Six months ago I received a new garment called the ‘Xenolith Sweater‘ from Kora, a UK based company that specializes in high-end garments – primarily for those who are doing expeditions and epic adventurers in some of the most awesome places that we humans go here on earth.
I have previously reviewed the Kora ‘Shola 230’ Leggings and the Kora ‘Shola 230 Zip’ Top, with the latter of the two being, by far, the most popular of the two garments. I have often responded to folks wanting to know my thoughts about the Shola 230 Top with: “the Kora Shola 230 Zip is the best warmth to weight ratio top garment that I have used“. I did ding the 230 Zip in a few ways but gave it significantly more praise than counter praise. It is an amazing lightweight layer 1 or L2 thermal garment for the typical day to day conditions that I face here in the Redwoods of Northern California. Likewise, the 230 leggings have been my go-to thermal bottoms since I got them.
Over the last, almost two years now, I have tried to stay devoted to putting the test to Yak wool products, from Kora as well as other companies trying to make a go at making Yak wool garments. This has not been easy. A lot of these garments made from Yak wool are hella expensive, often times a third or more expensive than their appropriate counterparts in the Merino wool market. It has also not been easy because I have encountered more than one company making Yak wool garments that have just turned out to be horribly disappointing in the durability world of things. And lastly, in the things that have made it hard to do long-term garment testing on Yak wool products is the simple fact that there is not a lot of them on the market.
Wow winter season is fast approaching and it is time for my Favorite Gear of the Year for 2017.
A few of the items are going to be fairly long term gear, having used them for a season or two, or more, yet I still consider them the best-of. Similarly, some of the gear is going to be pretty new pieces for me, things that I just started using this year but that have impressed me enough to highlight them.
This article will not be just about gear. Down towards the bottom I will share some of my favorite videos, website, things I am looking forward to trying next year, and some honorable mentions. Please do not forget to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the article. And a special thank you to those folks who have joined my patron page this year!
Anyway, with all the mumbojumbo out of the way, here are my picks for the 2017 season!
The Enlightened Equipment ‘Enigma APEX‘ quilt is a sewn-closed footbox + Climashield APEX synthetic insulated quilt being made by one of the biggest cottage quilt manufacture in America, Enlightened Equipment.
The ‘Enigma APEX‘ is a quilt that I have been using on and off for the last eight months. As a 100% synthetic hiker(no animal down products) getting the chance to acquire and use this quilt has been really great and it has impressed me in many ways!
Back in February of 2016 I ordered a Mountain Laurel Designs ‘Core 22L’ backpack for use as my primary summer backpack – it was my first backpack from MLD and it will not be my last – quickly fell in love with this backpack!
The MLD Core is offered in two different volumes, a 22L(1300ci) and a 28L(1700ci) volume – I went with the 22L knowing that I could get all of my gear into it and about three days worth of food. YMMV.
One really has to ask themselves what the targeted market is for a backpack as simple as the MLD Core. Let me try to share my thoughts on that.