Future Fibers

If You Don’t Like Merino Wool, Try Alpaca Instead


December 18, 2018 Sports and Outdoors By
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You already know why merino wool is the perfect material for outdoor garments, but here’s a refresher anyways: merino is quick-drying, static resistant, breathable, antimicrobial (it won’t stink, even after lots of use) and the high-quality stock doesn’t itch. It’s a natural fiber too — a renewable resource that we don’t have to concoct in a lab and won’t contribute microplastics to our waterways and oceans. But merino wool isn’t the only animal fiber that’s ideally-equipped for outdoor clothing; another one is alpaca, and Mission Workshop just used it as the foundational material in a new limited collection of apparel.

In clothing, alpaca fiber functions much like merino wool; it manages moisture to keep you cool in hot temperatures and warm in the cold, it’s naturally odor-resistant, and it provides warmth even when it’s wet. It’s also hypoallergenic. Mission Workshop sources its high-quality thick alpaca wool from Peru, where each piece in the new line is also constructed. There are five in total: a sweater for men and women, fingerless gloves, a beanie and a scarf.

The items look a bit like something a fashion brand might make, but Mission Workshop has performance in mind here. It equipped the Renan sweater with a lower back pocket for bike commuters, for instance. In all of the other pieces, the alpaca fibers are blended with cotton (the mixture is 55-percent alpaca wool and 45-percent cotton) to increase durability (they will lose out on some of the alpaca’s benefits as a result though). Overall, the Alpaca Collection positions itself as clothing suited for those who want to maintain a refined look without sacrificing all of the benefits of technical apparel.

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