A San Fran apparel company focused on the environment and premium fabrics
About a month ago, Trevor from Ornot contacted me asking if I’d like to review their women’s winter gear. Chicago isn’t giving up its winter weather just yet, with only teasing of the 50s and then back below freezing. In fact, as I sit writing this review, it is a blustery 24 degrees with 60-second snow squalls followed by sunshine. The adage “if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes” holds true.
Anyway, back to Ornot. I love the name. Also, I love what this small San Fransico area company stands for. They focus on sustainability, well-designed and crafted domestically manufactured gear.
According to the company’s website, Ornot focuses on reducing its carbon impact using recycled or compostable packaging. Their fabric includes certified and traceable recycled or natural fibers from trusted partners. Ornot’s warehouse and one of their local sewing facilities are Climate Neutral Certified.
In addition, the company donates 1% of every purchase to 1% For the Planet. This organization donates to environmental nonprofits to make the most impact possible. Ornot is among a handful of cycling companies supporting 1% For the Planet, and the trend is growing.
Winter gear roundup
The company sent me four pieces of gear to test and review ― a jacket, jersey, thermal bibs, and socks. All four items come in both men’s and women’s versions, except for the bib tights, the droptail feature is only for the ladies.
Grid Thermal Jersey
Sizes: XS-XL, men’s also available in 2XL
Colors: Mars (shown above), Olive
Fit: Runs true to size
Obtained by: Company samples
RBR advertiser: No
Alone or layered, great for Fall, Winter, and early Spring
This lightweight jersey uses a unique waffle-patterned fabric to trap body heat and provide great moisture management. You stay warm and dry, which is critical on cold winter rides. I’ve been seeing similar waffle patterned fabric from other manufacturers used to design winter gear. You can wear this jersey on its own, add a base layer, or even a jacket.
The fabric is bluesign-approved, a third party certification that the textile is safe for the environment, workers, and customers. It also has an anti-microbial treatment for controlling odors.
Key details of the jersey include a full zip front for ventilation and easy on/off, three rear pockets, a silicon gripper bottom hem, and reflective details.
Droptail Thermal Cargo Bib Tights
Color: Black, Mesa, Stone Blue
Sizes: 2XS – XL (women’s); XS-2XL (men’s)
Fit: True to size
If you are looking for a cold-weather bib tight that has lots of storage, look no further. The Ornot thermal cargo bib tight is available in three colors in men’s and women’s sizes. With brushed-fleece lined bluesign-approved fabric, the company rates them suitable for a temperature range of 38-60. I would tend to agree with them on the low end, but they may get too warm above 50 degrees F. But everyone’s temperature tolerance is different.
With two large pockets on the thighs, plus the men’s version has two additional pockets on the mid-back panel, there’s plenty of room to store nutrition, a phone, or a pair of gloves. While the thigh pockets are great, the company made them a contrasting color. Yeah, not a great look ― I’d prefer they blend in.
The women’s version does not have pockets in the back because of the convenient droptail design. Especially in cold weather, the last thing you want to do is undress in a port-a-potty when nature calls. So the droptail works great. You don’t have to remove a thing.
An Oeko-Tex certified (no harmful substances) endurance chamois is made from recycled fibers. I found it comfortable in all the right places. My only complaint was the bib straps were a little long for me, and the pad wasn’t as secure as I’d wanted.
There is reflective detailing on the lower legs for added visibility in low-light conditions. However, I would note that the inseam was a bit short for my long legs. I prefer a little more coverage.
But all in all, these are very nice tights for cold-weather riding. So I tested them both on the trail riding my fattie and on a pre-dawn road ride. I was nice and warm!
Micro Climate Jacket
Color: Stone Blue; Morocco (men’s only)
Sizes: XS-XL (women’s); XS-2XL (men’s)
Fit: Runs small
I was really looking forward to testing the Micro Climate jacket because of the positive media coverage. But unfortunately, it runs small, and the XL the company sent did not fit loose enough to be able to wear layers underneath. So, I asked my friend Jennifer to be the test monkey; these are her thoughts on this item in the review.
Jennifer typically wears a medium, but the XL gave her a little room for multiple layers underneath. She’d take a size large if she wanted a more fitted jacket. Depending on your preference and usage, size up one or two sizes, but note the fabric does have a good amount of stretch.
Ornot rates this lightweight jacket for temperatures 40-67 degrees F. Jennifer tested it on two runs and a ride in temps hovering at freezing. She opted only to test it on one ride because of the dark fabric and no reflective elements. The company offers the Micro Climate jacket in stone blue and Morocco and will be launching two new colors (orange and purple) in the next couple of weeks. But note, when a color is sold out, they are gone for good.
Test #1- Early morning run, temps about 32 degrees F with some wind (feels like temp of 26), and wore a warm wool base layer underneath.
Test #2- She wore the jacket as a third of four layers for a ride, the temperature just above freezing with mild winds.
Test #3 – She wore a wool base layer under the jacket on this last run. The temperature was about 34 with mild winds, the feels like temp 29 degrees, and snow showers.
The Micro Climate jacket is water-resistant and dries quickly because each fiber strand is treated to resist moisture. In addition, there’s a lofted pattern placed at strategic points, like the arms and front panels, to provide added warmth. A 2-way zipper works great for venting or when you need to access your jersey’s back pockets. There’s a rear zipper pocket that doubles as a stash bag. Just stuff it into the pocket, and it fits into your jersey pocket.
Jennifer found the jacket’s fabric very flexible, breathable, and comfortable. The pattern on the arms and in the front of the chest area gives a little extra insulation without adding any depth or bulk. It’s also really soft and makes the jacket feel like it moves freely without feeling “tacky.”
There was precipitation on one of Jennifer’s 75-minute runs, and she was sweating a bit. But when she finished, her base layer had wet spots, and gloves and headband were soaked through; however, the jacket was barely damp in the places her base layer had soaked through. So, the wet was definitely coming from underneath vs. outside precipitation. Bottom line, Jennifer felt the jacket protected her from the light snow showers while still being highly breathable.
Jennifer gave the Micro Climate jacket high marks (4.5 stars) but did not give it a full 5 out of 5 rating due to the dark color, not reflective elements, and cost.
Winter Bolt Socks
Color: Gravel, Sapphire, Lime
Material: 36% Nylon, 31% Merino Wool, 31% Recycled Polyester, 2% Lycra
Fit: Runs true to size
Keeping your feet warm and dry during cold weather rides is vital to keeping your body warm and comfortable. Merino wool is perfect for the job. This natural fiber is excellent at wicking moisture, plus it’s naturally odor resistant. Ornot uses USA-sourced Merino wool to craft socks with minimal heel and toe seams to reduce the chances of chafing.
Since the wool is odor resistant, washing after every wear is unnecessary. But when it is time to wash, use the cool setting on your machine. The label says to tumble dry on low or hang dry. I chose to hang dry along with all my other cycling gear. There was no shrinkage, and the sock fits great. I wore these socks both on and off the bike. They are soft, comfortable, and keep my toes warm. I can’t ask for anything more.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.