Fat bikes can effortlessly glide over snowy conditions like a set of snowshoes, and they’re cushy enough for riding in frigid temps without shattering your frozen tuchus. But the bike can only take you so far. Staying warm and dry — and returning home with all your fingers and toes — requires the right set of gear for when the weather decides to take a serious turn for the worse. These winter fat biking essentials will help you battle the worst Mother Nature can throw your way.
The Fatboy is Specialized’s entry into the category, and they’ve delivered: it sports a lightweight frame and fork with 4.6-inch Specialized Ground Control tires, a fully butted M4 premium aluminum frame with 190mm rear spacing, and a tapered head tube with clearance for 5-inch tires. The lightweight frame and mix of quality components from SRAM, Tektro and Specialized at a price point that won’t break the bank make the Fatboy SL a great choice for wherever you plan on riding.
Revelate Expedition Pogies
Pogies look like oversized mittens that slide over your handlebars. Revelate’s are the warmest you’ll find, tested and refined with input from athletes who have completed the Iditarod Trail. They’re good for extended rides at sub-zero temperatures and use a bivy clip, which keeps snow out, and a large pocket that hangs on each side of your hands for quick access to food, heat packs or your headlamp. It’s the Swiss army knife of Pogies.
Arctic Innovations Hydroheater Hydration System
If you’ve left a bottle of water in your car during a deep freeze then you get the basic problem Arctic Innovations addressed with the the Hydroheater. It uses a heating element, the “ice worm”, inside the drinking tube to keep water from freezing. The heater is powered by a battery pack using eight AAs — good for 10 to 15 thawing cycles in temperatures as low as -50 F — and can be activated using a button with an LED indicator to let you know the worm is working.
45NRTH Wölvhammer Cycling Boots
Shoe covers over mountain biking shoes are not going to keep your feet warm when temps dip into the single digits and you have to dismount to get through a deep snow section. You need more shoe. 45NRTH designed the Wölvhammer as a mountaineering boot first, adding 200g of Thinsulate and NASA-approved technology on the insole to keep the cold from creeping in where the cleat mounts to the sole.
45NRTH Bergraven Gaiter
Getting off your bike on a powder day is inevitable, and without protection from the elements so is snow in your shoes. The Bergraven gaiters have a wind-resistant 600d poly outer shell and PrimaLoft Gold Eco insulation, plus a durable stretch panel to protect against contact with the crank arm. These gaiters are specially built for the Wölvhammer biking boots.
A’ME Heated 1.3 Tri Grips
Heated grips are a great option when the trails are a bit more technical and Pogies would get in the way. Keeping your hands warm is about more than comfort: it’s essential for reducing fatigue, improving control and keeping you upright in the technical stuff. The 1.3 TRI grips allow you easily adjust each grip to any of the six temperature settings with the push of a button.
Light and Motion Seca 2000 Race
This ultra-lightweight, long-burning light is perfect for navigating the last hour back to the car or an all-night expedition; the run time on high is 90 minutes while the low setting burns for six. With multiple mounting options and a battery pack lighter than most smartphones, it’s an essential piece of gear for winter rides.
Oveja Negra Threadworks Frame Bag
The Threadworks Half Pack is a custom-made 5.5-liter bag that fits snugly under the top tube. The design provides easy access to bottles, and it has the capacity for plenty of extra gear in the main compartment, a velcro hydration port and an extra tool pocket.
Assos Fugu Gloves
Assos is known for their elegantly styled and super functional cycling clothing. The Fugu Gloves are some of the finest on the market for riding in the bitter cold, made from six textiles that provide a high level of insulation and protection via three layers: a warm inner liner, a middle layer with airblock protection, and a water- and wind-resistant outer. They’re slim enough to fit right inside a Pogie and tough enough to stand on their own.
Gore Alp-X 2.0 Active Pants
The Alp X 2.0 pants are ideal for long days on the trail with unpredictable weather conditions. Made specifically for riding a bike during winter, they’re warm, waterproof and breathable, with useful features like pre-shaped knees, a high-cut back and a reinforced seat.