The team at Kora have built an impressive line of yak and merino wool clothing that take high performance cold weather gear to the next level.
The company’s blends of yak and merino wools translate to lightweight, compact garments that offer all the insulation benefits of traditional wool with the silky smooth feel of yak wool. With all the ebiking we’ve been doing, we were excited when Kora reached out to us to review its Azog Jersey and Shola 230 Polo. Disclaimer: Kora provided CleanTechnica with the Azog Jersey and a Shola 230 Polo for the purposes of this review.
The Azog Jersey
We immediately pulled the Azog Jersey out of its packaging and fell in love with the sleek but warm profile. It takes all the features of a traditional lightweight long sleeve biking jacket and rolls them together with Kora’s fabrics. The result is a jersey that’s perfect for chilly morning rides and again as a backup for after hours runs.
The foundation of the Azog is Kora’s Stratam 350 fabric that wraps the rider in a layer of yak and merino wool. It’s a great layer for longer outdoor adventures in the wintertime, when you’re looking for a layer that’s warm enough to provide protection against the cold but breathable enough for biking. The anti-odor and lightweight build of the garment make it a good option for multi-day adventures where much-needed daily showers might not be an option.
Up front, the Azog has a clean zipper that slices down the front which has been leveled up with the addition of reflective material. The result is a bold stripe down the center of the front of the jersey that provides a nice pop of increased visibility when light is lacking.
Spinning the jersey around reveals a trio of pockets that hold essentials in with a nice band of stretchy material at the top. It was more than sufficient for me to tuck a spare tube and patch kit into on multiple rides. Kora took things up a notch with the addition of a sneaky zipper pocket for valuables you might not want rattling around in the larger pockets. It’s a great spot for cash, cards, or a phone. The tail of the jacket dips down lower than a straight cut jacket would to give riders more coverage when tucked down for maximum aero. The bottom lining of that rear dip has a bit of tacky gripper material to help it stay where you need it to be.
Dawdling down to the arms of the Azog Jersey is my personal favorite feature of the jacket. The extra long arms transition from the heavier 350 weight fabric to Kora’s lighter, softer Yardang 240 fabric which features thumb holes to keep your hands covered when riding. The combination of the super soft fabric and the thumb holes makes it a dream to slip on and provide an extra layer of warmth that most jackets or jerseys just can’t.
The Shola Polo
Kora’s Shola 230 Polo is a great complement to the Azog Jersey in that it serves as a nice heavyweight base layer that is as good looking as it is functional. It comes in just one color, a dark obsidian blue with maroon stitching with a cut that keeps it hugging your body for warmth.
It’s made with Kora’s Hima-Layer Original 230 fabric that, along with its fitted cut, lets it work perfectly as a heavyweight base layer or as a standalone insulating top. When the ride is over, the polo is equally as comfortable wearing out around town, largely hiding its performance nature though you won’t miss the fact that it’s keeping you warm at the same time.
Yak vs Sheep
Yak wool isn’t something most people are familiar with, though many familiar with performance clothing have grown to love wool. To put it in context, yak wool is an impressive 66% more breathable and 40% warmer than even the superstar sheep wool is, weight for weight.
We love the use of natural fabrics and the efficiency of their implementation in every single one of Kora’s products we’ve tested and just can’t get enough.