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. However a closer look at 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 function 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 gives it an extra performance boost.
The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm within the cold and funky in the heat. Like other 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 imply that alpaca wool is further cozy and further cool!
Natural odour resistance and antibacterial properties. Artificial fibres have a fame for being stinky and producers have come up with remedies to unravel that, however alpaca wool doesn’t need any assist in this department. It repels micro organism naturally, that 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 perfect as a sweat-wicking layer as the fibres absorb sweat from your skin and move it outwards, which means you’ll really feel dry and recent even after a hot, steep climb. When it does get wet, alpaca wool dries quicker than another natural fibre.
Light however highly durable. Alpaca fibres have high tensile power and are quite stretchy, so they’re 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 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 of 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 make use of common dung piles, making it really simple to gather!
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