Knowing that we would be cycling through some of the world’s harshest terrains, we didn’t need convincing to spend some time learning about the importance of having the right clothes for the job.
I would like you to know that I am only, and will always be, a student in the field of survival, however, my wife and I have certainly been in some weather related situations that could have been fatal had we not been prepared. My favorite sources are: Ron Hood (page), Bear Grylls (page), Les Stroud (page), Cody Lundin (page), and the SAS Survival Guide by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman (page), among many more. The situations they have put themselves into show us how to be better prepared on our travels. They have not only brought us piece of mind while we travel, but have, in some situations, prevented our demise! We now have near fatal stories we can tell others, rather than stories told about us, posthumously!
The below gear has now been used for one year and seven months and we will continue to be using this same gear for about another year.
Base Layer (Under Armour):
- Under Armour spandex pants and spandex long sleeve shirt.
- Wool would be another terrific option
- Fantastic at wicking moisture from the body.
- Keeps you warm & protects from the sun.
- Very Durable.
- Retains ‘some’ odor if not washed.
Rating: 5 Stars
- Although I hate being that stinky guy, I sure love being alive!
- Fleece (Mountain Hardwear - Monkey Man Fleece)
- Some have a thin windbreaker between the second and third layers.
- Light and Breathable
- Dries fast
- clothes can be wet underneath, this beast stays fairly dry
- Good zippers
- When cold & windy, it doesn’t protect from wind (not made to though).
Rating: 5 Stars
Five star rating because we use it according to the way it is made, as a layer. It works as advertised and is very comfortable.
- Down Jacket (Mountain Hardwear – 800 fill down)
- Warm, Warm, Warm
- Comfortable (even as a pillow!)
- Very light & packable.
- If you get it wet, it is useless and takes forever to dry.
- Can feel a tad humid in humid conditions, if that makes any sense.
- Zippers are too thin and fragile.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
I love my down jacket! Would never leave home without it! They should take another look at the zippers though!
- GorTex Rain jacket & Pants/Wind Breaker (Marmot)
- Keeps you dry, even in a downpour!
- Very light & Packable.
- Acts as a windbreaker
- Pit Zips, allow some breathability.
- Excellent zippers
- Can be a sweatbox when cycling uphill.
- The pants have quite a few holes in them from all the cycling, durability.
- Pants need some type of hold on the right pant-leg for cycling. It has been caught in the chainring one too many times. Velcro to us, is not acceptable for serious expedition type long term wear. When we buy something we use it with the hopes it will outlast our expedition.
- My jacket has a velcro attachment for the hood, would rather the drawstring that Candice has instead.
Jacket Rating: 5 stars
Pants Rating: 4 stars
Excellent jacket that does what is advertised!
The pants keep us dry, but slack somewhat in the durability department! Cycling (10,000 plus miles) does present some serious wear on any pants or shorts though, so our rating of a 4 is fairly generous. I would put it in the 4 to 4.5 category if the right pant leg had a system in place for keeping the material out of the chainrings. There is nothing like forking out $150 only to feel and hear a tear of our pants in the sprocket of our bicycles! Ahhhhh!!
- GorTex (The North Face)
- Light weight
- Breathability, but ok.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Fleece and Alpaca Wool
Rating: 5 stars
Alpaca and Merino wool have to be one of the most comfortable items to wear as clothing. It keeps you warm even when wet. Fleece is one of my favorites too, because it dries quick and keeps my head warm in cold and wet environments.
Oakley Flak Jacket with XLJ lenses
- Frames are fantastic and have taken a beating without breaking!
- Regarding the frame: A Con doesn’t exist in our realm!
- The lenses have been considerably scratched over time and use, to be expected though.
Rating: 5 Stars
I gave my Oakley’s to the ocean while being hit by a wave (being an idiot for standing waist high in the Atlantic)! I have been buying all kinds of sunglasses ever since but they all have given up the ghost prior to their time! Candice has used hers everyday without any problems at all!
- Don’t go cheap on expedition clothing (usually you get what you pay for), get something that fits and is comfortable! For lounging stuff, fine, go cheap and comfy.
- One bit of safety advice from Ron Hood, don’t be afraid to take a large trash bag (or a few) with you on your journey. It is light and packable! It is an excellent layer in an emergency for rain, windbreak, and blanket filled with materials (straw, etc.). It sounds odd, but it just may be the difference between life and death for the person on a very low budget who may think that a rain jacket is not a necessary tool. A girl in Southern Chile, died of hypothermia while hiking in the mountains recently (we were less than five miles away sipping coffee in our hotel) after she fell and hurt her ankle. A very sad incident which we feel could have been prevented, had she been equipped properly. Even with all the proper clothing, I would recommend taking a few bags on your travels, just stuff them in your damn bag already as a safety precaution and move on to other items on your gear list.
- Although I enjoy supporting our local businesses where we live, I often, unapologetically, purchase used items on eBay or Amazon to save a few dollars here and there, just make sure you fit the name brand you like best. They are notorious for having different versions of S, M, and L!
Some of our favorite brands:
- Mountain Hardware
- The North Face (Page)
- Under Armour