The sun is just awakening, welcoming a new day that is ripe for a long motorcycle ride.

No matter if your ride is a day trip or a multi-day excursion, it is good to know what Mother Nature plans to hand you for your time on two wheels.  We all love those perfect riding days, but also understand that we are not protected by roofs and windows when bad weather hits. We need to plan for the unexpected “weather wildcard” for both our safety and enjoyment.  Our motorcycle gear can do some pretty heavy lifting to help us, offering us protection, comfort, and style through difficult riding conditions.

If you have a plan for riding in hot, cold, and wet all in one trip, you must be prepared for conditions that expose you to many different elements.  But where to start?

We will show you how to do this without packing a small trailer that you have to tow behind your bike and without a huge expenditure of cash.

It’s actually pretty easy if you know what features to get in your gear, and we are here to guide you through those now.  After looking into a few key areas in protection and comfort, you will feel confident that you can get outfitted in both functional and stylish kit that will smack down even the strongest of weather wildcards.  We will help you ride longer and ride more comfortably – because more miles = more smiles!

Let’s start with the key features to review in your gear.  First, know that you are living in a time where technological advances in apparel have given motorcyclists much better ways to combat the heat, cold and rain.  Gone are the days where you have to suffer through sweaty, freezing or wet rides because your gear is one-dimensional, and you end up packing a suitcase of “extra” gear options that you may (or may not) need for a long ride.  There are many pieces of riding gear that can multi-task for you and the first thing to look for is breathability.  This is important for all conditions because it allows for better body temperature management.  

OK, but what does “breathability” mean, you ask.  Well, it has two parts:
the first part is ventilation, where a porous fabric allows air to pass through it and can carry moisture and vapor form away from the body.  

The second part is diffusion, where a non-porous fabric allows moisture to be collected and is then exhausted through the other side of the fabric. This is done through special coatings and is an incredible advancement in garment technology that is now common in sports apparel, including motorcycle gear.

So this means that bikers can now look for gear that has waterproof features that can also breathe and keep us comfortable while riding.  No more days of garbage-bag-like gear that is good at keeping rain out, but terrible at letting body heat escape.  Alpinestars has great jacket options for guys and one for gals that have these incredible waterproof breathable membranes, and are also reinforced with sealed seams to ensure the rain stays out, and you stay comfortably dry underneath.  

This combination of breathable and waterproof features is also imperative to have in your footwear.  There is nothing worse than a soggy foot while riding.  Not only is it uncomfortably gross, but it is also dangerous since you need precision control to shift and break with your feet.  Icon has a great boot for men and Rokker has one for women  that will keep your tootsies dry and safe on the road.

Building on the idea of ventilation, the next feature to look for in your gear is a zippered vent.  These are manually operated allowing you to open them for more direct airflow for hotter riding conditions, or close them to keep you warmer when it gets cold.  Look for gear that has easy access to open or close these vents with one hand – you want to have the flexibility to operate them without pulling off to the side of the road.  This is the single most important feature to mitigate heat, but also helps stay warm in mild cold.  This versatility in your gear is so that you don’t have to buy (and pack) two jackets.

To get the best protection from more severe cold-weather riding, look for gear that has a removable warmth liner.  These will typically use zippers to attach to your jacket or pants and can be inserted when the temperatures dip.  This is a great (and small) addition to your kit that gives you warmth without packing a heavier jacket. There are several thin but warm liner materials that give great heat retention without making you look like a marshmallow.  Both the Alpinestars jackets above have this removable liner sold with the jacket.  Ideally, you want to find a powerhouse style that offers waterproof, breathability and warmth features so you can minimize what you bring on your ride.  It will also be softer on your wallet to buy one jacket with multiple features like this, as opposed to buying three different jackets.

Lastly, you want to consider the features of your pants.

You can buy an overpant that has all the breathable, waterproof and warmth liner bells and whistles as the jacket – just plan on a little more space to pack a piece like this.  Scorpion has a version for men and a version for women that credibly offer those features.

If you don’t want all that in your pant, a good alternative is to buy a lightweight overpant made for rain riding.  Sedici's Women's Aurora Waterproof Pants are a great option.

So there you have it - how to pack for Hot, Cold and Wet in one trip, without bringing a trailer and without breaking the bank.

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Now, go hit the road!

Contributed by Melvina Kleverova Zilliox