Spring Is Here (?); Bags

January 24th, 2012

I should announce in advance any time I have to wear a suit to work: it is highly correlated with weird weather. Often it’s a heavy storm or cold snap, but today it appears to be freakishly warm (46 degrees this morning).

Technically, wearing a suit is no different from wearing other clothing. However, for me it adds a few complications: the jacket (what to do with it, as it’s long and sticks out of coats), cleanliness (you don’t want to get grit or slush on that bad boy), and the shoes (I usually leave my shoes at my desk). If this were most any other season, I might consider just wearing everything. Since this is the Dirty Season (winter to the lay person), I wear my rain pants, any coat, my normal bike-to-work shoes, and pack the jacket and shoes in panniers.

Clothing: Rain jacket, rain pants, waterproof shoes. No gloves.

I got a little warm riding in despite the light clothing. The key is airflow. I already had the tie knotted, and the shirt tucked in; the rain clothes add extra constriction. However, the biggest factor that kept me from getting actually sweaty was the bag. Any kind of bag on your body (whether two strap backpack or a messenger bag) will effectively increase the temperature by at least 10 degrees. The reason is airflow, for two reasons. The first is that there’s no air whatsoever under the straps: your body tries to remove heat, and so it sweats and nothing can escape. This ends up soaking your clothing in weird patches. Second, the straps obstruct any air from circulating between your skin and the openings in your clothing (around your neck, arms, and maybe lower back), which raises your overall temperature. If I want to arrive someplace presentable, I go for panniers.

Since I’m recommending them, I’ll go ahead and say that most any pannier will work. I have Axiom Typhoon LX panniers because that’s what the store had when I urgently needed a bigger bag the night before leaving on a touring trip. (It turns out the saying is true that you will fill whatever size bag you have, however.) They’re dry bag style, totally waterproof, and a giant sack. That’s not ideal because whatever you need is inevitably on the bottom of the sack, however the waterproof property and tough material makes these a good buy.

One Response to “Spring Is Here (?); Bags”

  1. Weather Out There » Blog Archive » Carrying Things (II); Cool and Dry (again) Says:

    […] 10th, 2012 TweetToday I’m going to follow up on my previous “Carrying Things” post by talking about big, bulky items. You know, the kind that don’t fit in yours, or […]

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