Why Alpaca is the fiber of choice… It’s as soft as cashmere, warmer than wool, hypo-allergenic, and has amazing moisture wicking capabilities.
Alpaca is a natural, semi-hollow fiber. A semi-hollow core fiber weighs less that the same diameter solid core and because air is trapped in the core, the fabric warms up very quickly. As a result, apparel made from semi-hollow core fiber tends to be light weight and much warmer than its solid core equivalents.
Wicking and absorbing moisture are two different things. Absorbing moisture is what a sponge does – takes in moisture until it becomes saturated and the whole sponge feels wet. Wicking is when the fabric moves moisture away from its source to the outside of a fabric where it is able to evaporate. Wool and cotton are very absorbent but do not have very good wicking properties, which is why feet sweat or feel wet in wool or cotton socks. Alpaca, on the other hand, has low moisture absorbency with great wicking properties, resulting in better comfort and warmth.
Unlike wool, alpaca fleece contains no lanolin, and requires no chemical-scouring agents for processing. This, combined with its natural hypoallergenic properties and softness, makes alpaca garments comfortable, even for sensitive skin. If you compare an alpaca fiber to a wool fiber under a microscope, you will find the surface of the alpaca fiber will be smooth whereas the wool fiber will appear to have scales. The alpaca’s lower scale height creates a smoother, slippery feel with a less scratchy surface. Alpaca has much less prickle factor than merino wool of the same fineness due to the flatter scales on the alpaca fiber.