When you think about alpaca clothing, you probably think of beautiful soft scarves and ponchos, more suitable for a city break than a visit to the mountains. But a closer look on the properties of alpaca wool shows that it is without doubt one of the highest performing fibres around. Like merino wool, alpaca is made of keratin protein fibres, which have been shown to operate very well in harsh conditions. Additionally, alpaca wool is unique in that its fibres are medullated – in layman’s terms, sections of the fibre have less dense cores – which gives it an extra performance boost.
The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm in the cold and cool within the heat. Like different types of wool, alpaca fibres have a natural curvature to them creating air-pockets within the weave. These air pockets help with thermal regulation across a range of temperatures. Additionally, the medullated cores imply that alpaca wool is extra cozy and additional cool!
Natural odour resistance and antibacterial properties. Artificial fibres have a popularity for being stinky and manufacturers have come up with remedies to resolve that, however alpaca wool doesn’t want any help in this department. It repels micro organism naturally, that means it is odour-free even after heavy use. Since you’ll be able to wear alpaca for longer, one alpaca wool shirt can substitute or three synthetic or cotton ones.
Alpaca wool is breathable and dries quickly. Alpaca wool is perfect as a sweat-wicking layer as the fibres take up sweat out of your skin and move it outwards, which means you’ll really feel dry and fresh even after a sizzling, steep climb. When it does get wet, alpaca wool dries quicker than another natural fibre.
Light but highly durable. Alpaca fibres have high tensile strength and are quite stretchy, so they are less likely to break throughout production or when knitted into your alpaca wool base layer. The “semi-hole” structure of alpaca additionally makes it additional light, so alpaca wool mid layers are highly packable and ideal for keeping you warm round camp or as an additional layer on the airplane.
Environmentally friendly. Alpacas thrive when roaming semi-free (they are usually corralled at evening for safety) at high altitudes in their natural habitat: the Peruvian Andes mountains. Alpaca wool is a renewable fibre as it grows back yearly without a lot outside affect and it biodegrades when thrown away. As a bonus, alpaca dung is used by farmers as fertiliser and cooking fuel; conveniently alpacas have a tendency to use frequent dung piles, making it really easy to collect!
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