Depending on where you live, late fall and winter riding can be downright chilly. We’ve got five tips that will help you stay warm and keep riding.
It’s December and for most of us that means that warm-weather riding is done for a while. Even if you’re not buried in snow and ice like I am, there are bound to be some chilly to downright cold days ahead. But this doesn’t mean you need to stay off the trails. You didn’t buy that machine to just look pretty in the garage. You want to ride, and to go riding, you need to stay warm. Here’s a few tips you may not be aware of that will help keep Jack Frost from nibbling at your nose.
Of course, the best way to stay warm would be to drive a UTV with a full cab. I spent some time in the 2018 Polaris Ranger NorthStar Edition with the full cab and heater/air conditioner. I’m not saying you need to go out and buy a new machine, but if you’re thinking of getting a new Ranger, that model isn’t a bad route to go if you want to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If not, you can always add cab components to your existing ride.
And along the lines of being obvious, we can add full winter riding gear. Bibs and jackets, along with warm boots and heavy gloves, are all part of the outfit. Think how snowmobilers dress and you’ll fit right in.
There are quite a few thin balaclavas on the market. You really should wear one as it protects your face and neck from the cold. I have one that has a pocket on the back of the neck for a disposable hand warmer pack. You’d be amazed at how well this will keep your head and upper body warm, as this is a major heat transfer spot for your circulatory system. The most important part of a balaclava is to get one that is designed to fit under a helmet, and try it on before you buy it to be sure.
The Eyes Have it
With so many important things in your head, there’s a lot of blood flowing around. One area to keep in mind when trying to keep warm is your vision. A good pair of winter-riding goggles can make a huge difference. These have thicker and wider face foam that helps seal better and offers up more protection for your face. Dual-pane lenses keep out fog and amber or rose tinting gives definition to white out conditions.
I know, I know… you already know about base layers, and the importance of layering to stay warm. Good. I’m glad we don’t need to have that discussion again. Just remember to make the layer closest to your skin is a wicking layer. This is so important to those of us who ride because we sweat. All that moisture can drop your body temperature quicker than a scandal in the media.
Disposable Heat Packs
I already told you about putting a disposable heat pack on your neck. You can also put them on the backs of your hands in your gloves, in the toes of your boots and more. If it’s really cold and I’m going to do a long ride, I like to get the bigger packs and put one on my lower back, or one over each kidney. This helps warm the blood flowing to your body and helps keep you toasty warm. Just remember to let it get warm before you use it. These things operate on a chemical reaction of iron and salt, so they need air to work.
While there are lots of high-quality and warm riding jackets out there, if you are still feeling cold, you need to go for something shocking. Well maybe not shocking, but definitely electrifying. Get a My Core Performance jacket. These jackets, and there are several styles to choose from, have a rechargeable heating system that keeps you toasty warm. I have one of the camo ones that I wear hunting. I’ve sat in a tree in high winds in December with the temperatures around the non-existent level and was completely warm in the jacket. If you really need to stay warm and are having trouble finding a jacket that will do it, try one of these.