Winter Touring Tips for Beginners

November 12, 2013

The following is a guest post from Jessica Socheski

Winter is coming, and that means adjusting our cycling wardrobes to include some slightly warmer apparel. But just because it's winter, doesn't mean you can't keep touring! Chillier temperatures at night require fluffier sleeping bags and warmer fires. Here are equipment tips for keeping warm and toasty on your next overnight ride.

Please Keep Your Arms and Legs Inside

When pedaling into the wind, it is easy to get chilled. Fortunately, cycling apparel is available in long sleeves and pant lengths, so this is definitely something to take advantage of. The close fit of stretchy pants will help keep you warm while not interfering with bike gears or getting caught on anything else.

Good outdoor jackets can also help break the wind and keep you dry. Additionally, a jacket is a nice outer shell layer which can be shed as you warm up and then zipped back up when you stop for the night.

Along with arms and legs, fingers and toes should be properly cared for. Mittens are an excellent investment. Touch-screen sensitive fabric on glove fingertips will allow for quick navigation on your phone without removing your gloves.

Beanies that are thin enough to fit under your helmet are a great way to keep your head and ears happy. While protecting the core is most important, covering your appendages can help the trip be much more enjoyable in frigid winter weather.

Helter Shelter

When you make camp for the night, warmth will continue to be a priority. Insulated sleeping bags are a wonderful layer to help cocoon you against the elements. Another great idea is laying out a waterproof ground sheet beneath the tent. If there is significant wind during the night, you will want to secure your tent well. Snow camping guidelines recommend staking the tent in a 12-inch deep trench.

If you’re up for an alternative form of shelter, consider trying out an extreme-condition hammock. With a dense fluffy barrier to protect you from the snow and wind, winter hammocks elevate campers above the frigid ground. These are great if you are travelling in a moderately wooded area where you can be certain of finding a few sturdy trees to set up camp between.

Throwing winter weather into the equation is always a fun way to add adventure to a trip. And with these winter warming tips, you’ll soon be on your way to cruising through snowy terrain to enjoy bike touring and bikepacking all year long.

Photo by Joe Cruz at

JESSICA SOCHESKI is a freelance writer who is passionate about an active lifestyle. When she's not tearing up the roads on her 21-speed, you can find her on Twitter.


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