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Thermal underwear for motorcyclists – our impressions

Thermal underwear for a motorcyclist – this topic has been completely ignored by us so far. Either we didn’t use it, because after all, a cotton T-shirt can do the job too, or we used the cheapest products, because why spend cash if you can invest in fuel and more kilometers. Now, as we prepare for our expedition across the Americas (we still believe that despite Covid, it will work!), we have changed our approach and thinking a bit to a more minimalist one. Instead of a dozen shirts, one or two – as versatile as possible, durable, so that they will serve for a long time and not ruin our budget, because with the latter it’s always a hard thing. You could say that we are ripe for thermal shirts. :))) And so, after digging through various travel, and motorcycle forums, reading comments and tests, we decided on a merino set produced by the Polish company Brubeck, but let’s start from the beginning.


It protects from the cold or it cools. Slick with sweat in the summer sun of Tuscany, or frozen and soaked during a trip to Nordkapp, we will not fully, contentedly, absorb the beautiful views around us. We, with a motorcycle trip to Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the near future, mainly focused on protecting ourselves from the cold and wind. We wanted to see if thermal underwear can actually cope in harsher climates and when riding in temperatures hovering around zero, and whether the difference will be felt enough to make it worth investing in another set that we would take on a trip around the Americas. We will certainly supplement our article with impressions from using the coolers, but so far we haven’t had a chance to use them, because the Icelandic summer is nothing like the Polish one. :)))


There are synthetic and natural versions on the market. Apparently, the current synthetics are on par with the natural ones, although we leaned more towards merino wool from the very beginning, about which we have read a lot of good things. Besides, nature always serves the best solutions. :))) No less, before you buy wool underwear, it is worth checking whether it causes you an allergic reaction or a mega unpleasant itching, as it did for our friend Tom, who, despite his sincere desire to buy a wool set, had to stay with synthetics. Although it shouldn’t sensitize, it sometimes does.

Thermal underwear is like our second skin, it is worn directly on our body and its main task is to keep our body warm and wick away sweat, which leads to cooling. It should be fitted to the body, comfortable and seamless to avoid chafing. In addition, it has cooling or warming properties, but don’t expect that in 30-degree heat putting on any T-shirt will make you feel a pleasant chill, because it just doesn’t work that way.

In the case of warm underwear, it’s also not the case that you put on and immediately you can comfortably glide in temperatures hovering around zero. Underwear is such a basic first layer, which will often not be enough, so it is important to dress onions. At lower temperatures, the second layer will probably be indispensable, and here again wool, due to its properties, will be the best, but ordinary fleece will also do. We, traveling in Iceland, usually wore merino thermo underwear, a thin fleece or softshell and a jacket as a third layer of insulation on the coldest days. Our jackets are summer jackets, so on the coldest days, and the windiest, we were still helped by a raincoat, which protected us tightly from the wind and damp air, although by all rights the last layer should be breathable. A jacket with Gore-tex would probably take care of the matter, but we haven’t yet replaced our old clothes, well, and not everyone can afford them either. :))) Besides, this just proves that you can always travel and you don’t need to be dressed in high-end clothes with the best materials available at all. :))) We suspect that such a solution – thermo underwear, a second layer and a jacket – will work for everyone who goes in the summer to Scandinavia or east, for example, to the Himalayas, where the temperature in the higher parts can be much lower.

Why did we choose merino wool?

Because we simply rely more on natural solutions in this case. Besides, knowing the conditions in which merinos live, the properties of their wool seem to make perfect sense. For centuries, merino fleeces have adapted to the extreme conditions around them. They are said to be able to endure, with smiles on their muzzles, a temperature range of -20 to +35Β°C. Also, great respect for these furries and our confidence in their wool. And besides, what we think is important for motorcyclists.

  • Merino wool is extremely lightweight, and low weight is of paramount importance on motorcycle trips, even more so if you sometimes have to pack your entire house on two wheels for several months or years.
  • We, when hearing about wool, imagined the scratchy, brown sweaters that our parents used to make us wear, because it’s warm, because our aunt made it and it falls out. Meanwhile, in fact, merino wool is very soft and pleasant to the touch, at least for us. :)))
  • Superbly absorbs moisture. As you know, even on colder days we can sweat, and merino wool can absorb an amount of moisture that is up to 35% of its weight. Our Brubecks kept our skin dry, even after a day’s riding and romping. Although we don’t want to guarantee anything, as it’s probably also an individual issue.
  • Merino also has great natural antibacterial properties and what can we say – it just doesn’t stink. :))) Even after three days, because sometimes it happened anyway, you could wear the shirt the next morning without much disgust. :)))
  • In addition, it is breathable and dries instantly – literally. Tested even in the wet and humid Icelandic climate.
  • It warms on cooler days or cools on warmer days, perfectly maintaining a comfortable body temperature. And important here is that the more merino in the composition, the better the insulation, so theoretically better.


Merino, like any wool, requires proper treatment when washing, so washing at high temperatures and strong detergents is not recommended, as it can shrink and lose its properties. For us personally, however, this is not a big problem and we would not say that this is any big disadvantage of merino, and certainly not able to overshadow all the other advantages.

On the other hand, another thing was quite annoying for us, which, using synthetics, we didn’t notice. Our merinos were clinging to every Velcro, of which there is not much with motorcycle clothes, and we quickly got matted in those places where they mostly clung to the Velcro. This is not some gigantic minus either, although it was a bit annoying to have them peeled off. :)))


The company itself was recommended to us by friends who have traveled quite a few miles, and we value their experience very much. They traveled by motorcycle, wrote a blog, shared their experiences before it became fashionable. :))) We salute them and invite you by the way to their LifeWeLove website. But coming back to the topic, in addition to asking our friends, we also snooped a lot on the web, and wherever we asked about thermal clothing for motorcyclists (be it FB or other online forums), there the name Brubeck always appeared. If we found any negative comments, they were basically only due to a misunderstanding of how thermo clothing works itself. As we mentioned, there are no miracles, and the T-shirt itself will not make us feel the cold when we are just crossing the Sahara. :)))

And what convinced us in the end, besides recommendations and positive reviews? We do not hide the fact that it was largely the affordable price, but above all the fact that it is a Polish company. If we have to choose from among several products in the same class, we somehow always choose the native ones. Sometimes we just turn on our patriotism. :))) Well, and after those kilometers driven, in different conditions, we can say, we made a great choice. Or maybe we just had a good sense. :)))


We traveled the entire season in these underwear, not much for us, about 15,000 kilometers, mostly in the harsh climate of the island of ice and fire – Iceland. During the summer, the temperatures did not reach the zenith, but were able to oscillate around 20 degrees, which is pretty good for Iceland, and we had the opportunity to experience one of the warmest summers in recent decades. But there was also driving and sleeping in a tent at a time when the mercury bar in the thermometer dropped to -5 degrees, the whirlwind was blowing mercilessly, and the rain was falling horizontally. :))) Driving all night from Poland to Denmark, most of the way in the rain because we had to get to the ferry, we were overjoyed to be wearing merino. Although partially wet, because we have something bad luck with leaking raincoats, we didn’t feel the effects of the chill so much. The shirts did a great job of keeping the body warm.

Our Brubeck has traveled with us almost the entire Island of Ice and Fire, and is currently waiting with us for the summer and the opportunity to continue our journey through Iceland, then the Faroe Islands, and at the very end, later this year (if Covid and restrictions allow free travel), it will 100% accompany us on a trip through the Americas (you can read more about our MOTOHALIK here). Probably for this last escapade we will also stock up on a warmer version of the Merino Extreme and a set of “coolers”, and about them we will also write our opinions for you, but only after we have properly tested them. And here’s a link to our current Merino ACTIVE kit, should anyone want to read more of the information provided by the manufacturer.

bielizna termoaktywna dla motocyklisty

Why are we writing about it at all? Because we’ve seen that the topic of thermo clothing recurs regularly, including on our Mototrasa Facebook group (you’ll find a link to the group about here), and we simply wanted to share our impressions, hoping to help you at least a little when choosing. There are, of course, many more companies producing merino clothing, or thermal clothing in general, and we are only writing about the one we tested ourselves, but if anyone still has doubts, we sincerely recommend products from Brubeck – affordable, qualitatively cool, and they worked great for us.

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