Enjoying the great outdoors is heavily dependent upon how prepared you are for an adventure. Being mindful of outerwear is especially vital in mountainous and cold regions. Clothing can make the difference between a fantastic experience and a terrible trek.
Alpaca vs Wool
The first step in choosing the best possible outerwear is exploring clothing materials, beginning with alpaca vs. wool.
Basics of Wool
While it might be convenient to run to any clothing store and purchase woolen outerwear before going hiking or camping, first, consider the benefits and drawbacks of alpaca vs wool.
The apparent advantage of relying on traditional wool clothing for a wilderness excursion is that wool is convenient to find. However, when we look more closely at wool, we see that there is far more complexity to this material than you may realize, so grabbing the first wool garment you find can lead to problems when facing nature.
First, wool comes in a variety of forms, including sheep’s wool, merino wool, and cashmere wool. These types of wool range in texture, insulation, and appearance. Though they might be a cinch to find and may even be inexpensive, depending on the quality of wool, there are a few essential drawbacks to consider:
1. Sheep’s wool, merino wool, and cashmere can cause an allergic reaction in unsuspecting individuals. Unfortunately, an allergic reaction often won’t set in until it’s too late. Finding yourself on a mountaintop, miles away from a change of clothes and itching uncontrollably, makes for an unpleasant outdoor experience. To avoid an allergic reaction, the wool needs to be treated with a harsh allergy-preventing chemical before being worn.
2. Cashmere is soft, but it lacks warmth and can be costly. While it might be a lovely thought to wear a fashionable cashmere sweater while spending time outside, it is not practical.
3. Mohair, sheep, angora, and merino wool tend to pill. That is, the fibers from these types of wool can create unsightly and annoying fuzz balls.
4. Clothing made from wool shrink when washed or drenched. It is because when the fibers absorb water, the moisture causes the fiber scales to contract permanently.
Basics of Alpaca
When considering wearing alpaca vs. wool, we can view alpaca as a material on its own, even though, like wool, it comes from shearing.
Alpaca is different from wool because it hails from the harsh, cold mountains of Peru. This material comes from the alpaca, which boasts an extraordinarily fluffy, dense, strong coat.
The benefits of alpaca are limitless, but let’s explore the primary advantages of wearing alpaca rather than wool for outdoor activities:
1. Lighter than other forms of wool, alpaca makes for comfortable camping, hiking, and hunting since its weight will not burden you.
2. Alpaca is five times more dense than other forms of wool, which makes it an exceptionally warm insulating layer. When hiking or camping in cold temperatures or windy conditions, it can keep you as much as fifty degrees warmer than the outdoor air temperature.
3. It is hypoallergenic. Alpacas are hypoallergenic animals because their skin and fur contain no lanolin. Unlike wool, alpaca causes no itching, rashes, or discomfort, even when placed directly against the skin.
4. Different from most materials, alpaca absorbs UV rays and, therefore, protects your skin from the sun’s harsh light.
5. Incredibly, alpaca is flame resistant. This is especially reassuring when building or relaxing by campfires and bonfires.
6. Alpaca wool does not pill, which means no annoying fuzz and nothing to trim.
7. Offering incredible wicking ability, alpaca absorbs water meticulously, thereby protecting you from the pouring rain.
When considering alpaca vs. wool, the jury is in. Alpaca beats wool in warmth, water resistance, lightness, durability, and feel.