Base layer clothing is meant to keep you cool and dry. How often have you peeled off your fleece, or mid-layer, only to find yourself cold and slicked in sweat? Help is at hand. For anyone who hasn’t experienced the joy of the Brynje Super Thermo base layer system, this is the review for you.
First a story…
Brynje are a manufacturer of premium cold weather and sports equipment. And their gear is good, really good.
I first heard about their gear around four years ago, when I was skiing across Norway. During one of my water stops a small group of women skiers paused on their ski tour and started chatting to me. As we talked one of them pulled off her shell jacket in order to cool down. Underneath her jacket she was wearing a mesh base layer.
At the time I was intrigued and asked if the base layer was warm and effective at wicking away sweat. The answer was a definite yes. I bought a couple of the tops as soon as I arrived home in the UK.
Now, having owned these vests for some time I feel I’m ready to give you and open and honest review of the Super Thermo base layer.
Let’s dive in and see what it’s all about.
Brynje Super Thermo Vest Construction
The Brynje Super Thermo vest is made from polypropylene which is woven into a mesh garment. The idea is simple and effective – the mesh, which looks like fishnet, traps small pockets of air close to the wearer’s skin. This insulation is held in place by adding a second, lightweight layer of clothing.
Also, as only a small percentage of mesh is in contact with your skin it soaks up less sweat than a traditional base layer. If you’re ever feeling too hot all you need do is whip off your mid-layer and lett your body vent.
Anyone who hasn’t tried this type of clothing before is missing out.
Brynje Super Thermo Base Layer Performance
Obviously anyone has been to an extreme cold environment knows that at some point even the warmest of clothing will fail to keep you warm and that you’ll need to move around in order to generate heat. Normally I find this to be around about -40°C. Fortunately for most people, especially hikers, you aren’t going to experience these kinds of lows of temperature.
But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from buying some of Brynje’s clothing.
I first used the Brynje Super Thermo base layer about three years ago in Finse, Norway (I wasn’t away in colder climes for over a year after I bought the vest). The temperatures at the time were nestled at about -20 and, as you can imagine, rolling out of my sleeping bag in the mornings was not a pleasant experience. But the vest kept me warm and toasty, even on the very coldest of days.
Those extremes of temperature might be a little bit too crazy for some people so here’s an example closer to home.
I love hiking in the winter, if nothing else the rain and chill keep me invigorated. On colder days, when temperatures hits -5C and below, I’ll put on my Brynje vest before heading off out into the hills to train. Sometimes I do get a little bit too warm. Generally that’s not problem as I simply open up the ventilation zips on my shell jacket to let in some cold air.
The big difference between this and many of the other thermal underwear is that the mesh construction allows swept away very quickly. For me this is what makes the difference between good thermal underwear and excellent. Brynje make excellent thermal underwear.
Brynje Thermal Vest Construction
Comfort and construction of thermal underwear is a high priority for hikers. In fact, is top of the list for everyone I know involved in outdoor activities.
The Brynje Super Thermo is basically a huge mash of manmade material with a couple of panels, or solid sections such as the cuffs and areas of high friction (like the groin). Although the vest doesn’t look very robust I can assure you it is. Mine has taken a real beating over the years. I’ve lost count of the number of times the mesh material has snagged on zips and other pieces of equipment, but never ripped or torn.
For some people the first time they wear Brynje clothing it seems like a natural fit. This wasn’t the case for me. Initially the sensation of wearing a mesh vest was a little unusual. Not uncomfortable, just strange. After a couple of days this all changed. And I found the Brynje Super Thermo vest to be incredibly comfortable. And I still do.
My initial thoughts were that the cuffs of the vest were too tight and, at first, this irritated me a little bit. It took a little while to realise the reason for the tightness: if the cuffs were loose the sleeves would is ride up leaving my forearms uninsulated against the cold weather.
The waist and neck are elasticated to ensure a snug fit.
Overall the vest has a nice feel and is incredibly comfortable, even though it took me a few days to get used to it.
The only issue I do have is that after the continued use over extended periods of time the sleeves, in particular the elbows, of the vest can become a little bit baggy.
How Durable Is The Super Thermo?
I’ve already mentioned that this is a hard wearing vest. Rather than go over these points again we’ll take a quick look at the insulation properties.
I had my vest for three years, and as you’d expect repeated washing has reduced its ability to retain heat. But not by much. I’ve taken the best too many cold places and it still performs well, even now in 2019.
If I was going to take it to a real extreme environment, say skiing across or to the North Pole, I definitely buy a new vest. But for hiking in moderate to relatively cold environments I don’t have any issues at all.
How Much Does the Brynje Super Thermo cost?
It’s a pretty inexpensive addition to your garage-full of hiking gear: prices in the UK are currently about £25, a lot less than when I bought mine which leads me to think I may have been fleeced! For my fellow hikers and trekkers out in the United States, that’s about $36 at current exchange rates (pre-Brexit so who knows how that will change after October?)
There are other options available and these include offerings from companies such as Helly Hansen Lifa (a base layer woven from merino wool). They retail for about the same price as the Super Thermo, but in my eyes are far less effective tas they are not so efficient at wicking away sweat (see my notes above).
Current prices for the heaviest, most wool dense Helly Hansen vest is about £130 pounds.
Rather than seeing the Super Thermo as an expense purchase see it as an investment in your life. The Brynje base layer range is designed to be efficient and to help keep you alive. It’s really that simple.
Wrapping it all up, quite literally.
From personal experience, and having tried quite a few different Merino wall tops and thermal underwear over the years, I can highly recommend the Brynje range of thermal gear. All in all I have very few complaints, and almost nothing but praise for this clothing.
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons:
Looks like something your grandad would wear!
Can feel a little uncomfortable the first time you wear it
Only really useful in cold environments
On the pros:
Perfect the cold weather environments
Excellent working capabilities
Not as expensive as some other options available
I hope you found this Brynje Super Thermo review useful. Whilst you’re here please take some time to check out some of the other reviews and posts. Thanks