Alpaca Fiber vs Wool

When it comes to Alpaca Fiber vs wool, Alpaca fiber is soft like cashmere, warmer than wool, stronger than wool and oh-so soft.

I’m an avid downhill skier and like to stay warm and comfortable.  Itching is not for me.  I tried different types of fabrics and liked the warmth of wool but was uncomfortable and itchy.  I tried wearing layers to keep the wool away from my skin but then found that too many layers bunched up.

Then I wore a sweater made with alpaca fiber and never looked back.

Soft and Strong

The softness of alpaca comes from the fiber itself.  When looking at alpaca fiber under a microscope it’s smooth and the scales of the fiber lay down close to the shaft.  When looking at wool under a microscope you see the scales curled and sticking out along the shaft of the fiber. This is what creates the “itch factor”.

Wool is warm but has a few disadvantages. Wool products can be itchy and spiky feeling against the skin. 

Alpaca is warmer than wool because of the small air pockets within the fiber. These air pockets hold in the warmth from the body and keep you insulted and warm.  

Studies of alpaca fiber has proven to be stronger than wool. Thus a good product will last longer than traditional wool.

Which is good to know when it comes to your clothing budget.


Some people are allergic to lanolin. This is the greasy substance produced by animals such as sheep to waterproof their wool.  Animals such as the South American alpaca do not produce lanolin. This meaning alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic.

Alpaca fiber products are suitable for use in baby clothes and for those with sensitive skin.

Wicks perspiration away from Skin

Alpaca fiber is much like wool in it will wick perspiration away from skin. The fiber also repels water when exposed to the elements.  This is important to a skier, hiker and generally active person.  Wicking fabrics are always a consideration for me.

Good Quality

I make sure I buy good quality alpaca.  Some products brought in from South America are NOT soft.  It’s important to find out where the item was produced.  If it doesn’t come from a reputable manufacturer, you can end up with a very poor quality. Which can make a scratchy and undesirable article of clothing.   You also want to make sure the piece is not mixed with wool.

Large Variety Of Products

The wonderful texture and feel of alpaca products is becoming better known.

As more people search for natural fabrics, they are discovering the benefits of alpaca made items. 

The range of alpaca products is increasing and a large variety of alpaca products are on the market.

  • socks
  • booties
  • bonnets
  • dresses
  • scarves
  • hats and gloves

The array of elegant and fashionable cardigans, shrugs and variety of bags made of alpaca fiber continues to expand. They are practical, unusual and pleasing to look at.

Wide Range of Natural Colors

Alpaca fiber comes in 22 natural colors.  This is more than any other species on the planet. 

You can have a lot of variety in patterns and natural colors that are chemical free, soft and not itchy.