The Alpaca Blog
Wicking of Alpaca vs. Synthetics
Posted By Zach the blogger. - 9/10/09
Due to breathability, necessity of wicking is diminished. Since retiring from ski racing two years ago as a J1 FIS athlete, I have found my true passion in skiing as a volunteer for the Breckenridge Ski Patrol, and as an avid backcountry skier. I don’t ski anywhere without my AT (alpine touring) setup, which allows me to climb peaks quickly (but not effortlessly). I’ve used base layers that trap my sweat when climbing, making for a cold decent, I’ve also used base layers that claim breathability only because they are too thin to trap air making for an unregulated body temperature. When I first used my Alpacor base layers during a backcountry trek I was very impressed – the fabric was incredibly breathable during the ascent, preventing me from overheating and even sweating significantly to begin with. When I zipped up for the decent, my core was completely dry, warm, and ready to perform. Most products claim they wick moisture from your body while being breathable – synthetic products have never been comfortable, and certainly not warm to touch. The natural Alpaca, hollow core hair in Alpacor fabrics performs the same task as it does on the Alpaca that endure rough winters and hot summers in the Andes, keeping them regulated and dry in all conditions.
Base Layer that adapts!
Posted By Zach the blogger. - 9/10/09
I’ve lost toenails in race boots three sizes smaller than my feet – from the combination of severe frostbite and pressure; sought sanctuary in ski lodges after training downhill in -60oF weather (with wind chill), able to count a record of twenty sites of initial frostbite; bombed avalanches in cold, windy, white-out weather conditions too harsh for the resort to open lifts; and trekked through the backcountry in variable weather ranging from -30OF in the cold of winter to 60oF in the heat of spring. Throughout my 17 years of skiing experience (I’m 19 now), I have been in constant search for a product that is able to adapt with the weather conditions by maintaining my body temperature – without wasting all of the space in my pack with various layers. Several years ago I was approached with a new product, Alpacor. As a J2 alpine skier, competing in FIS races at the time, I was looking for performance before comfort or warmth – accepting the loss of my big toenails every year – using the thinnest socks, and smallest boots to have greater control of my skis. The ultra-light Alpacor ski sock was made without a thread of extra material to hog any extra space I could find. Ordinarily, even after one day of training, thin socks wear out – the alpacor product has yet to wear in the sole, even after constant use hiking, racing, and ski patrolling. While it is difficult to experience warmth with such tiny boots, the Alpacor socks certainly provided more comfort than any other sock, without sacrificing performance – and in fact, enhancing it. I hope to see this product available to the public soon, it is truly better than anything else out there.
Gloves that really work!
Posted By Gordon W. - 6/30/09
I wrote earlier about my experience with Alpacor long johns. Now, I’d like to tell you about the gloves I have that are lined with Alpacor. I live in Summit County Colorado and ski in temperatures in the low twenties and teens much of the time. I’ve never had one pair of gloves so comfortable in such a wide temperature range. While my ski buddies are swinging there arms and clapping their hands to get heat to their fingers, I would be totally comfortable. Sometimes I’ll take a glove off and go “ put your hand in here”, and they’d go holly crap, it’s warm in there! On the warmer days, I’d wear the same gloves and never get clammy hands, you know, how your hands get so hot and sweaty that when you pull your hand out of your glove the liner clings to your hand and the whole liner comes with it. Not with these, and the exterior is leather. They breath, they’re soft, and their warm. I’ll never wear anything else. How could I? I’m spoiled.
Posted By Gordon W. - 6/25/09
I’m a life-long skier and do a fair amount of back country skiing in Colorado. I was given some gloves, long underwear and socks to test and give feedback on. This is a new technical fiber made from Alpaca that’s blended with other man-made and natural fiber. They call it Alpacor, made by a company called Sports Alpaca. In a word, Incredible! I never liked the polypro or Capilene products. They feel synthetic and stink after a hard day on the mountain. This Alpacor behaved much like merino wool only much better. It is much softer, lighter and breaths exceptionally well. One day in February of this year I climbed and skied Toreys Peak, a 14er in Colorado. It was around 25 degrees when we started, temperatures climbed to around 50 degrees on the Southwest aspect and by the time we summated it was back in the 30s. The Alpacor Long Johns completely regulated my temperature and quickly transported my sweat so I never felt clammy. Very impressed, I need more!