PROPERTIES OF YAK WOOL
Warm: Tests conducted in the 1980s showed that in ambient temperatures of -18*C, the skin temperature of yaks remained at between 8-20 *C. That's a staggering amount of insulation provided by the fibre. While our own like-for-like tests showed yak fabric to be roughly 10-15% warmer than comparable merino fabric, there have been tests indicating yak could be considerably warmer.
Odour resistant: Yak wool is anti-microbial, meaning it fights off the small microbes that live off sweat and build up on the surface of certain other fibres. In the real-world this means you can simply air your sweater, saving water from laundering, and packing less on your travels.
Breathable: There is nothing worse than a suffocating fabric on the skin. Understandably, animal fibres breath better than synthetics, and yak is no exception.
Mositure wicking: Like most animal fibres yak wicks moisture from your body into the surrounding environment, avoiding the sweaty and 'clammy' sensation one gets wearing synthetics.
Soft: Hidden under the strands of guard hair are the sub 19 micron down that give yak its luxurious feel. It is easy to confuse it with cashmere. We only use the finest down in our sweaters and woven items.
TYPES OF YAK WOOL
Yaks survive at altitudes sometimes exceeding five thousand metres in the harsh highlands of the Himalayas, and, over centuries have developed a warm coat that helps them survive such challenging conditions - fibre developed by nature, to survive its extremes. Yaks specifically yield three types of fibre:
Traditionally used by nomads to make ropes and tents, it exceeds 50 microns, and would make strong but uncomfortable yarn and fabrics. This is the guard hair most visible on the animal, and perhaps what leads people to believe yak wool is very coarse.
Usually between 25 - 50 microns, with the potential to be spun into yarn, but would again be strong yet uncomfortable to wear. However their strength can make them suitable for other applications such as woven outerwear fabrics.
The softest of all fibres, finer than 20 microns in diameter, we focus on using those between 17.5-19 microns to ensure garments are extremely soft and warm. While we could use finer, we believe this bracket gives us the right balance between softness and durability. The yield of this fibre is relatively low, meaning it is expensive to source, but worth it due to its incredible warmth and comfort.
SOME RANDOM YAK FACTS
Lamps in Tibetan monasteries are fuelled by yak butter.
Yak cheese has higher amounts of heart-healthy fats than cheese from dairy cattle.
Yak polo, played on yaks instead of horses, was pioneered in Mongolia a decade ago.
The first yakalo, a cross between a yak and an American bison, was produced through selective breeding in Alberta, Canada in 2000.
A major use for the yak’s coarse tail hair is to create fake beards worn by actors in Chinese opera.
In local communities, yak bone is often made into exquisite handicrafts, including combs, buttons and ornaments.
The only natural predator of the wild yak is the wolf which will try to kill baby yaks (boo).
In Mongolia yak milk is fermented in a leather pouch and distilled as a "milk wine" called archi.
In winter a wild yak can survive temperatures as low as - 40 degrees (C).
A wild yak doesn’t reach full size until six to eight years of age.
Dried yak dung is used as fuel on the treeless Tibetan plateau.
The male wild yak can reach up to 6.5 feet high at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 2,200 pounds. Wild female yaks are up to a third of the male’s size.
Domestic male yaks are much smaller in size and weigh up to 1,300 pounds while domestic female yaks weigh up to 560 pounds.
Even in the below-freezing winters, yaks have been spotted bathing in lakes and rivers.
Its coat provides insulation through a thick outer coating of guard hair and a dense inner coating of down.
It is believed that the strength of yak wool comes from the high levels of amino acids contained within the fibres.
Yak wool is very resistant to static electricity meaning garments are less likely to spark or cling to the body during dry conditions.
Measurements refer to body size, not garment dimensions, and are in inches.
All Khunu garments are sized based on a European/athletic standard. If you are generally between sizes for other brands, we'd suggest you order the larger size.
|Europe||39 - 43||44 - 47|
|UK||6 - 9||9 - 12.5|
|USA (men)||8.5 - 10.5||11 - 14|
|Japan||24.8 - 27||27.3 - 29.8|