a.k.a., A Review of the Black Yak Combat Shirt and Notes on My Fascination with this Brand

I have mentioned Black Yak some times before, but it is only now that I really want to talk about them.
About a product of theirs, the Combat Shirt, and the fascination this company provides in the world of technical / performance clothing…

Watch here, or go on below the video if you prefer to go even more in-depth in text:

What is Black Yak?

Black Yak is a newcomer on the European (and American) outdoors market. And one of the most established brands in East Asia.

The company’s founding goes back all the way to 1973; their products are easy enough to find not just in Korea but also in outdoor stores in Beijing, for example.

Unlike so many Asian outdoors and sports brands which hardly seem to even try to compete, except in price, with established Western brands, Black Yak is going a completely different route.

Their products fit quite well into the usual narrative of outdoors clothing which can be worn in the city – but in a way that isn’t “The North Face puffy jacket ends up hip-hopper’s latest fad”, nor the faddish drive towards athleisure.

No, Black Yak operates with one eye towards function/performance even in outdoors extremes, and another designer’s eye towards looks that work to blend in, combine form and function (and brand recognition), all on a foundation of manufacturing quality that is hard to find.

I must sound like a mouthpiece for them.

But, well, outside of Arc’teryx Veilance and their exact micro-seam allowance of 1.6 mm, which brand do you know where the logos and brand language is there, but unobtrusively tone-in-tone, while even the zipper pull is finely made, down to the brand name on it?

Black Yak Combat Shirt Zipper Pull

Black Yak Combat Shirt Zipper Pull

Let’s look at the one piece they provided me for testing, before it sounds as if I were only fawning over marketing…

Black Yak Combat Shirt Review

The Combat Shirt from Black Yak is a key item in the collection, and nothing but a simple mid-layer.

It shows the attention to materials, details and manufacturing all the better.


Polartec® Power Grid Fleece
CORDURA® 4-way Stretch

So, middling warmth, quick drying, high airflow, high durability.


Two large mesh pockets in front, the usual design with lines inspired by a (the brand logo’s) yak head, a materials mix that makes sense, especially with the highly abrasion-resistant Cordura on the shoulders, back and hip…

Black Yak Combat Shirt Cuffs

… and elasticized cuffs that are still holding up quite well…


… and an attention to detail, as also mentioned above, that borders on the insane, down to the zipper pull “bearing” the Black Yak name on it, exact laser-cut perforations for airflow in the back, materials that just seem to go from one to the other as deemed good, without noticeable seams or using flat seams in just the right places to make the transition a part of the overall cut.

Black Yak Combat Shirt Back

Black Yak Combat Shirt, Back

Use Experiences:

It’s good.

Not just as the midlayer it is intended to be, in highly-aerobic outdoors pursuits, but also for a slightly technical-performance-menswear look in everyday use and, as I’ve used it quite a bit and come to love the mesh pockets in, as a travel midlayer in cooler conditions.

Black Yak Availability

If you’re interested, various Black Yak products (not usually the Combat Shirt) are available on…
amazon.com (affiliate link)

backcountry.com (affiliate link)

or, if you are in Europe, from Bergzeit, where the Combat Shirt is also offered (in German, here, or in English, here).