Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wrap up - Gear and clothing

Turns out, gee, I over packed. Go figure.

The clothing

For regular clothes, I took several t-shirts of the normal cotton variety, two pairs of jeans, several pairs of regular sweat socks for use under my boots, a couple of polo shirts (for those rare occasions when I might have wanted to dress a little nicer), sneakers, one sweat shirt and a ball cap.

Turns out, what I actually needed from all of that was one pair of jeans, maybe half the t-shirts and one polo shirt. That's all I really used and even the t-shirts would have been optional. I used the same polo shirt for a couple of evenings out to dinner and that was it. Wearing it for an hour at a time, not like it needed frequent laundering. The sweat socks were tossed after each wearing - I took old ones on purpose - and when they were gone, my wash-n-wear Tilley travel socks were perfect!

The clothing that really impressed me was the dry-tech quick-dry, moisture wicking stuff that I wore under the riding gear, and often the non-riding times too. It was just so comfortable. Read all you want, understand it all you want, until you've worn it, you may not really don't get it. The brand name most people would be familiar with is Under Armor. I, being the frugal sort on occasion, selected house brand stuff and bought the non-compression style of long-sleeve shirts, a couple of pairs of underwear and gym or running shorts. I also took two pairs of running pants of the same material. I was surprised at how comfortable it was even just during non-riding, sitting around.

I was always cool and comfortable - as much as you can be in 110-degree heat - and the fact that I could wash stuff in the sink and it would be dry and wearable in a few hours - a few minutes in some cases - was a huge bonus. I never had to do an official load of laundry, tho' I did add my jeans and polo shirt to one guy's laundry in Vegas. Just 'cause I could. I only wore the jeans under the riding pants on the very cold days - once up to the Grand Canyon and the day we went to Crater Lake.

The dry-tech stuff rolled up and packed tight, and since it was used under my riding gear, or during riding days, wrinkling just wasn't something I cared about at all. However... it didn't really wrinkle anyway, so, no worries. I had two pairs of socks, 4 or 5 shorts, 2 running shorts, 2 running pants and that was perfect. Wash one, wear one, in most cases. All of my clothing fit in one saddle bag, and now that I understand how much and where I over-packed, even that could have been reduced to 2/3 - maybe even 1/2 of the saddle bag.

Dry-tech clothing ROCKS. 'nuff said.

The riding gear

The actual daily-use riding gear consisted of:
  • Joe Rocket Alter Ego jacket and pants, sans rain liners. Mostly without the outer panels on.
  • Sidi On-Road boots.
  • Several do-rags for under the helmet.
  • Shoeii Multitec helmet.
  • Various gloves, including mesh, full leather. I used mesh most days.
Optional/part-time gear included:
  • Gerbing heated vest
  • Gerbing heated gloves
  • Dry-tech sweat shirt (best $6 I've ever spent!!!)
  • Tourmaster over-gear rain suit.
The gear all did its job, as expected. No surprises, no problems, no "wardrobe failures" causing me to expose my nipples on national TV. When it was hot out, I didn't even bother with the rain gear on the few times it rained - with the lack of humidity in most places, I was dry within moments of the rain ending. I did use the rain gear when it was cold & wet, and when we were further East. But then it was so hot and humid, I should have just gone without. Not like I was riding to work or some social event.

Bottom line is this, if it's hot and raining, you have your choice. You can be wet from rain, you can be wet from sweat. I've found little evidence to suggest any other options. A fully naked bike might present other options, but it's been my experience that hot + rain = yucky. Accept it and move on.

I thought I'd miss having my one-piece suit along - and for quick in-n-out, yeah. But the gear selected for the trip held up fine, never left me too cold or too hot and just plain worked. I admire the guys who wore their Aerostich Roadcrafter suits in some of that heat. Knowing myself, I'd have wrapped it up on the rear seat with a bungee-net and gone without gear on those crazy-hot days.

I don't do heat well.

So yeah... no surprises. I think I've got my gear selections pretty well dialed in at this point. We'll see how my Fieldsheer Highland one-piece suit does in the cooler weather this Winter. But for general use, the Alter Ego stuff is definitely holding up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"I don't do heat well."

I guess you won't be moving to Tucson. They're calling for 107 degrees this weekend.

Oh boy.