Product Deep Dive: Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt

It’s not often that you come across an article of clothing, or any product in general, that ticks all of the boxes on your list of preferences. A list of attributes such as high-performance, sustainable, comfortable, ultralight, and fairly priced rarely all can be found in a single product.

Fortunately, the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt is one such product. This casual activewear garment is a joy to wear for many reasons, including those attributes on the aforementioned list. It’s great for layering or wearing all on its own, whether you’re sipping coffee at a cafe or scaling a snow-capped mountain.

Arms of Andes alpacal wool shirt

Meet the Arms of Andes Men’s Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt!

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with alpaca wool, you may have some questions. Rest assured, though, that it is a supremely comfortable material that performs better than other common activewear fabrics, such as merino wool. Read on to learn more.

See the Arms of Andes Men's Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt

Arms of Andes

Looks good. Feels good.

Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt Specifications

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 4.9 oz The weight of a men’s medium. This is light enough to be considered ultralight.
Material 110g/m2 Royal Alpaca Wool 100% alpaca wool composition
Insulation Semi-hollow core fibers Though thin and lightweight, the fibers do well to regulate body heat.
Fiber Thickness 18 microns This and similar to merino wool. However, smooth scales provide enhanced comfort.
Moisture Wicking Yes Alpaca wool prevents moisture absorption and wicks moisture away.
Prevents Odor Yes Alpaca wool naturally prevents bacteria growth and body odor accumulation.
Pockets None Smooth and seamless for comfort and layering.
Material Source Single-origin from Peru Sustainably sourced from free-roaming Andean alpacas.
UPF High Though not clearly specified, Arms of Andes says that this shirt provides high UV resistance and protection.
Fit Slim and fitted Casual activewear that naturally stretches.
Sustainability Highly sustainable. Fully traceable single-origin sourcing, biodegradable materials, no microplastics, and no chemical alterations.
Retail Price $75 Comparable to other wool shirts that do not perform as well and are far less sustainable.

See the Arms of Andes Men's Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt

Unique Features of the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt

Single-original Royal Alpaca Wool is more than the core of the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt—it’s everything. Though alpaca wool itself has many standout attributes that elevate it above other textiles, Arms of Andes takes the extra steps to ensure that its alpaca wool is entirely sustainable and leave-no-trace friendly without compromising the overall quality of the product.

Arms of Andes alpaca wool

Up close and personal with alpaca wool.

The Benefits of Alpaca Wool

The alpacas of the Andes Mountains evolved to withstand the harsh weather and climate conditions of living at over 15,000 feet of elevation. Dramatic temperature swings, intense sunlight, and extreme high-altitude storms forged the fibers that the alpacas needed to survive. As such, the alpaca wool sourced by Arms of Andes is highly resilient and highly effective.

alpaca wool shirt

Alpaca wool has an attractive visual texture, especially on a well-fitted shirt.

Alpaca wool is comprised of complex protein fibers that offer a long list of benefits over the cellulose fibers in fabrics such as cotton and rayon. Inside, alpaca wool has hollow and semi-hollow spaces that keep the material lightweight while providing excellent insulation. Think of a bird’s feathers—they hollow and extremely light, yet keep a bird warm even through the frigid depths of winter.

Alpaca wool flexibility

This shirt is flexible!

Additionally, the scales of alpaca wool are much smoother than that of sheep’s wool, or merino wool. As a result, alpaca wool is softer to the touch yet still can wick away moisture.

Arms of andes water

Water forms as droplets on alpaca wool and can be brushed off. No absorption here!

Next-To-Skin Baselayer Fit

The Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt is an all-purpose long-sleeved shirt with a subtly fitted cut. It was designed to be the ultimate baselayer. By providing all of the benefits that alpaca wool has to offer (moisture-wicking, temperature regulating, odor control, unrestricted breathability), this shirt will keep you feeling fresh no matter your activity. Because of its inherent ability to self-clean, alpaca wool clothing doesn’t need to be washed often.

alpaca wool long sleeve

The right amount of insulation and sweat-wicking for a crisp morning autumn hike.

Alpaca wool has a natural stretch that gives this shirt great flexibility. It’ll move with you, rather than restrict you. The overall look is quite stylish—this shirt looks more like a casual sweater, especially when layered, than it does an informal piece of athleisure. This versatility makes it a great piece to take from an afternoon on the trail to dinner in town.

arms of andes sleeve

Double-stitched at the hem and cuffs.

How the Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt Compares to other Wool Products

The benefits of alpaca wool are clear, but how does Arms of Andes stack up directly against other wool products? Why should you purchase an Arms of Andes shirt instead of a merino wool shirt from brands like Smartwool or Icebreaker? Here’s why.

Alpaca Wool vs. Merino Wool

In general, alpaca wool has a lower carbon footprint than merino wool, and that’s especially true for the single-origin Royal Alpaca Wool used by Arms of Andes. This is because the raising and grazing of sheep requires a lot of land, and large amounts of water and chemical are required for merino wool production in order to strip the lanolin and scales that would otherwise make it itchy.

alpaca wool hem

You can’t feel any seams or stitches. This shirt is well made.

Arms of Andes sources its alpaca wool from free-roaming alpacas that do not have a negative impact on the land because they are a natural part of the landscape in which they roam. The naturally smoother scales of alpaca wool make it so harsh chemicals are not required. Plus, being single-sourced, there is much less international shipping and processing with alpaca wool than is commonly involved with merino wool.

But sustainability isn’t the only way that alpaca wool comes out on top. Alpaca wool is warmer, softer, more breathable, and has lower moisture retention than merino wool. As such, an Arms of Andes Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt is often a superior choice over merino wool shirts.

Arms of Andes vs. Other Alpaca Wool Brands

Arms of Andes is a superior choice because of its single-origin sourcing and transparent supply chain practices. By building strong relationships in Peru, Arms of Andes is able to source high-quality alpaca fleece that is remarkably soft and has the least amount of impact on the local environment.

arms of andes layered

It’s important to feel good in what you wear, in every way imaginable.

Sustainable processing and production keep the environmental impact to a minimum, and a streamlined distribution pipeline reduces global CO2 emissions. Other alpaca wool brands are not nearly as transparent nor as focused on sustainable, leave-no-trace business practices. If you want the best of the best, you want Arms of Andes.

See the Arms of Andes Men's Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt

Who is Arms of Andes?

Arms of Andes is a sustainable clothing brand created by a sister and brother who have a familial connection to the highlands of Peru. They care as much about the alpacas they source, the local Peruvian farmers they work with, and the global environment as they do about creating high-performance alpaca wool clothing.

arms of andes logo

Arms of Andes.

See the Arms of Andes Men’s Alpaca Wool Long Sleeve Shirt, and learn more about Arms of Andes.


Arms of Andes sponsors this post.

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Arthur McMahon — Lead Editor

Arthur is Lead Editor of Backpackers.com. He loves to walk. It's as simple as that. He believes walking is the best way to experience the world. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail was his first backpacking foray, and he hasn't stopped since. Follow his personal adventures and stories at betterhiker.com and on Instagram.

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