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  1. #1
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    Alpaca underquilt??

    hi friends,
    ive been reading the forums about down alternatives & i see wools get a mention, but i couldnt find a particular thread on alpaca.

    i got 2kgs of raw fleece & was thinking of making an underquilt with some but not sure of the best way to go about it.

    should i make baffles & just stuff the fleece in like cotton balls, or should i make some batting or felt it into a blanket & quilt it?

    i read that alpacas warmth is comparable to down (some say warmer) & is very light too due to the semi hollow fiber & it recovers from compression very well. wool also retains its warmth when wet so i thought it might be worth giving it a go.

    i also got some rabbit angora & was thinking of adding a layer to the UQ if i go the quilting method, would i add that to the inner layer?

    also should i use a ripstop nylon for the shell or maybe go for a silk fabric, or do you think if the wool gets wet the weight might tear it?
    does anyone know of a source for ripstop silk like sea to summit uses for their sleeping bag liners?

    any advice would be greatly appreciated
    please add a comment, im interested to know what you think.

    edit:
    ----------------------------------------------------

    heres some info from research on alpaca fiber
    -(some claims are from sites selling alpaca products therefore may be exaggerated)



    a three-pound comforter filled with (lamb's) wool batting is as warm as a five-pound all-wool blanket, because it holds more dead air. "
    Horace Kephart "Camping and Woodcraft"

    The protein core will absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without becoming damp or clammy.

    Like wool, alpaca retains about 80% of it's insulative value when it is wet, but alpaca doesn’t get the unpleasant “wet sheep” smell that goes with wet wool.

    Alpaca batting is extremely light weight, warm, and cozy. Nothing is finer than filling your quilt or comforter cover with alpaca batting. It contains microscopic air pockets that have high insulation values and makes it exceptionally warm for its weight.

    As warm as a down comforter but less fill is needed to keep you warm so you won't get hot and sweaty underneath. Alpaca wool comforters are a great alternative for those who cannot tolerate down.
    An alpaca wool duvet will absorb up to 35% of its weight in moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable while you sleep.

    Highly regarded by outdoor enthusiasts, garments made from alpaca offer wonderfully cozy, featherweight warmth that sheep’s wool, goose down or even the new synthetic fabrics like Gortex and polar fleece cannot possibly begin to compete with.

    Alpaca fur is 10 times warmer, stronger and lighter than sheeps wool or any man-made fibre. It is even warmer than goose down, yet breathes better than thermal knits.

    Suri alpaca fibre has the softness of cashmere, lustre of silk, warmth and featherweight of goose down and the durability of wool.

    Other than duvets filled with high quality pure 800 loft goose down or pure eiderdown, Alpaca is the lighest fill available today. It is even lighter than silk!

    Loft and resiliency

    Alpaca quilts have good loft and as the thermal efficiency of alpaca fleece is significantly higher than wool, alpaca quilts do not need to be bulky or heavy in weight to maintain warmth.

    Depending on the type or combination of wool used as fill (i.e. llama, alpaca, sheep), your wool comforter may feel nearly as light as one filled with goose down. The crimps in wool fibers makes wool fill particularly versatile, forming a cohesive batting without chemical binders. A comforter made of pure wool fill won't lose its shape, separate into clumps or shift.

    Resilient wool filling will not shift into corners and bunch up when wet, staying evenly fluffed. Scientific tests have shown that wool will restore itself to 95 percent of its original thickness when compressed, compared to synthetic substitutes that achieved between 67 and 79 percent loft. No matter how it is crushed, pulled or twisted, pure wool fill will spring back to its original thickness. A wool comforter will wick moisture from the body and allow for a comfortable and dry night's rest.
    Last edited by TinFoilHatsFTW; 12-30-2011 at 21:39. Reason: sp

  2. #2
    Senior Member wildcrafter's Avatar
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    this is an interesting idea how well does it loft
    welcome to planet earth no one gets out alive

  3. #3

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    I don't think I would felt it as I think that may reduce the R value. I'd be tempted to weave, knit or crochet it into a blanket with more air spaces then put a light nylon cover on one side. Maybe both. The nylon would be a wind block and help maintain The shape of the undercover. It might also make a nice cape. Bear in mind my advice is worth every penny you pay for it. ;-)

  4. #4
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Don't expect Alpaca to loft like down or compress like down. It will loft and it will compress, but not nearly to the extent that down will.


    The pillow made in this picture has ten ounces of alpaca fleece stuffed inside of a baffled standard pillow case. That would equate to about 1 Kg of alpaca fleece to make a fractional UQ sized item.

    My guess is that alpaca fleece would not loft and conform to the underside of a hammock body like a down UQ will. It might work better just to make a baffled alpaca fleece stuffed sleeping mat for the easiest and least time intensive approach. I'm not sure of what sort of material to stuff the fleece in. Conventional wisdom would suggest nylon, but a thin wool or thick silk might work better.

    Since the alpaca fleece does not compress like down, it will actually hold much of its volume when you lay on it. It would probably be pretty darned luxurious in terms of comfort as well.

    I noticed you were quoting Kephart. In that same section of his book, he mentions that an afghan blanket is far warmer than a tightly woven blanket since it has more entrapped air pockets than a heavier wool weave. Probably the most efficient application of the fleece would be to card, spin and weave it into an afghan. However, you are probably looking at a couple of hundred hours of work to accomplish that.

    I'd use it to make a quilted bedroll to line your hammock if you're sure you want to use it for a hammock project. Some form of cotton would probably be the best fabric to stuff with the alpaca. While the cotton may retain moisture, the alpaca should still keep you insulated. Your body heat might drive the moisture from the cotton since the alpaca is storing the heat.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisenber View Post

    I'd use it to make a quilted bedroll to line your hammock if you're sure you want to use it for a hammock project.

    some awesome info in your post.
    so, you are suggesting it might be better to actually lie on top of the fleece inside the hammock rather than hang it on the outside/underneath, hey?
    hmm youve got me thinking..i wonder if a bamboo fabric lining would be any good?
    fascinating recommendation, thankyou.
    Last edited by TinFoilHatsFTW; 12-30-2011 at 23:18.

  6. #6
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinFoilHatsFTW View Post
    some awesome info in your post.
    so, you are suggesting it might be better to actually lie on top of the fleece inside the hammock rather than hang it on the outside/underneath, hey?
    fascinating recommendation, thankyou.
    I've been looking at doing something similar with wool batting stuffed inside of a shell. The wool batting i was looking at has similar characteristics in terms of loft and recovery, but it would not be nearly as luxurious as the alpaca. Then again, I was looking at lanolizing the wool to make it waterproof as well.

    I'm just envisioning a big alpaca stuffed bed roll lining a hammock, and I'm thinking it would be warm and comfortable. Off hand, the main problem you might have is that it might be too warm above certain temperatures and you cannot really vent it in that configuration. That being said, merino and alpaca tend to be pretty good at thermoregulation. Down just heats. Merino and alpaca actually can keep you cooler when it is warm as well. Counter-intuitive perhaps, but I've found that to be the case with my merino base layers in varying temperature ranges.
    Made into a bedroll it might be kind of bulky, but you can probably roll it up and put it in a long bag to be lashed outside of your pack. Soldiers carried their bedrolls that way for centuries, so I imagine it will work today as well.

    Heck, you could probably make a mock up by buying a cheap king sized pillow case and stuffing the fleece into the case. Quilt it to keep the fleece in place and give it a whirl. That should help you gauge the actual size you will need along with how thick you will want it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisenber View Post
    I've been looking at doing something similar with wool batting stuffed inside of a shell. The wool batting i was looking at has similar characteristics in terms of loft and recovery, but it would not be nearly as luxurious as the alpaca. Then again, I was looking at lanolizing the wool to make it waterproof as well.

    I'm just envisioning a big alpaca stuffed bed roll lining a hammock, and I'm thinking it would be warm and comfortable. Off hand, the main problem you might have is that it might be too warm above certain temperatures and you cannot really vent it in that configuration. That being said, merino and alpaca tend to be pretty good at thermoregulation. Down just heats. Merino and alpaca actually can keep you cooler when it is warm as well. Counter-intuitive perhaps, but I've found that to be the case with my merino base layers in varying temperature ranges.
    Made into a bedroll it might be kind of bulky, but you can probably roll it up and put it in a long bag to be lashed outside of your pack. Soldiers carried their bedrolls that way for centuries, so I imagine it will work today as well.

    Heck, you could probably make a mock up by buying a cheap king sized pillow case and stuffing the fleece into the case. Quilt it to keep the fleece in place and give it a whirl. That should help you gauge the actual size you will need along with how thick you will want it.

    ok so would you sew the bedroll sections like the kitty pillow pic you posted?
    actually, thats a great idea, i could practice by making one up for my moms cat

    ---------------

    i found this interesting article:

    Initially considered impossible, an Australian drilling company faced the challenge of insulating emergency communication equipment that would continue to work in temperatures that drop to minus 60°C; the solution was alpaca fleece.

    “Our solution was to use alpaca fleece to insulate the emergency communication equipment as the fibre is lightweight, robust and has tremendous thermal qualities. There is only one other natural material that rivals alpaca fleece for its warmth, but it is very hard to get hold of, polar bear fur,” said Mr Meyer.

    The self-contained unit, which houses a small heater but has no power supply, was tested at minus 60°C. The system maintained a temperature of plus 16°C, a remarkable 76°C difference.

    “There is nothing like this product in the world and we now have both Australian and New Zealand arctic teams looking at using the system. Previously, arctic teams’ navigational and communication systems would stop operating when temperatures hit minus 20°C,” said Mr Brennan.

    As pure alpaca fleece was required for the insulation of the EEESS, the fibre was hand spun. A lofty yarn was produced to maximize the entrapment of air and it was woven in a way so that it packed in very closely to create a very thick blanket.

    “The last thing we did was wash the blanket so it filled out, and as it doesn’t have scales like wool, it didn’t shrink. After a quick moth proofing, the end result was an amazing fabric and a much needed product,” she said.

    http://www.candalaraine.com/free-solutions
    Last edited by TinFoilHatsFTW; 12-31-2011 at 01:11.

  8. #8
    Señor Member wisenber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinFoilHatsFTW View Post
    ok so would you sew the bedroll sections like the kitty pillow pic you posted?
    actually, thats a great idea, i could practice by making one up for my moms cat
    Since it is not needed to cushion so much as for insulation, I'd shoot for for a thinner version of the kitty pillow to test how thick you need it. If the pillow cover fabric is suitable, you could just use a cotton sheet for the full sized project. Cotton/poly might be more forgiving.

  9. #9
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    this is a fascinating thread.
    I'm thinking exped like roll for the hammock (instead of the 'ol ccf roll).
    Will be thinking best material for outer quilt.....



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  10. #10
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    i am thinking this might make a good winter quilt where one would be pulling a pulk sled and weight and bulk would be less of an issue.
    welcome to planet earth no one gets out alive

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