On a recent trip to Banff National Park in Alberta with FREESKIER’s photo editor Kjell Ellefson, I was able to test out the Monkey Wrench jacket and pant combo from Norway-based outerwear and helmet brand Sweet Protection. The Fall of 2015 will mark Sweet’s first foray into the North American market, a big spot on the company’s timeline since its creation in 2000. Be on the lookout at your local shop for this new gear, it’s top notch and should be on anyone’s short list for new outerwear, as well as helmets.
The terrain and conditions spread across Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay offer an ideal testing ground for new gear. Over the course of our time in the Canadian Rockies, we skied in conditions that included howling winds and colder temps to blue skies and spring-like weather, and the Monkey Wrench performed well through the gamut.
The venting on both the jacket and pants is excellent. The jacket’s pit vents are strategically placed to account for backpack usage, which allowed me to let the air in without issue while hiking Sunshine’s Delirium Dive and Southside Chutes in warm, late season temperatures. The breathability of the Gore-Tex build also ensured I didn’t overheat out there.
Another particularly useful feature I found were the oversized thigh pockets on the Monkey Wrench pants, which would be great for storing skins, and keeping them warm during descents in the backcountry.
The 3-layer shell also came in handy when dealing with the strong winds that the Lake Louise Ski Resort is known for. Despite hiking among the gales, my body remained warm and comfortable the entire time, without having to use a ton of midlayers.
On our excursion to Mount Norquay, we spent a good amount of time hiking through and standing in deeper snow above the North American chairlift. In that time, the Monkey Wrench’s Gore-Tex construction kept me drier than the comedic performances in The Office.
Additional quality features include expandable pocket bevels that provide extra protection for your stowed items and also serve to prevent those items from falling out if you happen to forget to zip ’em up. The lightweight build also ensured I wasn’t bogged down on either the uphill or when getting after it on the downhill.
The style is also on-point, thanks to a longer fit and a variety of colorways (four in total).