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Shred Like You Mean It: Our Favorite Sustainable Mountain Bike Gear and Clothing of 2024!

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We love mountain biking here at Terradrift. Hiking and backpacking may be our first loves, but boy did we fall head over heels for riding on dirt on a pair of wheels! So naturally, we were keen to discover what sustainable bike gear and apparel existed to make every ride more enjoyable (and safe). Here’s some of our favorite sustainable mountain bike gear and clothing this year!

Alisha, splattered with mud after mountain biking in West Virginia.

A note on mountain biking gear and sustainability

But first, an important note: We love this gear, but most of it is 100% NOT necessary to hop on a bike and ride. Heck, you don’t even really NEED a padded chamois (though they do make riding more comfortable than about any other piece of MTB clothing or gear). You can hit the trails in your jorts and a cotton tank top if you want to! Frankly, we’ve been riding without dedicated mountain bike shoes for years. What I’m saying is, don’t buy this stuff just because you think it’s part of a required uniform; it’s not. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But if you do want to up your gear or clothing game, are looking to replace a worn-out chamois, or are trying to find that perfect, illusive thing to make riding more fun or comfortable, this is some of the MTB clothing and gear we’re stoked about and think you will be too. Bonus: It’s all sustainable in some way. That said, if you want to be even more sustainable when shopping, check out all the used MTB clothing and gear on sites like REI Re/Supply and Geartrade. Then get on your bikes and ride!

A Note on Testing

We’ve personally tested each of these items (plus more that didn’t make the cut). We took them riding in plenty of conditions and varied weather, so you can trust that when we say they’re some of our faves, we ain’t lyin’!


His

A man stands in front of Little Grand Canyon in Utah in bike clothing.

Outdoor Research Freewheel Short Sleeve Jersey

Unlike most synthetic shirts designed for outdoor recreation, the Freewheel “Jersey” (can we just call it a T-shirt?) is crazy soft to the touch and doesn’t feel plastic in the least, plus the fabric is made of 45% recycled materials. What we’re saying is that this shirt supremely comfy for all-day riding (but also hiking or wandering around mountain towns since it looks pretty similar to a regular ol’ tee). Heck, you may not even feel the need to strip it off in the parking lot after humid rides. It’s that good. And the nice long hem keeps you covered and protected. The shirt is also available in a women’s version.


BN3TH North Shore Bike Liner Chamois

These padded men’s chamois shorts topped our list of favorite mountain bike gear last year, and even after testing a few more pairs from other brands, These still rank high thanks to the form designed specifically for male anatomy (padded ball pouch, anyone?) and just-right padding. It’s not made with recycled materials (it is OEKO-TEX certified, which means it’s free from tons of harmful chemicals), but we can forgive it when a product is designed this well for specific body types.


Patagonia Dirt Roamer shorts.

Patagonia Dirt Craft Shorts

We tested some cool shorts this year, but these Dirt Craft Shorts from Patagonia may be our faves. They have drop-in hand pockets, a zippered side pocket on both sides, and they cinch to tighten via a G-hook system on the waistband that’s guaranteed not to loosen up on you AND offers more fit flexibility for different body shapes. They’re loose enough to fit over padded shorts but not so baggy the crotch will get hooked on your saddle and the recycled nylon material (made of old fishing nets!) is both lightweight and durable. This particular style also comes with a padded bike chamois, but if you’d prefer a lighter short with no liner, we’ve also tested the Dirt Roamer Bike Shorts and give those a thumbs up, too.


Optic Nerve Fixie Sunglasses

Optic Nerve Fixie Phenom Sunglasses

We dig these sunnies because an adjustable nose piece means they can fit a wide range of faces, including Alisha’s tiny head, the lenses are polarized and keep everything super sharp on the trail, the design doesn’t restrict our vision, and those mirrored lenses just look baller. We wear these babies not just mountain biking, but hiking, road cycling, you name it! Use code TERRADRIFT for 20% off!


Hers

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail long sleeve shirt.

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Long Sleeve Shirt

I love a synthetic shirt that has all the technical aspects of synthetics (moisture wicking, quick drying) but doesn’t feel like synthetics (read: plastic). And this shirt fits the bill. Made with recycled polyester and renewable wood pulp, this long-sleeve, sun-protective shirt wears like cotton or other natural fibers, meaning it doesn’t feel clingy or plasticky but does feel breathable and comfortable. And thanks to a flattering drop hem, it works just as well on MTB trails as hiking trails or city streets, making it a stellar multi-functional article of clothing (that also protects your arms from the sun).


Padded Shorts: Shredly Biker Cham & Wild Rye Eleanor Chammy

This one’s a two-for because I *cannot* decide which of these mountain bike chamois made for women by women-owned brands rules them all. They’re both baller for different reasons (though both are pretty size-inclusive). The Wild Rye shorts are light and loose, super stretchy and not at all restrictive (or too compressive), they have drop pockets on the sides so you can wear them on their own, and the padding is soft but dense enough to keep those sit bones protected on medium-length rides. Plus the patterns and colors are fun, they’re made of 70% recycled polyester, the legs stay put, and you could wear them all day without discomfort. They run a tad small but are super stretchy, so offer plenty of sizing wiggle room.

The revamped Shredly high-rise Biker Cham is also a stellar option, but for totally different reasons. They’re available in a crazy array of colors, including irridescent options like this Stardust Shimmer color, which I’m surprisingly obsessed with. Plus, they fit like a glove, feel durable, aren’t see through at all, don’t feel much less breathable than other durable chamois I’ve tested, and that iridescent shimmer! Whoa. I’m definitely not a sparkle-and-shine type woman, but these are hella rad. Plus, the padding is nice and dense, which makes them extra protective on long days in the saddle. They are more compressive and the top of the waistband isn’t as stretchy as the leg fabric, so if you’re in between sizes, size up.


Shredly All Time Shorts

I’ve worn Shredly shorts for years, and frankly, have always loved the combination of comfy waistband, stretchy fabric made of recycled materials, pockets, and size inclusivity (most clothing is available in sizes 00-16). But when I recently tested a new pair of the brand’s All Time shorts with 11″ inseam, I was in love. The cut and fit were absolutely perfect, with or without a chamois, there were plenty of hand and zipper pockets, and I loved the front zipper and snap closure for one main reason: multi-functionality. While I love my Shredly Limitless 7″ shorts, because of the yoga-style waistband, I can’t do a front tuck or pass them off as more casual shorts. With these I can, which means they’re just as functional for walking around town or taking a hike as they are for riding a bike. Not many shorts can say that.


Ombraz Cammina armless sunglasses.

Ombraz Armless Sunglasses

I dig the armless glasses from Ombraz, which stay put no matter what, are polarized, and available in several styles and colors (including this new Cammina design). My fave function is that I can drop them off my face and they’ll dangle around my neck, meaning I don’t have to try to finagle them onto my helmet or into a protective case just because I’m taking a break in the shade. Bonus: They’re carbon negative. Ombraz plants 20 mangrove trees for every pair sold AND the cords are made of recycled nylon.


Theirs

PackTowel Poncho

Honestly, we didn’t think an oversized, super absorbent poncho was gonna be all that useful for anything besides drying off and covering up at the beach. But we were wrong. In fact, we might like this poncho, which is made of 100% recycled plastic bottles, even more for biking road trips and campouts. Why? Three words: Personal dressing room. Yup, this baby functions beautifully as a private changing room for one. Just pull it on and change out of your sweaty clothes and stinky chamois right there in the parking lot without the risk of getting arrested for public indecency. I used it on several trips recently that involved changing in a busy campground and let me just say: game changer. Bonus: you can also throw it on on slightly chilly mornings for a lightweight extra layer, change into your swimsuit mid-hike at an alpine lake, and use it as a picnic blanket.


Osprey Raptor 15

This MTB pack isn’t new, but the extended fit sizes are! Yup, this handy little pack is now available in Extended Fit sizes for larger riders. Huzzah for inclusivity! Plus there are tons of pockets, it comes with a 2.5L hydration reservoir, there’s a removable tool roll, a helmet lock, AND hip belt pockets. Plus that red color looks great in photos. It works just as well for shredding single track as it does riding to the farmers market.


Sena M1 Evo

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: MTB helmets outfitted with intercoms are game-changing if you regularly ride with friends or family (see our full review of the Sena helmets here). We love being able to chat when we ride, even if it’s just to warn each other of upcoming obstacles or coach each other over jumps as we learn new skills. We practically guarantee these will make riding with others more enjoyable.


Insta360 X3

Insta360 X3

When it came time to upgrade our action cam, we swapped our GoPro for an Insta360. It offers a wider field of view, meaning we don’t have to spend as much time lining up shots to make sure everything is in frame, and with accessories like the extendable arm and handlebar mount, we can shoot fun, smooth footage, even on the rockiest trails.


Knog Blinder Light 1300

Knog Blinder Lights

New Zealand-based brand Knog makes plenty of bike, outdoor and travel gear we love, including their no-bounce rechargeable headlamps, Scout locator and alarm tags for both bikes and luggage, and now these powerful bike lights, which can be mounted on your handlebar or helmet with an accessory adapter. Our faves are the 1300 and 900, both bright options for late rides so you can see what’s on the trail ahead. Get the set if you need a rear red light (with tons of different flash settings), too.


Bottom Line

When it comes to outfitting yourself with new mountain bike gear and apparel, remember to shop responsibly, don’t over consume, and buy used gear as often as possible. Then hit the trail, don’t forget your helmet, and wander on!