The Benefits of Alpaca Fleece
In the high Andean Mountains of South America alpacas have been relished for their fiber. The Incans found alpaca fiber to be so valuable that a person's wealth was measured in the number of garments made from alpaca fleece.
Once we discovered the amazing benefits of alpaca fleece for the mountains, we knew that we had to share them with everyone!
1.) Extremely Water Repellent
One of the best traits of alpaca fleece is that it’s water repellent. For dealing with treacherous weather conditions in the mountains, this can be the best benefit of alpaca fleece.
A study by Gaston College in 2009 was done on alpaca fleece to test how water repellent alpaca fleece really is. In all of their tests they had an extremely difficult time saturating the fleece. They claim that alpaca fleece is all but impossible to saturate.
I put this to the test by wearing one our hats for three hours in the rain. By the time the three hours were up my entire body was SOAKING WET, except for my head. When I took my hat off, my hair was completely dry! I was able to rub it against my skin and feel no water, whatsoever.
Many people believe that the water repellent attribute of alpaca fleece contributes to the many other benefits, such as being breathable, odor resistant and wicking.
If you want to check out a video we made showing rain rolling off of our alpacas backs, just click HERE.
2.) The Power of Wicking
When you are looking at outdoor gear, everyone claims that their products are wicking. This can be true, but I want to outline the difference between wicking moisture and absorbing moisture.
Materials such as wool and cotton do pull moisture away from the body, but they end up absorbing all of the moisture. After a short amount of time of this, the material ends up being very wet. This leads to you being wet, cold and uncomfortable.
Alpaca fleece on the other hand, does not absorb the moisture that your body produces. It moves the moisture away from the body and then through the fleece to the outside surroundings.
Because alpaca fleece wicks moisture away from the body and doesn’t absorb any of it, means that your hat won’t smell! This is awesome because you can wear your hat on a hike and still be able to wear it to dinner that night without it stinking. No, this does not mean you can skip your shower…
3.) Amazingly Breathable
With alpaca fleece being water repellent and wicking, these two traits make alpaca fleece super breathable.
When there is rain or snow hitting the alpaca fleece, the fibers repeal the water making sure the fleece doesn't mat up. This allows for the perfect amount of air flow to keep your head at the perfect temperature.
Also, because alpaca fleece wicks all of the moisture away from your head and off of the hat, there is no entrapment of moisture from the inside. This allows for your head to stay at the temperature that you want it.
4.) Perfectly Warm
While you’re out enjoying your mountain activities, you’ll be able to keep your head at the perfect temperature for the weather. The way that alpaca fleece is able to do this is due to the fibers being hollow at the center.
Because the fibers are hollow at the center, the fleece is able to capture your natural body heat. Once your body heat is captured inside of the fibers, your head stays at the perfect temperature. This also goes for when the weather is warm. The hollow fibers are able to capture the cool air to slightly cool your head off.
With the fibers being hollow, alpaca fleece is naturally lighter than typical wool. This means that you are able to have a lighter weight hat without sacrificing warmth.
A study done by Yocum-McCall Testing Laboratories, showed that when alpaca fleece is worn in 0F, it will keep you at a consistent 50F. When this is compared to traditional wool, alpaca fleece is three times warmer!
5.) Luxuriously Soft
Alpaca fiber has an incredibly low micron count, (micron count is the size of each hair. The lower the count the finer the wool) which means that it’s incredibly soft!
In fact, alpaca wool is so soft to the touch that the Incans used to call their fleece “the fibers of the gods.” They called it this because it was so luxurious that it could have only came from the gods themselves.
Because of the low micron count, alpaca fleece is not itchy or irritable to the skin. This creates the perfect garment to wear right next to your the skin.
As of late, people have been turning away from cashmere and towards alpaca. In comparison alpaca has loads more benefits and can even be softer than cashmere in it's natural state.
When you add all of these benefits together, there is no better fiber, wool or fleece out there! I mean think about it, alpaca is water repellent, has awesome wicking power, is perfectly warm and is luxuriously soft. Can you think of anything better?