Kit doubling – for walking and cycling

A lot has been written about using walking&camping kit for more than one use (normally its intended use!) as a way of reducing bulk and weight. For example using walking poles for, erm, walking with and for propping up your shelter. I have done this with a few things and found it useful and in the main worthwhile. What I havent explored until recently is using kit made for one outdoor activity and using it for another (fairly) unrelated activity.

I am referring to the upsurge in cycling activity that I now partake of in addition to walking&camping. Obviously some kit for cycling is just too specific to even consider using for walking or camping (eg cycling shoes!). Having said that I have found some crossover between the activities and some kit that can easily be used for both. In fact I have found some cycling gear that I feel is better than what’s on offer by the walking gear manufacturers.

Examples of kit I share with walking/camping and cycling include:

socks – fairly obvious but since I dont normally wear waterproof shoes for either activity, warm & quick dry socks are essential. I interchange these for both activities with the same type of socks now.

lightweight waterproof jacket/windshirt – the cycling variety can sometimes (not always) be cheaper than the walking “specific” ones and are fairly interchangeable but note that the cycling variety are normally a snugger fit πŸ™‚

baselayers – many cyclists ascribe to the “string vest” type base layer under other layers as an insulation layer. Only just catching on in walking circles recently. Other than that “athletic” fit normal type baselayers work for both activities really well

Arm warmers – my god what a revelation. When I started cycling, I was introduced to these as an addition to a short sleeved top for when temperatures dropped. And they work…big time. If you dont want to buy a long sleeved version of a technical tee shirt then you could try arm warmers. Ok you could roll your sleeves up but the arm warmers are a snug fit and go from the wrist to the top of the arm (ie well under the limit of the tee shirt sleeve for extra insulation

Leg warmers – same principle and to be fair walking trousers sometimes have the zip off option to convert to shorts. Cyclists go the other way and have shorts and when the temperature drops add either full length, capri length or knee length warmers. They really work although they do give a Max Wall-esque appearance to your physique πŸ˜€

Bib shorts/bib tights – again these are close fitting leg coverings for cyclists but with a chest and back covering. I havent tried these during a walk but for winter, I would try them underneath ordinary trousers and baselayer as reckon this would work. One for the winter this year as a trial. The only thing to note is that bibs generally have a pad on the bum so a bulky pad might hinder walking πŸ™‚

Gloves – as long as fairly close fitting – interchangeable for both activities to a point

Beanies – very interchangeable!

Ok, nothing extraordinary in the above but I have managed to avoid buying some bits of kit for my cycling because of the availability of my walking gear. Similarly, some of my cycling gear has been very useful for my walking where perhaps I might have bought extra bits for particular circumstances.

And trust me on the leg and especially the arm warmers…..great kit!


About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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23 Responses to Kit doubling – for walking and cycling

  1. Robin says:

    Arm warmers are a great idea.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      they really work. You can get lightweight ones, microfleeced lines ones, neoprene outers, etc etc

      I have a pair for autumn/spring and a pair for winter/wet

      • Robin says:

        Make? Model?

        • backpackbrewer says:

          dhb do very reasonably priced ones eg Vaeon
          adidas slightly more expensive eg Response
          Sportful a bit more expensive again eg no-rain
          Castelli towards the top end eg nanoflex

          if you want a look, try wiggle and select cycling/baselayers/arm and leg warmers section πŸ™‚

          me? I have two kinds of castelli arm warmers (one thin and one warm) and specialised thermal leg warmers

        • backpackbrewer says:

          Hi Robin, got around to weighing the arm warmers

          52g for the standard ones and only 63g for the water resistant lined ones!

  2. Ian Barton says:

    Thought I would mention that Aldi are starting one of their bike gear promotions tomorrow (Thursday).

    I think almost all my cycling gear is “re-purposed” walking stuff. Trousers are usually Rab Treklite. Base layer is lightweight Merino. Usually wear my Rab Vapour Rise Lite jacket and/or Marmot Dri-Clime or Montane Pertex jacket. Gloves are some nice Rab ones with “sticky” fingers/palms. If it’s really cold I resort to my old Buffalo windshirt and mitts. However, cycling in mitts is quite tricky:)

    I almost never wear waterproof trousers. However, about six months ago I got some Berghaus Paclite ones on a GoOutdoors silly offer. The few times I have used them they have been excellent. Weigh almost nothing, waterproof and I don’t sweat in them. The ankles have poppers so you can cinch them up tight and stop them getting wrapped in the chain.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      sounds obvious when you say it but if you cycle and walk alot then there should be a lot of overlap of kit

      it all depends on budget and the “fit” you prefer

      I am a Max Wall type of guy! πŸ˜€

    • backpackbrewer says:

      and yes, Aldi’s do some very good basic cycling kit πŸ™‚

  3. Completely off topic but thanks for viewing my blog, and now signed up for yours – looking forward to more great posts.

  4. Another vote for ‘universal’ baselayers and arm/leg warmers/tights. Use leg warmers/tights if walking in shorts (which I do most of the time in summer). Can also be a handy tick barrier in Scotland πŸ™‚ Multi purpose gear is really important when touring on the bike, I feel. On my early trips, I wore cycle-specific gear. This is comfortable on the bike of course, but not much use off. My kit is a mixture now of leg/arm warmers, base layers and good undershorts with relevant hiking gear on the top. I am in the market for a new ‘wind gilet’ as this is a really useful, versatile item on/off the bike (all this cycling means my existing one is now far too big πŸ™‚ ).

    • Ian Barton says:

      I am a bit of a gilet tart:) I use my Marmot Driclime gilet in warmer weather. Don’t think his is available any longer, I got mine cheap in an end of line sale.

      I also have a Paramo Torres, which as a general purpose gilet is great. It has survived several years of abuse and outside of warmer weather I wear it almost every day. For cycling it has two slight disadvantages. Outside of Winter it’s too warm and as it’s quite bulky, so you would want to wear it rather than carry it. Paramo do separate sleeves for it.

      I have recently bought a Montane Prism gilet. This is very light and packs down to nothing. It is on the warm side for cycling, but I now carry it to throw on when I stop to eat my butties. The Rab generator gilet is similar, but more expensive.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      Hadnt thought of the tick angle but a really good shout

      I also like gilets and my cycling one has a windproof front and a vented back so I might try it out on the hills soon πŸ™‚

  5. Matt C says:

    An interesting topic Dave. I’m a bit late adding my bit as i was away on the bike πŸ™‚

    Apart from one pair of Polaris cycling shorts (back in the 90s) and a few pairs of gloves, I’ve never bought any cycling-specific clothing. Perhaps it’s fortunate that I’d count myself as an xc-mtber and cycle tourer/camper – it’s all about the journey, I’ve no wish to join the serious roadie set πŸ˜‰

    I’ve used loads of different outdoor kit for cycling over the years, starting with some Ron Hills and an old baselayer. Fortunately I bought two pairs of some Mountain Hardwear stretch shorts before they were discontinued (going strong 8 years later). Available around the same time my old Montane Kinetic softshell pullover is still a great autumn to spring top. Montrail CTC shoes are robust enough not to suffer from toeclips, and great off the bike too.

    My Haglofs Oz waterproof does a decent enough job while being tiny to carry, and OMM Kamleika overtrousers are close fitting and very stretchy, but I’ll often just add some Haglofs windproof trousers over my shorts, even in winter (a better featured equivalent of the Montane Featherlites).

    Of more recent items (still available) Rab Vapour Rise Lite stuff makes a great second layer. And I never really had any idea what the Rab Boreas top was good for until I tried one on a whim in a sale – I now own four(!) and haven’t cycled in anything else since I got that first one in May. I wish they did a version without the hood, but if you’re not seriously into marginal gains then it’s no big deal really πŸ™‚

    Oh, one bit of cycling clothing that’s good on the bike and crosses over to walking, (especially since Rockys disappeared, and a better fit, for me at least) – Gore BikeWear Stretch Goretex Socks.

    • backpackbrewer says:

      thanks Matt,

      cycle camping is an even better example as you dont have the luxury of being able to carry too much extra kit so doubling up is essential!

      Funny how everyone seems to start off in Ron Hills on the bike (as did I) πŸ™‚

      Re the goretex socks, I’ve never really worried about getting wet feet as long as I have dry socks for the evening :). I have a couple of unused Rockys if you want them btw

      • Matt C says:

        Thanks for the Rockys offer, but I’m ok, I managed to stock up as they were disappearing.

        I’m glad I got into cycle camping from a backpacking background. I see so many tourers laden down with front and rear panniers (even the B&Bers), whereas I can manage a week’s kit including all the bike stuff, all the camping stuff, and food in a 40 litre rear pannier setup. i can’t help wondering quite what they’re carrying…

        • backpackbrewer says:

          no worries Matt….they are just kicking around in the drawer unused at the minute πŸ™‚

          Yes I agree about the cycle camping. I have seen so many tourers absolutely loaded up to the gills and there simply is no need! If I get back into cycle camping next year I reckon I will get away with just a back pannier

          hopefully πŸ˜€

  6. Pingback: Cycling Arm Warmers | blogpackinglight

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