When 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 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 unique in that its fibres are medullated – in layman’s terms, sections of the fibre have less dense cores – which provides it an extra performance boost.
The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm within the cold and cool 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 assist with thermal regulation throughout a range of temperatures. Additionally, the medullated cores mean that alpaca wool is further cozy and additional cool!
Natural odour resistance and antibacterial properties. Synthetic fibres have a status for being stinky and manufacturers have come up with therapies to unravel that, however alpaca wool doesn’t need any assist in this department. It repels bacteria 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 because the fibres absorb sweat out of your skin and move it outwards, that means you’ll really feel dry and fresh even after a sizzling, 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 strength and are quite stretchy, so they’re less likely to break throughout 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 ideal for keeping you warm round camp or as an extra layer on the airplane.
Environmentally friendly. Alpacas thrive when roaming semi-free (they are usually 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 utilized by farmers as fertiliser and cooking fuel; conveniently alpacas have a tendency to make use of frequent dung piles, making it really straightforward to gather!
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