What Makes Alpaca Clothing Superior For The Cold And Wet Season?

Provided you dress right for the cold, wet seasons there isn’t anything to stop you from enjoying your hiking sessions or any other outdoor activity. However, if you’re new to hiking, getting the right amount of warmth can be difficult. And even hikers who have experience remark on the challenges of finding the correct level of comfort when they’re outdoors. So what is the answer? Try alpaca clothing.

Alpaca fleece is becoming a firm feature in outdoor wear. This is because its high levels of water resistance, superior warmth and wicking abilities allow alpaca clothing to adapt well to the rigors of outdoor life. But if you’re still in need of some convincing as to why alpaca is so well-suited to the cold/wet seasons, this article should tell you all you need to know.

Alpaca Fleece Offers Water resistance

Alpaca fiber is associated with  water resistance.  Although this doesn’t mean the fleece won’t get wet if you get caught out in the rain, it does mean the wet won’t penetrate onto your skin. Alpaca’s water resistance also has other benefits.

A study by AOBA states that alpaca’s ability to resist water makes it less likely to stain and the fleece performs well against oil penetration, too. These capabilities make alpaca low maintenance and easier to care for, which is another positive reason for choosing it. Also, there’s no need to use strong chemicals to get alpaca clothing clean – which is ideal if you have sensitive skin.

Alpaca Fleece Provides Superior Insulation

The inbuilt insulation of alpaca fleece is another reason it's suitable for the cold season. Hikers have become increasing aware of its insulating properties and many will attest to the extra warmth that alpaca fleece provides - and this is not just opinion.  Alpaca fiber is as much as three times warmer than some conventional wools because of its structure.

Alpaca fleece is naturally hollow, while sheep’s wool isn’t. Sheep’s wool has air pockets which don’t always insulate so well, but the hollow fibers of alpaca results in a superior insulation; this allows the wearer to retain their body heat, while managing to be lightweight with the same time. Therefore, alpaca is good for outdoors lovers who need to stay warm in the colder seasons, but don’t want to be weighed down by heavy clothing.

And in case you are wondering where the insulating properties of alpaca fleece originate from, it’s down to the way the alpaca has evolved. In the alpaca’s natural environment of South America, it’s necessary for their fleece to protect them from extreme warm and cold. Because of these natural protective qualities, alpaca fleece can be just as efficient when worn in the colder seasons for hiking/skiing as it would be in the summer at keeping you cool.

Alpaca Fleece Is Lightweight

Regular wool might feel comfortable but one thing is for sure: it’s heavy when it’s wet, and the added weight is going to act as an extra burden when you’re outside. In contrast, the structure of alpaca fleece is lightweight and allows you to move freely. If you get caught in a rain shower, or as your body sweats and moisture starts to build, alpaca clothing will stay lightweight, but no less insulating.

Alpaca Fleece Has Wicking Capabilities

A lot has been said about the wicking capabilities of alpaca fleece and the claims can be supported by research. A study by the AOBA Fiber Committee showed that: “Alpaca is resistant to external water penetration like wool, but can slowly wick away perspiration because of its unique ability to act like cotton in moisture regain. These factors are what makes alpaca feel lighter than wool, but warmer than cotton in cool, damp conditions”.

If you are new to hiking and not sure why wicking is so important, it basically means that if a material can wick moisture away from your skin, it will help keep you warm and dry. Also, wicking regulates your body temperature by preventing moisture from building up. Its wicking properties mean alpaca can be especially useful when used in base layers.


Alpaca fleece is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves by manufacturers of outdoor clothing. It’s lightweight while still being warm and insulating, and it’s adaptable, which make alpaca wear ideal for the cold, wet weather. To view the complete Woop! Wear range of clothing, which is perfect for a range of outdoor activities, visit our website today

Image: Flickr