Whenever you think about alpaca clothing, you probably think of gorgeous soft scarves and ponchos, more suitable for a city break than a trip to the mountains. However 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 exclusive in that its fibres are medullated – in layman’s terms, sections of the fibre have less dense cores – which offers it an additional performance boost.
The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm in the cold and cool 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 throughout a range of temperatures. Additionally, the medullated cores imply that alpaca wool is further 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 solve that, but alpaca wool doesn’t need any help in this department. It repels micro organism naturally, that means it is odour-free even after heavy use. Since you may wear alpaca for longer, one alpaca wool shirt can replace 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 contemporary even after a scorching, steep climb. When it does get wet, alpaca wool dries quicker than every other natural fibre.
Light but highly durable. Alpaca fibres have high tensile energy and are quite stretchy, so they are less likely to break during production or when knitted into your alpaca wool base layer. The “semi-hollow” structure of alpaca also makes it additional light, so alpaca wool mid layers are highly packable and excellent 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 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 much outside affect and it biodegrades when thrown away. As a bonus, alpaca dung is utilized by farmers as fertiliser and cooking fuel; conveniently alpacas have a tendency to use frequent dung piles, making it really simple to gather!
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