FIND OUT WHY. So cashmere, alpaca and mohair (which come from goats and alpacas) are actually hair, not wool. Fiber Strength Excellent Moderate Alpaca fiber is very strong resulting in more durable apparel. Definitely. Alpaca fiber has a smooth hair shaft that decreases the prickle factor felt in wool. Alpaca vs. Cashmere: What’s the Difference? The apparent advantage of relying on traditional wool clothing for a wilderness excursion is that wool is convenient to find. This difference allows the alpaca type of wool to repel water and retain heat. WE'VE IMPLEMENTED SPECIAL PROCEDURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE, SO SOME ORDERS MAY BE DELAYED. Coarse wool fibers feel scratchy against the skin, while very fine ones (21, scales on alpaca fibers are smaller and sit quite flat. There’s a reason alpacas flourish in South America’s Andes Mountains…they were engineered by nature to thrive in harsh conditions. In most wool fibers, the filaments are packed together, making them appear to have a solid cross-section under the microscope. Alpaca wool is naturally temperature regulated. This difference also means merino wool is heavier than alpaca wool. “Prove it!” you say. At it’s peak the Farr Alpaca Company employed 600 people and operated 360 full automated looms. Softer than sheep's wool and three times stronger too, alpaca wool contains no lanolin, which makes it a great alternative for those with skin sensitivities. Basics of Wool. It would take serious effort to get your All-Paca soaking wet, and even if you did, it would dry extremely fast. Sheep’s wool has very prominent scales and is coated in lanolin. I’m going to get a second one. Please note, comments must be approved before they are published. OK – we will. Go ahead and put some serious pack miles on your All-Paca – it can handle it. On the top alpaca wool is considered to be a flame-resistant fibre, even though merino wool bears a high level of fire resistance as well. Further – discounting merino – sheep’s wool fibers tend to be on the coarser end of the spectrum. It’s also a more environmentally sustainable option when you look at the overall impact. It’s rare to find an piece of clothing you absolutely love. This difference also means merino wool is heavier than alpaca wool. Yes, by nature, Alpaca is less itchy than sheep’s wool. Merino wool has the following characteristics: “Prove it!” you say. One of the big differences between these two types of wool is that alpaca fibers are hollow and merino wool’s fibers are not. Cashmere is not environmentally friendly. Merino wool and alpaca fleece are natural, sustainable products (i.e. The fibers of both types of wool are incredibly fine and soft. Additionally, alpaca wool is unique in that its fibres are medullated – in layman’s terms, sections of the fibre have less dense cores – which gives it … Our reinforced toe box and heels plus a smooth toe seam make these alpaca wool socks even more comfortable to wear. However, merino wool used in outdoor clothing tends to be very fine (around 19-20 microns in diameter) and has usually been treated to remove the lanolin and fiber scales, so it feels much softer and less itchy than other types of sheep’s wool. On average, studies have shown that alpaca fibers have a tensile strength in the general range of 50 N/ktex, which measures how many Newtons of force, “N,” are required to break a fiber of a given thickness measured in kilotex, “ktex.” Merino wool has a tensile strength in the general range of 30-40 N/ktex. Alpaca wool isn’t a new fiber, having been used in the Andes for centuries (or more!) Suitable for every weather condition, our alpaca wool socks are stronger, softer, more eco-friendly, and offer 85% greater wicking capability than merino wool. All this leads to that characteristic wooly jumper itch. This makes alpaca wool perfect for your outdoor clothing, Women's Sports Bra, Underwear, Socks, and More. Comfort Excellent Excellent Both … $7.99 / 50g hank 100% Baby Alpaca Lace Weight Shimmer Lace Yarn. Alpaca wool (particularly the royal alpaca and baby alpaca fiber grades) is non-itchy, warm, and performs better than merino and other types of sheep's wool. I have an electric blue hoody and I haven’t taken it off since I got it. Wool can also be blended with other fabrics, like spandex to enhance fit and flexibility. Alpaca fibers can be very fine and soft, but also quite itchy, and thus less likely to be used … Stay updated on our new all-natural dyed performance apparel! Hopefully we’ve convinced you just how amazing alpaca fiber is. You’ll likely pay a little more for a pair of Alpaca socks than for merino, but the quality and performance is worth it. Their Peruvian alpaca fabric is both stronger, softer, and more durable than wool. Alpaca has a reputation as a luxury wool – rivalling cashmere – for high end street wear, but it is new in the outdoor industry. Generally a little bit stiffer than merino or cashmere, alpaca fibers are sometimes blended with wools like Merino to improve its draping qualities. Our hats will help keep you warm and dry no matter the conditions. Sign up to receive 10% off your first order! We are not trying to say that say merino wool is not warm, because it certainly is! Wool fibers work so well as insulators as they are not straight, but instead have slight wave (know technically as the “crimp”), along their length. Merino wool . Alpaca's unique composition gives it these distinct advantages in outdoor performance, while maintaining the highest comfort.. I found mine at https://alpacasofmontana.com/. That means alpaca dries faster and insulates better than merino when wet. In a nutshell: no, Royal Alpaca wool is not itchy.There are there factors that determine how itchy a wool fiber will feel against the skin and these are discussed in detail here, but they are summarized below: Alpacas produce very tiny amounts of lanolin (sometimes none at all), so many consider alpaca wool hypoallergenic. At the beginning of the 20th century, the company owned the largest alpaca wool factory in the world and was a dominant producer in its industry. good for the environment). Merino works as a great insulator even when it’s wet. However, once you put your alpaca base layer on, it warms up very quickly to protect you from the cold. It’s also a more environmentally sustainable option when you look at the overall impact. Bottom line: YES! I love the hard science you gave. Now let’s get started! Within an alpaca fleece, there are fibers of many different diameters, but royal and baby alpaca wool are the finest categories, with diameters of less than 21 microns (18.5 microns or less for royal alpaca). Merino sheep are bred for their fiber and not their meat. Get ready – we’re about to drop some technical knowledge. We also compare alpaca to merino wool, often the fiber of choice for travel, outdoor activies and adventure sports. This semi-hollow structure also makes alpaca fibers extremely lightweight, offering greater warmth for the weight than you’ll get with merino wool of a similar fiber size. This blog will go in-depth to compare the performance qualities of merino wool to those of our All-Paca knits and fleeces, which are made from 100% alpaca fibers. Alpaca wool (particularly the royal alpaca and baby alpaca fiber grades) is non-itchy, warm, and performs better than merino and other types of sheep's wool. Wool fibers have microscopic scales which protrude from the surface of the fiber, creating a prickly feeling. Merino works as a great insulator even when it’s wet. Alpaca wool is naturally temperature regulated because of the crimp and semi-hollow core. When the chill of winter hits the air, turn down your thermostat, snuggle up and feel the warmth of alpaca. For this reason, if you leave an alpaca base layer hanging outside, at first touch it feels cool, because the air trapped in the fiber is cool. Sign up to receive 10% off your next order! The waviness of the fibers traps tiny pockets of air between the fibers in a weave; these air pockets are heated by your body and stay warm. Smaller micron diameters yield softer fiber “handle,” and the average of most wool and alpaca fibers used in base layers and mid layers is generally between 18-22 microns. In fact, the recommended method for washing your All-Paca in the backcountry (if you absolutely need to) is to dunk it in a stream, ring it out, and hang it up – you’ll be set by morning. But in the alpaca vs merino debate, we feel like alpaca is a clear winner! Winner of Brandnew Selection from world’s leading outdoor trade show. http://www.alpacaresearch.org/resources/dyn/files/319759z7dbdf304/_fn/fiber-characteristicsof-huacayas.pdf, https://www.woolwise.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Wool-412-512-08-T-03.pdf, https://www.woolmark.com/about-wool/wool-processing/, http://www.lionbrand.com/blog/faq-what-is-superwash-wool/, https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/fashions-dirty-microplastics-secret-pollution-polyester, http://globalfashionagenda.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Pulse-of-the-Fashion-Industry_2017.pdf, http://www.alpacainfo.com/_resources/dyn/files/619215z46612973/_fn/alpaca-fiber-characteristics-fuqua.pdf, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpaca_fiber, https://theecologist.org/2019/mar/12/environmental-impact-wool, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978188420799050004X. As a comparison, the average human hair is around 100 microns. But the difference is in the internal structure of the fibers: Alpaca fibers have those “semi-hollow” cores mentioned above, while merino relies only on the crimp of the fibers to trap warm air. This year I upgraded to Alpaca socks. While Cashmere's strength comes in its softness and feel, giving comfort and breathability to the user. and by the fashion industry for a long time. Alpaca and llama fleece are classified as specialty or luxury fibers, but sheep fleece or wool tops the list of animal fibers used today. This is a great blog post. In a nutshell: no, Royal Alpaca wool is not itchy. The three most common types of mid layers found in an outdoor enthusiast’s wardrobe are down-insulated, Merino wool and fleece.We know them all, from puffy down jackets to comfy fleece zips and vests to sleek Merino mid layers. April 18, 2018. Additionally, the internal structure of wool can have an impact on warmth. By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol. Finally, both alpaca and merino are excellent at odor control, and don’t retain the “stink” you’ll find in synthetic apparel after a long day on the trail. The scales on alpaca fibers are smaller and sit quite flat against the surface, meaning alpaca wool doesn't cause a prickly sensation. In terms of warmth, there is little difference between the two products - at least nothing that will be noticed by the person wearing it. Merino wool is associated with the ultimate in fine, soft, low-itch sheep wool. OK – we will. That’s what makes it an ideal option for snow sports and hiking in varying weather conditions. Softer: Alpaca fibers have a smoother and more uniform surface then merino, so they are less “prickly” to the touch. YES, alpaca wool is warmer than sheep’s wools, including merino. Warmer: Alpaca fibers have a unique physical structure characterized by consistent hollow voids throughout. Is there really a difference between alpaca fleece and merino wool? Published Oct 08, 2019 | Updated August 25, 2020. Merino Wool vs. Alpaca Wool One of the big questions people have is whether to get a product made of Merino Wool (found in Ugg Boots and Smartwool Socks) or Alpaca Wool. Fleece vs Down vs Merino Wool Mid layers. So there you have it. Soft and cuddly moments are guaranteed. Alpaca wool is very warm! Free USA Shipping. Enter your email below: MEN'S ALPACA WOOL HOODIE: 230 LIGHTWEIGHT HALF-ZIP, MEN'S ALPACA WOOL T-SHIRT: 110 ULTRALIGHT CREW NECK, MEN'S ALPACA WOOL LEGGINGS: 230 LIGHTWEIGHT, MEN'S ALPACA WOOL BOXER BRIEFS: 110 ULTRALIGHT, WOMEN'S ALPACA WOOL HOODIE: 230 LIGHTWEIGHT HALF-ZIP, WOMEN'S ALPACA WOOL SHIRT: 110 ULTRALIGHT V-NECK, WOMEN'S ALPACA WOOL LEGGINGS: 230 LIGHTWEIGHT, WOMEN'S ALPACA WOOL PANTIES: 110 ULTRALIGHT, NEW NATURAL DYES ARE HERE! Alpaca wool is very warm! While it might be convenient to run to any clothing store and purchase woolen outerwear before going hiking or camp ing, first, consider the benefits and drawbacks of alpaca vs wool.. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER AND GET 10% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER! Alpaca Fiber Compared to Sheep Wool While there are many varieties of sheep in the world, each bred for a specific purpose, this comparison is limited to evaluating alpaca fiber against “Merino” wool. These hollow voids trap air, which, in turn, increases the fiber’s thermal properties and creates a warmer experience for the wearer. When compared to merino wool, alpaca is softer, stronger, warmer, and retains less water. cashmere has always been a symbol of serenit and beauty. ALPACA VS MERINO. Merino Wool. While merino wool and other animal fibres are cool to touch, the interesting thing about alpaca wool is that it is initially cold when you touch it … Merino wool has solid fibers and alpaca wool has semi-hollow fibers. Merino wool has almost completely replaced traditional wool thanks to its soft, ultrafine fibers. That’s because they only absorb about 10-11% +/- of their weight in water, compared to merino wool at about 30%. Out of more than 400 submissions, Arms of Andes was selected by the ISPO jury for its Outdoor Adventure category. Thermal Insulation Excellent Moderate Alpaca fiber is very fine... between 16 and 30 microns, and has a unique hollow insulating core. The diameter of fibre can be lower than 18 microns for baby alpaca signifying a high level of softness. Items Alpaca Cashmere Why? The camelids (alpaca and llama) are quite similar to each other in fiber and background, and though they bear some similarity to sheep, the differences between the fibers of these herding animals are outstanding. Stronger: Alpaca fibers have a higher tensile strength than merino, meaning they can stand up to more pressure or tension before breaking. You can slip them on and feel your feet getting toasty warm almost immediately. Merino wool is known for its fine fibers, which offer a supremely soft hand and make it an excellent material for garments like base layers that have direct contact with the wearer’s skin. Retains Less Water: Alpaca fibers are considered extremely water resistant, while staying highly breathable. We offer a quality range of 100% alpaca wool socks and hats for men. Lanolin is an allergen for some people and is naturally present in large quantities sheep’s wool. Cashmere or alpaca, alpaca sweater vs cashmere sweater – both types of wool are among the most exquisite and valuable yarns in the world. Like merino wool, alpaca is made of keratin protein fibres, which have been shown to function very well in harsh conditions. Please note, comments must be approved before they are published. More Environmentally Sustainable: The processing of alpaca fibers into All-Paca fabric does not require any harsh chemical treatments or added synthetics, such as those used in the merino “superwash” process, to make it soft, wearable, and washable. It answers a lot of questions and misconceptions. Alpaca wool is SOFTER, MORE DURABLE & TEMPERATURE REGULATING than the other performance fibres. This is not your grandparents’ itchy woolies. They are also naturally free of lanolin, a wax found in sheep’s wool that can cause an irritating allergic reaction. Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, an ancient breed originally from Spain, but now raised worldwide. Alpaca was bred by Incas Indian civilization more than 500 years ago on … Like merino wool, alpaca is a natural animal protein fiber that is fully biodegradable. In this article, we answer key questions about the warmth and itchiness of alpaca wool. Softer: Alpaca fibers have a smoother and more uniform surface then merino, so they are less “prickly” to the touch. Like hair from goats and rabbits, it needs less preparatory steps compared to wool, and the hair from Alpaca hair is a natural hypoallergenic, arguably making it superior to cashmere. Guess what? YES, alpaca wool is warmer than sheep’s wools, including merino. Alpaca wool clothing traps the heat produced by your body, both inside and in between the fibers. Fibers that have less dense areas running down the center, so they can be considered “semi-hollow”, not only trap air in between them, but the “hollow” areas heat up too! But everything degrades with time and cashmere Didn't survive either. Alpaca is South American camelid (the nearest famous relative of alpaca is a camel), who lives high in the Andes mountains and has a more likely look of a sheep with a long neck. However, if you take a closer look at the physical characteristics of both fibers, you’ll see why alpaca is the superior performance option. Alpaca is the humane, loving choice of the Animal Kingdom when comparing alpaca fiber vs … Bottom line: YES! But more than that, our thinner layers can prevent you overheating in warm weather! 82% Superfine Alpaca, 13% Merino Wool, 5% Nylon Fingering Weight Alpaca Cloud Lace Yarn. But the difference is in the internal structure of the fibers: Alpaca fibers have those “semi-hollow” cores mentioned above, while merino relies only on the crimp of the fibers to trap warm air. The popularity hasn't gone down much but the new player i.e. A question we often get is: how does your All-Paca™ performance fabric compare to merino wool? First, let’s look at the similarities. That would make alpaca wool warmer than merino wool. Alpaca wool is warmer, lighter, softer and stronger than merino wool After looking at all these aspects, it seems obvious that cashmere doesn't have the right properties to be used in outdoor gear. We’ve written about the properties of alpaca fibers before, but we’ve never fully explained why our product line includes Alpaca, Merino, and Shetland wools, but no Cashmere. The smaller and flatter the scales, the smoother the fiber. Additionally, the raising and grazing of alpacas has a very low environmental impact compared to sheep, which have been shown in studies to have a significant environmental impact. Merino wool is a well-known and much-loved natural fiber option in the outdoor industry due to its well-documented performance characteristics. Merino sheep’s wool, on the other hand, is always less than 24 microns, which means that while it’s undoubtedly soft, it’s not the softer of the two. Here at AppGearCo, we’ve fine-tuned that natural insulating power to create garments and gear perfect for cold conditions. They are also naturally free of lanolin, a wax found in sheep’s wool that can … When compared to merino wool, alpaca is softer, stronger, warmer, and retains less water. 10 (100% Mercerized Cotton) 50g : Knit Picks Gloss Lace (70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk) 50g: $7.99 AppGearCo’s patent-pending process capitalizes on alpaca’s natural strength to build a bomber fabric that can stand up to serious use and abuse. Cascade Alpaca Lace (100% Baby Alpaca) 50g : Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace (100% Baby Alpaca) 50g : Knit Picks Curio (100% Mercerized Cotton) 100g: $3.99: Red Heart Classic Crochet Thread (100% Mercerized Cotton) 50g : DMC Cebelia Crochet Thread No. When you put on your All-Paca, you can feel as good about wearing it as it feels on you. In addition, the micron size (the measure of width of one individual fiber) of alpaca and wool fibers utilized for outdoor apparel is comparable. Alpaca. Alpaca has stolen a lot of hearts. Yes, by nature, Alpaca is less itchy than sheep’s wool. Alpaca Knitting & Crochet Yarn & Wool. Merino is among the finest wool used for its great advantages in keeping warm and dry. But alpaca wool doesn’t need any special treatment: it’s naturally super soft and even less itchy. This soft fiber comes from Merino sheep, mostly found in Australia and New Zealand. Alpaca Fleece comes from the Alpaca, a native of South America and a member of the cameloid family (Cameloids also include camels and llamas). Amazing alpaca fiber is stronger: alpaca fibers have a smoother and more uniform surface then merino, some. Wet, and has a smooth toe seam make these alpaca wool than! 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