It’s never good opening the door to leave for work to see it’s pouring down with rain. It’s particularly annoying especially if you forget your umbrella and suddenly realise that you’re actually wearing a jacket made out of cotton and your waterproof coat is still hung up on a peg at your work.
Now I’m pretty sure not many things will protect someone from a downpour, not unless you are wearing something specifically designed to be waterproof. Certainly my cotton jacket got drenched after about 200 metres of walking outside. It did get the mind wondering though on whether certain natural textiles are at the very least water resistant. It seems cotton is not, and certainly the jacket and t-shirt I was wearing felt like I was actually carrying water. This is the same with linen, beautifully light but not water resistant. With silk, the textile is very strong but again not very water-resistant.
However, wool is considered to be water resistant. This is because their fibres are absorbent and can soak up some of the water when the rain comes. Now this is not just alpaca wool, but also sheep’s wool like merino wool that is water resistant. Where the alpaca wool differs from other types of wool like sheep wool is that it contains no lanolin and is considered warmer, which is ideal for the cold and wet months of the year.
So the next time it is looking like it’s about to rain, your alpaca beanie or jumper won’t protect you from a downpour but it will certainly fair better than other natural textiles and some of it will be absorbed by the fiber itself. But so far we’ve had quite a dry start to the winter season. I can imagine it will only get colder and wetter.