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When it comes to gravel, we’re trying to maintain the sleek appearance of a roadie but carry the backcountry essentials like a mountain biker. Whether its a 100-mile race or an all-day adventure with friends, unless you’ve got bags and compartments on your bike, all the food and gear needs to go on you.
As someone who thinks handlebar bags are way to un-aerodynamic for long rides, I tend to overstuff my pockets. So, the Louis Garneau Clutch Jersey with it’s adjustable pocket count seemed like a solid solution. Combined with their Corridge Bibs, you can have a 10-pocket outfit for all the Groads…
The Clutch Jersey ($160) comes in light blue and dark blue, so, um, hope you like blue. But it comes in seven sizes, from XS to 3XL. Overall construction and material are standard, with good sleeve length for taller riders. It’s a light, summer-weight jersey that’s very breathable and wicks sweat away quickly. A good start.
Where it really shines is the pocket count. The two side rear pockets have zippered attachments that allow an outer flap to swing around and zip to the side of the jersey, creating two additional pockets.
Louis Garneau says it’s a five pocket jersey, but each of the flaps has a small additional pocket with a flap cover, creating two additional pockets that are perfect for gels or empty wrappers. So, seven pockets, all in easy reach.
While I probably wouldn’t overload all five/seven pockets at once, it’s nice to spread the load out over a wider area. A full width silicone grip strip on the inside of the jersey’s hem keeps it from sliding around when fully loaded.
Need more storage? Pair it with their Corridge Bibshorts ($270)…
Mesh side pockets on both legs are wide, but not too deep. I wouldn’t trust my phone it in, but for snacks, used wrappers, beanie, etc., they’re great. Why stop there?
The entire rear panel is a mesh pocket, too, which is actually a great place to stash food wrappers so they’re out of the way and you’re not trying to feel around in your other pockets and discern trash or treat while hammering along.
So, 10 pockets, all in one kit. The Coolidge Bibs don’t appear to still be available in this matching colorway, but the dark blue and black options should go with almost any kit. The chamois pad is very good (they say it has an anti-vibration insert), with a mesh split at the front and perforated foam to improve air flow down there.
Both items are somewhere between a race cut and club cut; not too tight, not too loose. I’m somewhat muscular, so the top was more snug around the shoulders and arms, but the body of it could have been a little tighter. And, the kit runs a bit big. I usually wear XL in most things like this, but I tested a Large and would consider a Medium for race days. As is, it’s quite comfy and breezy for those lollygagging summer rides.