A few years ago, Neil McNair set out "to make the best mountain shirt in the world." Now we've finally been able to get our hands on one, we can attest to a job well done.
Even though we should know better by now, we still operate as a disposable society, and for the majority of snowboarders, we're guiltier than most. We're part of an industry that relies on selling large volumes of product annually, but in a period of about three months. Part of the reason why our fashions change so much and technology appears to evolve so quickly is that it's a great way of shifting the next cycle's catalogue, but it leaves a sway of discarded jackets, goggles and snowboards in its wake.
So what if you could do it differently? What if you could make something that's not only timeless, but has such a good build quality it would last for years whilst performing as well as - if not better than - some of the top end goods already out there? That's the question the guys behind McNair Shirts asked, and then answered with this: the McNair Mountain Shirt.
What if you could make something that's not only timeless, but has such a good build quality it would last for years whilst out-performing some of the top end goods already out there?
Whilst we don't normally review outerwear in great detail, we'll make the exception here as it's like no other garment out there on the snowboard market. Made from heavyweight boiled merino wool, it keeps you warm whilst at the same time as wicks away sweat and moisture to keep you dry.
New Zealand sheep's wool evolved to keep them away from the snow, making this function as a water/snow resistant shell - though whilst testing we did find it worked best as a mid layer on super cold days rather than an outer layer. It's designed to snowboard in, so a tall fit keeps snow away from your arse and extra space around the shoulders allows for a bit more freedom, plus it's looks stylish as hell - we've never tested any product that drew more comments on the hill, not even Jamie Lynn's booby board.
As it is a shirt and not a jacket, it's best paired with a thermal with thumb holes to stop snow getting up your sleeve and maybe even a hood too. Coming in at over £300, it's definitely a luxury purchase, until you figure out how much you might spend on similar but inferior products over ten years or so - again, it's built to last.
Basically, we love it, well worth saving up for a purchase if you're a die hard mountain man (or woman) who puts in a lot of days per annum on the hill. It keeps you protected to spend more hours up on the hill and will keep you looking and feeling good down in town.