Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

What’s your wet weather set up?

Posted by Matt | December 2, 2009 | 13 comments so far

Looking out the window confirms what Metcheck is currently telling me. It’s wet and it’s likely to be wet for a few more days yet. Rather than succumb to a bout of totally justified moaning about the weather, I’m wondering how best to combat it.

Talking to Mark from the The Bike Tech the other night he’s pinning his hopes on it stopping raining and getting colder over the next few weeks. He may be right, after all we’ve had a stupid amount of water on our heads recently so maybe it’s going to dry off for a while. But at this stage it seems the idea of cold frozen trails is a bit of a leap too far for me.

Sunday’s ride brought home to me how important it is to dress properly for the conditions. My favoured winter set up is not massively different from summer – in fact, last winter I rode nearly all of it in baggies and knee pads (which do keep your knees lovely and warm by the way). On top I wear my Gore Phantom II jacket—possibly the best single piece of MTB clothing I’ve ever bought—and layer up underneath with an Embers merino base layer and if it’s really cold a slightly thicker micro fleece I originally bought for skiing.

It works pretty well for keeping out the cold, with winter gloves and SealSkinz socks. But it’s not a great solution to persistent rain. In extremis I opt for my Endura biblongs which adds another layer of warmth to my torso and lower back and keeps the muck and wet off my legs. I find with the tights going over the SealSkinz I’ve effectively sealed off a route for water to enter my socks.

What does everyone else do? Are winter boots really worth it and is a full waterproof jacket a boon for monsoon but overkill elsewhere? At the moment I’m thinking Defeet Woolie Boolie socks is a good start.


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 13 comments on ‘What’s your wet weather set up?’

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  1. Andy W says:

    My winter set up consists of a variety of kit, weather dependant.

    Layers are better, that way you can mix and match for temp and changing conditions.

    Not raining but might:

    Gore Phantom 2 (totally agree, awesome Jacket) with baggies and Enduro leg warmers. Depending on the temperature a merino wool base layer and a jersey. Shoes – Shimano dx’s with either sealskin socks or normal socks. If the trails are soaking then I go with the winter boots.

    Raining already.

    As above but Enduro Event Jacket with Fleece gilet and Shimano winter boots.

    Glove wise I always use my summer gloves with Sealskinz thermal merino liners ( best £8 you can spend). That way if it warms up you can ditch the liners and not get too hot.

    As I tend to get through gloves fast it keeps the cost down as well.

    Winter boots are great. The main advantage is that even after a wet ride the shoe will still be dry the next day. Unlike your summer boot that will probably take a few days to dry again.

    Nothing worse than putting a dry foot into a wet shoe.

  2. Lee says:

    Like you Matt, my Winter clothing choice isn’t massively different to any other seasons’ wear – just a few basic tweaks to keep extremities warm. Generally speaking I go for tights under my baggies on cold/night rides to keep the knees warm. I may also opt for a slightly warmer base layer – I have a new Craft base layer to try out tonight – but really it is still just that and my Gore Phantom on top (absolutely the best piece of clothing I’ve ever bought.)

    I have found the addition of a Buff very useful as they are so versatile.

    I find the DX shoes I use weather the winter conditions pretty well and keep out a good majority of water, so for now I’m not shelling out on a pair of winter boots. I have a pair of Endura MT500 overshoes for my Spesh shoes, which also work well.

    I have ditched the summer gloves already and have been wearing my Gore Volcano gloves for the last couple of rides, but for ‘torrential’ rides I have a pair of Seal Skinz gloves, but they are quite cumbersome.

  3. Matt says:

    So we’re agreed on the Phantom jacket then?! So versatile, being able to take off the sleeves but not waterproof ultimately – only a problem on piss-istent rain really.

    Shoes wise I’ve pondered the DXs but am worried about the ‘whiteboy’ look that Colin’s pioneered. Personally I like it but we could easily end up looking like the Thomson Twins (that’s Herge, not 80’s pop!). But winter boots sound tempting.

    I once had some SealSkinz gloves. Once was enough, they fell apart after the first ride!

  4. Andy W says:

    I forgot to mention the Buff.

    I also use one, very handy in keeping the worst of the chill off your face or around the neck to keep the heat in.

    My liner gloves are still going strong after four winters. Wish I could say the same for my normal gloves .


  5. Dave says:

    Well I’m totally with you on the Phantom. I’m always into layers and the main difference with Winter clothing for me is bib tights in addition to bib shorts with Foska Buttox baggies over the top. Only my bib shorts are padded. Proved to be a comfortable solution for me for the past 2 years at least.

    I’ve also taken advantage of birthday money and a generous £20 off from Wiggle to buy some MW80 boots, I just have to wait for Madison to sort their act out and get some in.

    Good luck tonight, I’ve decided that after 3 wet rides on the trot I deserve a break.

  6. Jez says:

    My wet weather set up seems to be stay indoors! That’s not been deliberate just how it’s worked out lately. When I am actually out in the wet stuff:

    My Northwave winter boots are great. They do let water in the tops but keep the feet warm. They aren’t too bulky either. Some of the winter boots are enormous but seem designed for more harsh conditions that the South East.

    I can’t find a happy glove balance. I have some SealSkinz ones that are totally waterproof but just too hot. My ‘Cyclone’ gloves, however, need to be slapped around the face of the marketing department

    My goretex jacket has lasted well but not that breathable.

    I’m getting to the idea that waterproof is not the best goal as it’s just too hot for me. Windproof and a few thin layers is enough for a local ride. It would be different if I was going on a tour where you can’t get dry again but for a local ride I don’t think being a little damp is too bad.

  7. Mark says:

    Given how wet I have gotten just walking too and from the station over the last few days, I was thinking about one of these:-

  8. Matt says:

    I’ve got two words for any folks who have stayed indoors over the past few rides.

    ‘Warm’ and ‘Dry’ springs to mind.

    What did you think I was going to say??! ;o)

  9. Muddymoles says:

    Ride report: Wednesday 2 December – winter warmer

    A muddy circular loop of Norbury Park, Ranmore, Denbies and Mickleham for the Moles after weeks of rainfall

  10. tony says:

    I go with most of what everyone else has said except I’d say that I won’t resort to the waterproof unless it is bucketing down. I find that windstopper/softshells will keep out light rain and I’d rather be damp than “boiling in a bag”

    So it’s Specialised Defroster boots, Endura shorts and knee warmers or shorts and Assos windblock tights if it’s really cold. Wind stopper gillet and arm warmers or windstopper jacket if it’s cold. Windstopper gloves.

  11. Debbie says:

    It’s so easy guys – no need for wet weather clothing…..! Just come out on your bikes on a Saturday with us fe-moles!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We’ve had three amazing Saturday rides – loads of winter sun & a lovely breeze to help us down some amazing descents… no worrying about drowned rat syndrome!

  12. tony says:

    I can’t believe it’s going to happen again. Looking at the forecast for the weekend Saturday looks like it could be a belter if the fog clears and Sunday……guess what…..our usual recent weather conditions.

    The gods of weather are obviously similing down on the Fe-moles not us.

  13. Related: Ride report: Wednesday 2 December - winter warmer | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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