The Art of Layering

Posted on Categories Vulpine Features

Vulpine founder, Nick Hussey, explains how to cope with any weather using our range. With tips for survival in any conditions.

One day we’ll have a complete body suit that maintains our temperature perfectly for all conditions. It will be made of shiny high tech material. It will be skintight. It has been seen a million times in sci-fi movies. And it will be utterly, sexlessly, dull.

Until that exciting time, we have dapper accoutrements: merino tops, silk blend socks, hats, cravats, leather chaps and shiny black spats. The multitude of layering options is enormous.

We don’t do spats, cravats (coming soon), or chaps but until that delicious moment, here’s a guide to layering and surviving the conditions in an un-bedraggled state:

  • Nobody wants to look like a twonk.
  • Not only should you not look like a twonk, but you should actually look good. Hot, even.
  • You really don’t want to get cold and wet.
  • Always opt to be hotter than cooler, if unsure.
  • Keep your core warm and the rest should follow.
  • Never wear peach (ok, its not a layering rule, but it should be applied rigorously throughout life).
  • Comfort is key.
  • Clichés exist for a reason: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”

Here’s a guide on what to wear during a typical British autumn. You can apply our advice online, simply use the sliders on our website to select temperature range, waterproofness and reflectivity.

AUTUMN

As we all know, autumn in the UK is varied. It’s anyone’s guess.

Not too warm, not too cold.

Maybe wet, maybe not.

ARGHHHHH!

With this in mind, Vulpine’s range is very centered around these conditions and thus breathability.

If you don’t know what the day will bring, you need some stylish, functional clothing combos that work together to regulate your body temperature as best as possible so you can go faster for longer.

AUTUMN City Commute:

SHOP MEN’S          SHOP WOMEN’S

This classic pairing of Epic Cotton trousers and jacket are perfect for getting you through the rain and straight into the meeting room. This is why we use Epic Cotton; it’s breathable AND water resistant so you won’t boil as you pedal through town. The pure merino top is smart and doesn’t get smelly (ever) no matter how hard you work. Mid weight merino socks take off the morning chill, and remain fine as the day warms up.

AUTUMN Weekend Road Ride:

SHOP MEN’S          SHOP WOMEN’S

For mild to chilly days Roubaix is your best friend. It’s very comfortable and wind defeating. Wind chill is an issue at speed, especially downhill. We recommend that you always (always) carry a rain jacket, not just for a downpour but also as an extra layer for the unexpected. In the UK, it’s less of an issue but DO take a rain jacket with you for every ride in places like the Alps! A 30 minute descent from 0°C, when you started in 35°C at the bottom, can not just be grim, its dangerous. Check out our lightweight Portixol jacket that’ll fit nicely into your back pocket for these very moments.

As a little something extra, just in case the winter chill catches you unawares, carrying a cap in your back pocket is always a good tip. Peaks are very handy for keeping the wind and rain out of your eyes once your glasses are impossible to see through.

WINTER

British Winters aren’t very defined, as they are in many other countries, with snow and sub zero temperatures. We don’t usually get snow, it doesn’t freeze up often, but when it does its a frost when you’re commuting, in early morning and night. The temperature can rise a great deal. You need something that provides wind resistance of course, and protection from the rain, but again, with that breathability that gives you range across rising and dropping temperatures and effort.

Winter city commute:

SHOP MEN’S          SHOP WOMEN’S

This outfit is for common cold winter but not freezing conditions, say 5-8°C. Carry an Ultralight Thermal Jacket in your Laptop backpack just in case you have to stay at work late and the temperature plummets.

The Original Rain Jacket is the centre-piece as it’s our most reflective option. It’s very windproof, but pairs well with a shirt and merino T underneath if its colder for that extra layer of warmth. Fold back the cuffs of the Original and drop the Storm Guard so when you’re riding home in the dark, and its wet, you are far more visible on the road with these extra reflective details.

The Collar adds that extra neck protection around the jaw and our softshell gloves of course, which can be worn below 10°C. They’re reflective detailing makes for indicating all the more visible, which helps. Long Merino Socks, as they’re our warmest, even if they happen to get a little wet, will still keep you comfortable.

WINTER Road Ride:

SHOP MEN’S          SHOP WOMEN’S

A good Soft-shell is essential for Winter (and a lot of Autumn/Spring). It keeps off much of the wet, but when the damp does start to come through, still keeps you warm. I rode for 5 hours in the pouring rain last week, and it was bang on. It’s highly wind resistant, and has a lot of storage. Ours has two cavernous pockets, for grasping things with gloves on, and carrying plenty of spares. I always (always) carry a rain jacket and cap in my back pocket.

Being too cold isn’t just unpleasant, it can cut short a ride, make you sick…or worse. Always make sure your torso is warm enough, even if the rest isn’t. Use base layers, a thermal quilted gilet, whatever. But if the core is warm, the blood coming from it is too.

RIDING IN THE RAIN

Lets assume it’s a typical British rainy day, mild but not cold…So most days! You leave and it’s raining, and it’s not expected to stop. You have anything from 15 to 90 mins commute ahead. Or 2- 10 hours in the rain on a road ride. That’s some hardcore rainy riding…

RAINY COMMUTE:

SHOP MEN’S          SHOP WOMEN’S

The key for your commute is you want to arrive looking like a normal human being, not a drowned Pekinese that attacked a water cannon. Nobody wants to walk around all day, soaking, or hang their gear off their radiator (which will probably ruin it by the way). That means breathability and ventilation are essential, cue the Utility Jacket, which is fully waterproof for the hardest rain, but with loads of venting and high breathability so you arrive looking sane. Pull down the Storm Guard at the rear and protect your rear from road spray too.

The trousers will keep the worst off, but they’re designed to blend in to polite society, and be extremely breathable, so they will get wet in really heavy rain. Good news is this is rare, and they dry very fast indeed.

The silk and merino in the Dogtooth Socks keeps rain off your skin, meaning you feel warm, even if your feet are a little wet.

This is an outfit you can wear all day, despite the rain. No change of clothing in a backpack required.

RAINY ROAD RIDE:

SHOP MEN’S          SHOP WOMEN’S

This is an all day rain outfit, with the Roubaix jersey fleece helping wick away moisture keeping you warm. Hands may seem warm at first, but after an hour or so they may slowly cool down, even in fairly mild temperatures, so carry some gloves in case they’re needed.

 

Postscript

That was pretty comprehensive. But if you’d like any more advice, look me up on @aslongasicycle, or the team on info@vulpine.cc. Layering and outfit choice needn’t be too much of a science, but its nice to get a bit of guidance.

Happy riding, don’t let any weather put you off!

 

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