I spend lots of my time outside in the cold. Whether it be shooting, in the woods doing a bit of bushcraft or paragliding 1000ft above a ridge. I’ve tried all the synthetic layers out there and they just don’t cut the mustard (and end up stinking almost instantly). So, I’ve been looking for an ‘all occasions’ merino base layer. I think I may have found it.
Arriving just 2 days after order, a Chocolate Fish TeMata 260gsm Merino layer arrived in its 100% environmentally friendly (and completely reusable) ‘degradamailer‘ bag. The packaging is simple yet effective. Why waste money on fancy tags and packaging when that cost can be put back into an amazing product. The Chocolate Fish Merino range is 100% New Zealand Merino wool… made 100% in New Zealand…with a conscience.
I spoke with Chocolate Fish on email over a couple of days before I made my purchase (I wanted to make sure I got the right layer for my varying needs). To say they were helpful is an understatement. A truly passionate company focused on sustainability and being as socially and environmentally responsible as possible. They focus not only on a quality, natural product – but the ethics and eco-friendliness along the entire manufacturing process.
Today is my first day wearing the superfine 21 micron merino crew top. Sitting in my air conditioned office this morning, I had a shirt over the layer. I got very toasty, very quickly. I ditched the shirt and went solo with the merino layer. When ordering, I went slightly bigger than ‘skin-tight’ and this means I can wear it on its own. It doesn’t look odd in the slightest, good styling and fit (i’d happily wear it to the pub).
This afternoon I was outside running a fibre cable into another building. Nearly 2 hours drilling holes and shimmying up and down the ladder. Again, I had to lose the jumper and stay with the merino on its own. For those warmer blooded mammals, they also do a thinner base layer coming in at 195gsm (superfine 18.8 micron). I’ll be getting one of these for the warmer months for sure. This thicker layer will come into its own during the coming colder months. The real test will be a trip to Croatia at the beginning of December (sub zero and lots of standing around). After a good few hours sweating in it – it smells just as it did when I got it out of the bag! It is soft on the skin, has good stretch and seems to be wicking fine. It’s also flame resistant for when around the fire.
This is the first review of a couple to come as I want to test it in all environments.
So far, so good. Thumbs up for Chocolate Fish! If only all companies had the same ethics and passion driving them…
UPDATE: Up at 5 this morning for some duck shooting. -1 outside as I made my way to the reed bed. Standing in a ditch at 6:30am…frost on the ground, puddles of ice. But, I was toasty warm. The merino layer, a shirt and fleece jacket kept me nice and warm for over an hour. However, my feet froze so I need the merino/possum socks now!
Left the lakes at just gone 8. Back to Herts for a days beating on a local pheasant shoot. The next 6 hours walking through fields of crop, plough, cover and woodland. Still nice and warm. I’m quite shocked…I don’t even smell! The best merino layer I have bought to date.