The end of winter can be terrible. Snowmelt causes mud, which greedily clings to dogs, bikes, shoes, and tires, creating a mess in your car and house. At the same time, warming air temperatures cause wind, which blows dust into your eyes and makes the days feel colder than they should be. To help mitigate the spring suck, I’ve assembled a whole list of gear that makes this season a bit more tolerable.
Orvis Grid Recycled Water Trapper Mat ($170)
I have young kids and two rascally dogs, so the only way I keep my house even remotely clean during spring is to forcefully insist that everyone wipe their muddy, wet feet on this mat as they come in the front door. The tough fibers always knock the dirt off, and even after a year of hard use, there isn’t any fraying. A waterproof construction has kept snow from seeping through and ruining my wood floors, and its rubber backing ensures the mat doesn’t slip. I like that you can choose from nine different colors. Bonus points to Orvis for building the mat out of recycled materials.
WeatherTec Floor Mats ($60 and Up)
If you track mud on the normal fabric floor mats that come stocked on most cars, you have to wait for that mud to dry, then bang it off, then rinse the mats, and then wait for the mats to dry—all a total pain in the ass. That’s why I invested in plastic floor mats from WeatherTec. Even if these are caked in mud, it rinses right off with a quick hose spray, and the mats dry in a matter of minutes. WeatherTec makes perfectly measured models for most newer cars. If you’re like me and drive an older car (I have a 2002 Tacoma), you can get the trim-to-fit version, which isn’t quite as nice but still gets the job done.
Buff EcoStretch ($20)
Temperatures are all over the place come spring. It’s unnaturally hot one day, then some version of winter returns the next. That’s why I always wear a Buff, whether I’m skiing, running, hiking, or just out watching my kids play soccer. When it gets chilly, I pull it up over my ears and around the bottom of my chin and wear it under my trucker hat. When the weather heats up, I slide it back down around my neck. I go for the regular, non-merino version, because I’ve found the material retains it stretch longer and doesn’t wear out quite as quickly.
Julbo Fury Reactiv 0-3 Sunglasses ($220)
Large-lens sunglasses seem like overkill, until they’re not. Try riding your bike into the wind on a dusty day with regular sunglasses and you’ll quickly understand the benefit of shades that shield your entire field of vision and keep debris from flying in. The Fury Reactiv is my go-to pair in this style, because the lens darkness changes depending on the brightness of the sun. I can wear these to run when it’s cloudy and they’re not too dark, and I can also wear them on a bluebird backcountry ski day and end the afternoon without eye fatigue.
Ruffwear Dirtbag Seat Cover ($90)
My 20-year-old Toyota has leather seats that are already beat-up and wash off pretty easily. Still, there are times during spring when my dogs get so muddy at the dog park that I want an extra layer of protection. This seat cover is quick to install (just a couple minutes), and the waterproof fabric never leaks, even when the dogs are sopping wet. After a big adventure, I take it out, shake off the mud, and let it dry in the sun, which is usually enough to keep it spick-and-span. It’s also machine washable if you think it merits a deep clean.
Soap in Seconds ($19)
I’m new to this product but am now obsessed. It’s the perfect way to wash my hands after loading muddy dogs into the car or trying to clean my mountain bike. If you’re not familiar, Soap in Seconds is like hand sanitizer, but does a better job of removing any grime from my fingers and isn’t full of hand-drying alcohol.
Snow Brush ($10)
I have one of these in all my cars at all times, and I mostly use them to brush off snow. But they’re also great for scraping mud from my kids’ shoes and brushing dry grass and mud off my dogs. If used gently, the brush will also clean muck off a bike before it’s sprayed down.
Free Fly Men’s Breeze Jacket ($128)
Traditional old-school windbreakers are great for spring gusts, but the nylon doesn’t breathe well and lacks stretch. Built with 14 percent spandex, Free Fly’s Breeze changes that: it’s stretchy, comfy, and never inhibits my movement. Made from a more air-permeable polyester, it cuts the chill of a cold wind but doesn’t cause me to immediately overheat when I’m huffing up the trail or commuting on my bike.
Astorflex Bitflex Boots ($215)
Chelsea boots are having a style moment, but they’re also a great utilitarian option for spring because the ankle-high build is ideal for walking through rain showers or down muddy trails. They wash off easily, and all the abuse adds a nice patina to the exterior. I’ve tested many different pairs but love the Astorflex version for two main reasons: the environmentally friendly, aged Italian leather has a zero-day break-in period, and the rubber soles don’t track mud but still provide plenty of grip.