Few brands tell a better story than Kora Outdoor. Kora is the Tibetan word for a pilgrim’s circumambulation of a sacred mountain. The company’s owner started his journey to build Kora after spending time with Tibetan nomadic yak herders. He was struck by the incredible warmth and softness of the wool. In 2013, following years of research, and building relationships with the Tibetan people and manufacturers, the first Kora base layer was born.
Driven by a social mission, Kora offers a broad collection of performance-driven wool products for active outdoor adventures for men and women.
“The purpose of Kora is to support mindful, positive change within the Tibetan communities who provide us with yak wool. Our wool is ethically sourced from yaks raised on the Himalayan Plateau.”
Kora uses ethically sourced wool from Tibetan yaks. The company teamed with the Kegawa Herder’s Cooperative, a collective of more than 90 families in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Their goal is to buy directly from the herders. The company purchases mid-market wool from the cooperative guaranteeing price certainty to the families and offering a 10% stipend to ensure economic viability for the region.
Fat-Bike.com Tests The Kora Line
Kora has earned our respect by living its mission. Sure, they do right in the world, but they also make amazing products. Uncle Gomez and I have had a chance to try out several products from Kora over the past few years. This winter Kora sent us an early release of their new Yardang Long Sleeve Shirt. The Yardang walks the line between performance jersey and a “looking good leaning against the water cooler” long-sleeved button-up top. Is it a mid-layer garment for cool weather days? Or is it a stylish shirt for the workplace? After trying it out in both environments I can tell you there’s no reason it can’t be both. Last week I wore it as a mid-layer on my commute to work under a jacket and then straight to my desk.
The Yardang Long Sleeve is Kora’s first full-buttoned long sleeve. Blending 70% merino and 30% yak wool, the Yardang features all the amazing qualities of both—moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, warmth, and amazing comfort. Designed as a “no-tuck” shirt, the Yardang’s length sits above the waist. It features a slim cut. I recommend sizing up if you like a looser fit.
Stratam Vest and Jacket
Last winter I featured the Holocene Vest. Rebranded as the Stratam product line, I boasted this vest to be my “new favorite thing”. I wear it a lot. I was pleasantly surprised to see my review featured on Kora’s product page. It remains on the top of my list for any adventure. It’s super soft, very warm, and extremely well made. I expect to wear this for a very long time.
Actually, Gomez was the first kid on the block to have something from Kora. He lit up the fat-bike.com pages back in February of 2020 with his first look at Kora’s jacket and vest. I’ll pass the Mic to Gomez to tell you in his own words.
g~ I’ve been wearing a Kora Azog Jersey and Holocene Vest for over two years. Back in 2020, I wrote that the Azog Jersey had become my favorite mid-layer and the Azog is still the king of that category in my rather large arsenal of hi-tech bike smocks. The patented Kora Yak wool fabric is noticeably warmer than merino. The Azog Paired with the Holocene Vest is what I grab for temps in the single-digit range.
I dry my gear on a rack after the ride and the Azog can be worn multiple times between laundry cycles. Yak wool has very similar laundry care instructions to Merino. ( both garments contain a percentage of merino wool) The only additional step for the Kora laundry care is to zip up all of the zippers before washing. I always line dry all of my bike clothes.
The tailoring on both of the Kora pieces that I’ve been wearing is simply top-shelf. When these two garments entered my closet, they set the bar at a new level for style and function. How often do you get something that’s warmer and looks better? (fast forward over two years) The fit and finish of these garments continue to exceed my expectations. I’m so stoked about the brand, I want to get myself a couple of Kora’s base layers to try out this summer. The Azog Jersey is the best wool jersey that I own. (and I own quite a few) I look forward to wearing Yak Wool for years to come! The one warning that I have is that once you experience the elevated level of luxury that Kora’s apparel brings to the table, you may not want to wear your other wool kit anymore. This is the good stuff from a great company!
If you’d like to experience the warmth and luxury of yak wool, visit Kora.net for more information.