the shorts and long sleeved top. I always wear the tights and long sleeve top no matter how hot it gets.
In really wet weather on the rare occasion water gets through your skin still stays dry and warm although when the rain stops and the evaporation starts you might find yourself a bit chilly until the outer layer dries off.
In really cold weather I have been known to put one (down to about 4 degrees C) or even two layers (colder than 4 degrees) of cheap thermals (Katmandu or K-Mart) over the top of my LD Comforts. Layering up with thin stuff works for me, I don’t have any heated pants, or socks. I wear sizes that fit well, you don’t want to be sitting on creased up layers all day. I use acrylic thermals not merino, personal choice.
Drymax Socks and warm feet
I use Drymax Workboot over calf socks. I’m not really a big one for cramming multiple layers of socks into my boots (many riders do). I prefer to not restrict the blood flow to my feet when it gets cold. Drymax socks keep your feet dry, even in Goretex boots. You can get them on line of from LD Comfort, from Amazon and other places online. If it gets really cold I’ve been known to stick some Hoteeze on the socks and slip the boots on. They keep your toes nice and warm for a few hours and they don’t cause any dramas if you just leave them in once they cool down. Chuck them out when you next take your boots off.
Jett Heated Vest
These are cheap and awesome heated vests. If your core is warm it makes a huge difference to keeping fatigue at bay. I’ve got the old school one with a spare battery. It’s lightly quilted and reasonably wind proof so even when it’s not turned on it keeps your trunk warm. I usually only have it turned on in the few hours around sun-up and after about 9pm to the end of the riding day. A single charged battery on medium heat takes care of that just fine.
I wear it over the layers and under the KLIM Jacket.
Michelin Man Moments
Very rarely I wear a quilted down jacket between the heated vest and the KLIM. It need to be long term sub zero temperatures for me to consider this. It’s the only time I feel a bit like the Michelin Man.
KLIM Latitude Suit / Badlands Jacket
Jackets: I’ve had my KLIM Latitude Jacket since mid 2012 and have done more than 250,000 kilometres in it in all weather conditions from sub zero to high 40’s, from drought to 12 hours of torrential rain. I can’t fault it’s performance it’s been a very rare occasion when it’s rained so much the KLIM couldn’t hold it at bay. After over 5 years and a couple of offs in the dirt it’s still going fine however in 2016 I bought a KLIM Badlands Jacket. It’s a good improvement to the old Latitude in terms of design, pockets, armour etc and great for heading off the tar into Adventure Riding. If you are going to stick to the tar the Latitude or the new Kodiac Jacket are worth a look.
Pants: The pants came along a little later in 2012 and I’m happy with them too. The Lattitude is dual layer Goretex, completely waterproof in all but the most long term torrential conditions that you can imagine riding in. Plenty of pockets inside and out, plenty of vents when you need them, removable armour, awesome. I wash it occasionally and use Nikwax to rewaterproof the jacket and pants. I haven’t updated the pants yet.
I’m not one to muck about with waterproof liners, warm liners, separate wet weather gear, blah blah. The KLIM is an incredible outer shell, I layer appropriately underneath and I don’t all that often stop to adjust layers because a combination of opening and closing vents usually takes care of most of a single day’s variation in temps. I don’t zip the jacket to the pants (you can) I just wear the KLIM braces.
Daytona Road Star GTX Boots and Travel Star GTX
These Daytona Boots are simply the best Goretex waterproof boots I’ve ever owned. I wear them all year round and look after them using Daytona’s own leathercare products and the Nikwax water based wax very occasionally. The Road Star are shorter for summer or shorter rides. The Travel Star are longer boots. I actually wear the Big Star GTX which are the Travel Star GTX for people withe big feet, up to a proper size eur 51. These boots aren’t cheap but they are worth every cent. I also wear size 15 US shoes so it’s fantastic to have a brand that makes boots in my size and even a bit bigger.
Off Road I wear Alpinestars Tech 7’s (2016) . They aren’t waterproof but once you wear them a couple of times they are actually comfortable enough to wear on a multi-day ride including IronButt Distances. I did my first Dusty Butt in mine.
BMW Pro Winter 2 Gloves
I bought my first pair in 2010 and second in 2016. The originals are still OK but looking a bit ratty. The new Pro Winters have some design features that the originals didn’t have. I prefer the design of the old ones but the new ones are still my glove of choice for cooler weather. One issue with LD riding is that after a few days your skin can degrade, these gloves really look after your hands to the point I often wear them in warmer weather rides just for that aspect. I also have a pair of the Pro Summer Gloves for wet weather summer riding.
Like the KLIM suit, eventually water will get through if it’s raining long and hard but by that time you are already doing it tough and it’s still a bit of a surprise when it does. I don’t bother with goretex mittens and rain covers for gloves etc. All power to you if you like them but wet hands haven’t ever been a ride stopper for me.