Heading for the river? Leave your synthetics in the gear closet. We’re making the case for why natural fibers are perfect for paddling.
The Natural Fiber Advantage
We’ve spent a lot of time in the great outdoors—from the mountains to the woods to the river. This means we’ve spent a lot of time in clothing that clings, chafes, smells, itches, retains water, or lets the lightest breeze through. That’s why when we started manufacturing a completely new class of performance apparel, we didn’t just think there could be a better fabric, we knew it.
Enter natural fibers. Unlike synthetics, alpaca fibers and other natural fibers are not full of microplastics or made with oil byproducts. And our proprietary All-Paca fabric is not doused in harsh chemicals or made in factories overseas. There’s a misconception out there that sustainability and quality are mutually exclusive. Not true. We believe in being responsible without sacrificing performance.
The All-Paca Advantage: Engineered by nature and designed for adventure, alpaca fiber is naturally packable, easy to layer, moisture managing, temperature regulating, odor resistant, flame resistant, lightweight, and hypoallergenic.
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Trying to get good at my loop before I start trying new moves. This process has been very hard because the cold takes all my energy away. But my @appgearco shirt helps me a lot with this. Whenever I flip over it is completely dry, it keeps me warm in cold weather and it keeps me cool in hot weather. Thank you @appgearco !
But What About Paddling?
Right now you might be thinking, “That’s awesome, but what does that have to do with paddling?” Good question. Though the advantages of alpaca fibers and other natural fibers have been well-documented when it comes to backpacking and hiking, the advantages of these fibers when it comes to paddling have remained comparatively under-the-radar. But the truth is, the same features that make All-Paca well-suited for a trail or crag, also make it perfect for the river.
Insulating: First of all, alpaca fiber doesn’t absorb much moisture. In fact, alpaca fiber only absorbs 11% of its weight in moisture. Perhaps the most well-known natural fiber, Merino Wool, absorbs 30% of its weight in moisture. However, that doesn’t mean, especially while paddling, that you won’t get wet. Enter one of our favorite (and most unusual) characteristics of alpaca fiber: it insulates even when wet, making it ideal for cold-weather paddling.
Easy to Layer: The key to dressing for the river? Layers. Alpaca fiber is easy to layer, meaning you can slip it under a wetsuit for a moisture-managing base layer (ideal if the water temperature is under 60 degrees) or over a water shirt for a temperature-regulating mid layer (ideal if the water and air temperature are over 60 degrees). The fiber is also ideal for layering under a wetsuit for additional warmth.
Packable: Going kayak camping, canoe camping, or raft packing? Alpaca fiber is extremely packable, as it’s lightweight (our Men’s Hoodies weigh 10 - 14 ounces depending on size, while our Women’s Hoodies weigh 8-12 ounces depending on the size) and will maintain its shape when shoved amongst layers in a loaded drybag. Paddle camping, especially kayak camping, is extremely restrictive in what you can bring, so a garment that’s beloved by backpackers is often ideal.
All-Paca in Action: Whitewater paddlers Walker and Grey Edens both wear their All-Paca while on the river. Check Walker out at @walkeredens and check Grey out at @grey.edens for some whitewater action!
Environmentally friendly? Check. Insulating? Check. Easy to layer? Check. Packable? Check. Natural fibers win the river any day.