Yak Wool: The Age-Old Secret to Moving in the Mountains

Himalayan nomads know. They’ve been wearing yak wool clothing for untold centuries. But kora is the first company to develop this fibre into high-performance technical fabrics for outdoor adventurers.

Kora sources and buys the wool themselves from Tibetan communities to ensure its origin and quality. Each new fabric undergoes extensive lab testing and long-term field trials with their team of mountain athletes.

 

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Photo: kora

 

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The Yak Way: Thriving at High Altitude

Yaks have evolved their fine super-wool in order to survive on the “roof of the world,” the Himalayas. At punishing altitude they face cold temperatures and the threat of adverse weather daily. Their fine layer of inner wool protects them and enables them to cope with the harsh winter months.

 

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Mardi Himal Base Camp, Lumle, Nepal. Photo: SANJAY HONA, VIA UNSPLASH

 

The Secret to Yak Wool’s Warmth and Comfort

Fineness: Yak wool traps air between the multiple fibres to keep you warm.

Hollowness: it traps air within the fibre, to further increase insulation.

Flexibility: Flex means comfort against your skin as the fibres adapt to your movement.

Strength: Yak wool can be spun and knit into durable, lightweight fabrics using a looser knit, which allows for greater air flow and water vapour permeability.

According to the tests carried out in independent laboratories, kora’s Shola 100% yak wool fabric is weight-for-weight 40% warmer than merino; 66% more breathable; and 17% faster at transporting water vapour away from the skin. Just like merino, it’s naturally odour-resistant, while its softness has been compared to cashmere.

 

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Photo: kora

 

We tried out the new Stratam LS Sweater, a long sleeve super-soft quarter-zip sweater, designed as a second or mid-layer. It combines the unequalled thermal properties of yak wool with a durable and eco-friendly DuPont Sorona biopolymer for a smooth external surface. The inside is all next-to-skin-friendly yak wool.

 

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Photo: kora

 

The combination is 56% yak wool, 42% DuPont Sorona polyester and 2% elastane, ensuring breathability, moisture management and a comfortable fit that moves with you. This garment has clearly been painstakingly designed, right down to the zipper guard which will never pinch you, and the mobile phone pocket that sits away from a backpack waist strap.

We also tried another kora blend, the Yushu LS Crew and Yushu Bottoms, an ultra-warm baselayer combo.

 

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Photo: kora

 

With a generous length in body and arm, the LS Crew won’t ride up and will keep the cold out and your warmth in. Kora’s Yushu fabric combines 60% premium yak wool and 40% superfine merino. High-wear areas such as the under-arm feature a panel of corespun merino (a durable nylon yarn wrapped in the softest merino) to ensure extra strength. All seams are double-stitched and ultra-flat to ensure no-rubbing.

 

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Photo: kora

A full-length ultra-warm base layer with the same fabric combo as the LS, the Yushu Bottoms are the ideal first layer for all your winter outdoor fitness and mountain activities. These leggings are super-warm yet ultra-breathable and the technical fit really moves with you during ski touring.

The high-wear crotch panel is reinforced with corespun merino for enhanced durability and the waistband features a new colourway.

More about kora’s positive connections here.

 

Boards & Blizzards: Winter-Surfing Nova Scotia

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