Editor’s Dozen: Miles and Emily’s Summer Gear Picks

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Prime riding season is in full swing in the Pacific Northwest, serving up some of the best conditions for long days of bikepacking, ocean swimming, and slow nights at camp. Miles and Emily have put together a dozen of their favourite products for this roundup, including new finds and time-tested gear that’s been coming along on every ride…

Building on Logans and Virginia’s summer gear picks from earlier this month, Emily and I sat down to put together another dozen products that we’ve had great experiences using and heartily recommend. You’ll find several picks that have been used by both of us, some of which have been long-term tested and a few fresh items that are for the summer. Enjoy!

Casa Verde Cheypie Linen-Organic Cotton Skort

The Casa Verde Cheypie Linen-Organic Cotton Skort is handmade in New York City in a woman of color owned and operated small batch factory. It’s made from a mid-weight linen/cotton blend with a recycled poly quick-drying antimicrobial spandex section in the crotch. It doesn’t look like what the industry typically presents as bike clothing, and that’s precisely why Emily was attracted to it in the first place. Our friend Erin at Knolly Bikes wore her skort on a section of the Tree to Sea Loop last summer and mentioned how it was cute and functional for bikepacking. As baggy cycling shorts and spandex aren’t Emily’s first choices, she eventually purchased one of her own.

Sea to Summit Flame Review
  • Cheypie Skort
  • Cheypie Skort
  • Cheypie Skort

Emily wears her skort on the bike as much as she does off it. It has proven to be functional, durable, and stylish. Little details like the gusseted crotch, sweat-catching fabric, and spacious back pocket are greatly appreciated while riding, and the linen-blend fabric has held its shape and isn’t showing early signs of wear.

225 grams / Made in USA / $158 at CrustBikes.com

Skida Sun Tour

Both Emily and I have been taking sun exposure and UV protection quite seriously after some recent skin cancer scares in our family. Beyond applying (and reapplying) sunscreen regularly throughout the day, finding comfortable clothing and accessories that help cover up while on the bike has been a priority. Vermont-based Skida is a headwear and accessory brand that has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years, expanding their offerings with unique collaborations, bike shorts, custom fenders, and more.

Skida Sun Tour
  • Skida Sun Tour
  • Skida Sun Tour
  • Skida Sun Tour

Emily picked up their lightweight necktube, the Sun Tour, for summer riding and bikepacking. It’s made from a soft and stretchy jersey poly-spandex fabric with UV50+ sun protection, making it a great option for layering under a helmet, wearing around your neck during the day, or as an eye cover during the night. On our ride down the Black Canyon Trail in Arizona this winter, the Sun Tour was such an obvious and easy addition to our packlist that it’s hard to imagine any bikepacking trip without it now. Plus, they’re made in Vermont and cost just $22.

35 grams / Made in USA / $22 at Skida.com

Safety Donut

Designed by British Columbia-based Taryn Davis (@tleigh.d), the Safety Donut is a fun reflective accessory inspired by the Safety Pizza from California. Taryn began prototyping back in 2020, and the first donut was all hand-cut, including the base, glaze, and sprinkles. The base on the latest versions is now 3D printed in Canada, and the other components are cut using a scrapbooking tool and then assembled by Taryn. Twenty v7 prototypes were sent out to some lucky people earlier this year, including Emily and me, and as donut lovers, we’ve been happy to add some extra visibility and flare to our rigs.

Safety Donut

Safety Donut v8 is already being planned and will include a shock cord attachment to make swapping between bikes easier, as well as the possibility of more 3D printed parts for longevity. Taryn has also been donating a portion of the proceeds to the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program, a British Columbia-based organization that works with the province’s First Nations to train youth and build trails. Updated Safety Donuts will be available for purchase in small batches later in 2022, once Taryn finalizes some production and distribution details.

7Mesh Elevate Long Sleeve

We’re big fans of 7mesh and their technical cycling apparel. Not only do they design and manufacture some truly impressive gear, but they’ve also been long-term supporters of several important non-profits, including the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program and Reconciliation Canada. Emily and I have both been wearing the 7mesh Elevate Long Sleeve for over a year now, and it has quickly become our go-to riding shirt. It’s made from an incredibly lightweight polyester-lyocell blend fabric that is antibacterial, breathable, and moisture absorbent to provide a cooling sensation on hot days. It’s light enough to wear on hot days, providing some protection from the sun, and is also great for layering up with on cool mornings.

7mesh Elevate Long Sleeve
  • 7mesh Elevate long sleeve
  • 7mesh Elevate long sleeve
  • 7mesh Elevate long sleeve

A number of other riders have asked me about my Elevate Long Sleeve while out on the trail, and it’s always the first shirt I reach for when heading out on a ride, no matter the weather. While the lightweight, comfortable design is great, the fabric isn’t the most durable and is showing some signs of wear after significant use. It catches on thorns and branches easily and has a tendency to pull if you’re not careful. Still, it’s one of our favourite riding shirts and could be worth the fairly high price tag for the right riders.

120 grams / Made in China / $70 CAD Men’s Elevate LS / Women’s Elevate LS

OneLight Fire Starters

Produced right here in Powell River, British Columbia, the OneLight Fire Starters are an incredibly useful all-in-one option that replaces kindling and is portable and handmade. The fire starters are made from 99% recycled materials that are diverted from landfills, including the wax, wood, and toilet paper rolls that wrap everything together. Because of the wax coating, they work well in the rain, and the wicks on either end of the starter make it easy to get a fire going quickly.

  • Onelight Firestarter
  • Onelight Firestarter

While there are ways to make your own, I feel good about purchasing from a company that supports inclusive employment, and OneLight has committed to employing 1/3 of its workforce with people with developmental disabilities.

38 grams each / Made in Canada / $25 CAD at OneLight.ca

7Mesh Foundation Boxer Briefs

Although I enjoy bikepacking without a chamois, there are times when some extra padding can be really useful. For the last year or so, I’ve turned to the lightly padded 7mesh Foundation Boxer Brief when riding long routes on gravel roads and doubletrack, especially when I’m expecting to spend most of time in the saddle. They are low-profile, breathable enough to wear on hot days, and are only lightly padded, so it never feels like you’re wearing a big wet diaper.

  • 7mesh Foundation
  • 7mesh Foundation
7mesh Foundation

As far as fit, they are true to size and haven’t stretched out after several longer tours. The biggest benefit I’ve discovered is their ability to dry out after washing, which was particularly useful during my time scouting the Tree to Sea Loop last fall. Emily has been wearing the Women’s Boxer Brief and has expressed similar feelings. They are as close to normal underwear as they can get, but she did mention she wishes 7mesh would offer a boy-short style for women for whom a brief or longer short may not work.

75 grams / Made in China / $50-60 CAD Men’s Boxer Brief / Women’s Brief

Long-Travel Dropper Posts

I’m completely sold on riding with a dropper post. Whether I’m dodging frisbees in the park, bombing down our local mountain, or loading up for a week of bikepacking, I’m happier sitting atop a dropper post. Low standover, a big main triangle, and room for a long dropper post are among my favourite things about modern hardtails, which is why it’s so great to see brands offering long-travel posts for us long-legged folk who want to make use of every last millimetre available to us.

Chromag Surface Voyager

OneUp came in hot earlier this year with their massive 240mm dropper post, and most of our other favourite brands offer a 200mm option. The majority are easy to service at home, cable actuated, and perfectly suited for bikepacking. Personally, I’ve had great success using OneUp’s 210mm V2 dropper post, which has bounced between my Why S7 and several review bikes over the last year or so.

495 grams / Made in China / $280 CAD (210mm) at OneUpComponents.com

Chubbies Retro Outdoor Shorts

I’ve been living in my Chubbies shorts since picking them up a few months ago. The Retro Outdoor Shorts are a versatile short short that are lightweight, quick drying, and comfortable for a wide range of activities. They’ve been my go-to swim short, work well for running and hiking, and they have a 6″ inseam to show off your riding legs.

Chubbies Shorts
  • Chubbies Shorts
  • Chubbies Shorts
  • Chubbies Shorts

I’ll be packing my Chubbies on every bikepacking trip and day ride this summer when there is any chance of getting wet. I really appreciate the small details like the snap closure, built-in belt, zippered fly, and velcro back pocket, plus the retro styling is easy to get behind. The shorts are normally $65 USD, but it appears they are currently 20% off online.

Made in China / $65 at ChubbiesShorts.com

PNW Loam Pedals

Released earlier this year, the Loam Pedals are PNW Components’ first flat pedals. Their clean design and low-profile alloy platform caught my attention, and I’ve been testing them since their release. PNW claims their pedals have “enough grip to hang on through sketchy terrain while also allowing flexibility for quick foot readjustments,” and I completely agree. They grip firmly on long descents but still allow for micro-adjustments without having to peel your shoe from the pedal, which has been nice while bikepacking.

  • PNW Loam Pedals
  • PNW Loam Pedals

The 22 removable pins are holding up great, and while there was a slight amount of bearing play out of the box, it seems to have vanished when installed, and hasn’t gotten worse over time. The Loam Pedals can be disassembled with a single hex wrench and rebuilt or serviced when the time comes, and the 105mm x 115mm platform hits a sweet spot for everyday use.

445 grams per pair / Made in China / $99 at PNWComponents.com

Bags by Bird Better Half Frame Bag

Launched in 2020, the Bags by Bird Better Half Frame Bag is a unique take on a wedge-style frame bag with classic styling and two flip-top lids. It was originally launched with magnetic Fidlock buckles but has recently switched over to an elastic shock cord that’s latched using a metal gaiter hook. There are currently two sizes available to accommodate different frames, but owner/operator Jay Ritchey has plans for a major update that will expand the size options and redesign the flaps and attachment points.

All City Super Professional
  • Better Half Frame Bag
  • Bags by Bird BXB

Emily and I have both been testing an early version of the Better Half Frame Bag since they were first available. Emily’s has lived on her All-City Super Professional, while mine has jumped around between review bikes. Since the shape is best suited for bikes with near-horizontal top tubes, I’ve found they make the most sense on gravel bikes with high standover and not so much with modern mountain bikes. The flip-top lids are quick and easy to access and do a good job at keeping contents safe inside and weather out. The various attachment points make it easy to dial in the fit within your frame, and as always, Jay’s attention to detail and overall quality are readily apparent in their construction. Check out our Gear Index on half frame bags and wedges for more great options.

246 grams / Made in USA / $110 at BagsxBird.com

Fuji X-T3 + 27mm Lens

A few months ago, I finally bit the bullet on a Fuji XT3 for something to complement my much bulkier Canon 6D. I ended up snagging a pre-owned body from Camera West in California and paired it with a new Fujinon XF 27mm pancake lens. The complete kit weighs less than the 6D body alone and doesn’t require a massive hip pack or dedicated camera bag to carry, which has meant I’m far more likely to bring it along during casual rides in town.

Fuji X-T3

While I’ll likely reserve my Canon for product shoots, the X-T3 has accompanied me on several overnighters and day rides and is proving to be versatile and fun to use. I feel like I’ve only just figured out the Canon’s quirks, so switching to an entirely new system has been a major learning curve. The Fuji’s oversized dials, classic styling, and intuitive interface have made it enjoyable to figure out.

640 grams / Made in China / FujiFilm-x.com

Olympus XA2

After an unsuccessful attempt at reviving her grandma’s old camera, Emily was still set on finding one to experiment with. During our time in the southwest this winter, she found a secondhand Olympus XA2 and has been shooting it ever since. The XA2 has come along on several bikepacking trips now and has proven to be a great option for the film-curious bikepacker.

  • olympus xa2
  • olympus xa2

It’s tiny, weighs hardly anything, and although the 1980s plastic isn’t the most durable, it can easily be stuffed inside a sock and stashed away inside a feed bag or hip pack. Stay tuned for more, as Emily has a few more rolls to get through before she sends them off to get developed.

236 grams with film / Made in Japan

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