Keys to Staying Dry

Knowing How to Stay Warm While Bikepacking is more about knowing oneself, than it is about the weather or conditions you’ll face. Knowing how your body reacts, moisture management, the ability to keep moving and the right gear, are the main factors in staying warm. Keep reading to learn more about these and How to Stay Warm While Bikepacking. Here’s a list of just some of the points I’ll hit:

  • Be prepared
  • Right gear for you
  • On Trail Tips
  • Mental Toughness

You can read about other bikepacking gear on My Proven Bikepacking Gear List From The Triple Crown page.

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Staying in your tent isn’t an option, so the sooner you get out and going the more miles you’ll put in.


As I have stated in my guides for bikepacking the triple crown, I’m a big fan of doing your homework. Doing a bit of research before you step out the door can have a big impact on the outcome of your ride/race. Know where you’re going, the route, the weather and other factors that could influence your trip and comfort level.Part of your research should be learning about yourself. How does different weather affect you? Are you a warm sleeper or cold? Do your hands or feet get cold easily? How is your decision making when you’re cold and tired? All of these are valid questions and knowing the answer to them will greatly help your trip be a success and affect how you approach it and what you bring with you.

Gear on Bike

Shoe Covers

-Make sure their not super tight.  Fighting to get shoe covers on/off with cold wet hands is like trying to wrestle an angry cat into a carrier.

Wool Socks

-Cold wet feet are the worst. Wool socks will wick more water than others and still retain the ability to provide heat. They also stink less after days or weeks on the bike.

Knee/Leg/Arm Warmers

-The versatility of knee/leg/arm warmers makes them one of my favorite pieces of gear. They are a simply way to help regulate your body temperature to either stay warm or cool down.

Base Layers

-Mornings and night riding can get pretty cold. A good wool base layer is key in wicking moisture away from your body and adding warmth to your kit


-If you’re not a fan of knee or leg warmers, a pair of tights should be in your kit. Keeping your legs warm is key for any cyclist. Your legs are your engine.

Wind Shell/Vest

-A wind shell/vest is optional, as you could always wear your rain jacket in place of a shell. If space/weight isn’t a concern a shell will breath better and make regulating your body temperature easier.

Cap & Buff

-Besides your hands and feet, most heat lose if from your head. A cycling cap or a buff is a great way to limit the loss. Personally, I think a buff is a must have for any bikepacker.

Cold Weather Gloves

-Carrying a second, heavier pair of cold weather gloves might seem excessive but trust me on this. Mornings are much more bearable when you have gloves other than summer cycling gloves.

Buy Cycling Shoe Covers at

Shoe Covers

Buy Cycling Wool Socks at

Wool Socks

Buy Cycling Arm Warmers at

Knee/Leg/Arm Warmers

Buy Cycling Baselayers at

Base Layers

Buy Cycling Tights at


Buy Cycling Shells at

Wind Shells/Vest

Buy Cycling Hats at


Buy Winter Gloves at

Cold Weather Gloves

Gear in Camp


-Most of one’s heat loss is through one’s head. A good beanie or thick buff is key to staying warm while not on the bike or on.

Down Jacket

-A down jacket will not only keep you warm while in camp it can be worn for extra warmth while sleeping.

Top Base Layer

-A good base layer to sleep in feels great after a long day on the bike and it will keep you warm too.

Bottom Base Layers

-Warm legs are happy legs. Wrap those puppies in a nice base layer and sleep like a champ.

Sleeping Bag

-A good down sleeping bag is probably the number one item that will keep you the warmest on a cold night.

Sleeping Pad

-Not all pads are good at retaining heat. Get the right one or freeze. Beanies - How to stay warm when bikepacking

Beanie - Down Jackets - How to stay warm when bikepacking

Down Jackets - Top Base Layers - How to stay warm when bikepacking

Top Base Layers - Bottom Base Layers - How to stay warm when bikepacking

Bottom Baselayers - Down Sleeping Bags - How to stay warm when bikepacking

Down Sleeping Bags - Sleeping Pads - How to stay warm when bikepacking

Sleeping Pads

Other Toasty Items to Consider

Another helpful item are Pogies. They do a great job of blocking wind that otherwise would leave your hands numb and possibly frost bitten.

Face Masks are great for extremely cold days and add extra coverage on your face and ears, protecting you from wind burn and frost bite.

Keeping Your Gear Dry

Another thing you want to think about is how to keep your clothing/gear dry when you’re not using it. Some bikepacking bags are waterproof but others are not. Even if they are, consider investing in some SealLine dry bags to ensure you have a nice toasty and dry puffy to put on at the end of the a long day. If you’re not dry, you’re not warm. I talk about How to Stay Dry When Bikepacking here.


Don’t forget your rain gear can be used as a defense against the cold as well. Take a look at my post “How to Stay Dry While Bikepacking” for ideas on how you can put your rain gear to double use.  

Mental Preparation

The Mental Game:

  • Be Comfortable with your gear
  • Know your limits
  • Remember, everything is temporary!

Having the right gear alone isn’t enough to keep you warm. You really have to know your gear and how it works for you. Know when and which pieces to wear for different situations is key in any adventure. A dialed kit is clutch. So test what works best for you. Once you’re comfortable with your kit, your confidence will make you mentally stronger. Know your limits and what you can and can’t handle. Mental toughness isn’t just about who can endure the worst conditions. The person who knows their limits is most likely mentally stronger and will also make better decisions when things go South. Being cold is both a state of mind and a physical state. Carry the right gear, know how and when to use it, and combine that with mental toughness. If you can do this you’ll realize like me that everything is temporary and eventually you’ll be warm again. Nothing last forever! Know your gear, make smart decisions and be comfortable with your gear. You’ll be amazed at what you can endure if you do.


Know your weaknesses (both physical and mental) and work on them.  Having the right attitude can make all the difference. 


To summarize on How to Stay Dry While Bikepacking, what you do before you leave, how you mentally approach you’re on trail experience, having quality and breathable gear you’re comfortable with, and making sound decision are the keys to staying dry. You can’t fully avoid getting wet but you can follow these simple steps to help make the experience less grueling and that should keep the pedals turning. Good luck and happy trails!


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