Move over merino, it appears yak wool is taking over as the new all-natural baselayer fabric of choice. Kora Outdoors was the first to launch yak wool apparel last year and now New Zealand upstart Peak to Plateau aims to join the charge.
So what’s so great about yak wool? Peak to Plateau claims that yak fiber is up to 40% warmer, 65% more breathable and softer than merino. Only the soft down under-fiber is used, which is what is responsible for keeping yaks warm at altitudes up to 5000 meters (16,400 feet) and temperatures down to -40°C/F.
To create their baselayers, Peak to Plateau takes the yak fiber and blends it with Tencel, a natural fiber made from the Eucalyptus tree. Tencel is extremely soft, strong and breathable and combines with yak to enhance the properties of the fabric. A 65% Yak 35% Tencel blend gives the perfect combination of warmth, comfort, durability and breathability.
In similar vein to Kora, Peak to Plateau founder, Stefan Warnaar, works directly with yak herders to purchase the wool. The aim is that quality remains high while the herder families get a fair price.
Peak to Plateau will start with three styles — the Kalaish 1/4 Zip, Nomad Crew, and the Namtso Tee. Design features include raglan sleeves, thumb loops on the long sleeve baselayer, longer torso length, and offset seams to cut down on chaffing.
Warnaar is running a Kickstarter campaign (of course!) to fund initial production. Prices range from around $64 for the Namtso Tee to $103 for the Kalaish 1/4 Zip. Expected delivery is in February, so still in time for the coming winter sports season (in the Northern Hemisphere at least).