Brynje Super Thermo t-shirt Super Thermo t-shirt Brynje

Brynje Super Thermo t-shirt

Posted by Sam Harrison on at 16:32.

 Gear reviews

base layer brynje string vest super thermo t-shirt wicking winter

The Brynje Super Thermo t-shirt is a game-changer when it comes to breathable base layers and it is more effective at moving moisture away from your body than any other base layer out there. The price might be high, but if you enjoy high-intensity winter pursuits, then you won't regret investing in one.
Brand & model Brynje Super Thermo t-shirt
RRP
£32
Good points  moisture-wicking ability, warmth
 Bad points  price
Best uses mountaineering, walking and running in winter
Rating
5
I said a while back that I would post a review of the Brynje Super Thermo t-shirt I bought just after Christmas - once I'd given it a proper testing - and having used it all winter long and also on our backpacking trip to the Lofoten Islands, I think it's safe to say it's had a proper testing!

I first learnt about Brynje's range of what are essentially glorified string vests through Andy Kirkpatrick's blog, where he goes into detail about the concept of the vests and why there are needed. I seriously recommend you take a read and if he doesn't manage to sell the concept to you, no one will!

In a nutshell though: They are a range of string vests and leggings made out of a synthetic (100% polyester) material, the idea being that the holes trap warm air (air is the best insulator you can get, that's why down works so well when it's allowed to loft) whilst the synthetic material wicks away moisture as fast as possible (moisture = coldness); in fact it pretty much doesn't absorb any at all. Edmund Hillary wore Bryjne underwear when he climbed Everest in 1953 and they have become standard wear among polar explorers ever since.

We all know the feeling when out in the hills; we've been sweating, often profusely, and whilst we were too hot when expending all that energy on the ascent, as soon as we stop, we get very cold very quickly. On a sunny summer's day, this can be uncomfortable and a nuisance, but in the depths of Scottish winter, it can be a real problem. I've had many days out that start with a sweaty approach (where I've been down to a base layer) and then for the rest of the day, despite having most of my layers on, I've struggled to keep warm because my sweaty base layer is taking forever to dry out (as great as Merino wool is, it suffers incredibly from this).

Does it work?

Yes, and unbelievably well! The first time I used the vest was on a wintry run over Helvellyn and Fairfield and right from the off I was seriously impressed. I'd been wading through snow on the ascent to Striding Edge and as I gained the ridge, the wind picked up. I stopped to put my running crampons on, expecting to rapidly cool down as I normally would have done. But instead, I remained warm and comfortable, and even putting my rucksack back on didn't result in that horrible sweaty back feeling that used to be so familiar. In fact, for the whole run, despite some pretty adverse conditions, I remained completely comfortable.

Over the next few months, I wore the vest pretty much every time I went out, with similar results; despite getting a bit too sweaty, I stayed comfortably warm. I hate getting cold, and being able to keep an extra layer on and not having to worry about cooling down too much when I stop is great.

When and who is it for?

Brynje market the thermals as having year-round use, but I think they really come into their own during the winter months, at high altitude or in other similarly cold places. That goes for walkers, climbers, mountaineers and fell runners alike. During the summer, I'll probably only wear mine when out cycling (i.e. likely to encounter more wind chill).

Some of us sweat more than others (and gents do so more than ladies, humph) and I would say I sweat an "average" amount - whatever an average amount of sweat may be! If you don't sweat much, then the benefits of the vest may not be so obvious, which is something worth bearing in mind when weighing up whether to fork out for one or not. Which brings me onto the cost...

Cost

The vest's main downfall is undoubtedly the price; the cheapest you can get a short-sleeved version in the UK is just under £37 including shipping (from Nordic Life). That's right, £37 for a string vest, and if you want a long-sleeved version, add another £7 on top. I know Norway is expensive, but that's taking the biscuit a bit. Is the vest physically worth £37? No chance. But are the benefits it brings to your outdoor activities worth £37? Almost certainly, yes, and so reluctantly I will declare the it is (just about) worth the money.

Though I can't help but wonder whether a bog-standard M&S string vest would work the same...

Sizing

Unlike most clothing companies, Brynje certainly do cater for the skinny end of the market; they even do an XXS size! The fitting is intentionally tight, I can just about squeeze into my size XS, which is for a 92-96 cm (36-38 inch) chest, and I am usually a 92 cm (36 inch) chest.

Short- vs long-sleeved

I bought the short-sleeved, thinking my arms don't sweat much anyway and so what's going to be the advantage to getting long sleeves? Apparently my arms sweat more than I thought they did and I definitely wish I'd invested in the long-sleeved version now! The short-sleeved version is more suited for summer use, especially cycling. 

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Summary

The Brynje Super Thermo t-shirt is a game-changer when it comes to breathable base layers and it is more effective at moving moisture away from your body than any other base layer out there. The price might be high, but if you enjoy high-intensity winter pursuits, then you won't regret investing in one.
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