By Sam The Trap Man - Hamiora Gibson
When it comes to fibres I want to wear in the bush, NZ wool is top of the list…
As a kid growing up hunting and trapping the unofficial uniform was black woolen bush T shirts. The winter uniform included a pair of stubbies and in summer many of the old possum trappers would do away with these too. You soon learned to look someone in the eyes to avoid unnecessary sites.
But why has the MKM Classic Tee been the garment that has captured the heart of back country clothing for so long?
The secret is in the knit. Its tight weave enough so that a Classic Tee is warm yet breathable. Its tight enough so that while you're working anything but the most torrential rain sits on the outside and is wicked away by your body heat. But it breathes enough to keep you cool when your carrying deer or chasing dogs. Sheep have been using this technology for centuries and it works. In Fiordland I layer it up with the MKM Merino Long Sleeve Tee to keep real toasty when it's snowing.
The Classic Tee is cut long so that it keeps all the warm bits warm and the cool bits cool. My Nana used to say “Boy, cover those kidneys” and she was right. The key to remaining at a constant comfortable temperature when you're active is to keep your core cozy and regulate your temperature through extremities such as your head, hands and feet. The Classic Tee is cut low so your not getting a cold bum and the sleeves are cut high so you can lose any excess heat from your armpits. Whats even better is that the long cut stops it riding up when you're wearing a pack.
The Classic Tee will last you forever. I get 10 years out of mine and they turn into dog blankets only when they are more holes than shirt. You can wear them day in and day out because wool keeps itself clean and dosn’t smell. There's nothing better.
For me this is my go to bush shirt. I have spent the last few years wearing synthetic fleece for different companies but I keep going back to the tried and true. Humans can imitate nature but its hard to recreate wool. It just feels good when your wearing it.
In the end as bushmen we have a choice. There's no end of synthetic clothing available in the market. They feel sticky to wear, start to smell after a couple of days hard work and they last for ever because they are plastic.
As hunters, fishermen and bushmen we keep coming back to what works. To what nature designed. It functions better than any synthetic product only getting more comfortable with age. What's more, when you're done with the product nature is more than happy to compost it, to turn it back into soil which grows grass which feeds sheep who grow wool.
I guess that's why I keep coming back to the same gear I have been wearing since I was 12 years old. MKM have been making the Classic Tee on the same machine since I started out in the bush and its a product that has stood the test of time. When I write a review in a magazine its not often I have the liberty of testing a product for longer than a year. With this particular review I have been testing the product for more than 15 years and keep going back for more.
When you work on the land its hard not to choose products that come from the land.