Click here for an updated guide: http://bikepacker.wpengine.com/pogies/ A practical way to travel over icy, snow covered roads and a new way to fly down a mountain side (with or without snow), fat biking is the birth of realistic winter cycling and the latest reincarnation of mountain biking. Getting the fat bike is the first step to winter cycling bliss. Step two? Figuring out how to stay warm when temperatures plummet. We have all been in a situation where our extremities get cold -even numb. For most people, keeping our hands warm is a major concern. Numb extremities can quickly turn a great ride into an epic struggle against the elements – not exactly the definition of a good time. Regardless of what gloves you have, if it’s dark, if the wind is whipping, or if the mercury drops, your hands will get cold with a standard glove system. Pogies are not your standard glove system. Pogies attach to your handle bars, wrap around your hands, and cinch shut, creating a microclimate similar to a sleeping bag. The body heat from your hands warms up the pogies and keeps them warm for hours. Layers of fabric prevent wind and snow from entering while creating new hiding spots for snacks, gloves, and anything else you might need on your ride. The history of pogies began four decades ago – long before anyone ever thought of using them on bikes. In 1974, Billy Nutt needed something to keep his hands warm that would also fit over the shaft of his kayak paddle. He wanted to name his creation something ridiculous and settled on the name of a bait fish – hence the name “Pogie.”

According to a newsletter from whitewaterslalom.us, another fellow kayaker, Bonnie Losick, liked the idea, cleaned up the design, and trademarked the idea under the name ‘Bonnie Hot Pogie.’ Soon after, mushers adapted the idea, but it wasn’t until recently that Bonnie’s Hot Pogies were modified for cycling. It is unclear who started using them on bicycles first, but we’re happy they did. Pogies make winter cycling bearable.

Just a few years ago, the market for pogies was pretty limited. As the fat bike market grew, though, so did the accessories. More and more pogies have been designed and manufactured with even more on the way. Some are made for mild weather, while others are made for expedition races like the  Iditarod Trail Invitational.

There are several pogies on the market to choose from depending on the conditions you are riding in. If you are in the market for a pogie, these are a few of the best currently for retail:

Bar Mitts have been around for a while. While Bar Mitts may still require you to wear gloves, they drastically reduce the thickness needed. These are perfect for commuting to work or riding shorter distances on cold fall or even winter days.  The neoprene material does a great job keeping the wind out while keeping weight down. They have a velcro strap that connects to the end of your handlebars for a stable fit. Bar Mitts have two different options: your standard flat handlebars (one size fits all) and your drop down road bike bars (small, medium, large). Bar Mitts come in black, red, and blue. If you’re looking for something simple and affordable, this is a great option. MSRP $45.00

Pogies
Photo: Pogies.com

Revelate Design Williwaw Pogie is a brand spanking-new product that recently hit the market.  The Williwaw features a 3 layer system: a 600 denier polyester outer, foam inner, and fleece liner. Due to its stiff foam inner, the Williwaw keeps its upright shape making it easy to insert your hands. These pogies are equipped with a disc cap and elastomer plug connected to a pull cord which creates a snug fit while not getting in the way of your hands; it also allows you to remove the ends in seconds. The pogies are complemented with a nice reflective trim and will keep you warm and cozy for the long haul. The Williwaw’s are currently only available for flat bars and have a temperature rating of 0°F. MSRP $95.00

Pogies
Photo: http://revelatedesigns.com/

Dogwood Design Pogies have been around for a while. You have most likely seen these colorful pogies in pictures or on your local trails. They are made up of a nylon outer to keep the elements out and are insulated with polyester. An inner skeleton holds its shape.  The pogies are equipped with adjustable pull cords to cinch down on the handlebars; this keeps the elements out and the heat in. Adjustable pull cords are also located where your hand enters. An elastic loop inside the pogie connects to the end of the handlebars to hold its shape and ensure a snug fit. There is a lot of room in the front of these pogies to store snacks or even your gloves if it gets too hot. They are rated to -15 °F. MSRP $120.00

Pogies
Photo: www.fitzgeraldsbicycles.com

Yaak Insulated Pogies from Wanderlust Gear are the newest option to keep your hands warm. The pogie consists of a 400 denier coated nylon pack cloth outer designed to keep the elements out.  The next layer is a 210g thinsulate ultra synthetic insulation and three plastic stiffeners to ensure warmth and rigidity. Those layers are sandwiched between the outer shell and a soft nylon interior. The wrist gasket is made up of two layers of nylon and has an elastic reflective cord to cinch down to your arms. The Yaak pogies feature internally connected hook loop straps and an adjustable elastic cord which are located inside each pogie. Reflective trim runs along the front and outside. The Yaak comes in two colors, red and black, and have a temperature rating of 0 °F. MSRP $110

Dogwood Design Pogies Plus have everything standard pogies have but add a more continuous filament and hi-loft hand quilted polarguard insulation. They have a temperature rating of -30 °F. MSRP $170.00

Pogies
Photo: outdooronline.com

45 NRTH Cobrafist is a new pogie for winter, 2014. 45 NRTH claims they are “the most technically advanced winter cycling pogie.” The Cobrafist’s are made up of 600d poly outer shell and 400g Primaloft ECO insulation. 45 NRTH wins as far as zipper usage. They added zippers on the top of the pogies to regulate heat and an internal zippered pocket for extra storage for snacks and layers. Along with a large foam donut, a zipper cinches the pogie to the handlebars while maintaining an upright position for easy hand entry. The user must install a provided bar end piece, put the pogie on, and then screw down an outer plate with a 3 mm hex key; this extra effort results in the most secure bar end attachment of all pogies. Yes they are huge, but these pogies are designed for the long haul and are built to fend off all the winter elements. They have a temperature rating of -40 °F. MSRP $125.00

Pogies
Photo: http://45nrth.com/

Revelate Design Expedition Pogies will give the Cobrafist a run for its money. Seriously, these things are expensive. But there is a reason behind the steep price tag. Eric Parson, owner of Revelate Design, has been designing these pogies for over six years.  Revelate Design Expedition Pogies have a 4 layer system: a 210 denier double ripstop nylon outer, a quilted 12 oz. synthetic insulation, and 70 denier silver taffeta lining. Did I mention the removable Polartec 300 series liner that attaches by velcro? This system is designed to keep you warm in the coldest conditions. The shape is ergonomic to the position of your arms when riding. The top of the arm is slightly longer to prevent any snow from entering the pogie. The pogies attach to the handlebars internally, similar to Williwaw, with no tools necessary. The Expedition Pogie is also equipped with an external compartment to store any extra layers or food. They have a temperature rating of -50 °F. MSRP $225.00

Pogies
photo: www.revelatedesigns.com
  Fat bikes have transformed snowy fields and roads into the newest cycling playground. But, to enjoy winter cycling at its fullest, you need to be prepared and you need to stay warm. Pogies are life savers, and the above mentioned are all fantastic options by some incredible companies. Stay tuned for individual reviews of these pogies.

7 Comments

  1. Great article. Nice to see some of the history behind these products. I must, however, take issue with the derivation of the name. Pogies/pokies is an old Scots word for mittens (the exact spelling would depend on your local dialect). When I was a bairn in the 1960s, my mother would make us wear pogies to school.

    • Lindsay Arne
      Lindsay Arne

      That is great input, Colin! It seems there are many different stories behind the derivation of the name Pogies – what we wrote was one of the more widely known derivations that we came across.

  2. Pingback: Pogies – The Explorer Hot Pog

  3. Great post; helped me pick out my pogies! Thanks.

  4. Hands down if you are looking for a good set of pogies, the Dogwood Design made ones have been amazing to me over the years. Back in the late 90’s early 2000’s I got to try out a pair of these straight from the shop of Dogwood Designs. The owner Joan ran me through how they are made and let me try out a pair. The design is great to the point that you don’t have to worry packing them into a bag and the insulation matting down. Also being in the sewing business myself I noticed the thread and stitching she used was top notch compared to the most recent sets iv’e looked at. my first set, iv’e had now for 15 years and still are decent i upgraded to the plus version because i like to ride in a bit colder climates. i ride pretty much bare handed in these and my fingers stay warm without a problem at -20.

    -Local Fairbanks Cycling enthusiast 365 days a year and no problems

  5. Pingback: Go through Snow: Advice from Winter Bike Commuters - Get Out Keweenaw

  6. Just an update or comment. My wife and I have been making the Moose Mitts for over 15 years, and were making them well before fat bikes.

    Thanks for the great articles
    Mike

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *