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THIS GENERATION'S HIKER CHOOSE ALPACA WOOL

Alpaca Wool

WHY ALPACA WOOL?

Alpacas originally lived in the high mountains of the Andes in South American countries Peru, Chile and Bolivia. The Incas tamed the alpaca thousands of years ago because of the features of its wool. Nowadays there are about 5 million alpacas worldwide, of which 90% live in Peru. That makes Peru the biggest alpaca wool producer. Wool has many features that make it the most incredible material. We use alpaca wool with a fantastic heritage, uniqueness and features. Let's go through the features of this great animal’s wool in more detail.

 

Alpaca Wool Controls Body Temperature

Alpaca wool controls body temperature effectively. For example, a sweater keeps you cool when it's hot and warm when it's cold. The fiber has microscopic air-pockets inside it which gives the wool extraordinary insulation benefits.

 

Alpaca Wool Has Moisture Control Features

Alpaca wool absorbs less moisture to itself than other wool types. Because of the fiber structure it can also effectively transfer moisture out of the skin. Alpaca wool also works as effective insulation even if it gets wet due to its fiber structure.

 

Alpaca Wool Is Animal Friendly

Alpacas are kind, smart and curious animals and even the tamed alpacas live half wild in the Andes. Alpacas are sheared once a year in the spring so that they have time to grow their wool back before winter. Alpaca does not naturally shed its wool and the shearing is actually beneficial for the animal for its health and comfort.

Alpaca is a very honored animal in the Peruvian culture. As the animal is highly valued in culture, there is no animal cruelty involved in the shearing of alpacas.

 

Alpaca Wool Endures Heat

Wool repels flames very effectively. It lights up really slowly and releases a very little amount of heat. Unlike synthetic fibers it doesn't melt. Notice however that our alpaca wool products or anybody else's aren't fire-proof!

 

Alpaca Wool Is Antibacterial

Alpaca wool is naturally antibacterial. The wool either kills off the bacteria or slows their growth. This is because alpaca wool is technically hair with a keratin core. Thanks to keratin it has antimicrobial features which help with taking care of the wool. Instead of washing it, just refresh it outside.

 

Alpaca Wool Is Anti-allergic

Alpaca wool is naturally anti-allergic because it doesn't include lanolin. Lanolin is a grease that is found in sheep wool, like merino wool. Lanolin is the cause of allergic reactions. Yarn that we use has GOTS, Fair Trade and OEKO-Tex 100 certificates. Those guarantee that the manufacturing of the yarn doesn’t involve any dangerous chemicals that can harm humans or nature.

 

Alpaca Wool Is Soft

Alpaca wool is naturally very soft. There are two things that lead to the unique softness. First is the thickness of the sheared wool and the second is the thickness of the fiber scales.

 

Alpaca Wool Is Responsible

Our manufacturers and other partners are committed to supporting social sustainability in their companies. The manufacturer of our yarn has been granted a Fair Trade certificate.

 

Alpaca Wool Is Environmentally Friendly

Alpacas only use little resources of the nature surrounding them and the alpaca itself has a small carbon footprint. Alpacas have small cloven hooves that don't destroy lands. Alpacas do not eat the land by its roots but consume only the greens, leaving green lands for the future as well.

ALPACA VS. MERINO

What makes alpaca wool superior to Merino sheep's wool and why is Merino sheep's wool often coated with plastic?

The amazing benefits of alpacas come from their thousands of years of living in the rugged environment of the Andes Mountains. In this environment, the alpacas have naturally developed a fiber that can withstand drastic temperature changes, from the freezing temperatures of the night to the scorching sun of the day.

Fiber scales and chemical treatment

Almost all Merino sheep's wool is processed in order to remove the characteristic scales from the wool, which make the sheep's wool sting. The result of the treatment is a smoother coat, but at the same time the properties of the wool deteriorate. For example, wool's ability to repel and transfer moisture is significantly reduced or completely removed.

The so-called Superwash method has either one or two steps, depending on the method. In the first step, the fiber scales are smoothed using a chemical process. In the second step, the fiber is coated, often with plastic, so that it can be machine washed.

Responsible brands use sustainable methods, but according to research, up to 70-75%(1,2) of washable Merino wool products on the market are also covered with plastic to enhance production and soften the skin feel.

Alpaca wool is not chemically treated, as the fiber is naturally fine-scaled. When scales are not removed e.g. the wool's ability to repel and transfer moisture is preserved and it is possible to make knitwear even in demanding conditions.

Fiber air pockets

This is another major structural difference between Merino and Alpaca. Basically, all wools contain air, which creates the characteristic ability of wool to insulate heat. Both wools have this structure, but Alpaca wool contains significantly more of these air pockets and insulates its wearer better.

Although Merino's fiber is longer and thicker, wool is a less effective thermal insulator compared to alpacas(5). Depending on the source, the secretion capacity of alpaca wool compared to Merino is 20-400% (3,4). Airy fibers make the product lighter and enable a warm product with less material.

The differences in the thermal insulation of the wools are related to the differences in the internal structure of the fibers. Merino sheep's wool consists of one type of fiber that does not have a core, while only a small part of alpaca fibers are coreless(4). This core creates air spaces in the fiber and increases the heat insulation of the wool, making alpaca an effective heat insulator(5).

"Depending on the source, the insulating capacity of alpaca wool compared to Merino is 20-400%"

In the end, there are only a handful of Merino sheep wool brands that can really guarantee the product's quality and ethics. When you buy alpaca, you know that the quality of the materials is always top notch.

We create gear for this generation of hikers. Alpaca wool is a genuine high-performance fiber that has evolved naturally, shaped by its environment in the rugged mountains of the Andes. No chemicals, no plastic, no animal abuse - 100% alpaca wool.

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