Winter is coming in the northern hemisphere, but the onslaught of cold temperatures, limited daylight, and snowy conditions doesn’t require you to stop mountain biking. The advent of the fat bike means that off-road, two-wheeled fun can continue all year long. But the cold temperatures and wet snow do require a special level of preparation.
Choosing the right fat bike is only half the battle. Once you’ve purchased a fatty, the next step is to acquire all the gear you need to stay warm, dry, and prepared in below-freezing temps. If you want to purchase a plug-and-play fat biking starter kit, look no further than these 10 essential products:
1. 45NRTH Wolvhammer Boots – $325
The first parts of your body to get cold will be your extremities, so doubling down and purchasing good protection for your hands and feet is absolutely mandatory. When it comes to footwear, you can’t beat the 45NRTH Wolvhammer boots (rated to 0 degrees F) or their warmer cousins, the Wolfgars (rated to -25 degrees F).
Modeled after mountaineering boots, the Wolvhammers feature a secure pull lace and velcro strap closure, a heavily-lugged Vibram outsole, and the ability to run SPD cleats, if you so desire. I’ve found the Wolvhammers to be the one product that could single-handedly make fat biking a thoroughly enjoyable experience despite the cold and the snow!
2. Bar Mitts Extreme Cold Mountain Mitts – $125
While you can use a pair of warm gloves to protect your hands, Bar Mitts offer unparalleled warmth and wind protection. With the Extreme Cold Mountain Mitts installed, you can often use a standard summertime full finger mountain bike glove inside of them, offering optimum brake and shifter feel.
3. Club Ride Fat Jack Pants – $120
The exterior of the Club Ride Fat Jack is designed to resist wind and rain, and is made of a very durable yet stretchy polyester/spandex mix which is perfect for fat biking. Having a durable external layer that blocks wind from getting to your body is paramount for comfort on the fat bike, and I’ve found these pants to be just the ticket.
4. Hincapie Fission Bib Knicker – $120
Unfortunately the Fat Jack pants aren’t warm enough on their own for fat biking, so I pair them with this pair of thermal bib knickers from Hincapie. Adding a chamois is key for long hours in the saddle, the bib design keeps everything where it needs to be, and the 3/4 length is actually perfect for pairing with a long pair of wool socks and the Wolvhammer boots, eliminating possible pressure points.
5. Hincapie Fahrenheit Puffy – $160
When the thermometer truly takes a dive, I turn to the Fahrenheit Puffy jacket from Hincapie. If you already own a thermal puffy, feel free to use that, but at $160 the Fahrenheit offers a solid value for the insulation.
As for other layers on top, I generally use a base layer or other thermal layers underneath, and possibly a rain jacket or wind breaker for cutting through the cold air. While these don’t need to be bike-specific and consequently aren’t included on this list, running a quick search on Singletracks should reveal plenty of excellent options!
Click to page two for numbers 6-10!