While you think about alpaca clothing, you probably think of lovely 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 likely one of the highest performing fibres around. Like merino wool, alpaca is made of keratin protein fibres, which have been shown to perform very well in harsh conditions. Additionally, alpaca wool is exclusive in that its fibres are medullated – in layman’s terms, sections of the fibre have less dense cores – which offers it an extra performance boost.
The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm in the cold and funky in 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 throughout a range of temperatures. Additionally, the medullated cores mean that alpaca wool is extra cozy and extra cool!
Natural odour resistance and antibacterial properties. Synthetic fibres have a popularity for being stinky and manufacturers have come up with remedies to unravel that, however alpaca wool doesn’t want any assist in this department. It repels micro organism naturally, which means it is odour-free even after heavy use. Since you possibly can wear alpaca for longer, one alpaca wool shirt can substitute two or three synthetic or cotton ones.
Alpaca wool is breathable and dries quickly. Alpaca wool is ideal as a sweat-wicking layer as the fibres take up sweat from your skin and move it outwards, which means you’ll really feel dry and contemporary even after a sizzling, steep climb. When it does get wet, alpaca wool dries quicker than some other natural fibre.
Light but highly durable. Alpaca fibres have high tensile strength and are quite stretchy, so they’re less likely to break during production or when knitted into your alpaca wool base layer. The “semi-hole” construction of alpaca also makes it additional light, so alpaca wool mid layers are highly packable and perfect for keeping you warm round camp or as an extra layer on the airplane.
Environmentally friendly. Alpacas thrive when roaming semi-free (they are normally corralled at night time 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 influence and it biodegrades when thrown away. As a bonus, alpaca dung is used by farmers as fertiliser and cooking fuel; conveniently alpacas tend to make use of widespread dung piles, making it really straightforward to gather!
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