The All-Paca fleece is a lightweight mid-layer hoodie that is constructed entirely out of responsibly source Peruvian alpaca fleece. Made in the United States, it is designed to be a nimble, packable, and quick drying garment for on those on the move. My review:
The All-Paca is quite simple in design. It is a simple, straight forward hoodie. It has the hood itself, and that is basically it. There are no pockets, no hanging loop, zippers, cinches or fancy features aside from an extended tail. It is just the alpaca wool and a couple reinforced seams. This is to minimize weight, simplify use, and focus on what is important, durability and warmth. The end result is a total weight of just 11 ounces (medium size) and a pack size that is a bit smaller than a balled up t-shirt.
Alpaca fur is well known for having backpacking friendly intrinsic properties. Not only is it extremely light-weight, it is also quick drying, and has a strong resistance to odors. Of course, these properties carry over directly to the All-Paca Hoodie. Even after as many as 10 days of wear without washing in harsh, occasionally sweaty conditions, it manages to fight off bacterial growth and thus stay far fresher than an untreated synthetic or cotton garment, making this ideal for someone who is on the go (think long distance backpacking trips). I do recommend a layer to be worn underneath it, generally a t-shirt, to help keep it clean, but it isn’t entirely necessary. Where a synthetic hoodie may be getting a bit funky by the end of the first day, this wool hoodie generally can hold up for a week or so before things start turning south.
The material is durable enough to be repeatedly packed or worn under a backpack, and has held up quite well for my uses. Backpack straps, belts and other equipment don’t seem to have much of an effect on it that I can tell. I’ve had it in the car, in most of my packs, and used it hiking and biking with no issues. Washing should be limited, due to the nature of the material however. It is recommended and convenient to only wash the hoodie every 5-10 uses. Over washing the hoodie could result in a shorter lifespan, but it can be done and shouldn’t be shied away from if needed. I recommend the gentle cycle or even hand washing as I’m a bit cautious with my wools. I have torn them in the past, and it is generally in the washing machine. This will prolong the lifespan while also saving bunch of water. Normal powdered detergent works fine, or even a quick water dunk and dry can refresh it quite a bit. Just make sure to wash it with other wools or synthetics, not heavy materials.
The hoodie itself is very comfortable, with only my inner elbows becoming occasionally itchy from use (common for me with any type of wool). The hood fits fairly snug so it doesn’t fly off in the wind, and the fit is generous enough to shove a layer or two underneath. It mostly stays in place while being active, even with a pack overtop of it, and even provides a nice low friction point for shoulder straps which I find reduces hot spots. The natural stretch the fabric has provides full mobility and crawling around with it on is fairly effortless.
The warmth and breathability of the hoodie are very impressive. I’ve managed to stay warm into the high 30’s under moderate activity, without becoming hot or sweaty. I can certainly feel the wind push through the fibers when it blows, but it doesn’t completely lose all of its warmth in these conditions. Instead, it just sort of regulates and feels great. On warmer days I really appreciate this. Instead of building up excess heat it simply cycles it through in a very natural feeling way that synthetic fleeces just can’t compete with. When not moving, I’ve found the 60 F to be about the warmth limit wearing only a t-shirt underneath. Being what it is, it is an excellent layer for hiking or climbing, biking on warmer days, or as a layering piece for backpacking.
I really like the All-Paca Hoodie. It is extremely light and packable, and I absolutely love the breathable nature of the fabric. This combined with the extremely fast dry time makes it an excellent on the go layer for those who like tackling trails with aggression, or perhaps simply want a comfortable, lightweight layer for hanging out around camp or the office. Coming in and out of the rain it always dries quickly, and still maintains the ability to insulate, even when it is wet. It looks great, fits great, and is extremely flexible. I do recommend a little extra care with the fabric being wool, but haven’t found myself worrying about it too much. My only real miss is the lack of a hanging loop, but I’ve been dangling it from the hood so far without issue. It is a bit pricy at around $150 bucks, but this isn’t atypical for responsibly sources wool garments.
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