The Clothing

There we are now, we got some nice bikes and our tent meets our claims. But we haven't talked about our clothes yet. Its time to catch up on that, and maybe you can get some inspiration what becomes important when you wear the same assortment of clothes for several months straight. 

I don't want to anticipate too much, but: normally its not necessary to look as fabulous as Miri on the right.

I packed my bag and in it I put...  


...only a small set of clothes, due to very limited space and the necessity to save weight (yeah, we know how to make jokes...). Because of this limitation, its naturally even more important what to bring. The clothing has to be sufficient for alot of different climates and conditions, needs to be as hygienic as possible (even if not laundered daily), and should provide alot of comfort during our daily routine, from cycling to rest. Obvious question: How to accomplish this?

  • Don't bring cotton! I can't emphasize this enough. Cotton has, aside from the nice next-to-skin comfort, only downsides. Not only its heavy, it dries very slowly. So as soon as you start sweating, or the humidity starts to rise, it will become and stay wet for ages. As a result, every garment from cotton will turn into a smelly, slightly wet rag in the long run. This goes hand in hand with the fact that its not breathable, so riding in it becomes a torture when it starts to stick on your skin, making you freeze as soon as you stop cycling.
  • Or to say it the other way around: use pieces of clothing who dry fast. There are as many high-tech-textiles on the market as there are brands. Some of them dry faster, some slower, but thats something you notice really fast. Also Merino is a nice material, however some of it originates from sheep who get mulesed, so inform yourself first what to buy if you care about animal abuse.
  • Use Layers. For example a short jersey, a longsleeve, and a rain jacket are a pretty versatile setup. So depending on how warm or cold it is, you can choose between wearing only a jersey, both jerseys on top of each other or everything combined (but for the latter, the temperature has to be around 0°C). This saves you a lot of equipment. We also prefer garments with a full front zipper, so changing becomes easier.
  • I guess this is pretty obvious: One isn't enough. Two to three pair of pants (I rarely had to use the third one) and two short jerseys as everyday-outfit proved to be enough for me. So while you are wearing one, you can wash the other one and let it dry on the back of your bike.
  • "Its only water..." Sometimes you can't avoid getting wet. For example, if you are facing rain in warmer climates. There, you can only choose between your own sweat under the rain jacket, or the rain on your skin (which is ten times better, believe us). Its more important to stay warm than to stay dry. 
  • Test your setup. Everybody has a different perception of temperature, and a different level where he starts sweating. So the experience what works well for you is very valuable. Once you know your body well enough you will know what to wear instinctively.

Our wardrobes on tour

Ryan

On the bike:

  • 2x Jersey
  • 1x Longsleeve jersey 
  • 1x Rain jacket
  • 1x Rain pants
  • 3x Padded bikeshorts
  • 1x Baselayer long
  • 1x Baselayer short
  • 1x Warmers
  • 3x Thin socks (its still not enough, but I guess its impossible to avoid the smell of a cyclists socks, even with 20 pairs...)
  • 1x Thick socks
  • 1x Half-finger gloves (I never cycle without gloves, for me they are as important as a helmet)
  • 1x Long gloves
  • 1x Shoe cover
  • 1x Helmet raincover
  • 2-3x Buff (irreplaceable, most versatile thing ever)

Off the bike:

  • 2x shirts
  • 1x Zip-off pants
  • 1x Fleece jacket
  • 2x Underpants
  • 1x Swimming trunks
  • 1x Slippers (better buy some who allow you to walk in them properly)

 

Miri

On the bike:

  • 2x Jersey
  • 1x thin jacket
  • 1x Rain jacket
  • 1x Rain pants
  • 2x Padded bikeshorts (worked out perfect with washing one and drying it while wearing the other)
  • 1x Warmers
  • 1x armies
  • 3x Thin socks 
  • 1x Thick socks
  • 1x Half-finger gloves 
  • 1x Waterproof shoes
  • 1x Buff 
  • 1x Warning vest (mum wouldn´t have let me go without)

Off the bike:

  • 2x shirts + 1x for sleeping
  • 1x Zip-off pants
  • 1x Fleece jacket
  • 6x Underpants + sleeves (I think women need a bit more hygiene)
  • 1x Bikini
  • 1x Slippers 

Last but definitely not least: Fairness

Something, which is very important to us, is how the garments we wear are produced. For the most people this isn't an important issue, the performance itself and the looks are the main factors if to buy a clothing or not. But although there are opportunities to get them for a reasonable price (for example during a special offer), most of the outdoor-gear is relatively expensive. 

The conditions, in which the majority of clothes are made, are no longer a secret. News about collapsing factories in Far East rose the simple question in us: do I want to spend 250€ or more for a rain jacket, where I can't be sure how the workers are paid, and how their working conditions are? The answer is an obvious "No". If we spend such amounts of money, we are sure that the profit margin is enough for the outdoor company to pay the sewers a fair living wage, or even relocate the production to Europe, AND to stay competitive. 

So where to pay attention? There are labels focused on supervising the working conditions (for example the "Fair Wear Foundation"), and some companies even produce their stuff in Europe. Often you can find informations about that on their websites, or with a little research. But: just because a garment is expensive, its not fair, just because its cheap doesn't mean the conditions aren't supervised! Also, some European brands aren't listed in the FWF, because if you manufacture in Austria, there is obviously no urgent need to check the working conditions.

It would be a huge success, if some conciousness would be sparked. The consumer leads the direction what gets produced. Thats why, every garment bought from a fair label is a success, which forces other companies to reconsider their own policies, improving in the long run the living conditions of millions of people. 

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