Numbed fingers and toes and icy cold saddles can make winter riding unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some ways to keep yourself warm in the saddle this winter.
Always dress in multiple lightweight layers in the winter. Your bottom layer should be warm, such as long underwear, but it should also wick moisture away from your skin as you warm up. There are many lightweight sport shirts which can perform this function well.
For your second layer, look for a material that is lightweight, warm, and breathable, such as a fleece shirt. For your pants, you may only use two layers; pairing long underwear with a pair of insulated breeches will give you warmth without too much bulk.
Top off your upper body with a jacket which is easily removable. Be sure that the clothing you choose is fairly loose, so that you can remove layers as needed as you warm up. If you’ll be exposed to snow or rain while you ride, make sure that your top layer is waterproof.
Choose a pair of insulated gloves designed for winter riding. Make sure that they do not fit too tightly, as your fingers will quickly become numb if they do. Test out the gloves and be sure that you can still hold and feel the reins while wearing them. On particularly cold days you might want to slip an instant hand warmer into each glove – these can work inside your boots, too.
Wearing multiple pairs of socks can help keep your feet warm, but only if you still have room in your shoes; if you layer socks and have to squish your foot into your boot, your feet will actually get colder faster. It may help to try on boots while wearing two pairs of socks. Be sure that the boots leave your feet some wiggle room.
Is your saddle itself making you cold? Look into getting a fleece seat cover to prevent the initial chill as you settle into the saddle. Stirrup covers are also available to enclose the fronts of your stirrups to help keep your toes warm during your ride.
Cold weather riding doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Bundle up the right way and have a comfortable winter ride.
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