I’m always looking for something better when it comes to winter clothing. The latest I’ve been trying is the Appalachian Gear Company All-Paca Fleece Beanie. Socks, boots, pullovers and hoodies, gloves and beanies always nab my interest if I think it’ll keep me warmer, drier or more comfortable than what I already own and use.
I don’t worry that much about summer. Winter, though, even in the Southeast sometimes can be bone-chilling thanks to the humidity and low temps. Add wind and it’s pretty tough for us. I know everyone in the Midwest and Northeast giggles about us “cold Southerners” but it’s all relative. I laugh at them in summer when it’s 88 and they’re whining like babies about the heat. It’s all relative.
A couple of months ago I bought the All-Paca Fleece Beanie from Appalachian Gear Company. This small but growing company is located in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. I’ve been there to visit the Revolutionary War site where our tough-as-hell and woods-wise boys and men held off the British. (Mowed them down is more accurate, but that’s for another column). Kings Mountain and Gaston County are lovely areas for outdoors pursuits. You should visit sometime.
Appalachian Gear Company focuses on alpaca wool for its products. You’re probably familiar with sheep wool and Merino wool products. Alpaca is an animal that has been used for farming and domestic chores for centuries in South America. The alpaca is not a llama. Alpacas have tough, durable coats that help keep them warm in the high altitudes where they live and are used for work. Those who live in Peru or other South American nations where they use alpaca have used their wool for clothing, hats and other uses.
I figured the All-Paca fleece beanie would be a good test at an inexpensive price. I paid $35 for it. The color I got is Red Rocks, which is all that was available at the time of my order. Appalachian Gear Company has been busy — that’s a good thing — keeping up with orders along with the supply chain situation. Currently on the AGC site it shows about 14 colors for the beanies including solids and patterns.
So far, it’s been great. I didn’t expect anything less, to be honest. The All-Paca is so thin you may initially wonder how it can keep you warm. But thin layers help trap heat. You don’t need a half-inch layer of wool on your head to trap heat. I have some wool beanies that aren’t that thick but they make the All-Paca look like a sheet of paper, and both do a good job of keeping my melon warm.
Will I wear this in Saskatchewan for a deer hunt in winter? Probably not. But I may wear it inside the lodge as a little extra insulation during the evening while having a toddy. The All-Paca has been great for knocking around in cooler evening or morning temps. Also, it’s nice to wear working at my home desk under the air vent in our ceiling (I also have a small fan and keep things about 68 degrees).
I likely will use the All-Paca for some of my winter trail running. It’s thin enough to help me stay warm when I’m active but if I get too hot, I can whip it off and stuff it into my vest. Head, feet and hands are important to keep warm when trail running. Should be super to wear under my bike helmet, too.
If you’re looking for some lightweight, comfortable wool winter gear that will keep you warm without being bulky, be sure to check out Appalachian Gear Company’s selection for men and women.