Dec 7 gift guide background

2023 Gift Guide - Week 5: Cozy Things

Yep. The holidays are still approaching. It's not too late to be ahead of the game and reduce your stress as the days count down to whatever gift-giving holiday you celebrate. We've got some more good ideas for you - this week we're placing the emphasis on smaller, awesome things. Some of them cost less than a tall boy of your favourite craft beer, so you could buy one for each of your regular riding buddies and sprinkle them about on your next group ride. It's fun to poke about for these smaller ideas - we've highlighted a few from garage tinkerers, the kind of at home inventors that have always been a part of the culture of the sport.

And in case you missed them, here are links to Gift Guides from the last four weeks:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

Glerups boot rubber sole.png

I own the Glerups boots with rubber sole, just like these ones. They're perfection.

Glerups slip on leather sole.png

However, having decided I like having them when I travel, I may decide to pick up a leather-soled pair of the shoe version or the Slip ons (above) to have something a bit more compact.

Glerups shoe leather sole.jpg

The rubber sole has lasted well, but the leather soles are softer and more slipper-like. It depends on whether you think you want the grip and/or will wear them for quick outdoor jaunts.

Glerups Wool Felt Slippers (Boot edition)

By: Pete Roggeman

I'm kicking this week off with Glerups for a reason: I first recommended them in 2020, which is also when I first got my hands on some, and they're even more of a slam dunk now than they were then. Since that time, I've worn them every damn day at home from the time I get up to the time I go to bed; from whenever the weather cools enough to justify them until late Spring when it gets too hot to wear them. Here on the coast, that translates to the period spanning September to May. It would be no exaggeration to say that other than my watch, I haven't worn anything more in the four years I've owned them, and they're still in terrific condition.

I have the rubber-soled boot version and I've taken advantage: I'll keep them on for brief trips outside and give 'em a quick clean when I get back in so I can kick back on the couch without getting side-eyed. They're still clean on the bottom and the rubber sole is soft enough to be comfortable. In that time, I've gifted them to others, and others have in turn realized the supremacy of these wool felt slippers and propagated the gifting chain. One friend of mine decided to buy a cheaper version, and she's gone through two pairs in that time (spoiler: the cheap version are more than half the price of Glerups, so she badly lost that battle with her wallet).

There's a slipper, a shoe, and a boot version, and all come in a variety of colours, with a leather or gum rubber sole. Personally I like the boots because I think of them like indoor shoes, but others I know love the leather soles and the slipper or shoe versions - you really can't lose.

Bonus for the Canadians is that pricing is on par on both sides of the border (country-specific links below).

Glerups - starting at 100 CAD / 100 USD

Yeti Flannel 1
Yeti Flannel 2

Yeti Stagecoach Flannel

By: Pete Roggeman

There are a lot more bike brands making their own clothing these days, and it's not hard to piece that together: number one is that when apparel is done right, it is a profitable endeavour. Number two offsets number one: apparel made with the intention of promoting a brand doesn't need to be profitable in order to fulfill its primary mission, which is branding. Among bike brands making clothing, there is a wide spectrum of quality. Yeti is one of the brands that are doing it quite well on both the technical and 'lifestyle' side. When a (now departed) friend in marketing at Yeti sent some of their clothing to try, I had already circled the Stagecoach Flannel as a piece I hoped would be a good one. Luckily, I was right.

It's not a flannel in the true sense of the word (that linked article is, by the way, a great piece of writing by an outdoors writer who really gets it) but if we can set that part aside, I'm happy to argue that it belongs in the closet of anyone who will appreciate what it brings to the party. The materials list isn't that noteworthy: 65% POLYESTER, 32% RAYON, 3% SPANDEX, but the result is a soft, warm fabric that breathes well and can be worn quite a few times before needing to be washed. This is important to me, as I prefer not to do laundry too often, and I also prefer not to be stinky, so I gravitate towards clothing that doesn't set those two preferences at odds.

Moving along, the two chest pockets, cuffs, and front fasteners are snaps that have held up well to many snappings and un-snappings, and there is a sneaky sunglass wipe sewn into the backside of the hem. Don't wipe your sunglasses on the front of your shirt, folks (especially not if it's merino wool!).

Yes, you could ride in it - it breathes well enough for low-output rides in fall weather and has a relaxed fit (but not baggy) and the tiniest amount of stretch. But unless you're after a particular look on the bike, we know this one's mostly being worn in a casual work environment, or else somewhere that pints are being quaffed.

Many bike brands would like to sell you a flannel with their logo on it, but this one from Yeti is really nicely done, and the logos are very subtle to boot.

Yeti Stagecoach Flannel - 125 USD

Screen Shot 2023-12-06 at 7.10.48 PM

Poler Stuff Insulated Poncho

Being warm is better than being cold no matter the occasion. I have been obsessed with the Poler Stuff Insulated Poncho ever since it came out a decade ago. Poler being first to the line to cater to the glamping crowd who didn't care about the lightest or the highest tech fabrics, started making super comfortable and seriously trick utilitarian stuff. The Insulated poncho is one of those garments that make you go AHA!

I had forgotten about the Poler Poncho for a long time, until recently on a trip through Portland, the homeland of Poler, we stumbled upon the flagship store on a rainy walk. While looking through the sweet shirt rack I felt a massive grin on the back of my head where my partner had come across the Poncho. A love at first sight, we picked up a couple at a discount and have been living in them ever since. After a cold ride, just lounging around the house or as a blanket, the reversible poncho has earned its keep in a million ways. It lives in the car on road trips and is the best way to sit in a camp chair around the fire after a bike ride.

Right now you can pick them up for 50% off in some colours and is well worth the 50 USD price tag!

Poler Poncho 50 USD +

Paka socks 1
Paka socks 2

Paka Performance 3/4 Crew Socks

By: Pete Roggeman

When it's not too cool outside (or inside) I'll wear my Glerups with bare feet. The wool breathes well and doesn't stink. But for a lot of the year, there are wool socks on underneath. Recently I was introduced to Paka socks which are made from 33% Baby Alpaca Fiber (I'm assured this is harvested humanely), 7% Tencel, 57% Recycled Nylon, and 3% Spandex. They are soft. They are comfy, and they provide the same benefits as wool socks: besides comfort and warmth, and relative warmth when wet, they also repel bad smells. And these socks from Paka have a mild amount of padding and compression, making them comfy at home but also appropriate for riding, hiking and other activity.

Appreciating socks as a gift is probably something that condemns us to old age, or at least an age that no longer subscribes to the magic of Santa. The good news is, appreciating socks also likely means your life includes enough moments where you're getting after it. Or enjoying the comfort of warm feet while you read a good book. Put these in someone's stockings and realize this is the only gift that is both a garment and its own wrapper and marvel at the strange genius of good socks.

Paka Performance 3/4 Crew Socks - 24 USD (Available in women's sizing.)

NSBillet Talon Crankset NSMB Andrew Major (6)

High-quality aluminum chainrings made in Whistler, BC for most direct mount interfaces. In anodized black with an increasing number of silver options. Photo - Andrew Major

NSBillet NW Ring SRAM NSMB AndrewM

With sizes down to 24t for SRAM 3-Bolt and 26t for Race Face Cinch interfaces, North Shore Billet will have you spinning up climbs. Photo - Andrew Major

NSBillet Chainrings

By: Andrew Major

Wait a second Major, chainrings? Week 5 is supposed to be all about what's comfy & cozy, not machined aluminum variable-tooth throwing stars!

Yes, okay, but hear me out. It's wintertime here on the North Shore and the ground is pretty soft right now. And, well, let's be honest your friends are maybe a bit soft right now too. Grinding up the trails in their lowest gears, chewing through expensive cassettes that will be like new except for the most massive one of two non-replaceable aluminum cogs when it comes to recycling time. And the chainline, ugh.

Now it's true that some bikes have a minimum chainring size, and those friends will just have to grind their drivetrains into dust. But with most rigs, if they're grunting up everything in first gear then ditching 2, 4, 6, or more teeth out of that chainring is like two gifts in one. Their drivetrain is going to be a hell of a lot more comfortable and so will they.

Whether it's the Shimano, SRAM, or RaceFace direct mount interface, as long as you like your chainrings to be round the nice folks at North Shore Billet have you covered.

NSBillet Variable Tooth Chainrings : 80 CAD (any size, any mounting standard)

EVOC Trail Pro 16 Pack We Are One Arrival NSMB Andrew Major by Penny

The EVOC Trail Pro 16 protector pack is so cozy I'm still surprised every time I put it on. Photo - Penny

EVOC Trail Pro 16 Banshee Enigma NSMB Andrew Major By MEG

And the harness is so effective that I carry twice the comfy extra layers as I did before! Photo - Steve & Meg

EVOC Trail Pro 16 Protector Backpack

I won't wax on and on about the EVOC Trail Pro 16 backpack, my review just went live in October. It has a fantastic harness system that magically makes heavy loads lighter, and combined with the padded back protection it's the comfiest pack I've yet to wear.

To properly sum up the 'cozy' factor though I have to jump back to a couple of weeks ago. My daughter and I are headed out on a cold, wet, ride and she's having an impossible time choosing layers. She wants to wear her weatherproof vest, because she knows what's up, but she also wants a rain jacket and her pink puffy jacket in case the taps are cranked all the way open or the temperature plummets.

Fair enough. No bad weather, just bad gear, and my goal is always for her to have a great time riding bikes in the forest. With my previous pack, I would have made her choose but with the EVOC it's both coats, extra-extra-extra gloves, tons of snacks, tools, my emotional support jacket, the removable hood for my weatherproof vest (to be added in a true downpour), and a couple of lights just in case. Oh, and the pack's rain cover.

I'm not claiming this thing is a magical bag of holding, but it's ridiculous how much cozy crap I can comfortably carry with zero weight-shifting issues or back ouchies while I'm riding. It's the ultimate gift for any pack lover and for the pack hater who needs to wear one for whatever reason.

EVOC Trail Pro 16 Protector Backpack : 300 CAD

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+3 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major DanL

I swear the secret sauce of the EVOC Trail packs is the belt. Stretchy wide velcro belt with a nice solid buckle once things are in place. Reminds me of the old kidney belts we used back in the 80s motocross days.



The belt, the harness, the whole system. But yeah, I'd agree the belt is the big differentiator.


+2 Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman

Glerups are by far the best indoor footwear there is. I have the shoe style leather soled ones and after two years of near year round use they're still immaculate. The leather sole doesn't really wear down, it just gets smooth and shiny. The insole molds to your foot but doesn't pack out like foam. With the way these are aging I don't think they'll need replacing for a very long time, but if that day comes I'll be getting another pair. I've found my life slippers.



Can confirm, mine are 3 years old and have aged similarly. I might petition for the rubber-soled boot version this year though, the leather sole is a bit slippery even for quick outdoor use.


+1 Pete Roggeman

I got a pair of Glerups boots with the leather sole after Pete's recommendation years ago. They got worn every day during COVID and still better than new. Best indoor shoe ever.



Socks or no-socks? How high is the risk of "foot-swamp"?


Mentioned this when writing about the Paka socks above but socks or bare feet both work great. No swamp foot with wool socks since the felt breathes so well. Other socks would be fine but I practically only own wool socks now of varying thicknesses.


+2 Andrew Major Deniz Merdano

I noticed my SLX cranks have a granny gear mount for the old 4 hole standard that I'm sticking with.

I love the idea of getting parts made local .So NSB thank you ! And making for all mounts ,again thankyou ! 

I would be interested in a 28 tooth up front I wonder if they make one for granny gear mounting holes . Will they consider making the chain rings from stainless steel ? 

The gift that keeps on giving . A smile . Open a door for a stranger . Give them a smile . You will feel good and it does not cost you$ .

Realy the effort is greater than spending money . There is cost involved the currency is compassion.



"The gift that keeps on giving . A smile . Open a door for a stranger . Give them a smile . You will feel good and it does not cost you$ ."

Absolutely true and especially so this time of year. Stay human. 

"I would be interested in a 28 tooth up front I wonder if they make one for granny gear mounting holes . Will they consider making the chain rings from stainless steel ?"

NSB and Wolf Tooth both made 64BCD rings.

My wife runs the Wolf Tooth one on her Shimano XT 4-bolt 104/64 crankset but it's an oval one. They haven't been available for a while but hopefully they'll make them again.

Nothing steel, it's true, but I have to say my aluminum rings from both brands have held up extremely well.


+2 Andrew Major Sanesh Iyer

My favorite slippers are.....thick socks?

Seriously, between bike shoes and ski boots, my feet would just as soon be unbound the rest of the time.

To paraphrase Kramer, My feets have gotta be free, Jerry!



Yep, my mom knits me wool socks and I love them around the house.


+1 Kos

A plastic "flannel" made in Asia for $125.  lol, no.

+1 Deniz Merdano

You're right that it isn't real flannel or Made locally. So take your best shot - what would you recommend? For made in the US or Canada flannel that doesn't suck, there are options like Pendleton (360 CAD) Filson (250 and up) and similar.

I have a Kitsbow Icon that has seen hundreds of days of use since I got it in 2019. That one would have made this list along with the Glerups - if I was rebuilding a wardrobe from scratch those two things would be at the top of the list. RIP Kitsbow.

I was going to include a Smartwool flannel shacket but that'll have to wait for next week and *spolier* it's more than twice the price of the Yeti (however it does double as a jacket and it is 100% wool).

I stand by the Yeti shirt, though. It's soft, well-made, and has already held up well to lots of use and borderline abuse. In a time of my life where I'm getting by with fewer clothes but of higher quality, it isn't at all out of place.



Trevor says your a hipster....  I have to agree.


+3 DanL BarryW AndrewR

"your a hipster"

I'd bet Pete is more offended by the missing apostrophe than being called a hipster.


Being called a hipster by a 60-year-old is probably a compliment anyway.


+1 Pete Roggeman

go all the way and get a McNair merino shirt.


Ooooh now that's a rabbit hole I can enjoy heading into...


+1 Andrew Major

The Vermont Flannel Company just opened a store by me in Maine.  Solid locally made flannels. Under $100. 

Glerups with the gum sole for indoor use and outdoor firewood runs.  Leather can be slippy on wood floors/steps


+2 mudhoney BarryW

Awesome looking product - thanks for the heads up.

How does the sizing compare to other stuff for you?

They even make my colour:


+1 Andrew Major

They have regular and fitted cuts.  I’m on the small/ medium border and go with medium fitted. Regulars roomier cut.  Happy Holidays! Thank you for all the thoughtful articles.


Nice looking, made locally, decent price. But not flannel. They're 'cotton flannel'. Perfectly fine for looking good around the table at Thanksgiving, or chopping wood in your yard or whatever, but no good for outdoors use if you're in a situation where the way you're dressed may impact your survival (or just enjoyment of whatever you're doing out in the woods). Even a nice check or plaid won't keep cotton from killing you if you get sweaty or wet in the middle of nowhere and it gets cold out.

To be clear that's a shirt I'd gladly buy and own, but the cost can't be compared to a comparable wool shirt just like you can't compare the cost of carbon and aluminum frames (place of manufacture notwithstanding).



Any thoughts on proper wool flannels that you can ride in? 

I've got a two Anian Meltons that are just too hot to pedal in, but make mean shuttle shirts (and oven mitts while camping, and camping pillows, and blankets, and date night shirts. Fairly priced local wool, they're awesome). 

I've also got an OR synth fleece shirt that has had horrid durability but is comfortable AF.



Not a flannel, but I’ve been living in the new MEC T2 merino layers. I have two, one hooded and one non-hooded and I’m in them 6-7 days a week - riding, hiking, walking, sitting around, working.

They represent a total mea culpa moment for me because I said I wouldn’t like them, being a blend and “only 46% merino” but moving past my material assumptions they’re my favourite fall/winter shirts ever.



Thanks Andrew!

How do they do with wind resistance and water resistance?

I have a plethora of merino layers. More than I'd like to admit, but mostly of the Costco variety, and the main short coming of everything I own is wind resistance. I haven't been able to find a good substitute for fleece (Patagonia R1 or similar).



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