Comparing the Softness and Warmth of Alpaca Wool versus Camel Wool

When it comes to choosing the perfect wool for your next cozy sweater or winter jacket, the options can be overwhelming. Two popular choices are alpaca wool and camel wool, both known for their warmth and softness. But how do they compare? Is one superior to the other? In this article, we’ll delve into the characteristics of each type of wool, exploring their softness, warmth, durability, moisture-wicking abilities, hypoallergenic properties and sustainability. By the end, we hope you’ll have a clear understanding of which wool is right for your needs.

What is Alpaca Wool?

What Is Alpaca Wool?
Alpaca wool is a luxurious and sought-after material that has been prized for centuries for its softness and warmth. This natural fiber is derived from the fleece of alpacas, a species of South American camelid closely related to llamas. Alpaca wool is known for its remarkable softness and hypoallergenic qualities, making it a popular choice for people with sensitive skin. In this section, we will explore the origins and characteristics of alpaca wool, and compare it to other types of wool such as camel wool. To learn more about the durability and insulation of other wool types such as cashmere and camel wool, check out our article on durability and insulation.

Where Does Alpaca Wool Come From?

Alpaca wool comes from the fleece of the domesticated alpaca (Vicugna pacos). These animals are native to the South American Andes, where they have been raised for their wool for thousands of years. Alpacas can be found mainly in Peru, as well as Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

Alpacas are sheared once a year, usually in the springtime when their fleece has grown enough to provide insulation during the colder months. The process is similar to sheep shearing, where the animal is restrained and the fleece is clipped off with electric clippers. One alpaca can produce an average of 4-10 pounds of fleece.

Alpaca wool is highly sustainable because it is a renewable resource that comes from a domesticated animal that is raised and sheared in a humane way. Additionally, alpacas have a soft padded foot, meaning they do not damage the fragile Andean terrain. The wool is also biodegradable, making it an eco-friendly choice for those concerned about the environment.

Alpaca Wool Characteristics

Alpaca wool is known for its exceptional softness and warmth, and it has a variety of characteristics that set it apart from other materials. Here are some of the key features of alpaca wool:

  • Softness: Alpaca wool is incredibly soft, rivaling even cashmere and angora in texture. The fibers are exceptionally fine and lightweight, which gives alpaca wool a luxurious feel.
  • Warmth: Alpaca wool is also known for its warmth, thanks to the unique structure of the fibers. Alpaca wool fibers are hollow, which allows them to trap more heat than other types of wool. This makes alpaca wool a popular choice for winter clothing.
  • Durability: Despite its softness, alpaca wool is surprisingly durable. The fibers are strong and resilient, which means that alpaca wool garments can withstand wear and tear and last for years with proper care.
  • Moisture Wicking: Alpaca wool is naturally moisture-wicking, which means that it can help regulate body temperature and keep you dry and comfortable. This makes it a great choice for outdoor activities like hiking or skiing.
  • Hypoallergenic Qualities: For people with sensitivities to wool, alpaca wool can be a great alternative. It is naturally hypoallergenic, which means that it is less likely to cause itching or irritation than other types of wool.
  • Sustainability: Alpaca wool is a sustainable choice for eco-conscious consumers. Alpacas have a low environmental impact, producing less methane emissions than other livestock. Plus, alpacas do not require pesticides or herbicides to thrive.

Alpaca wool is a luxurious and practical choice for a variety of clothing and accessory items. It is well-suited to colder climates and outdoor activities, and its softness and hypoallergenic qualities make it a popular choice for people with sensitive skin.

What is Camel Wool?

As we continue to explore animal fibers, let us now take a closer look at one of the oldest materials known to man: camel wool. Known for its durability and warmth, camel wool is popular in many parts of the world, particularly in Arab countries where the animal is revered for its many beneficial properties. In this section, we will learn where camel wool comes from, its unique characteristics, and how it compares to other animal fibers such as sheep and alpaca wool. If you want to read about the advantages of camel wool over synthetic fibers, you can click on this internal link, /sustainable-camel-wool-vs-synthetic-fibers/, to read more.

Where Does Camel Wool Come From?

Camel wool, also known as camel hair, comes from the undercoat of camels. It is the soft inner layer of fur that provides insulation during extreme desert temperatures. The undercoat grown during winters is finer and softer than the one grown in summers. The finest and highest-quality camel fibers come from the Bactrian camel species, primarily found in Mongolia and China.

The Bactrian camel produces two coats of fleece, one with a soft downy undercoat and a coarse outer protective coat. The inner coat is collected by either combing or shearing. The camel wool fibers are very fine and soft, which makes it ideal for use in clothing, blankets, and other textiles. However, because it is rarer and harder to obtain than sheep’s wool, the price is typically higher.

Unlike other types of wool, camel wool fibers lack the scales that cause irritation on the skin, making it hypoallergenic. The fiber’s natural lanolin content makes it water-resistant and anti-bacterial. Additionally, it’s a highly breathable fabric, allowing air to circulate freely, making it perfect for winter garments. If you want to read more about the benefits of camel wool, check out this article.

Camel Wool Characteristics

Camel wool is harvested from the undercoat of camels, which protects them from extreme temperature changes in their natural habitats. It is a material that has been used for centuries in the Middle East and Asia for its insulation and durability.

1. Softness: Camel wool is known for its softness, although it may not be as soft as alpaca wool. It is still considered to be a comfortable material to wear.

2. Warmth: Camel wool is an excellent insulator and is known to be very warm. It can trap heat close to the body, making it perfect for cold climates.

3. Durability: Camel wool is a very durable material and can withstand prolonged use. It is resistant to wear and tear, making it a great choice for clothing that will be worn often.

4. Moisture wicking: Camel wool has excellent moisture-wicking properties, meaning it can absorb sweat and keep the wearer dry. This makes it a great choice for athletic wear.

5. Hypoallergenic qualities: Camel wool is naturally hypoallergenic and is a good choice for those with sensitive skin. It also contains lanolin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe skin irritations.

6. Sustainability: Camel wool is a sustainable material as it is a renewable source that can be harvested without causing harm to the animals. This means that it is an environmentally friendly choice for those who are concerned about sustainability.

Camel wool is a versatile material that has many desirable characteristics. It is warm, durable, moisture-wicking, hypoallergenic, and sustainable. While it may not be as soft as alpaca wool, it is still a comfortable material to wear. To learn more about the breathability of camel wool, check out our article on Merino vs. Camel Wool: Which is More Breathable? or read about the significance of camel wool in Camel Wool: Significance and Uses. Additionally, those with sensitive skin may be interested in learning more about the hypoallergenic properties of camel wool in our article Camel Wool and Hypoallergenic Qualities.

Comparing Alpaca and Camel Wool

Comparing Alpaca And Camel Wool
One may wonder which type of wool is better for warmth, softness, and durability: alpaca or camel wool? Both are highly valued and sought after for their unique characteristics, but it can be challenging to determine which is best for your needs. Let’s take a closer look at the qualities of each wool type and compare them side by side, weighing the merits of each. Keep reading to discover the differences between these two exceptional fibers.


When it comes to softness, both alpaca wool and camel wool are known for their luxurious feel. However, there are slight differences between the two. Here are some factors that affect the softness of alpaca wool and camel wool:

  • Fiber diameter: The diameter of the wool fiber is the primary factor that determines softness. Generally, the finer the fiber, the softer the wool feels. Alpaca wool fibers typically range from 18 to 25 microns in diameter, while camel wool fibers are slightly coarser, ranging from 20 to 40 microns in diameter. This means that alpaca wool is generally softer to the touch than camel wool.
  • Texture: In addition to fiber diameter, the texture of the wool also affects softness. Alpaca wool is known for its silky, smooth texture, which gives it a luxurious feel against the skin. Camel wool, on the other hand, has a slightly coarser texture, which can make it feel slightly rougher to the touch than alpaca wool.
  • Processing: The way that the wool is processed can also affect its softness. Wool that has been treated with harsh chemicals or processed roughly can lose its natural softness. Alpaca wool is typically processed gently, which helps preserve its softness. Camel wool may be processed more roughly due to its coarser fiber, which can make it feel less soft.
  • Condition: The overall condition of the wool can also affect its softness. Wool that has been improperly cared for or exposed to harsh environmental conditions may feel rougher to the touch. Alpaca wool is generally more delicate than camel wool, so it may require more careful handling to maintain its softness over time.

Both alpaca wool and camel wool are known for their softness, but alpaca wool is generally considered the softer of the two.


When it comes to warmth, both alpaca and camel wool are excellent choices, but they differ slightly in their warmth-retention capabilities. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Alpaca wool is known for being exceptionally warm, thanks to its unique fiber structure that traps pockets of air close to the body. This makes it an ideal choice for cold temperatures and harsh weather conditions.
  • Camel wool, on the other hand, is also warm but is better suited to milder climates. Its fibers are more densely packed than alpaca wool, which means it retains heat well without making the wearer feel overheated.
  • In terms of weight, alpaca wool is lighter than camel wool, which may make it a better option for those who prefer lighter-weight clothing.
  • Both alpaca and camel wool are insulating and moisture-wicking, meaning they can keep you warm and dry even in damp conditions.

Ultimately, the choice between alpaca and camel wool for warmth will depend on your climate and personal preferences. If you’re looking for a heavier, exceptionally warm option for harsh winters, alpaca wool may be the way to go. For milder climates or those who prefer a slightly lighter feel, camel wool could be a better option.


When comparing the durability of alpaca wool vs camel wool, there are a few factors to consider.

| Factors | Durability of Alpaca Wool | Durability of Camel Wool |
| — | — | — |
| Fiber Thickness | Alpaca wool fibers are thinner and therefore more prone to breaking or pilling over time. | Camel wool fibers are thicker, which makes them more durable and resistant to wear and tear. |
| Elasticity | Alpaca wool fibers have less elasticity, which means they are more likely to lose their shape and stretch out over time. | Camel wool fibers have high elasticity, meaning they can stretch and move without permanently losing their shape. |
| Lanolin Content | Alpaca wool does not contain lanolin, which is a natural water-resistant oil found in wool fibers. This makes it more susceptible to water damage and staining. | Camel wool contains lanolin, which adds a layer of natural water-resistance and protection against staining. |
| Finishing | Alpaca wool requires more careful finishing to maintain its durability, while camel wool is naturally resistant to wear and tear. | Camel wool requires less finishing to maintain its durability compared to alpaca wool. |

When it comes to durability, camel wool has an advantage over alpaca wool thanks to its thicker fibers, greater elasticity, and higher lanolin content. However, proper care and finishing can help extend the life of both types of wool.

Moisture Wicking

When it comes to moisture wicking, both alpaca and camel wool are exceptional when compared to other natural fibers.

Alpaca wool has a smooth surface that helps it repel water, making it a great option for clothing that may be exposed to rain, snow or other types of moisture. It is even capable of keeping you warm when wet, making it a great choice for outdoor activities.

Camel wool, on the other hand, has a unique ability to absorb and release moisture quickly. This means that it can efficiently wick away sweat from your body, making it a great choice for those who are active or live in warmer climates. It can also keep you warm in colder temperatures, even when it’s damp.

When it comes to ranking the two fibers for moisture wicking capability, camel wool may have a slight edge due to its quick-drying properties. However, both fibers are excellent at keeping you dry and comfortable in a variety of situations.

To compare the moisture wicking capabilities of alpaca wool vs camel wool, take a look at the table below:

Alpaca Wool Camel Wool
Repels water Absorbs and releases moisture quickly
Keeps you warm even if wet Great for those who are active or live in warmer climates
Can also keep you warm in colder temperatures when damp

Both alpaca wool and camel wool are great at keeping you dry and comfortable in a variety of conditions. Whether you’re looking for a fiber to wear while hiking, exercising or simply going about your daily routine, both alpaca and camel wool are great choices.

Hypoallergenic Qualities

Both alpaca wool and camel wool are known for their hypoallergenic qualities, making them a great choice for those with sensitivities to other types of wool.

Hypoallergenic Qualities

| Alpaca Wool | Camel Wool |
| — | — |
| Alpaca wool is naturally hypoallergenic | Camel wool is naturally hypoallergenic |
| Its fibers lack the scales that can cause irritation | Its fibers are also smooth and lack the scales found in other types of wool |
| Alpaca wool contains no lanolin or other oils that can cause allergic reactions | Camel wool contains less lanolin or waxes than sheep’s wool |
| It is also resistant to dust mites, which can be a major allergen for some people | Camel wool is also a good option for those who suffer from dust allergies |

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, either alpaca wool or camel wool would be a great choice for your next wool garment or accessory.


When it comes to sustainability, both Alpaca and Camel wool have their pros and cons. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Renewability: Both Alpaca and Camel wool are renewable resources as long as the animals are ethically raised and sheared.
  • Environmental Impact: The production of Alpaca wool has a more positive environmental impact than Camel wool. Alpacas have soft hooves that don’t destroy the ground they walk on, and they eat a low environmental-impact diet of hay and grass. In contrast, Camels have tough hooves that can damage the soil, and they require more water and food to survive in their arid environment.
  • Carbon Footprint: Both Alpaca and Camel wool have a much lower carbon footprint than synthetic fabrics, but Alpaca wool has a slightly lower carbon footprint than Camel wool since Alpacas require less food and water to survive.
  • Animal Welfare: Ethical treatment of animals is an important factor to consider when choosing a wool. Both Alpaca and Camel wool can be ethically sourced as long as farmers follow ethical shearing practices.

Both Alpaca and Camel wool can be sustainable options for those looking for high-quality, warm and soft wool products. However, it’s important to research the specific sources of the wool to ensure that the animals are being treated ethically and that the production process has a minimal impact on the environment.

How to Care for Alpaca and Camel Wool

Taking care of your alpaca and camel wool items is important to ensure they last for a long time. Here are some tips on how to properly care for your woolen items.

Cleaning: It’s recommended to hand wash alpaca or camel wool items using cool water, a gentle detergent, and a soft cloth. Avoid rubbing the material excessively or twisting it. After washing, gently squeeze the excess water out of the item and lay it flat to dry. Avoid machine washing or drying alpaca or camel wool items, as it can damage the fibers.

Storage: When storing your woolen items, it’s essential to keep them clean and dry. Make sure to store them in a dark, cool, and dry place to prevent any damage from sunlight or moisture. You can store woolen items in a cotton or linen bag to protect them from dust and moths.

Avoiding Moths: Moths are attracted to wool, so it’s important to take preventative measures to avoid moth damage. You can use mothballs or cedar blocks in your storage area to deter moths. Alternatively, you can store your woolen items in an airtight container, making sure there is no moisture inside.

Dealing with stains: If your alpaca or camel wool item gets stained, avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as it can damage the fibers. Instead, try dabbing the stain gently with a damp cloth and mild soap. If that doesn’t work, take the item to a professional cleaner.

By following these tips, you can ensure your alpaca and camel wool items stay in excellent condition for a long time. With the right care, your woolen items can last for many years and keep you warm and comfortable in cold weather.


After comparing alpaca wool and camel wool, it’s clear that both fibers have their own unique qualities that make them desirable for different purposes. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on personal preference and the intended use of the material.

If you’re looking for a soft and luxurious feel, alpaca wool may be the better option. Its extremely fine fibers create a lightweight yet cozy material that can be comfortable to wear next to the skin. Alpaca wool is also known for being hypoallergenic, making it a great choice for individuals with sensitive skin.

Camel wool, on the other hand, is incredibly warm and durable. Its strong fibers make it a great choice for outerwear or accessories that will see a lot of wear and tear. Camel wool is also naturally moisture-wicking, which can help regulate body temperature and keep you comfortable in variable climates.

Both alpaca wool and camel wool are sustainable options for those looking to decrease their environmental impact. These fibers require less processing and chemicals than synthetic materials, and come from animals that are often raised in small, rural communities.

When it comes to caring for alpaca wool and camel wool, both fibers require gentle handling to avoid damage or shrinkage. It’s best to hand wash these materials in cold water and a gentle detergent, then lay them flat to dry. Avoid wringing or twisting the fibers and don’t use hot water or a dryer, as these can cause the material to shrink or become misshapen.

In conclusion, whether you choose alpaca wool or camel wool, you’ll be getting a high-quality material that can stand the test of time if cared for properly. Consider your personal preferences and the intended use of the material to determine which one is the right choice for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does alpaca wool compare to cashmere?

Alpaca wool is softer and warmer than cashmere.

Can camel wool be used for clothing?

Yes, camel wool is commonly used for clothing items such as coats, scarfs, and hats.

Does alpaca wool shrink easily?

Alpaca wool does not shrink easily due to its natural elasticity.

How often should I clean my alpaca or camel wool item?

It is recommended to clean alpaca and camel wool items once a season or as needed.

Is alpaca wool environmentally friendly?

Yes, alpaca wool is an environmentally friendly and sustainable material due to the low impact of alpaca farming on the land.

What are the benefits of wearing camel wool clothing?

Wearing camel wool clothing can provide warmth, softness, and moisture-wicking qualities.

What is the difference between baby alpaca and regular alpaca wool?

Baby alpaca wool is obtained from the first shearing of an alpaca, making it even softer and more luxurious than regular alpaca wool.

Can alpaca wool be itchy for those with sensitive skin?

Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic and is generally not itchy for those with sensitive skin.

Can camel wool wick away moisture?

Yes, camel wool has natural moisture-wicking properties.

Is camel wool more durable than alpaca wool?

Camel wool is generally considered to be more durable than alpaca wool due to its stronger fibers.