The Chainlink

Hello ladies,

What kind of pants/layers do you wear for winter biking?

I've been using a really old (10+ years) pair of pants that have a nylon outer layer and sort of a light sweatpant for the inner layer.  They work great for me, but they're going to kick the bucket at some point, and I'm trying to figure out with what to replace them.


My current commute is about 8 miles, and I ride down to around 20 degrees (I can't keep my hands warm enough after that).  My commute might get shorter, but then I also might start riding colder if it's not as much time outside.  I generally don't have problems with getting too warm. 

I also do some running, and it'd be great to get something that works for both, but...

I've been thinking about waterproof pants, mainly for biking.  Does anyone have experience with the Showers Pass convertible pants?  How are they on warmth for 20 or below if I add a base layer?   It'd be worth the investment if I can cover both rain and cold weather on my bike.

Otherwise, please tell me what pants-solutions work for you in cold Chicago weather.


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Hi Mollie,

I have the Shower's Pass pants and they're great for rain, but not comfortable at all since they don't stretch.  I only use them for rainy days, and even then only when I really don't want to get wet.  They're not lined or insulated at all, so wouldn't be good for winter riding.  Note: I got mine 2 or 3 years ago, so they may have upgraded the fabric since then.  I got mine from Kozy's--you may be able to go there and try them on before buying if you want.

For winter biking I've been using these pants and I love them.  They're men's pants, but they fit fine.  They are a bit dorky looking, but they are warm and quilted inside and you only need one layer down to about 0 degrees.  They're a great value for the price.

Dang, those look pretty useful, and I would never guess that they work so well (down to 0 no less) for that price.  Thanks for your recommendation, and I will definitely keep them in mind.  I also appreciate hearing what you think about the Showers Pass pants.  The store nearest me didn't have the convertible ones to try on.  I will check and see if the material has improved.

I wear sailing foul weather pants that breathe and are wind and water proof.  Underneath, I wear fleece tights and/or my wool work (dress) pants and/or wool leggings.  The foul weather pants are a little big on me, but they are meant to be able to move in them.  Mine are several years old, but they are a lot like these.

Interesting.  Thank you for the suggestion, Lisa!  These would be a good idea for layering.

I'd also second sailing foul weather gear -- I use a spray top when it's slightly warmer and slightly weather, and my roommate's been using her spray pants all winter to pretty good effect. Spray gear breaks the wind, is waterproof, and it looks like the price of those Shower's Pass pants is pretty comparable.

I snagged two Helly Hansen rain coats on Sierra Trading Post two summers ago and they are the best money I've ever spent (originally a sailing brand, but I think they do more now).

I have REI rain pants I like enough, but usually stick to wool long johns under jeans in winter

I was looking at Helly Hansen at the Boat Show.  They have good stuff. Prices at Sierra Trading Post are much better, but they don't have any pants right now.

I can look a little junky at my job so I wear men's under armour spandex pants/tights under jeans for most rides. With a windchill below 10 or so, I will wear what I guess are the spray pants others are discussing. They gave them to us to stay dry for rowing and they seem to do okay for the bike too. I wish someone made waterproof biking pants that fit like a skinny jogger pant. I want those so badly in my life.


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