Cold Weather Motorcycle Gear: Your Favorite Non-Electrics

Just about everyone I know who owns heated motorcycle gear says that they cannot believe they waited so long to buy it. My favorite part about riding with my Gerbing jacket liner is tipping my head slightly back and feeling the radiating heat on the back of my neck. Ahhhh, mmm…. [clears throat] Where was I? But what about the non-electric items that you use to keep warm?

Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth I had nothing that would have constituted good cold weather riding gear. I used to wear my Northface Gore-Tex shell over top of my leather Vanson jacket. Back in those days it was better than not riding at all. I rode around this way for a long time.

Now, I try to approach my cold weather riding attire like dressing for winter sports like snowboarding – layers. A thin thermal/wicking layer, a mid layer like Gerbing/fleece and then the outer layer of my textile jacket/pants. I try to minimize the bulk and keep the blood moving through the body. Though they provide the most room for layering, I hate wearing textile pants. I wear my leather pants with running tights underneath until it’s just too cold for me to do it anymore.

Harriman - 1997

Harriman - 1997

My 2 favorite non-electric items on the bike:

  • Smartwool Socks
    I really don’t know how they work. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. I love ’em!
  • Northface Windstopper Neck Gaiter
    I bought this on a freezing day in Bar Harbor, Maine back in 2003. I didn’t want to spend the money but it was just so cold out. It has paid for itself over time as I’ve loved this thing. Sadly I seem to have misplaced it since last winter.

How about you? What are you favorite non-electric items for keeping warm on the ride?


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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10 Responses

  1. Kelsey says:

    Winters in Korea were brutal for motorcycle commuting. Here’s what I wore on an average day in January:

    long sleeved shirt
    wool sweater
    wind-“proof” North Face polarfleece jacket
    wwii German winter wool parka

    fleece PJ pants
    (alternately, flannel-lined pants)

    wool socks
    shearling-lined boots

    handkerchief (around my neck
    wool scarf
    fur-lined trapper/aviator hat underneath my helmet

    wool gloves
    wool mittens (over the gloves)
    felt handlebar mitts
    chemical heat packs to place inside the mittens

    One day I forgot to bring enough chem heats for my ride home and I had to stop every ten minutes to warm up my hands by holding them on the exhaust pipe until my mittens started to get crispy.

  2. DUC748 says:

    Before the heated gear and textiles I would wear my two-piece Dainese leathers, Under Armor Heat Gear (top and bottom), a sweater, some Dainese winter gloves and a military issue GatorNeck under the helmet. The GatorNeck did more to soak up the runny nose than block the wind…it wasn’t nylon on the front side like what you had.

    The above was a January 1st 2002 ride in the low 30s. Those gloves were good for about 30 minutes max and then your hands hurt so bad you couldn’t feel them. =\

  3. GLantern says:

    My snowboard facemask is easily the best piece of non heated gear to keep me warm. It wraps around my neck and goes up to above my nose stopping any wind from turning my snot into icicles.

  4. fuzzygalore says:

    Cold Weather Motorcycle Gear: Your Favorite Non-Electrics: Just about everyone I know who owns heated m… #motorcycle

  5. ArcDeDucati says:

    Hot Chocolate.

  6. soth says:

    Good down to 14° at 90mph for at least 8 hours –

    – Comfort in Action windproof neck thing
    – Silk sock liners – Smartwool hiking socks (with or w/o the Grbings heated insoles
    – wool cycling tights

    Are you gearing up for Crotona this year Fuzz?

  7. DUC748 says:

    Soth, is this the item you are referring to? How thin is the material at the top and sides within the helmet? I’ve always been worried about compressing the liners by adding a layer, potentially making the helmet loose later on.—Wind-Balaclava.aspx

  8. redbone says:

    riding with you would warm me up! what? that’s a sexist remark? alright! i’ll apologize!

    i’m sorry you’re good looking. what? that wasn’t what you meant? geez!!



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