• Eveline

Is Alpaca Wool Comfortable to Wear? (Yes, MOSTLY!)

If you are ready to invest in an alpaca woolen garment, you want to make sure that the garment is comfortable. You are probably wondering if alpaca wool wears pleasantly and if it feels good on the skin. Let’s find out!


Alpaca wool is comfortable for most wearers. It is hypoallergenic, soft on the skin and mostly itch-free. It is highly breathable, elastic, and warm, which makes it comfortable in all occasions. One way alpaca wool may be uncomfortable is that it has a silky fiber that can move around unwantedly.


There are people who instantly get itchy just thinking about wool. Luckily, alpaca wool is comfortable for most wearers. Yes, most. Not for everyone.


Alpaca Wool Does Not Contain Lanolin


If you have a wool allergy or sensitivity, you might want to know if alpaca wool is hypoallergenic to make sure that it is comfortable for you, too. Here’s some good news: alpaca wool does not contain lanolin, making it hypoallergenic and comfortable for people with wool allergies or sensitivities.


Lanolin is a greasy substance that is naturally produced by animals to protect them from the elements. It’s great for them, but not so much for people with allergies. Luckily, alpaca wool has a special fiber texture that helps it wick away moisture without needing lanolin.


  • I am not a doctor, so if you want to read more about wool allergy or sensitivity, check out this Healthline article: Do You Have a Wool-Allergy?

  • Please note, only a doctor can diagnose an allergy and provide adequate information.


Alpaca wool does not contain lanolin and is therefore hypoallergenic. It means that people who normally get an allergic reaction to lanolin, will likely not suffer from any reactions caused by lanolin when using alpaca.


Alpaca Wool Is Mostly Itch-Free


Alpaca wool is renowned for being an incredibly soft fiber, and soft fibers are often itch-free.


Alpaca wool is itch-free for most people, given that your standard alpaca woolen garment uses alpaca of about 26-27 microns. Generally, you could say that wool below 30 microns is itch-free.


A little more on microns, first. The diameter of a wool fiber is measured in microns (a millionth of a meter) and as a general rule of thumb, you could say that a smaller micron count means a softer fiber.


Another factor to know if a fiber is itchy or not is its texture. Most wool fibers are covered in microscopic scales, which usually interlock perfectly if they are smaller. When the scales tend to stick out a bit, it is that which causes a fiber to feel itchy.


Conclusion: when a fiber is smaller, the scales on the fiber will automatically be smaller, too, causing less irritation to the skin that touches the fiber.


Now, generally, people will experience an itch when wearing (wool) fibers of 30 microns or higher. People with sensitive skin will experience an itch (or general discomfort) with wool fibers between 20 and 29 microns; however, this will vary per person and depends on the quality of the fiber.


Given that most (quality) alpaca wool is between 26 and 27 microns, and assuming that you don’t have sensitive skin, alpaca wool should be itch-free to you.


Alpaca Wool Is Breathable


Alpaca wool is comfortable to wear because it is breathable.


An important aspect of comfortable clothes is that the fabric has to be breathable. Imagine wearing an item that makes you feel sweaty and clammy underneath! Not comfortable at all! Luckily, alpaca wool is breathable, which means that the fabric allows for airflow, avoiding dampness.


Alpaca wool has tiny little air pockets inside its fiber, which trap heat. When heat is trapped, the fiber will create an insulating layer that keeps the heat inside, and everything underneath it will stay nice and warm.

When things get too hot and potentially sweaty or clammy, alpaca wool will evaporate the heat inside its air pockets and release the air to cool down. Sweat, damp and even a little bit of rain can be removed this way, too.


Breathability is important because it makes an item comfortable to wear in different temperatures, during different activities and for different purposes. Alpaca wool can be used to go hiking or for a summery night. Whether you sweat or sit still, alpaca wool will provide a constant, comfortable temperature for your body.


Alpaca Wool Is Elastic


Alpaca woolen garments are comfortable to wear because they are elastic. Elasticity makes it possible for an item to freely adapt to the movements of your body.


Knitted garments are different from woven fabrics and are thicker, use more fabric and are therefore also warmer. The knitting technique uses a looping structure that gives room for the yarn to move more freely. Knitted garments add flexibility to the natural elasticity of a yarn.


So, while alpaca wool is already stretchy in and of itself, it becomes more flexible when used in knitted garments.


Flexibility and elasticity are important because they allow your body to move freely while wearing alpaca wool. Imagine wearing an item that does not let you move freely or that doesn’t adapt to your body movements. It would be highly uncomfortable!


Alpaca woolen garments are elastic and therefore comfortable to wear.

  • If you are curious to learn more about this, click the following link to read the full article I wrote about this: Does Alpaca Wool Stretch?


Alpaca Wool Is Warm


When analyzing a fabric’s comfort as a wearer, it is important to take into account whether or not an item can protect you from the elements. There is nothing comfortable about an item that makes you feel cold!


Alpaca wool, and alpaca woolen garments, protect you from the cold, wind and rain, and are therefore comfortable to wear in cold weather environments.


Alpacas are camelids that live in the Andean highlands (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile). In those beautiful Andean highlands, the weather changes swiftly and can be anywhere between very hot and sunny during the day, to freezing cold at night. And in the meantime, rain, hail and sneering winds can cross your path.


With the weather being unpredictable and basically being hit and miss all day long, it is important to be well prepared for everything. And so did Mother Nature provide the alpaca with a coat that is basically perfect for any type of weather you can imagine.


The alpaca fiber is wind-proof, water-resistant, warm in cold weather and wearable in summer.


The scale-like texture of the alpaca fiber protects it from wind and rain (when there is not too much of it at least). On the other hand, it also helps provide an insulating and isolating layer, keeping you warm when it is cold and blocking the heat when it is warm.


According to Wild Hair Alpacas, wearing alpaca wool in an environment of 0°F (-17.78°C), gives you a comfort range of about 50°F (10°C) degrees.


With that in mind, you can wear an alpaca woolen item basically year-round. Thou shall not worry about weather changes. Wearing an alpaca woolen garment, it is good to know that you will be protected come rain, wind or shine.

  • Not convinced that you can wear alpaca wool in summer, too? Read more about it in an article I wrote: Can You Read Alpaca Wool in Summer?

  • Ready to go dancing in the rain with your alpaca sweater? Not so fast: Read this article to find out more about using alpaca wool in the rain: Is Alpaca Wool Waterproof?

  • What about the wind? Read more about it in my article by clicking on the link: Is Alpaca Wool Windproof?

  • If you want to know more about the science on how warm alpaca wool really is, check out this article: Is Alpaca Wool Warm?


Alpaca Wool Can Be Slippery


Let me be honest with you and show you a potential downside of wearing alpaca wool. The scale-like, silky fiber is very smooth, and this can result in alpaca woolen garments to move around unwantedly (particularly scarves). This is potentially uncomfortable... and would certainly be annoying.


While the scale-like texture provides a lustrous fiber that gives a sophisticated look to the wearer, it can potentially cause some discomfort when it is worn. Soft fibers will not stay in the same place, so for garments like scarves that are draped around the body, this could be problematic.


When an item is silky, it becomes slippery and when it is slippery, it can basically fall off your shoulders or slide along other fabrics.


Using a pin or brooch is an easy and stylish solution that could help prevent your scarf from sliding off should this become an issue for you.

  • And what else but this cute alpaca brooch from Purely Alpaca would fit the elegance of your shiny garment?

Hi! My name is Eveline and I started Yanantin Alpaca after having spent five years living in South America. I saw an opportunity to make real, local impact and took it with both hands. I believe that we can create a better world by focusing on what feels good. 

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