Proper layering for Fall and Winter Riding Weather
By Jeff G. Holt
This time of year, temperatures can swing drastically during the duration of a person’s motorcycle ride. Early morning departures can start off with a frosty chill and by mid-morning the weather can be 20 to 30 degrees higher. Then after a lunch stop or a quick afternoon break, the temperatures can get up into the mid 80’s while on the way back from the ride.
Layering is a key factor in being comfortable when riding in Fall weather. This fact for some takes a bit of pre-planning and fact checking. We are giving you the quick and dirty way of how to do this correctly and with the least amount of hassle.
Let’s start with warming the far extremities. A good set of glove liners like our Gator Skins, in your daily gloves will help keep that wet and cold morning dew from chilling your fingers. Moving on to the lower half of your body, a pair of boots with our gator skin sock liners or some Merino wool hiking socks will keep your feet comfortable when that wind chill factor is in effect.
Second is keeping that upper body nice and warm. We suggest layering first with a compression shirt or waffle shirt, followed by your favorite cotton biker t-shirt, then a hoody. This is when some riders will be putting on a vest, jacket or both. This sounds like having a ton of clothes on, but if the layers are well thought out and are designed for intended usage, with some time it will become very comfortable.
Thermal Zip-Out Liner Inside The Rocky Jacket
Third is employing some sort of leather over-pants or chaps. Yes these two items can be the source of many biker jokes and stereotypes, but the fact is these items have worked well at keeping the elements off our lower extremities since the 1800’s when cowboys and ranchers would hit the chilly trails doing their daily duties. These items can be easily taken on and off as needed and they really do a good job of keeping the elements off you when riding. Don’t knock em till you try em.
Lowside Vest being put on over the Rockey Jacket
Forth is what we call the ancillary items, such as a balaclava or skull cap to keep your head warm. A bandanna around your neck is also a good chill fighter. You may even think about getting some instant heat packs from the sporting goods or big box stores to throw in your gloves and boots when you start your ride.
Now that you have a gear guide for the colder seasons, you can suit up heavy in the morning then peel off the desired layers to get comfortable as the temperature rises. It may take a bit of trial and error to get your riding gear right, but a warm, comfy ride is necessary in the Fall and Winter.