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Mark Hansen, New Zealand based Ecologist

Smart Merino | Brass Monkeys | Mark Hansen | Testimonial

Mark is a Christchurch based Ecologist that works outdoors year round throughout New Zealand no matter the temperature. We had Mark test and review head to toe our Brass Monkeys Merino range and here is what he thought.

Long John Base layers

They provide warmth while remaining breathable and not causing me to get too hot while tramping and walking through the bush. They don’t get weighed down with sweat due to the breathability and any moisture dries very quickly! When worn as the undergarment they’re designed as, they’re fantastic for providing extra warmth underneath jeans or other pants that don’t tend to be that warm during winter in Christchurch.

Merino Top

I’ve owned numerous (well-known branded) merino shirts over the past several years and they’ve all been great shirts but the biggest variant is the weight/thickness of the shirt. The lightweight shirts have ripped (even in front loader washing machines) and the heavier shirts can be too hot to wear, especially under a windproof jumper. Not only is the Brass Monkey Short Sleeve V Neck shirt an ideal “medium” weight but it’s also fantastic value for money. Sweat is wicked away from the skin really well allowing the shirt to continue to provide warmth. This is a fantastic shirt and one that can be worn both as an undergarment, as it’s designed for, as well as just a plain shirt due to the design and cut. Traditionally as a hunter I’ve used polypropylene undergarments but they simply don’t compare to these for warmth, comfort and value of this shirt!

Skull Cap

The Smart Merino Brass Monkeys skull cap beanie is simply fantastic. Designed to be worn underneath a helmet it is perfect. The merino provides great warmth where other beanies, worn for warmth, are too thick to fit comfortably under a helmet or the helmet needs to be loosened which may compromise safety. A shaved head means I feel the cold but I have never been able to wear a fleece beanie while working because they’re too hot, or a traditional woollen beanie because they’re itchy. This skull cap is worth its weight in gold for me; I wear it when working in the winter on a quad bike (with frosty below 0*C mornings) and it’s got a fantastic cut covering the ears which is critical when on a quad bike with the wind chill.

John Gully, Founder & Managing Director – Everest Treks

I have owned and operated a Trekking and expedition business in Nepal since 1988, and in that time have tried just about every item of outdoor and adventure clothing available. Two years ago I started using Brass Monkeys merino and this is the best base layer I have ever used. I have the singlet as a base layer on for the several weeks each year I am in the Himalayas, and our Sherpa staff are always pleading for us to leave these with them after the trip.

Bradley Myer, Ecological Restoration & Biosecurity - Restoration Kaitiaki o Ngahere


I have just returned to New Zealand having spent the last 3 months in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. South Georgia is an isolated island deep in the South Atlantic Ocean. Because it is in the southern hemisphere it experiences the same seasons as NZ. However, the average temperature in January (summer) is only 5°C

South Georgia is a mountainous island with peaks that rival Mount Cook. It is one of the world’s premier wildlife hotspots with huge colonies of King Penguins, Antarctic Fur Seals, Elephant Seals, Albatross and other sea birds.

My role is the management of invasive plants which were introduced as a result of the whaling that went on in South Georgia between about 1900 and 1960. At one stage the island had a population of more than 2000 people. Today there is no resident population. Rats have recently been eradicated along with a population of reindeer that were introduced from Scandinavia about 100 years ago.

Although the temperature varied a lot while I was there, there were some very cold windy days and I was very happy that I was wearing my Brass Monkeys base layers. I wore this gear every day for 3 months. I had no issues with anything. It washed well, didn’t shrink and the colours didn’t run. We worked outside in snow, hail and sub Antarctic gales in relative comfort. I am delighted to recommend this gear to anyone spending time in the outdoors.

John Watarawi, The Northern Alaskan Malamute Club

My family and I compete in Sled Dog Racing run by the New Zealand Federation of Sledding Sports. We primarily race in what we call dry land conditions here in the North Island, without snow and using two wheeled scooters and three wheeled rigs.

Distances vary from race to race and range from 8km to 105km. Racing normally commences early morning or late evening – taking advantage of the cool weather. Sub zero temperatures (–5 degrees) may agree with my team of Alaskan Malamutes, however, for us, it's freezing just standing still, let alone allowing for the ‘chill factor’ once racing is underway.

I can tell you personally, wearing Brass Monkeys merino garments is definitely the answer to combat the conditions. It keeps you warm, its light, helps keep you dry during the down pours of winter, air dry’s really fast and is more tenable with body odour. I’ve worn these garments for four days in a row and never taken it off while out in the forest. I've slept in it on overnight races where the temperatures have dropped to -10. It allows me to carry less personnel gear – I’ve even raced long distance races without the need of a sleeping bag, purely just Brass Monkeys, good tramping gear and sleeping on the ground.

Keeping warm is a necessity out on the trail, you can often find yourself racing in the cold darkness in the middle of forest alone for hours. I can tell you the last thing you need is getting yourself lost. You’ve got to also do a fair amount of work when racing freight which sees our three dog team pulling a load of 103kg and that’s not including me. You can certainly get a sweat on helping push the rig through the terrain and it’s good to know that Brass Monkeys helps retain a steady body temperature unlike others. It breathes, which keeps a chill at bay. I won’t race without it... it's now an essential part of my racing kit. Unfortunately for me, my competitors have started to catch on, but that’s great for Brass Monkeys as they say a good idea is worth sharing – and this is a great idea. From the No1 three dog freight racing team 2013, Rohn Racing Kennels thanks Brass Monkeys for producing such wonderful garments.