What is something that could completely ruin your ride or soak up all of the fun while you are out riding in lower temperatures? Something as simple as cold hands could turn an excellent riding experience into a struggle. Pogies are the perfect solution to this unfortunate situation.
With so many companies beginning to manufacture pogies, riders now have many options as to what to buy. Up until more recently, the solutions for keeping your hands warm while winter cycling were limited. You were able to choose from a select few companies, sew your own, or head to your local hardware store in search of the best alternative.
Canada has entered the pogie market with a company called CE UNIK. Pronounced as “see-unique,” the company name translates to “it’s unique.” And for good reason, their products have a unique design.
CE UNIK is dishing out three different varieties of pogies. The Baltik is their warmer weather pogie which is constructed of a 2 layer non-insulated fabric, but still remains warm in non-extreme cooler conditions. The Artik version is similar to the Baltik, but adds a 3rd layer of insulation using a Thermofoil membrane. Lastly, the Voyaguer is an expedition pogie that comes with a gator around the cuff to keep the warm air in, but allowing for a quick exit if need be. I had the pleasure of using the Voyaguer pogie from CE UNIK this winter. After using this pogie almost exclusively over the last few months, I have been able to test it’s performance in varying conditions.
There are a few reasons why CE UNIK’s design stands out to me. All of their pogies are made using water and windproof 600 denier exterior Corder, with a soft, almost fleece-like interior. To hold the pogies in place, they use an ODI bar plug and a simple, yet very effective Velcro strap on the handlebar. The bar plug feature allows the pogies to maintain their stiff shape and position on the bar. These pogies hold really well and require no mounting hardware or screws. CE UNIK is working on a new holding system at the bar end to ensure that frequent removals and installations remain simple and efficient.
The Velcro closure on the interior part of the bar creates a tight attachment point allowing no air to enter through the pogie. Not only does this simple closure design allow for a seamless fit to the bars with zero airflow allowed in, but it also gives the rider extra hand space for braking and shifting. The only thing I worry about with this elastic and velcro closure is that the elastic will eventually stretch and need replacement. On my bars, I wrap the elastic strap around twice, to ensure the tightest possible fit. So far in 3 months of use, I haven’t experienced the elastic stretching to the point of needing replacement, however, I would anticipate this may happen in the future.
The other element of the Voyageurs that I love is the large velcro ventilation option. This velcro seam benefits riders in two ways. It allows a simple and easy installation to any bars, while also providing a full length ventilation option. For all-day riding, you may prefer to have zero air flow for the cold morning temps, and during the afternoon, you have the option to open the velcro vent by lengths ranging from <1 inch to nearly the entire length of the pogie.
The Voyageur pogie includes a gator around the cuff of the wrist to keep the warm air in, while also allowing for quick withdrawal when needed. While fat biking in all conditions ranging from groomed snow to slush, I have experienced the ease of entry and exit first hand during a few falls. It was very easy to extract my hand while falling in a deep slush pile, which was a big bonus for me. There is nothing like experiencing a fall while feeling completely stuck in a position. I love how the gator is elastic, and you don’t have to worry about adjusting a pull cord or drawstring for exit or entry. CE UNIK has also cut the material at an intentional angle to allow riders to ride with a wide hand position while climbing and descending so that you do not feel trapped in a certain position.
The Voyageur has proven to perform wonderfully on cold and windy days. Some individuals may prefer more breathability than these pogies can offer, but as my hands tend to run on the cold side all of the time, I love the soft inner layer and the fact that no air can enter if you wish. I have worn regular cycling gloves under my Voyageurs in all conditions, and I am never cold or too warm. These pogies have a temperature rating of -20 degrees.
Overall, the Voyageur from CE UNIK has been a durable and versatile all weather pogie.