The drop seat is accessed through a double zipper that extends nearly all the way around the back and returns to the fly on the other side. This zipper access provides more than enough room to go handle your business, while still providing warmth in other areas. This is the most convenient feature of the Monsie.
The double-zipper pull tabs are easily moved to other spots along the zipper tape, and I move them around depending on what I’m wearing over the Monsie. With jeans I’ll often put the zips in the front on one side. In my ski pants, I’ll often keep them in back. The adjustability is convenient and keeps the Monsie comfortable all the time, without concentrated pressure in one spot.
Weight, Warmth, and Science!
The Monsie’s merino wool is light and very comfortable to the skin. It is 190gsm (grams per Square Meter) which is a fine stitch for the fabric. Coming in at just under a pound, the Monsie feels lightweight, but functions like a heavyweight. The material is thin enough to wear under casual clothes like jeans, but warm enough to skip a mid layer on most days.
Time for a little science behind the one piece! Due to the nature of the One-Piece, the heat created is contained more efficiently, and there is less loss of heat due to gaps. I was sufficiently warm on really cold days layering with the Monsie plus a mid layer (like the First Ascent Hangfire hoodie), and a hard shell jacket.
While boot packing and ridge running around New Zealand and Taos Ski Valley, the Monsie has been nice and breathable, and I am able to put in a good solid effort before I overheat and begin to sweat.
The Monsie looks really awesome and classic. It has a Henley-style button down front, and a nice soft grey color. The women’s version is striped with brown and a turquoise/green, and in both cases, the style points are high. I rarely take this thing off [editor’s note: truest statement ever published on Blister], and I often hear (a) “Is that a Monsie???” or (b) “Nice Shirt!”
In fact the Monsie is a nice shirt, and I often wear it out and about with jeans. It looks as if I just have my shirt tucked in.
The Placket button-down portion is equipped with large, square buttons. The square buttons are easily seated and locked, and they have a nice look. But in the event of an upper-portion removal of the Monsie, the squares are a little tricky to remove with one hand, so you may have to set your drink down….
The warmth and style combine to make it wearable and comfortable in any social situation. I have worn the Monsie in many casual settings, and never felt like I was wearing pajamas or some high tech base layers, despite the fact that the Monsie is a high-tech, high-class base layer.If you are wearing something over the monsie , the hood is easily folded down the back and fits incognito under shirts.
I tend to be an itchy person, and the Merino fabric is not itchy. I found it easy to access my chest via the buttons on the front for some gorilla-style scratching, but unfortunately, due to the onesie nature of the Monsie, it is impossible to get itch relief at the skin level on the back. Just so you know.
(FYI, for the Olympics, Mons Royale developed a special Monsie for the Kiwi athletes that has many of the same features, but is “All Black” and uses a zipper in front rather than the button down placket.)
The fabric is thin and not meant to be very abrasive resistant. It’s meant to be soft, warm, and stylish. Over the course of the 5 months I been using the Monsie, its still in tact in close to original form. Because of my use of knee-pads, I have worn a tiny hole about the size of a bottle cap into my right side Monsie leg. This is my front foot when I’m snowboarding, and I think the extra bending and flexing of the material under my kneepad has eventually worn through. The hole is not growing fast, and the stitching pattern largely prevents catastrophic unraveling.
I also wear a spine protector and avalanche beacon most days on the snow. This makes more locations that can rub on straps and buckles. I have not noticed any wear and tear from these accessories.
The Monsie also held up well while sunbathing (and modeling) on the lava rock of Hawaii…
The zipper, buttons, and draw cords all seem strong enough and haven’t shown any signs of degradation over the 5 months of use.
Having washed the Monsie more than a few times, I have noticed a slight diminishing of color and less integrity in the fabric. I am hard on gear and wear this product a lot.
Care / Smell Test
Instructions for washing state, “Machine wash cold and air dry inside out in the shade.” You should wash cold to prevent shrinking of the Merino wool, and air dry in the shade for two reasons: to battle against shrinking, and to preserve color / slow fading.
I wore my Monsie nearly everyday for about three weeks before I washed it. The stink factor on Merino is FAR better and more pleasant than that of a synthetic layer. With my “bodily ecosystem,” synthetic layers get stinky in a day or two. The Monsie during those three weeks before the first wash stayed odor free, and I’m not kidding. I ended up washing it based on time principle alone.
I washed it and air dried it inside out in the shade, then happily climbed back inside it. I didn’t notice any sizing change or shrinking.
More recently, I accidently put the Monsie in the drier, and low and behold, it shrank a tiny bit. It still fits just fine, but it’s a little tighter now. So warning: the Monsie will shrink if dried with heat.
The Mons Royale Monsie is currently my favorite piece of gear. It is comfortable to wear, functional in the snow and cold, and puts a smile on my face every time I put it on. I can wear it out on the town, when sunbathing on lava rocks in Hawaii, or when just gettting cozy on the couch.
The Merino material lasts long and doesn’t retain odors like other synthetic base layers. Every detail has been thought through, from the placement of draw cords to the Henley-style placket. And it’s easy to get into and out of.
You should get one of these.