In a decade as a courier I tried alot of motorcycle-specific base layers, but when I travel, I’ve always carried a merino wool long-sleeved piece of underwear because it’s practical, on or off the bike.
All that has now changed. I am blown away by the Brynje Arctic Shirt base layer I’ve been using for the past month. The warmth and comfort next the skin that it provides is unrivalled, and the way that it doesn’t become odorous is simply remarkable.
It’s a combination product, with an outer layer made of 80% Merino wool and 20% polyamide and an inner layer made of Polypropylene mesh which is surprisingly comfortable. This means that sweat vapour is released through the mesh and yet the mesh itself traps all the body’s heat in an insulating layer beneath the 220gsm Merino.
The Norwegians do of course know a thing or two about surviving cold weather in a practical way, so it’s not surprising that this Brynje shirt comes from a company called Nordic Life. Just wearing loads of layers in the cold isn’t always sensible, and it certainly isn’t when you’re on a bike as you still need to move around and your jacket has to be a close enough fit to work on the rest of your trip.
On a very autumnal 8 hour ride recently, I used just the ‘Arctic’ and just one other layer beneath my bike jacket, and was supremely comfortable. In truth I was away from home for a further four days and hadn’t packed, so it’s all I wore.
The snug-fitting round neck is a perfect height to use discreetly under other clothes, but not so low that it permits draughts. Any higher might begin to restrict neck movement in combination with jacket collar and neck sock.
At the wrists there’re cuff extensions which come completely over the hands, a hole locating the material around your thumb. Incredibly comfortable off the bike on a cold Halloween evening, I realised that it worked well while riding too, effectively insulating my gloves and providing draught exclusion around the wrists.
The stitching is faultless and the style is really pleasing; much less ‘underwear’ than my normal merino layers from M&S. It’s perfect travelling gear.
I notice that the marketing blurb says this under-shirt is “a firm favourite with all who use it, taking it to the North and South Poles, Mount Everest and even to wear at home after a cold day skiing.” That last bit may not be relevant to you but “The item you don’t want to leave home without!” just might be.
At 390 grams in total this is a substantial garment, but it packs quite small should you be riding south. It’s also not terribly cheap at £69 but it’s taken me way too long to discover I should just buy a good thing once. My size L is a 52 and is a generous fit when compared to a normal L t-shirt size.
“Unrivalled warmth and performance for the coldest days” they say, or chilly nights at altitude, or a ride just about anywhere. If long sleeves and super warmth isn’t your thing, have a look at the rest of the range. It’s extensive, offers male and female fit and is not motorcycle-specific, just people-specific.
Sizes: XS – XXL
Colours: Black, Blue, Green.