Q: What is the history behind camel hair?
A: The use of camel hair as a fabric to make western garments dates back to the 17th century, but was more widely used in the early 1900s as it became more readily available once camel hair was blended with wool. A pure camel hair overcoat, made famous by a high-end European clothing brand, was created soon after and quickly rose in popularity after its introduction through the sport of polo. To this day, its warm and natural tan and sand colours symbolize high quality, luxury and fine craftsmanship.
Q: Why choose camel hair over synthetic or other animal fibres?
A: Camel hair is collected from the Bactrian camel across Asia and in the Gobi Desert where conditions are extremely harsh – temperatures range from as low as −40°C in winter to 40°C in summer. It possesses unique thermostatic and natural moisture management properties that provide excellent insulation, temperature regulation and heat protection. The hollow space in the center of the fibre acts as a vacuum for cold and warm air depending on the outside temperature. Camel hair is graded according to the softness and fineness of the fibre. The highest grade, which is the inner down found in the camel’s undercoat, is light tan or light sand in colour and is very soft. It is blended to create natural quality fabrics that are both breathable and comfortable for different types of clothing, such as overcoats, jackets and sweaters without the weight. Camel hair fibres that are slightly coarser and longer are used to produce blankets, rugs and carpets where lightness, strength and stiffness are desired.
Q: Where does your camel hair come from and how do you collect it?
A: Camel Hug is a cruelty free company. We source camel hair from the domesticated two-humped Bactrian camel in Mongolia and China, where the majority of the world’s supply is produced. Each camel produces about five pounds of hair fibre per year. It is collected mainly through combing and the annual shedding that takes place every spring during a six to eight week moulting season. As shedding occurs naturally, camels are unharmed, and thus do not pose a health risk to the animals at any time during the process.
Q: What is the current state of the Bactrian Camel population?
A: Concentrated mainly in Northern and Central Asia, the Bactrian Camel population is estimated to be 2 million (as of 2010), the vast majority of which are largely domesticated for their milk, transportation, meat, and of course, hair for textiles and other goods. Less than 1000 of these camels survive in the wild as a result of industrial development and competition with other livestock for food and water so conservation and awareness are of critical importance. The establishment of nature reserves and sanctuaries as well as captive-breeding programs to preserve these animals are a top priority of the China and Mongolian governments.
Q: What is the “science” behind camel hair?
A: Camel hair fibres have a medulla, a hollow matrix in the center of the fiber, that acts as a vacuum for air flow depending on the temperature. This allows for better temperature regulation and providing insulation and warmth when compared with other animal fibres. It also has natural moisture management properties that are ideal for coats and other outerwear requiring greater water resistance.
Q: What are the physiological benefits from using Camel Hug?
A: Heat therapy and thermal insulation are commonly used by physiotherapists to provide various therapeutic and rehabilitation benefits for the treatment of conditions affecting muscles, joints and inflammation. It increases the healing and recovery process of the affected areas by supplying much-needed proteins, nutrients and oxygen through improved blood flow and circulation. Together with mild compression, Camel Hug products can be used for muscle and joint support to ease pain and stiffness from minor injuries such as sprains and pulled muscles.
Q: What is the preparation and production process of camel hair fibre?
A: We require high standards in the preparation and production of camel hair fibres to yarns to produce Camel Hug products. Great attention is paid to the proper separation of camel hair fibres by the degree in fineness, length and quality as this can affect the textile processing procedure. Moreover, camel hair fibres require significant cleaning and treatment prior to yarn spinning as the raw fibres contain many natural and man-made impurities. We do not use any harmful chemicals in the cleansing or production processes nor do we add any artificial dyestuffs to our products. The natural tan and sand colours are original.
Q: What kind of quality can I expect from Camel Hug products?
A: Every Camel Hug product is a premium quality guaranteed to be all-natural of the superior quality and craftsmanship. We abide by a stringent production process that ensures the fibres are clean of impurities and meet a minimum fineness and yarn-spinning requirement down to the micron. In compliance with the textile labelling regulations of Canada and the US, all of our products are made from natural camel hair with the exception of certain products that require a small percentage of other materials to enhance quality.
Q: How do I care for my Camel Hug product?
A: While Camel Hug products are knitted and crafted to withstand significant wear and tear during use, it is recommended to hand wash with cold water and then hang to dry to maintain the comfort and softness of the fabric. Unlike other similar products in the market that are more fragile and require greater care and maintenance, Camel Hug products are made to be highly durable for daily use and built to last for years.