Faribault vs Alpaca Warehouse?

Discussion in 'Sleep Systems' started by SpookyPistolero, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    My lovely wife surprised me this Father's Day with a twin-sized 100% wool blanket from Faribault Mill! It's quite a bit nicer than my other blend blanket. At her encouragement, I am strongly considering exchanging it for a Queen size, but it also struck me that perhaps I should be considering Alpaca Warehouse.

    Does anyone have thoughts on whether to stick with a larger 100% wool blanket, or make a move to an Alpaca blanket?
     
  2. Avohei

    Avohei Supporter Supporter

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    Never used any blankets from faribault. I can say that since i bought heavy military and superfine blankets from alpaca werehouse I've since put away the wool i was using. Anytime i feel i need a new blanket it'll be from AW.
     
  3. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    Alpaca is wool--but not from sheep.

    The Banderita is blend of Alpaca and Merino (sheep wool).

    I have a Faribault. It is a good blanket. I have a number of AW blankets (different sizes, weight). There is no comparison. The Alpaca blankets are warmer for their thickness yet lighter and way, way, way softer.

    There is still a 30% off sale through tonight at AW. There will probably be another one on the 4th.

    I should say there is some shedding for the fist season. It has tapered off. Throwing it in the dryer on NO HEAT will help.
     
  4. SmilinJoe

    SmilinJoe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I've got Italian wool, golden dawn, OD green military and Alpaca. Never had a faribault. I can concur with Harper above that the Alpaca is all he said above the others. Mine is still shedding, I'm going to take the sheds and make a diorama of me wearing an Alpaca blanket, lol.
     
  5. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    Yes I knew they were still wool, just didn't spell out the sheep part. And thank you very much for the comparison! I went ahead and placed an order for a queen sized Alpaca Warehouse, since time was of the essence here. :) The Faribault is very nice, but boy they're pricey apparently.
     
  6. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    I think that you will love it.

    I truly believe that people haven't caught on to how good they are yet. Once they do, I think that the prices will rise. Our timing is right.
     
  7. ChawnC

    ChawnC Supporter Supporter

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    I must be in the minority here but I’m not as thrilled with the alpaca blankets. I have a queen from AW, and I also have a 100% wool blanket that I got from the Dave Canterbury store (which I *think* is produced by Faribault).
    The alpaca is as soft as everyone says, for sure. I really do like it, in general. I don’t find it as warm (generally) as the other blanket. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the alpaca sucks up more of the forest floor than the other one. All the leaves, grasses, and whatever it contacts gets stuck to it much more. In a big pack it’s no biggie but in a blanket roll it kinda sucks.
    The fibers in the alpaca are a lot “different”. It seems like the warmth and comfort of it are related to the pilling itself, but the base of the fibers are quite a bit thinner than traditional wool.
    I’m not trying to bash the alpaca by any means. I do like it a lot. But so far, when it comes to rolling out a blanket under a canvas tarp in less than ideal conditions, I seem to prefer the sheeps wool blanket more.
    Just me.
     
  8. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Guide

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    I'm an alpaca convert. And I have high-end woolies that I love(d). As noted by @ChawnC, the alpaca wool does attract everything, so my wool blankets typically get used when direct ground contact is probable. If on a good ground cloth or in my bivy, it's always my alpaca. (Picture not necessary; just testing the new server process.)

    Foreston '18 - 139.JPG
     
  9. Bonekrakker

    Bonekrakker Not a chiropractor Supporter

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    I recently ordered one of the queen sized banderita blankets from AW, and my wife and son fought over it (good natured/sneakily of course) on the couch to the point I had to order another one.
     
  10. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    My AW Military Queen is not as warm as my 100% Wool blankets of the same weight. I really wasn't expecting that. Nice enough blanket but not as warm (to me).
     
  11. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What do you guys think is the best Alpaca Warehouse blanket? They have many.
    Thinking about getting one or borrowing one to compare against my point blankets.
     
  12. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Guide

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    I suspect many people experience the same phenomenon that I used to experience. The heavier the blanket "feels," the warmer I think I am. Noticed this first in my customary bed and started mitigating the sensation by putting a cotton throw over the top sheet, up near my shoulders. While this DID make it warmer, it was the weight I was seeking. Eventually this segued to just an extra pillow over my feet. I found the same sensation when sleeping under my older 100% wool Pendleton versus my first alpaca blanket. Once I got over the fact that my alpaca wool felt at least two thirds lighter than my conventional wooly, I found I was warmer and more comfortable. And against the skin, there simply is no comparison.
     
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  13. Leshy_apprentice

    Leshy_apprentice Supporter Supporter

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    Just a heads up to anyone who doesn't already know, the Alpaca Warehouse Blankets are a blend. It took me some digging around their website to find specs the first time I checked it out. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like they tucked away the blend numbers somewhere you wouldn't see it unless you specifically searched, and even then I couldn't find it readily. It didn't say on the product pages, it was in an FAQ page that didn't show up on my phone browser, but did on my PC. I saw one place on their website that said 50/50% alpaca/Merino wool. I also saw 55%/45% elsewhere. I don't know if that's a typo or just normal variation in product composition. But it is more or less half-and-half alpaca/Merino unless it specifically states 100% alpaca wool.

    I know the military style banderita blanket is the 50/50 blend. I decided against it. I'm not saying it's good or bad, because I haven't used it. I have used other 100% alpaca wool clothing products and it's good stuff for sure.

    I just think in a field blanket, particularly a bush blanket, the sheep's wool is probably better wearing and more durable. I think they blend the alpaca wool with sheep's wool partly for this reason, and of course it also helps them keep their production costs down, which is why they can sell their blankets relatively cheap. I haven't priced other alpaca blankets, because I think I'll just stick to the sheep's wool for a more rugged (albeit heavier) bush blanket. But if you are comparing a 50/50% blend Alpaca Warehouse blanket to a 100% Alpaca blanket from elsewhere, the blending is a big factor in why you are paying so much less. Just something to understand, and factor into your consideration.

    One other thing I remember from when I shopped for Alpaca wool garments is Alpaca wool is graded based on softeness or fineness, I don't exactly remember. "Baby" was the softest or finest (and most costly), and it progressed up coarser. I think it had more to do with the area of the alpaca the wool was shorn from than the age of the alpaca (wool from some body areas being finer than others). I can't recall if AW specifies which grade of Alpaca wool they use in their blend, or if they just use all the grades of alpaca wool mixed-up together. In a field/bush blanket using a coarser, tougher (cheaper) grade of Alpaca wool might actually be better than the softer but less durable (more expensive) "baby" wool which I'd prefer in a house blanket. Anyone who knows or can find which grade of Alpaca wool the AW blankets use, feel free to share!

    Also, if the pilling and shedding is as bad as some of you say, compared to a sheep's wool blanket, then I'm assuming the difference is the alpaca wool? So it stands to reason that the fibers you're shedding are probably mostly the alpaca wool fibers. So if you're starting with only 50% alpaca content originally, and you shed a large portion of the alpaca fibers off the blanket (as you guys are experiencing), then the ACTUAL alpaca wool fiber content is decreasing with every fiber shed. So there is no real way to quantify what your alpaca blend percent is AFTER it has stopped its copius shedding. By that point it could be 40/60 alpaca/Merino or 30/70...less? It's a guessing game. Plus, all of that shedding, no matter which fiber(s) it is, is lost insulation value from the blanket in the long run which you wouldn't have to worry about with a good quality non-shedding sheep wool field blanket.

    Hmmm... as for determining the post-shedding percent blend, maybe you could weigh the blanket as soon as you receive it, and weigh it again after it stops shedding to do rough math, but you'd have to assume that all of the lost fiber weight is alpaca, and I don't know if that is absolutely true. And with alpaca fibers being lighter than Merino for the same volume and/or insulation capability....well, there doesn't seem to me to be a good way to control a pre/post weight Delta test like that. But my math skills suck, haha.

    Just another consideration if you're weighing an Alpaca Warehouse blend blanket vs traditional mil surp or other 100% wool.

    Again, I do not own one of these. Just giving the thought processes that turned me off of an impulse purchase last time it came up on the BCUSA forum that AW was having a discount. With shipping it would have come out to a little over $100 to my door, and given the considerations above I decided it wasn't worth it for me.

    I hope anyone who decides it is worth it for them enjoys their purchase! Sounds like most of you are happy with them.

    Never had a Fairibault, but I've used MANY sheeps wool blankets of various grades, mostly mil-surp but some thrift store finds of various woolen mill type. Prefer 100% wool, but I've used some blends as well. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  14. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    Alpaca warehouse shipped quick. Good lordy this blanket is soft! It's very large, very warm, and pretty darn heavy. I'll be interested to use it in cooler weather. I'll report back.
     
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  15. Melissa Hinostroza

    Melissa Hinostroza Tinder Gatherer

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    Hey Leshy! I think I can help you out here :) Before anything, you should know I develop mid layers and base layers of 100% Royal alpaca wool from Peru. Alpaca wool has different microns (softness) that each carry different names. Super fine Alpaca is about 25.5 microns, Baby Alpaca is about 22.5 microns and Royal Alpaca is about 18.5 microns. Typically, baby alpaca and super fine alpaca is used in alpaca garments. There are garments of Royal alpaca such as ours, but not much supply since its limited. Also, yes it does depend where the wool is retrieved from the Alpaca that provides different microns. I checked AW site and they do have blankets of baby alpaca (22.5 microns) and super fine alpaca (25.5 microns) but their other blankets state "finest alpaca wool" but with no microns. Honestly, I don't believe its the finest alpaca wool because the microns would be stated or at least the name of it. But, either way, I would still considered it soft and durable. Just not as soft as Royal Alpaca. Anyways if you have any questions, please let me know!
     
  16. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Great post!

    This is why I favor the older HBC blankets. They are sheeps wool but made from the absolute finest grades.
     
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  17. Melissa Hinostroza

    Melissa Hinostroza Tinder Gatherer

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    Thank you Red! I'm not familiar with HBC blankets. I tried googling them but couldn't find them. Do you mind sending their link please?
     
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  18. leghog

    leghog Scout

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    All other things being equal (knit, stitch, weave, etc.), I will always choose alpaca wool over other wools if given the choice. There are valid reasons the USN used alpaca to line their foul weather deck jackets for the surface and submarine fleets. Warmest coat I've ever worn was my Dad's alpaca lined USN deck coat. I know he paid a pretty penny for it when he was in the Navy. He wore the thing for nearly twenty years of his time in the Navy and for over 30 years after retiring from the Navy. Those vintage alpaca lines deck jackets now sell for $400+ if you can find one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
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  19. KFF

    KFF Supporter Supporter

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  20. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Like KFF said above^ also here is a good web page to read about them.
    www.pointblankets.com
     

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