Merino Sheep’s Wool vs. Alpaca Fleece

At a time when there are so many synthetic materials everywhere, it can be easy to forget how incredible natural really is. This is true for so many reasons—environmental and sustainability included!  Alpaca fiber is just one of the many options for anyone looking for soft, comfy, warm, durable garments that will last! Here are some facts about alpaca that you may not know:

Alpaca fleece can be as soft as cashmere—and much more comfortable than wool.

Most breeding programs focus specifically on creating 16-18 micron fleece, a special classification for Royal Alpaca, which is the most luxurious. But no matter the type of alpaca, it’s bound to be more comfortable than wool. Part of the reason for this is that wool has scales that cause many to find it itchy and uncomfortable while alpaca does not.

Alpaca is generally warmer than sheep’s wool. This is due in part to the fact that alpaca fibers are completely hollow, whereas sheep’s wool only contains pockets of air. Much like polar bear fur, both wool and alpaca allow air to permeate the surface and become trapped inside, producing extra warmth. The extra hollow spaces in alpaca produce extra warmth and comfort to wearers.

Alpaca is Hypoallergenic!

It is the absence of lanolin that makes this amazing fiber hypoallergenic! The lanolin found in sheep’s wool is what irritates many wearers upon contact. Even “superwashed” wool contains synthetic resins that are used to treat the fibers to remove lanolin and barbs. So, wool is never truly hypoallergenic in the way that Alpaca is.

Alpaca also offers fantastic wicking properties thanks to hollow fibers that trap heat and naturally push water away. Moisture is never left to sit on the skin when wearing alpaca.

The water actually evaporates as a result of the structure and warmth of the alpaca fiber.

Wool, on the other hand, absorbs up to 50% of its body weight in moisture before reaching a saturation point. Then, saturated wool begins to allow sweat to sit next to the skin, causing discomfort, odor and an increased likelihood of blisters.

So, there you have it.  When compared with so many different types of natural fleece fabric, including wool, alpaca wins!