Recently I was able to acquire a pair of Kora ‘Shola 230’ leggings. This will be an on-going article as I use them over the next few hiking seasons.
Kora, a company based out of Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, manufacturers base layer garments made from Yak wool, rather than the all so popular sheep wool. The company goes into great detail of the superiority of Yak wool over sheep wool on their Yak Wool Fabric page, it is very much worth checking out.
Statements such as this are enough to get the attention of most folks:
It’s 40% warmer weight for weight, 66% more breathable and is 17% better at transporting water vapour away from the skin. Just like merino, it’s soft and naturally odour-resistant.
Now, my readers know that I place a huge value on thermoregulation. If you are new to my articles, meander over here for more on that topic, so when a company starts talking thermal qualities of garments, it tends to get my attention. Here is a study that shows how the Kora garments, made from Yak wool, performed in one thermal study.
Now, for me, while I do tend to get a bit too geeked out when it comes to numbers and pretty graphs, especially when it comes to fabrics, all the numbers in the world mean nothing if the proof is not in the pudding.
At this point I have very few miles, and days, wearing the Kora ‘Shola 230’ leggings, and over the months, and hopefully years, ahead, I will keep things updated on how they perform; but here is what I can say for now:
- These are, without a doubt, the most comfortable next to skin (NtS) bottoms I have ever worn.
- No leg hair pulling.
- No squeezing.
- No itchy feeling.
- No overheating (thus, good breathability).
- Staying warm in the rain.
- Keeping my legs warm at night inside a quilt rated warmer than I should be using on cold nights.
- Simply luxurious to the feel. Oh, yeah, that was point number one, but worth repeating :)
It is my hope to acquire a Kora ‘Shola 230 Zip‘ Top baselayer here very soon to wear as a NtS top baselayer. I am very much looking forward to seeing how Yak wool is able to handle thermoregulation as a NtS top base layer within the type of conditions I tend to spend most of my time. If/when I do acquire the tops I will post photos of them as well.
Kora is not a name widely known within the hiking/backpacking community, nor the bikepacking, biking, rafting, trail running, or just about any other industry, minus perhaps the world of expeditions / explorers. But Kora is attempting to change that and my initial thoughts are they are not going to have too much of a problem doing so. Their price point is on par with the other top name super high performance wool garments, perhaps a bit higher, but if the fabric proves to perform at the higher level – above and beyond merino wool – that they claim, and those numbers work out to be real-life performance and not just pretty graphs, well the extra 10-15% costs above the top end merino wool I am use to buying, could be, absolutely, worth it. But regardless, I have a feeling that Kora is one of those names that could, rather quickly, make some big inroads into the outdoor communities, beyond just the extreme expeditions. My long time readers know I am not the kind of person to jump on every new bandwagon that comes along. I might only have a very short time using these legging garments, but sometimes quality just immediately shows itself.
Where To Buy:
You can buy the Kora products on their website: http://www.kora.net/