There innumerable bike shorts on the market but few that I want to ride in and also keep on when I get to camp. Ripton’s U.S.-made stretch-denim Action Jorts are designed for riding, but they’re also a pair of shorts I live in when I’m off the bike. If you’re asking yourself, “Why would I spend $89 for a pair of cut-off jeans shorts when I can just go buy some at the thrift store?” banish that thought. Cyclist Elliot Wilkinson-Ray went to London’s Central St. Martins fashion school to study fabric weights and stretch and pattern making in his quest to redesign the classic American jeans short into a technical piece of clothing. He added just the right amount of stretch, chose fabric that won’t get saggy and baggy even after multiple days of use, and came up with a cut that doesn’t creep down in the waist or up in the legs. Buy jeans or cutoffs elsewhere and they’re likely heavy and sweaty all day once they get wet. These dry quickly and they’re “summer weight,” perfectly suited to pedaling. Jorts 2.0 are cut longer than the 1.0 version. For me, they’re too short to wear without a chamois on the bike. For hanging out, they’re the perfect length. With belt loops, a brass button closure, double back pockets, front hand pockets, and a zipper that stays up when you’re riding or chilling, Ripton’s Action Jorts are the one pair of shorts I’ll bring on a multiday tour. Jorts 2.0 are available in cutoff or hemmed, in light and dark wash, for men and women. –Berne Broudy
Keeping track of where I put things is always a challenge on tour. So is finding a balance between leaving gear loose in a framebag or organizing it into pouches. On a recent tour, a friend left her tool roll on her bike and it was stolen. When the key elements of your repair kit and your cash are in the same spot, it’s always with you and that won’t happen. I love the Wolf Tooth–Relevate ToolCash wallet because it lets me keep critical gear close at hand where it’s easy to find. The 1.9oz combination tool roll and wallet is made from abrasion-resistant fabric and sized to fit in a jersey pocket. Inside the ToolCash, a burly mesh pocket with a sturdy zipper on one side holds an extra link, valve core, my core-pulling tool, patch kit, and an emergency energy gel. I even stuck my wedding ring in there one day when my fingers swelled and I needed somewhere safe to store it. The other side has three fabric sleeves covered by a flap that also holds credit cards and cash. When the walled it loaded, the flap toggles shut to keep everything in place, then the wallet folds and clips with a sturdy aluminum buckle and webbing to keep all contents secure, clean, and still easy to access. The wallet was designed to hold Wolf Tooth’s Pack Pliers and EnCase System multitools — both are also available with the wallet on Wolf Tooth’s website. The sleeves are sized to hold CO2, tire levers, hex wrenches or multitools, a Dynaplug, sunscreen stick, and more. I also fold a tube, lay it inside once the wallet is toggled, and then clip it in place. The wallet slides into a framebag just as easily as it slides into a pocket. –BB
I carry a bag of bike repair tools with me when I tour, including a multitool with pliers and a blade. But when slicing salami and cheese, dicing a hot pepper, or doing other camp cooking, not only it is gross when food gets jammed into the handle of my multitool, but having a truly sharp knife makes cooking a pleasure, not a chore. So I bring the gold-bladed, carbon fiber–handle SOG Ultra XR. The knife is thin enough to fit in a wallet, with a 0.08in. thick, 2.8in. long stainless-steel blade that’s razor sharp and holds an edge. The knife is ambidextrous, which makes my left-handed husband happy. It also has a super-secure lock — once it’s clicked open, it won’t close until you release the lock and fold the knife. A pocket clip attaches it to any piece of clothing I’m wearing so I don’t set it down and potentially lose it. You can also use the clip to hold cash and credit cards. I don’t need this knife in my bags, so maybe it’s my guilty pleasure. But it’s also a functional thing of beauty that feels nice to hold, and even better to use. –BB
Go ahead and roll your eyes at the price of this T-shirt, I don’t blame you. But if you’re the kind of person who will happily spend more money to get a higher-quality, better-performing product, read on.
Kitsbow touts the Cyclone as their “flagship performance tee,” and they’re not kidding. The Cyclone claims all the features you want to see on a spendy cycling shirt: breathable, moisture-wicking fabric, sun protection, a cycling-specific cut, and good looks (who doesn’t want to look good on the bike?). The fabric is soft and comfortable on the skin, and Polartec Delta side panels improve ventilation. Whatever magic Kitsbow is sewing into their fabrics, it’s working — this isn’t a merino wool shirt, but it somehow achieves near-merino levels of stinkproofness, which is much appreciated by anyone in my vicinity post-ride.
What puts this shirt above the fray is its impeccable quality (it’s sewn in the U.S.) and the single best fit of any T-shirt I’ve worn, maybe ever. As a trim, six-foot-tall male, it’s probably not an accident that an expensive cycling shirt fits me well (in size medium, anyway), so you’re welcome to take this praise with a grain of salt. But if you’re hunting for the ideal cycling shirt, take a Kitsbow Cyclone into the fitting room. You might just find that it’s worth your (many) dollars. –Dan Meyer
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