Wool is an incredibly versatile and functional natural fibre, which is used in the creation of a wide variety of clothing and accessory items. The many benefits of wool, from its sustainability to its durability, make it an excellent choice for rugged, hard-wearing items, such as backpacks. International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) explains how the advantages of wool make it such a suitable material for these items.
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The Natural, Sustainable, Qualities of Wool
Wool is a completely natural fibre that offers benefits that few other materials – particularly synthetic ones – can offer. Wool is renewable and biodegradable and has superior temperature regulating qualities – warming when it is cold, and cooling when the temperature rises. It is soft to the touch, yet extremely durable. As Swedish outdoor equipment manufacturer, Fjällräven, explains, wool is one of the oldest natural materials and one of the most functional. It is a sophisticated natural fibre that is also arguably one of nature’s most technical materials, outperforming many man-made fibres.
“Wool as a material is nothing less than fascinating,” says Fjällräven’s Head of Innovation, Erik Blomberg. “Wool has a rich history spanning 10,000 years. It also has a strong future ahead of it and is an essential material for us at Fjällräven. That is not just because of wool’s inherent properties as a wildly functional material, but also because it is easier to recycle than other materials.”
In the past four years, the brand has spent a lot of time exploring what kind of products – outside of traditional sweaters and base layers – can be made with wool as a material. Currently, Fjällräven produces a high-quality collection of backpacks, sleeping bags and tents, among other outdoor accessories.
We know that the clothing we choose to wear every day has an enormous impact on our planet and its people. It is for that reason that we are so excited about the future of wool and woollen products at Fjällräven.
– Erik Blomberg, Fjällräven Head of Innovation
The brand incorporates wool into its designs due to its extreme durability, elasticity and odour resistance. The fact that it is also renewable and biodegradable means that brands such as Fjällräven can also reduce their environmental footprints and make use of traceable, recovered wool in their products. Recovered wool is wool that would otherwise have been thrown away. One challenge in working with recovered wool is that it can sometimes be inconsistent in length and quality, which makes it difficult to turn into a yarn.
“But recently our partners have found a solution to overcome this challenge, which opens up new possibilities,” says Johanna Mollberg, Fjällräven Product Developer. “With a yarn we can go beyond using wool as padding or backplate in backpacks. It can now also be used in knitted sweaters and woven fabrics, which is really exciting for us.”
Be inspired! Read more about Fjällräven’s amazing work with wool.
Why Wool Makes Such High-Quality Backpacks
Fjällräven started making backpacks since the brand began in 1960. There are a few things that make a stand-out backpack. First, it needs to be comfortable enough to carry on the back – whether used for hiking, school, or travel. It must also be tough enough to withstand all the rigours of any activity. Lastly it needs to carry its contents safely, time after time, for years. Wool ticks all these boxes. The new Norrvåge range is made from recycled wool fabric and feature natural-tone leather details. It’s a timeless design with urban appeal.
Another reason why wool fabric makes a great backpack is that wool is exceptionally easy to keep clean. It has a lower surface energy than cotton, nylon, or polyester, which means that it is exceptionally hydrophobic. Rain and muddy water will form beads which roll off the wool before it can be absorbed into the fabric. When cleaning, you can wipe off dirt with relative ease.
Learn More About Wool and All Its Uses and Benefits
Wool continues to prove that it is a diverse material that can be used for multiple purposes. The IWTO is the global authority for standards in the wool textile industry. Contact us for more information about the producers that make up our membership.
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