Purely Alpaca Outdoor Adventure Socks are made with a warm, comfortable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistent blend of alpaca, microfiber, nylon, and lycra. They are machine washable and tumble dryable.
They are priced at $25.95 a pair at the time of this writing from purelyalpaca.com. You may want to think about trying a pair.
My buddy from high school and I have been through a lot together. I was with him when he broke his arm. He was with me when I ricocheted an arrow off a snowman and into the side of my parent’s above-ground swimming pool. I was the best man at his wedding. He was the best man at my wedding. He had a daughter on my birthday. I had a daughter on his birthday. We have quite a bit of shared experience.
A few years ago, my friend began telling me about his wonderful alpaca socks. He said that they were so breathable that he could wear them summer or winter, that they were so odor-resistant that he could wear them a week at a time without laundering, and that they were by far the most comfortable socks that he had ever owned.
I was intrigued, because I love a good pair of socks. I began keeping my eyes open for an opportunity to give a pair of alpaca socks a try.
Recently, I ran across purelyalpaca.com online. Their outdoor adventure socks looked very interesting. So I sent them a message, asking if I could try out a pair. They were kind enough to agree. About a week later, a package arrived in the mail.
Opening the Package
The socks arrived in a USPS First Class Package. The return address was Purely Alpaca, 1444 Main St. #308, Ramona, CA 92065.
The labeling on the socks indicated that they are made in the USA. It also stated, “Alpaca is an excellent choice for warm docks due to its strength and hollow insulating core. These socks are made with a terry inner design for added warmth and comfort.” The wholesaler was identified as Choice Alpaca Footwear, PO Box 8598, La Jolla, CA 92038.
The outside of the socks felt very smooth and soft, and the terry design on the inside was quite cushiony. I pulled the socks on. They were very soft, warm, and breathable. I had the impression that they would make an excellent pair of slippers.
At first, I thought they might be a little thick for everyday wear. But as I wore them every day for a week, I found them to be extremely comfortable under a variety of shoes and boots during a variety of weather conditions. They remained odor-free throughout a full week of wear, washed up nicely in the laundry, and were soon ready for another week of wear.
When I put them on for a second week of wear, I was again impressed by how comfortable they are.
I wore them while staining the front porch and east wall of my log home. I wore them while working in the garden. I wore them camping with my grandchildren. I wore them to the office, and I wore them visiting friends. I found them to be very comfortable in a variety of settings.
Alpaca versus Merino
Prior to testing these socks, the best socks that I owned were made of merino wool. My favorites were Darn Tough Wool Socks and Smart Wool Socks. They are both excellent brands, but I like the alpaca socks even better. The alpaca tends to feel even smoother and less prickly than merino. Alpaca is warmer and lighter because the fibers are hollow. In fact, alpaca is warmer than any other kind of wool fabric. Alpaca fibers have a higher tensile strength than merino, so they are more durable. Alpaca is also more water-repellent and moisture-wicking.
All other things being equal, the only drawback of alpaca in comparison with merino is that alpaca tends to be more expensive.
What are Alpacas?
Alpacas are the smaller cousins of the llama. They are native to Peru. Unlike llamas, alpacas were not domesticated for use as pack animals. Instead they were bred from the wild vicuna specifically for their wool more than a thousand years ago.
Alpacas can be quite gentle around humans, and have even been used as therapy animals. But they can also be quite fierce, so that they can be used as guard animals to protect sheep from coyotes, foxes, dogs, and other canids. Alpacas attack canids by rising up on their hind legs and them coming down on the canids with their front feet.
Another way that alpacas display aggression is through spitting. They can spit around 10 feet. They usually spit regurgitated stomach contents, so being spit upon by an alpaca is not a pleasant experience.
Alpacas make a practice of using a communal dung pile in an area in which they do not graze. This helps to limit the transmission of intestinal parasites.
The life span of an alpaca is usually about 15 to 20 years.
In addition to being warm and light, alpaca fiber has the benefit of being flame resistant. It is the second strongest animal fiber after mohair. It is also hypoallergenic, containing no lanolin.
An alpaca is typically sheared in the spring once every year or two. Each shearing produces around five to ten pounds of fiber.
The digestive system of alpacas is more efficient than that of most other grazing animals. This enables a given acreage to sustain a larger number of animals without overgrazing.
A Field Trip
For our anniversary, my wife and I recently visited a wild animal park near our home. There we enjoyed seeing alligators and giraffes, toucans and rhinoceri, lemurs and ostriches, and a host of other animals.
Among these many animals, we were privileged to observe some alpacas. They were among the more visitor-accessible animals, with an enclosure that even young children could reach through in order to pet them if the alpacas were near the fence. These alpacas had evidently not been sheared recently, so they looked quite soft and fluffy. Their hair reminded me a little of Albert Einstein. It was fun to see the source of my socks up close and personal.
My wife packed an excellent picnic lunch, which I very much enjoyed. She brought the necessary fixings to enable us to take flour tortillas; cover them with genuine Italian Prosciutto, Swiss cheese, spinach, and Catalina dressing; fold them in half, and eat them. She also brought deviled eggs, pasta salad, and jello salad. I have rarely enjoyed such a fine meal out in the fresh air.
Socks for Survival
I did an internet search on the topic “socks for survival”, and found some interesting articles. Sites like outdoorlife.com, concernedpatriot.com, survivalworld.com, and happypreppers.com all had articles about how to re-purpose socks for various tasks related to survival. Here are a few of the more interesting ideas for your consideration:
Pre-filtering water. Use a clean sock as the first step for filtering water prior to further treatment via finer filtration, boiling, or chemical treatment.
Making a tourniquet. Tie the sock around the bleeding limb, insert a stick, and twist.
Improvising a weapon. Place coins, pebbles, gravel, lead shot, marbles, or other relatively smooth and heavy items into a sock. Tie it off. You now have a cosh.
Pot-holding mitts. Is the handle of your pot too hot? Grab it with a sock.
Gun cleaning patches. Left your patches at home? Cut up a sock.
Making hot and cold packs. Put hot pebbles in a sock for a hot pack. Moisten a sock for a cool compress.
Improvising shoes. Put layers of duct tape on the sole of a pair of socks.
Removing tannins from acorns. Shell acorns, break them into smaller pieces, and place the pieces in a sock. Secure the sock in flowing water like a creek or riverbed for several days. The tannins are now washed away, and the acorn pieces are ready to eat.
Fire tinder. This works best with cotton socks, which I do not recommend for field use. But if you happen to have an orphaned cotton sock that you want to put to good use, you can cut it into pieces, fray the pieces further with a knife, and then ignite the frayed fibers with a ferrocerium rod.
Improvised mittens. Have temperatures dropped lower than you anticipated? Do you have an extra pair of socks in your pack? Put them on your hands.
Purely Alpaca Outdoor Adventure Socks are excellent socks. They are comfortable, warm, breathable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, flame-resistant, and durable. I highly recommend them.
Purely Alpaca was kind enough to provide me with a sample of their Outdoor Adventure Socks for testing and evaluation. I tried not to allow their kindness to influence my assessment of their product, and believe that I have succeeded in remaining objective.
I did not receive any other financial or other inducement to mention any vendor, product, or service in this article.