A new backpack called the “Minimalist” was just announced. It is, as I am reading things, SMD basically taking their previous, and well-known-to-be-too-damn-heavy backpacks, and getting the weight down to be closer to many of the other comparable backpacks on the market these days… yet still using their ultimate class-defining, and what I feel to be the finest load weight distribution on the market, harness suspension system.
I have been using the Enlightened Equipment ‘Copperfield Wind Shirt’ for a bit over a year. I have been getting questions about it so I thought that I would write up a few brief thoughts about the wind jacket after my first year of use.
I was lucky enough to get mine about 9 or ten months before they hit the market so that I could do pre-release R&D / T&E on the garment. So while mine is slightly different than the current on-the-market version, the changes they have made since I and other testers got ours, have been really nice to see. I think all of the changes that I recommended, with the exception of one, a larger #zipper, made it into the final production version.
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.