How does gravel-specific kit tend to differ?

How does gravel-specific kit tend to differ?

Just as gravel bikes bridge the gap between road cycling and mountain biking, with some racier steeds all the way through to more singletrack-orientated builds, the range of gravel-specific clothing also varies greatly.

General themes when it comes to gravel cycling clothing include a more loose, casual cut, the use of natural fibres to help with odour control, and an increased emphasis on pockets for storing gear.

In recent years, ‘cargo’ has become synonymous with gravel. NENK’s Cargo bib shorts, for instance, are bolstered with mesh thigh pockets that enable riders to pack their essentials on the lower half of the body, allowing them to ride in a T-shirt without pockets.

As well as balancing the demands of off-road riding and pedalling, gravel cycling clothing is often designed with multi-day use in mind too, with durable, quick-drying and odour-resistant materials coming out on top.

Gravel clothing cut and fit

A baggier cut is commonplace when it comes to gravel cycling clothing, at least compared to race-fit aero road cycling kit. T-shirts and baggy shorts tend to be more popular here, often teamed with padded liner shorts for saddle comfort.

T-shirts designed for gravel riding don’t tend to feature pockets, so spares, tools and additional layers need to be kept elsewhere, whether that’s in pockets of shorts, frame bags, or even hip packs.

Because gravel riders don’t use body armour like mountain bikers, the kit doesn’t tend to be quite as loose-fitting, or shorts as long as MTB options to fit knee pads; shorts tend to be baggy but slim-fitting.