If you think about alpaca clothing, you probably think of lovely soft scarves and ponchos, more suitable for a city break than a trip to the mountains. But a closer look on the properties of alpaca wool shows that it is among 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 additional performance boost.
The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm within the cold and funky within the heat. Like other types of wool, alpaca fibres have a natural curvature to them creating air-pockets within the weave. These air pockets assist with thermal regulation across a range of temperatures. Additionally, the medullated cores mean that alpaca wool is extra cozy and further cool!
Natural odour resistance and antibacterial properties. Artificial fibres have a popularity for being stinky and producers have come up with treatments to unravel that, but 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 change two or three artificial or cotton ones.
Alpaca wool is breathable and dries quickly. Alpaca wool is ideal as a sweat-wicking layer because the fibres take up sweat from your skin and move it outwards, which means you’ll feel dry and fresh even after a scorching, steep climb. When it does get wet, alpaca wool dries quicker than another natural fibre.
Light but highly durable. Alpaca fibres have high tensile energy 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" construction of alpaca additionally makes it additional light, so alpaca wool mid layers are highly packable and ideal for keeping you warm around camp or as an additional layer on the airplane.
Environmentally friendly. Alpacas thrive when roaming semi-free (they're 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 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 make use of frequent dung piles, making it really easy to collect!
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