Winter bike commuting: we all know it's all about multiple layers, wicking fabrics, etc. Problem is, most of the 'performance apparel' out there ranges from too expensive to ridiculously fu**ing expensive, and $90 a pop is too much when you're going through 5-10 tops a week.
SO HERE'S THE TIP: TJ Maxx and Marshalls are selling this brand called Hind, it's awesome winter sports apparel, and the price is great.
Their wicking base layer tops are like $12 or $13 each. Their insulating mid-layer tops are $18-$20. It's the real deal, proper cycling/running cuts, stretchy, technical fabrics, etc. You could slap a Northface logo on it and easily sell it for 3-4x as much.
They also carry a similar brand, Level 8. The Level 8 stuff is not quite as nice as the Hind stuff, but it's decent. Level 8 base-layer tops are like $10.
Early this winter TJ Maxx was super-stocked with the Hind stuff, at least in Men's. The women's selection was more limited for that particular brand. Men's selection has leaned out a bit now, but there's still enough left to make it worth stopping by.
Anyhow, thank you TJ Maxx for making my winter commute both dry and affordable this year.
SIDE NOTE: For a good winter shell, I recommend the Marmot Precip jacket. It's truly waterproof/windproof, has pit zips, and it's $99. It's a great shell that works in all four seasons, and well worth the cost.
Definitely no right or wrong way to do it. I am down w/ wool, maybe I'll try that out.
I usually go very thin wicking base layer, wicking mid layer, fleece pull-over, then wind/waterproof shell.
Might seem like a lot, but it works great and keeps me fairly dry. I can wear the base & mid layers a couple times (2-3 times) before washing them. Depending on how lazy I get w/ laundry.
Duppie 13.5185km said:
Or, buy one good quality wool top and wear it all week.
I wear my wool top for a week or more at a time, without it getting smelly.
On cold days I wear an aditional base layer made from some wool blend. Again, I can wear this multiple times without it starting to smell.
I have an Endura branded Smartwool longsleeve base layer that I wear quite often without a wash, smell, or otherwise uncomfortable element. It was $85-90, but has been my sole winter commuting/training base layer for two seasons now. It is an investment which requires special washing/drying care; but the warmth, extended times between washes, and overall quality of the product make it well worth it in my opinion.
Here's a testimony to the wicking power of wool. A buddy discovered wool t shirts and started wearing them under his office shirts in the winter. Soon he discovered he was getting pit stains on his office shirts even though he had a t shirt underneath. Yup, the wool took all his pitsweat and transferred it away from him and right to the next layer.
MORAL: Wear dark colored shirts if you're going to be wicking.
I found a light purple cashmere sweater at a thrift store years ago. I wore that thing all the time. It was the perfect article of clothing for a bikey real estate agent who has to look good on the go, and in cold weather.
The Ark in Wicker Park regularly has used cashmere sweaters for $5-10. The ideal insulating layer plus they look great! The Army Navy surplus on Lincoln has new synthetic base layers around $8 and wool for $15. Not as form fitted or refined as others, but if on a budget, the best choice.