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.
Being one of the few people in the long distance hiking community, it seems, that has really invested time and money into putting to the test Yak wool garments, it was hard for me to not back this project.
Earlier today the garment showed up. As anybody that has done kickstarter knows, any non-digital kickstarter that shows up, is a good thing, and at five months past the Kickstarter estimated date of delivery, that is something that does not bother me all that much. Small start up companies, trying to get all the cogs in order, working with products (in this case, yak wool) outside the normality, well, they deserve some leniency.
I have another long term review – and one that I know a lot of you have been waiting a long time for me to do – and this time it is on the Icebreaker baselayer clothing.
I just recently passed 800 days (update: January 2016, I have now passed 1,300+ days) of wearing the Icebreaker Tech T Lite Short Sleeve Tee and over 500 days of wearing the Icebreaker 260 Tech Top(I technically had the bodyfit 260, but that name brand was discontinued and is now just called the ‘tech top’) and for about a month I had a Icebreaker Long Sleeve Chase Zip Top that I somehow lost at some trail town and quickly replaced with the Tech Top, which I am glad happened as I just did not like the design of the Chase Zip Top.
For those of you that have to trust and enjoy my long term reviews – and by “long term’ I mean ‘long term’ – longer than any other active outdoor gear writer – I wanted to get this article published for those of you preparing for your next winter hiking season. Both of these garments have proven themselves to me to be the absolute best base layer top garments I have ever owned. It took me a number of years of wearing other top base layers and just not being happy with them to finally spend the above-average costs for these two garments, but now, three years later, I am still wearing them (and I am at this very moment) and plan to keep wearing them until they give out.
I hope you enjoy this review – it has been a long time coming. Sorry for the delay for those that have been waiting, but at the same time, I do enjoy my long term useage of gear before writing a review on gear!