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Once you think about alpaca clothing, you probably think of beautiful soft scarves and ponchos, more suitable for a city break than a trip to the mountains. But a closer look at the properties of alpaca wool shows that it is 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 provides it an extra performance boost.

The key benefits of alpaca wool
Alpaca keeps you warm in the cold and funky 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 across a range of temperatures. Additionally, the medullated cores mean that alpaca wool is extra cozy and further cool!

Natural odour resistance and antibacterial properties. Synthetic fibres have a popularity for being stinky and producers have come up with therapies to unravel that, but alpaca wool doesn’t need any help in this department. It repels bacteria naturally, meaning it is odour-free even after heavy use. Since you possibly can 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 ideal as a sweat-wicking layer as the fibres take up sweat from your skin and move it outwards, that means you’ll really feel dry and contemporary even after a scorching, steep climb. When it does get wet, alpaca wool dries quicker than any other natural fibre.

Light but highly durable. Alpaca fibres have high tensile power 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 additionally makes it additional light, so alpaca wool mid layers are highly packable and perfect for keeping you warm around camp or as an additional layer on the airplane.

Environmentally friendly. Alpacas thrive when roaming semi-free (they are often corralled at evening 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 used by farmers as fertiliser and cooking fuel; conveniently alpacas have a tendency to use frequent dung piles, making it really easy to gather!

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