Qualities of Alpaca Fiber
Alpaca is a semi-hollow fiber. A hollow core fiber weighs less than 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 hollow core fiber tends to be light weight and much warmer than solid core equivalents.
Alpaca is moisture wicking. Wicking and absorbing moisture are two different things. Wicking occurs when the fabric transports 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 good wicking properties, which is why people complain that their 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.
Alpaca is hypoallergenic. If you compare an alpaca fiber to a wool fiber under a microscope, the alpaca fiber will be smooth while the wool fiber will have scales, resulting in alpaca’s smoother, slippery feel. Unlike wool, alpaca fleece contains no lanolin, and requires no chemical scouring agents for processing. This, compared with its softness, makes alpaca garments comfortable, even for sensitive skin.