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Wear kit made in the USA, Ornot

Photos Deniz Merdano
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Until recently, Ornot was not on my radar screen. The San Francisco-based company is 11 years old, but I've never noticed the company's clothing before this. This is perhaps partially by design; one of the reasons the entire company exists is the founder Matt's push back against being a riding billboard. After all who can blame him. I wouldn't have loved racing with Muscle Milk in huge letters on my chest either.

Matt set out to build a company in 2013 doing things that sound de rigueur in 2024: climate conscious clothing with minimal branding, made in the USA. While I'm wary of words like "sustainable" and "ethical" being thrown around, Ornot has their ducks in a row, giving back through 1% For the Planet and their carbon claims certified by Climate Neutral.

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Buying clothing you're comfortable in no matter what type of riding you're doing hopefully means you can buy fewer things overall. This is good for your closet, your wallet, and the planet.

For the sake of this being a review of bike clothing, we're going to skip a deep dive into the details of carbon accounting, the differences between offsets and removals, durability of nature-based solutions, and all the nitty gritty details and just applaud a small company spending some of its hard earned dollars to quantify and offset their impact to the best of their ability. It's easy to unsure of what to do in a confusing world of standards and terminology; the important part is starting to do something, and starting it now.


As consumers, we are ultimately responsible for emissions; we're the ones buying the things. But that doesn't absolve brands of responsibility and Ornot embraces this.

With that climate conscious mindset at the fore, the most important thing we consumers can do is buy less. That means anything you pick up should be versatile and long-lasting. Buy things that you'll be able to wear in more scenarios and need to replace less often. With that in mind, I've had some Ornot pieces in heavy rotation through winter and spring, coming away with positive impressions around construction, fit, and durability.

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I've used this vest a lot - while the fit I'm using may not appeal to everyone, its easy to pick a size up.

Micro Climate Vest

We've been through this - I'm a vest guy. The Micro Climate Vest was something that immediately popped out at me when I was initially perusing the Ornot website, and it hasn't let me down. It's not for rainy days, but it provides a remarkable amount of warmth for its diminutive packed size. Credit here likely goes to the 'grid fleece' lining which does an excellent job trapping warm air against you. If you're getting warm there's a two way zipper, if you need snacks there's three pockets on the back, and if it's getting dark, there are some reflective bits sewn in.

I really like this thing - you may have already seen across genres in my Yeti SB165 First Look, and it was part of my layering system for my Bay Area adventures. My only real note here is, be aware that the sizing is aggressive - if you like a baggier mountain bike fit, you'll definitely want to size up.

Ornot Micro Climate Vest

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All 125 grams of it, packed down. For how small the vest is, it provides a remarkable amount of warmth, doubly so if paired with a shell layer on top.

Merino Base Layer

The Xzibit meme writes itself here, I know. I like vests so much I wear a vest under my vest. But if you've never kept your core warm with a sleeveless merino base layer under your jersey, don't knock it till you try it.

I've enjoyed this underlayer biking all winter, and the occasional ski day where I need an extra core layer; while maybe I'd nitpick a higher wool/poly blend, there's no arguing it wicks better as constructed, and it'll likely hold up to more abuse and washes. As a bonus I've got one built from deadstock fabrics, something Ornot does regularly to reduce waste.

Ornot Merino Base Layer

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Irish/Scottish heritage coupled with Canadian winter leads to very high contrast images.

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Ornot makes a heap of products from deadstock fabrics to minimize waste.

Thermal Cargo Bib Tight

There's not a lot of mountain bikes on the Ornot website. None that I can see, in fact. And while many readers here may not see the utility in lycra (unless you're racing downhill), I'm here to tell you a secret. When you wear thermal tights under baggy pants, no one can tell, and you get to be extra warm. If you're not worried about the Enduro Fashion Police (and you shouldn't be), you can channel your inner Cary Elwes and roam the forest looking for fights.

I've been wearing these fleece-lined tights through the winter months here for gravel, commuting, mountain biking with baggies, and mountain biking without overlayers.

Ornot Thermal Cargo Bib Tight

If you've picked up on a theme here, it should be that I like everything I've tried from Ornot. All three things have held up admirably, have well thought out features and design, and I can get behind the company's mission and ethos. While nothing on offer from the brand is "cheap," it's not meant to be. There's value in buying a durable, well made product once instead of something lower cost that won't last as long. Some consumers will see additional value in products manufactured in a way that aligns with their personal standards, whether that's made in the USA, carbon neutral, or other ethical considerations around brand purchases. Whether or not that's you, I can't say, but I know there's a few other pieces in the catalogue here I'm keen to get my hands on.

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What can I say? I like a vest.

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Is it still downcountry if you wear lycra? You'll see more of this bike soon.

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+7 grcgrc Cooper Quinn shenzhe vunugu Mike Ferrentino Couch_Surfer Zero-cool

You misspelled gilet.





+3 ClydeRide Cooper Quinn bighonzo

I've been using some of the Ornot gear for a while.  Mostly the mission shorts and the merino tech shirts. They seem to do what is increasingly rare these days - fit, work, and last. 

The shorts are probably the closest I've come to the legendary made in USA Giro run of shorts circa 2010 (my god, those were so well made), and I've found ornot great with a re4turn when I ordered wrong size. I recall my first order I actually got a nice, not cust and paste email from Matt saying thank, and recalling riding in my area years ago. 

Definitely a company I'm happy to support.



Merino tech shirts are my favorite, fack.


+2 HughJass Mike Ferrentino

I quickly scrolled through the pics and at that second one thought what is a pic of Ferrentino doing here.


+1 Cooper Quinn

Pretty sure I've got at least 30 pounds on Cooper, but we do share a similar RBF stance...


+2 Cooper Quinn ClydeRide

It's nice to find out about these companies and see that the prices are reasonable considering the manufacturing process.  Trees MTB in Canada makes great stuff and seems to operate in a similar way to OrNot.  And there is always Ground Effect in NZ.  They make really nice stuff.


+2 Cooper Quinn Todd Hellinga

The lack of logo's is great.  I find even bikes/components/tires look much much better with minimal or no branding.


+1 BarryW

I love the idea of a merino vest as a baselayer, and now I'm wondering why I've never worn any of my merino tanks as a baselayer during the winter. I think I've been doing it wrong.


My #1 favourite and most worn bike garment is a merino tank from Ibex (first version of the brand). I've never seen anything quite like it - it has a lot of elasticity, not quite compression, so it fits under anything. I use it for lots more than just riding but it gets worn on the bike 2-3 times a week from October to April.



Yep. Merino works best when its tight against your skin - I'm a big fan of exactly what you're describing.


+1 Andy Eunson

IME even the 100 merino is itchy, all brands  do not stand up to even easy use and become full of holes

I'm a huge Sombrio fan boi cuz there shorts fit me the best and they  work too


+1 Cooper Quinn

review their magic shell jacket next please



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The pic of the mesh pockets makes the chamois pad appear...complex? Clearly it's comfortable, but are there any other details worth sharing?


+1 Hbar

Chamois are...tough to review, because they're such personal preference. And its not something anyone wants detail shots of, especially once used... 

All that said, the chamois is very comfy, definitely has a lot of various "details", as you note - like its got some complex welded patterns, and indicates they thought a lot about it. Its maybe a hair thicker overall than I'd pick if I really had to choose, but it's been a very comfortable one for me. YMMV. 



The current trend of logo-free, standard looking T-shirts is a boon to consumers but I would think a killer to the bike apparel industry. I just bought a couple Spyder branded wicking Ts from Sierra for $10 each and a LS 1/4 zip for $15.

That's tough to compete with.



Yeah, some brands have been clever to ensure their stuff is still easily identifiable - think of the Rapha arm band present on nearly everything they make. 

But if everyone just makes single color product, its definitely hard to stand out! That said, as you note, I think its a boon to consumers.



i wish i was thin so i could wear stuff like this



Stuff in bigger sizes is certainly outside my area of expertise, but I can say that... hopefully you can find stuff that fits well. Fit is absolutely critical to gear functioning, and looking good.

Put another way, I'd buy cheaper gear that fit better, over the opposite.



I wish I could afford them!

I'm regularly checking North Face outlet stores for base layers, Sierra for tech-tees and shorts... I wish I could afford these awesome pieces but it's tough these days


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