Y is for Yak Down

the yak down information page

Introduction to Yak Down

Yak down is an emerging name in the world of luxury and exotic fibers. Remarkably fine, it is comparable to cashmere in softness while being significantly warmer than merino wool. It is a truly exquisite natural fiber that is also exceedingly rare. Despite its natural scarcity, yak down is becoming increasingly available to consumers in the West through a growing number of entrepreneurial businesses seeking to share this exceptional fiber with the world.

Yaks on parade at a Tibetan festival.

Natural Properties of Yak Down

Yak down yarns are superior in many ways to other popular natural fibers:

  • Yak down is 10-15% warmer than merino wool.
  • Yak down is similar in softness to cashmere, with a diameter ranging from 15-22 microns, but is far more durable.
  • Yak down is hypo-allergenic and does not scratch against the skin as do many popular wools.
  • Yak down remains very warm even when wet.
  • Yak down is extremely breathable, contributing to self-regulation of body temperature.
  • Yak down is very rare, adding value through interest and novelty when compared to popular and ever-present fibers such as wool or cotton.

An Exceptionally Rare Fiber

On average, yaks grow as little as 500 grams of quality down through winter. In comparison, the New Zealand Merino sheep will produce 3.5 to 5 kgs. of wool a year, and the annual fiber harvest from a single Angora rabbit may exceed the yak more than six-fold! The scarcity of the exotic yak down adds to its value as an extremely rare and unique natural fiber.

The Uses of Yak Down

The extraordinary softness and warmth of yak down lends itself to use in a variety of luxurious products, including:

  • Beautiful yarns for hand knitting and crochet that have a lovely handle and knit up into buttery soft and wonderfully warm garments and accessories.
  • Resilient yarns perfect for outdoor wear that provides exceptional protection from the elements, naturally regulates body temperature and deeps the wearer comfortable in extreme environments.
  • Wonderfully unique yarn for accessories for home and self, including lovely scarves and sumptuous blankets and duvets.
  • Today, even nomads are finding new uses for down as insulation for solar cookers in their roaming communities.

2 comments on “Introduction to Yak Down

  1. Sandie McDonald
    July 5, 2013

    I’m wondering if cream colored yak down is bleached or natural.

    • yakdown
      July 17, 2013

      Natural cream yak down is very rare. The vast majority of yak down is dark brown. Most cream yak yarn you find will be bleached. One exception that we know of is Reywa Fibers’ “Cloud.” This is 100% natural – unbleached and undyed.

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