Review Details - Shola 230 Zip
Product Review (submitted on February 2, 2016):
We were prepping for a winter excursion into Northern Finland expecting colder temps. As a dedicated IceBreaker & Smartwool Merino fan for over 10 yrs, Merino has proven itself in both cold and warm temps but I wanted to see if there was an alternative material out there.
My wife found an online technical review of the warmest wools available and Yak Down was rated near the top - only Musk Oxen/Qiviut was warmer but also twice as expensive and Merino was towards the bottom.
Naturally, the review mentioned Kora as a resource for Yak and happened to rate the 2 products I was interested in at the top of their respective categories: Shola 230 Zip and Shola 3/4 Leggings, so I gave both a go.
After returning from my trip with temps averaging -19°C/-2°F (dipped to -25°C/-13°F), I can say the Kora Shola combo proved it's value. Overall, the Shola 230 was warmer than my Merino 230 (which I wore 1 day to compare) and was so soft and comfortable, I never wanted to completely remove even after a long day of activities. Lucky for me, the Yak has excellent vapor permeability/drying properties that transferred all my moisture to the outside layers.
- the 230 Zip's construction position the seams in a clever fashion - never chafed or interfered with my other layers
- the sleeves, tail and neck were long & high enough to keep drafts out
- the long 3/4 front zipper was super helpful when controlling heat management
- the colors aesthetically compliment each other (I purchased the Navy version w/plum deals).
- I paired the 230 Zip with the 3/4 Leggings in consideration of the liners, socks, pants, boots and gaiters that I needed to deal with
I'm sold and look forward to using my Shola 230 Zip and 3/4 Leggings again in cold temps with full confidence…sorry Merino. I will very interested to see how Yak down will perform in warm temps where Merino does excel equally (perhaps another review?)
Only one caution for future owners - the product will shrink (as noted by Kora) by about 5% after first washing but will loosen after normal wear and stretching. Note: I rated the Fit at 5 stars during initial use and prior to washing.