Looking back at all the gear reviews I did in the past year, there are a couple of bike related items that I can recommend to anyone.
These bags replaced the ones that came with my Haul a Day that had more or less worn out after about a year of service. They are much better built, are wider, and carry more stuff. Also, you can get them in a variety of colours. The safety orange ones I got were a custom order for a slight upcharge. Despite the weakness of the Canadian dollar, these bags are worth the extra cost.
Raincapes: I’ve blogged about the advantages of raincapes before. This year, Cleverhood came out with a budget option called the Cleverlite that is still sewn in the US. My review compares it to a couple of other options.
If the made in North America factor is not important to you, then I can also recommend the raincapes by Impac that are sold thru the Bike Doctor in Vancouver.
As I’ve noted before, one thing that you can do with any raincape is to find a way to fasten the centre of the front hem to the vicinity of the centre of your bars. This keeps in draped properly, even if you aren’t using the thumbloops (for example where you are signalling a turn). I sewed a patch of velcro to the cape
and I have a loop of double sided Velcro strap on my bars so that the cape is fixed like so:
Wool balaclavas: This is somewhat of a holdover from previous years. However, I got a new one this year that has a four piece design that allows it to be used variously as a balaclava or a neck gaiter. If you are interested in the details you can read this breathless description from Outlier. Mine was from Trew, but I see that it has disappeared from their website. The construction also lets me pull it down under my chin with less tension than a regular single opening design.
Charlene Seat Pack from Porcelain Rocket. I added this to my Tikit so that I could stow a toolkit and still leave plenty of space for a light rain jacket and snacks, or even a baguette. It is very well constructed, and much lighter than an old Carradice seat pack that it replaced. Note that MEC has started to carry this line. Also note that although these are not sewn in Calgary anymore, they are still made in North America.
Proviz Reflect 360+ Cycling Jacket. Retroreflective fabric all over. Enough said.
Here is my favourites list from 2015.