Reverence: Gilet

A properly-fitting gilet is an indispensable piece of kit

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who own a properly-fitting, lightweight gilet and those who don’t. Those who own one know this is an indispensable piece of kit.

The gilet is typically one of the last items that enters into a Cyclist’s wardrobe, long after arm warmers, knee warmers, and long sleeve jerseys have found their way into the kit bag. It’s just a vest, after all, and can’t possibly serve much purpose beyond Looking Pro, can it? It can, in fact.

A vest is an incredibly versatile unit that serves to stave off all kinds of Fuckness – be it from wind, rain, or cold. Furthermore, the sleeveless design makes it easy don or doff, and packs away nicely; a lightweight gilet can be folded flat (first in half, then in thirds) and slipped between the jersey and bibs, keeping the rear pockets clear and accessible for tools and food.

In short, the gilet is a Four-Season Fuckness Stopper that accompanies me year-round, one which I personally hold in higher regard than the long sleeve jersey:

  1. In Winter it is an ideal insulation barrier, adding warmth to a long or short sleeve jersey, or bridging the gap between the two during Spring and Fall
  2. In Spring and Fall, the wind-breaking capabilities make for a great rain barrier in (depending on your climate, Winter as well)
  3. In Summer, its lightweight nature makes it the ideal garment to stave off the chill of an early morning start or to bring along for warmth on cold mountain descents

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162 Replies to “Reverence: Gilet”

  1. @Steampunk
    You’re in good company, my friend. If it weren’t for the obvious, I’d never open my mouth.

    Pretty thoughtful kit, by the way, gilet and arm warmers, rather than the typical jersey.

  2. @BrianG
    Mesh back isn’t really a big deal. Mine is mesh and I have had it out in -5* and in a light drizzle with wet ground without a problem. Below freezing I went SS jersey, LS baselayer, wool armwarmers and the mesh gilet and I was fine. When it is wet it keeps the mud off of my jersey still.

    On a somewhat related note, how should I go about cleaning wool warmers without any wool-specific detergent?

  3. @Steampunk
    Beautiful. Might I suggest its better than a V-Gilet and OTR Arm Warmers. Strong work.

    @Steampunk, @xyxax
    If it weren’t’ for the obvious I would never get out of bed. G’rilla and I went for a ride at 9a today. Hill Repeats. “Yeah…my plane was late. It got in at 2am.” In Seattle, where I know he lives, that means he wasn’t to bed before 4am.

    The “Obvious”, as you two call it, says, “Text Frank at 8:59 that you’re not coming, and to bugger off.”

    Not him. No, he didn’t even complain as my freshly rested self dropped him on the first two repeats of the 2km, 25% (at the steepest) hill we’ve been training on. And then on the third (reluctant for me, “why not?” for him) repeat, he left me behind like an old, smelly towel before easing up to at the top so I could blow by him where the climb got easy. It felt good, but I knew what he was doing. He’s a fucking asshole, that one.

  4. @DerHoggz

    @BrianG
    Mesh back isn’t really a big deal. Mine is mesh and I have had it out in -5* and in a light drizzle with wet ground without a problem. Below freezing I went SS jersey, LS baselayer, wool armwarmers and the mesh gilet and I was fine. When it is wet it keeps the mud off of my jersey still.
    On a somewhat related note, how should I go about cleaning wool warmers without any wool-specific detergent?

    Great point – the biggest thing you’re after here is the wind-blocking capability and the fit. The mesh back might keep it cooler in the warm, but it won’t dramatically cool you down in the cold.

  5. @frank yep I’m norm and I agree, the internet really has made this a small world – in a good way I think.

    @scaler911 cheers!

  6. @frank
    Good one. Your “fold it and tuck it under your jersey” idea is shit. I lost a gilet today on my ride. Luckily not my V-Gilet. There woulda been ter-rubble if that had happened.

  7. @brett

    @frank
    Good one. Your “fold it and tuck it under your jersey” idea is shit. I lost a gilet today on my ride. Luckily not my V-Gilet. There woulda been ter-rubble if that had happened.

    Only thing tighter than a Dutchman’s wallet is his jersey.

  8. @brett

    @frank
    Good one. Your “fold it and tuck it under your jersey” idea is shit. I lost a gilet today on my ride. Luckily not my V-Gilet. There woulda been ter-rubble if that had happened.

    Hey Brett, yeah. My mistake. I forgot to explicitly mention that if your jersey can double as a nightgown, you shouldn’t try this technique.

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