IF YOU HAD TO PACK: 7MESH FOR A WEEKEND MTB TRIP IN SUMMER
Words: Pete Harrington
Photos: Matt Clark & Jonas Kullman
We used to get the packing fear. Mention a trip away, and we’d freeze up at the thought of the inevitable hunt for various pieces of kit, carelessly flung in all directions upon our return home from wherever our last ride had taken us (it was guaranteed to be muddy, too). We’d eventually find our best bike jersey in the bathroom, our shorts in the fridge, and the dog taking a professional interest in our soft shell behind the sofa – again.
And we hadn’t even got to the packing part.
Then one day we received some advice from a mountain bike master packer, and everything changed. What he told us was this: When thinking about what to pack, work from the feet up, checking off each item as you travel upwards. And it works! Start with your socks and shoes, underwear and shorts (adding knee protectors on the way up, if you ride with them), baselayer, jersey and jacket, glasses, hat and helmet. Before long, this deceptively simple system will become second nature, and you’ll be far less likely to forget anything again.
But until you get to practice what we preach, we’re going to help you out with a travel mini-series: we’ll propose the adventure, and recommend three essential pieces of 7mesh apparel to take along for the ride. Why three? Because while we all want a wardrobe stocked to the rafters with bike bling, it’s not always possible when life demands that you buy things that are not about the bike.
For our first fantasy trip, we asked a few 7mesh staffers which three items they’d take for a weekend mountain bike trip over summer. Some wanted more kit; they were overruled.
Above the Alpine
“For me, the Glidepath short is an absolute must-take; it ticks every single box,” says TJ, the man responsible for putting 7mesh on the map. “Lightweight, durable, water resistant, and ample storage for as much gear as I want to carry and organize. A huge bonus is they dry super fast, making them great for lake or river dips. They’re also totally wearable for an evening at the pub!”
And his second choice? “The Ashlu Jersey, every time. Super versatile climate range keeps me warm when it’s cool, keeps me comfortable when it’s warm, comfy fit, great gear storage, and the wool holds less odor over a two-day trip.”
Which leaves a final third piece, and where TJ is concerned, above the alpine, it’s all about the windshell. “I always want the packable Resistance Jacket with me in the mountains when the weather might turn. It’s so versatile, and it just blows away the level of weather protection offered in a standard wind blocking outer.”
Whistler Road Trip
“Ha! I did my homework,” Steph tells us with glee. “I just got back from a road trip where we hit four riding destinations, camping along the way with some very different weather. Everything had to be relatively packable, do double duty for warm days and rain, and be able to dry out overnight in a tent.”
With a route that took in Whistler, William’s Lake, Lilloet and Pemberton, skirting heat, thunderstorms and mizzle (rain that has no business calling itself rain), she needed a rock steady kit collection. “I love the Women’s Glidepath Short,” she says. “It’s lightweight for warm/hot days, dried quickly when we get caught in the rain (nothing worse than packing up wet gear or getting stuck riding on day 2 in soggy shorts!) and it packs up small so my bag was pretty easy to cart around.”
Her second choice called for the ever-versatile Women’s Desperado. “It’s light enough for warm days, but cozy enough to provide a little extra protection on the cool days,” she explains. “The wool fabric helps to wick sweat away while climbing, but keeps you warm on the descents and in those moments when the skies open up on you without warning. Also, wool means you can use it for four days of riding with no smell!”
So far so comfy, but what about all that rain? “That’s why I brought along the Women’s Guardian – it packs down smaller than my fist!” she says. “It’s an ideal piece when there’s a ‘chance of’ rain forecast for the day ahead. I stowed it in my hip pack – I have a 3L EVOC that does the job nicely – on big mountain days I fit in 1.5-2L water, the Guardian, 1 bar & 1 pkg gummies, as well as other small necessities in the outer pocket,” she says. “For its pack-down size, the Guardian hits hard. It kept me dry while caught out in a thunderstorm, warm on long descents, and toasty back at camp when our evenings spent by the lakes and rivers grew chill.”
The View from Sweden
Stepping out of Canada, we asked Teodor and Jonas from 7mesh Sweden to gives us the lowdown on their apparel choices for a weekend of summer mountain biking. “The Compound is probably my favourite jersey,” says Teodor. “It’ll keep me cool enough on hot days and keep some wind chill away from my body when I ride up in the alpine where the wind usually picks up a bit.” Jonas though chooses the Desperado. “It’s a nice and comfortable jersey that dries quickly. With almost 50% merino in the fabric, I know it’ll be ok to wear for a couple of days of riding.”
But they both pick the same shorts. “Got to be the Glidepath,” chips in Jonas. “It’s pretty much unrivalled in performance and comfort compared to anything I’ve ever ridden before, and works really well in every condition you’ll encounter during summertime.” Teodor agrees, “Absolutely, it’s just a perfect pair mountain biking short, with handy pockets for a phone, small tools or snacks.”
Once the bikes are washed, tweaked and prepped for the following day’s ride, they both reach for a jacket to keep the evening chill at bay. “The Recon is one of my favourite outer layers,” says Teodor. “For lower temperatures it’s ideal, and it can even stand some rain. It’s also a great jacket that works off the bike, too.” Whereas in the same conditions, Jonas grabs the Northwoods. “It’s very packable and light but will still be a good choice for a summer evening or some wind and light rain,” he explains. “Even if it’s not rain proof it will give enough protection, as long as it’s not too cold. Like the Recon, it’s a great looking jacket that doesn’t look out of place off the bike.”
“Just back from a weekend float plane drop out on Spruce Lake,” announces 7mesh’s designer Ian Martin, rolling into the office one morning after his trip to the mountain bike nirvana of Chilcotin in British Columbia. “Wore a Desperado, Foundation Bib and a Glidepath. It was a bit hot for wool, but If I’m only bringing one shirt and it’s over 1000m in elevation, it needs to be a bit warmer in case it gets cold”.
When it comes to packing, Ian thinks like a Boy Scout – with a potty mouth. “For a more remote day out, I always think about two things: how much room do I have, and what will I need if shit goes sideways.” And that means taking a super packable puffy, like the Outflow. “If someone gets hurt, a bike breaks, or you get caught out after dark, you need some warmth. 99% of the time I don’t wear it, but if I do need it, I’ll be super glad I packed it.” He also brings along a Northwoods shell, although that’s for the bugs. “Having a light outer layer with a hood keeps you sane when the gnats are out,” he says.
Having busted through our three item limit, why not go for another? “Gotta have a lightweight, packable rain jacket. With most of these weighing in well under 200g and packing down to almost nothing it’s an easy decision. I like to know if an alpine storm rolls in I have a rainproof layer. On this trip, I packed a Guardian jacket.”