- Amazingly warm and comfortable
- Fantastic breathability and moisture-wicking fabric
- Naturally odor-resistant, wear multiple times without washing
- 30 day Trial Guarantee
- Perfect for all outdoor activities, not just cycling
- Might be a little long in the torso for shorter women
Price: $130 USD
Sizing: XS-XL (women’s); S-2XL (men’s)
Fit: Next to skin fit
Material: 60% premium yak wool, 40% superfine merino
Obtained By: Company Sample
RBR Advertiser: No
Stay Warm and Dry with Yak Wool
Yep, you read the headline correctly. Yak wool. I like natural fibers like alpaca or merino wools, but now I’m adding yak to the list. Their wool is designed to survive the high-altitude Himalayas. At 4000-6000 meters, yaks live at higher altitudes than merino sheep, thus the fibers make for a different type of wool. According to the company yak wool is 40% warmer than merino; 66% more breathable; 17% faster at transporting water vapor away from the skin.
The Yushu base layer (men’s and women’s version) is made from 60% premium yak wool and 40% superfine merino. The fabric is soft, lightweight yet feels very dense, and very well constructed. All seams are double-stitched and flat to ensure no chafing. 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.
I received the Kora Yushu base layer a few weeks ago and have been testing it biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and sleeping. From my 5-star rating, you can tell I’m a fan. It’s warm, breathable, incredible wicking properties, and naturally odor-resistant.
Just yesterday I went out on a road ride wearing a wool bra, the Yushu base layer, and a winter cycling jacket. I stayed warm, even working up a sweat as I battled a headwind. When I arrived home and undressed, I assumed the Yushu base layer would be soaked, but it was totally dry and odor-free! I jumped in the shower and put the base layer back on. Then went off for a snow hike.
Yak wool has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help the garment stay odor-resistant, thus allowing multiple wearings between washings. This sustainable wool option reduces the use of water and energy since it doesn’t have to be laundered as often. When it is time to launder, the company recommends washing with similar colors, in a laundry bag, and line dry. I’ve laundered the top a few times and it comes out looking just fine.
The fit of the base layer was true to size. The arms and torso did run long but I liked the added length when on the bike. Shorter stature women may have an issue and should double-check the company’s sizing chart. With Kora’s 30-day trial guarantee, you can purchase with confidence that if you aren’t completely satisfied, the item can be returned.
Additional Yak Facts
Under the yak’s thick and rough hair is a warm down which is used to make the wool. Every spring yaks lose their down during a molting process. The animal is not sheared like merino or alpaca. Each yak will provide about 100 grams of down/year, which is why the wool is so expensive and rare. Yak wool is purer than other wools because the climate they live in does not allow them to secrete fat. Thus, yak wool does not require chemical treatment to soften the wool and rid it of the scratch rough feel.
Who knew these shaggy-haired bovines could produce such soft, warm wool. But living in the Himalayas with harsh weather conditions, yaks need to stay warm. If you are looking for a great base layer to keep you warm and dry, check out the yak wool products from Kora Outdoors.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.