Why buy a wool blanket?
If you're wondering why you should invest in a wool blanket when there are many cheaper alternatives out there in a vareity of fibres, then read on. Be assured though, you're asking the right question for which there are several answers. If you haven't chosen wool before, then you are on the cusp of making a great investment. We were lucky enough to receive our first wool blankets as a gift, but haven't looked back since.
Wool is warm
Wool and other fibres keep us warm because of their ability to trap air once they’ve been woven together into blankets or clothing. One of the reasons that wool performs so much better than many other fibres is due to its ability to stay springy and crimp, both important factors in the weaving process.
The illustration below shows a variety of fibres, both natural and synthetic. You can clearly see how the rough surface of the various wool fibres helps them to crimp and thus retain insulating pockets of air when woven, especially compared to the completely smooth synthetic polyester fibre on the far right of the photo.
Wool is biodegradable – two points worth noting
At Ambunti Warehouse, we have already covered this topic in a separate article; however, it is definitely worth saying again that because wool is a naturally occurring fibre, it will biodegrade over time. That doesn’t mean that it won’t last a lifetime if it is looked after and stored correctly – see our article about the Cherchan man, an ancient European ’mummified’ Celt who was found still wearing in his wool stockings 3,000 years after perishing in the desert of western China.
Two facts worth noting are that: number one, using wool can help you reduce your impact on the build-up of synthetic microfibres in our oceans and waterways, mainly because it is biodegradable and synthetics aren’t…; number two, wool is made of keratin, the same protein found in human hair, which means it biodegrades easily under the right conditions i.e if buried in landfill or washed away.
Wool helps to keep you dry
Well, it works for sheep and anyone who has seen these hardy creatures in the wilds of Britain on a rainy day will appreciate how effective it must be. Especially if you’ve been trying to keep yourself dry and warm with that layering system sold to you by your local outdoors shop – the water always seems to get in somewhere!!!
Wool fibres are naturally hygroscopic, which means they attract ‘wick’ and hold moisture. In practical terms, this means your wool thermal underwear will draw sweat away from your skin, ensuring you stay dry and warm – within reason. If you’re ‘beasting’ yourself up a mountain in Wales or Scotland, expect some sweat and dampness. When was the last time you saw a flock of sheep run further than a few meters - the real pros take everything in their stride and the same applies when hill walking or mountaineering. Everything that is necessary and nothing that is not.
This ‘wicking’ process applies to your wool blankets or throws. If you’ve ever spent an evening curled up on the sofa in a synthetic blanket, you will remember feeling slightly damp and uncomfortable after a few minutes or when you got up to make a brew.
Spend an evening under a wool blanket and you’ll remain dry and cosy all night long. This is because of wools ability to draw moisture away, keeping you comfortable and dry. Wool has an incredible ability to absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture before feeling wet.
Wool tends not to smell
Wool is naturally resistant to mould and mildew, making it more odour resistant than most other fibres, especially synthetics. Normally its sufficient to hang wool outside in the fresh air to get rid of smells. If that’s not enough, though, you should be able to gently handwash wool on cool or warm settings – wool hates high heat! Make sure you follow any instructions provided by the manufacturer.