According to Closing Time by Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Well played with that wordplay. Similarly, every mountain bike ride eventually concludes when we grow hungry or chase the sunshine to its bedtime. The team here at Singletracks tests a smattering of pre- and post-ride gear every season, and the following is a collection of some favorites. This is the gear that keeps us warm while we caffeinate ahead of a pedal and covers our collected mud afterward as we quaff hops. Unlike some comprehensive roundups, this collection only includes our top picks for chillin’ out.
Kitsbow Haskell pants
Kitsbow’s Haskell pants are a hybrid of sorts and like any pair of pants including Wranglers, they can be worn mountain biking. But their thicker material and looser fit means that they feel a bit better after a ride or on an off day. Kitsbow kept the fit looser so riders can sneak a chamois underneath. The fit is tapered down into the ankles and there is a snap on the interior above the right cuff.
Reflective accents are on the pants’ left leg and there are six pockets, including a cell phone and keys pocket. The pants come in inseam lengths between size 28 and 36 with nine different waist sizes. The pants retail for $219. All Kitsbow products are made per order so there is a wait, but these pants have proven to be worth it.
They do fit on the looser side and the inseam feels a touch long, but the Haskells are very comfortable and easy to move around in. The phone and keys pocket are sized accordingly, but the phone’s weight adds a lot of movement just above the back of the knee. The comfortable and durable feel of the Haskells make them a great fit for trail work or a casual night out. The downside is that like most Kitsbow products, they are pricey.
- MSRP: $219
- Colors: Black Olive, Dry Grey, Wild Oak
- Made to order from Kitsbow
LIVSN Flex Canvas pants
Sustainably made and cozy AF.
Flex Canvas Pants from LIVSN are designed for riding bikes in, and doing loads of other fun things. There are little straps to hold the ankle cuffs in a high-rolled position, and the pair of zippered rear pockets pair well with a smaller pouch on the right hip to keep your gear from falling out across town. There’s also a right hip pocket for a knife or pen holster, giving them a slight “carpenter” look. Articulated knees are ready for any number of active things, and the material stretches enough to make them great for nearly anything you want to do in pants.
When these first arrived I thought they would be perfect for trail building. They are, and the tough 58% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, 40% Recycled Polyester, and 2% spandex material feels so good that I wear them for everything else too. This is my daily driver pair for trips to the trailhead and grocery store. I like that they are made with as much recycled and organic material as possible, and given those factors, the $119 price tag (available at Backcountry and Moosejaw) is pretty reasonable. I have been wearing a pair for more than six months now and they feel every bit as long lasting as my favorite Carhartt work pants, though the LIVSN pants are far more comfortable. There is a jersey-like material around the hips that’s soft and smooth, and folks who roll commando will not be disappointed.
These leg pipes fit looser than most skinny jeans, while the material still sits close enough to your legs that they don’t look baggy. I have the 30×30″ size, and the waist and inseam is on par with all of my other pants in that size. The belt loops are large and easy to thread if you need to cinch them down tighter. The Flex Canvas Pants are one of my favorite pieces of clothing to wear anywhere, including a cold winter trailhead.
Maloja STEINADLERM. puffy jacket
The only warmer way would be electric.
I’m a small person who leaps between shivering and sweating most days, and I put a high value on quality winter wear. Jackets like the STEINADLERM. from Maloja that are designed for playing in the snow are my winter go-to for pre- and post-ride warmth, or to maintain heat whilst walking to the pub. I also ride in the snow a fair bit, but this would be far too much for those missions. This jacket from the German mountain bike and snow apparel company is the warmest I’ve worn to date, and the only way warmer is likely through electric heating or staying indoors. The jacket’s overall fit is tighter than it appears, and there is space left in my usual size small for a heavy sweater underneath when it’s truly too cold to be outside.
The women’s version, called WaldkauzM. is slightly shorter in the waist and comes in far more colors for $499 while this men’s cut sells for $529. The massive sleeping bag of a shell isn’t waterproof, but the dual Gortex Infinium layer cuts wind like a well-built home and takes more than an hour to soak through in a heavy downpour. I tested the water absorption properties during a walk on a rainy 35°F day, and even when the water broke through, the thick layer remained fairly warm.
The STEINADLERM. has two large hand pockets, a lift-pass-pouch on the left sleeve, one zippered inner pocket to stash cash, and a notably beer-can-sized inner pouch for carrying — beer cans. There is also a detachable snow-skirt to keep the fluffy stuff out should you wear this jacket for more than getting to and from the trailhead or bar, and its overall length will further keep snow out of your knickers. The large hood cinches down over your dome for a secure fit in blustery conditions.
If your aim is to be the last one tending the fire at the trailhead, this jacket will keep you warm while doing so. The cost isn’t a sneezer, but the tough material should last through multiple seasons of cozy post-ride reheating.
- MSRP: $529 (mens)
- Available from Maloja
REI Co-Op down jacket
I’ve had the REI Co-Op down jacket for countless seasons, and it’s still keeping me warm despite being stuffed — and unstuffed — on hundreds of rides. The jacket compresses into its own built-in pocket and fits inside my winter hip pack, making it good not just for after the ride, but also as insurance against getting stuck out in the cold for a mechanical or worse.
I’ve probably ridden in the REI Co-Op jacket a handful of times, and it works fine for that, but it works best for a warm chill after the ride. In the spirit of staying safe, my post-ride beers this season are generally quaffed outdoors, and post-ride cool downs quickly turn to shivers without this down jacket.
A little worse for the wear, one of the pocket liners is ripped, there’s a melted hole where someone (not naming Leah’s name here) got a little too close with a campfire marshmallow skewer, and it’s lost a good bit of its loft. Yet it’s still probably the best $100 or so that I’ve spent on a jacket. Available with or without a hood, and in men’s and women’s sizes and styles.
- MSRP: $100
- Colors: Army Cot Green, Black, Blue Nights
- Available at REI
Between you and me, I don’t comb my hair very often. It’s a combination of WFH and DGAF, mixed with the fact that regular riding leaves me with seemingly perpetual helmet hair. Whatever the cause, I’m quick to put on my Singletracks hat almost immediately after the ride and if I’m driving to the trailhead, chances are my hat’s on before the ride too.
There aren’t a lot of technical details or features to share here; our hats are embroidered, Yupoong Classics in black. However, I will share a tip for riding with a hat. Of course I always wear my helmet while riding so I attach the hat to a belt loop or pack strap using the adjustable band at the back of the hat. The hat keeps its shape, and I keep my dignity when it’s time to take off my skid lid.
- Available from Singletracks.