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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Alpacas of Montana Max Warmth Socks > Owner Review by Richard Lyon

Alpacas of Montana Maximum Warmth Alpaca Socks
Owner Review by Richard Lyon
May 7, 2018
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PERSONAL DETAILS and BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 71 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 210 lb (93 kg)
Shoe size: 13 US; 47 EUR
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for nearly half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft (1500 - 3000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Winter trekking often focuses on downhill skiing or ski touring.

THE PRODUCT

Manufacturer: Alpacas of Montana, Inc, alpacasofmontana.com
Weight, measured:  4.25 oz/ 120 g per sock
Materials: 44% Alpaca, 44% Microfiber, 10% Nylon, 2% Lycra
Size: X-Large. Also available in unisex sizes Small, Medium, Large. There's a sizing chart, with US men's and women's shoe sizes, on this product's page on the manufacturer's website .
Color: Oatmeal. Also available in grey and black.
MSRP: $33 US
Country of origin:  USA – “Born, Shorn and Worn in Bozeman, Montana.”
Availability: Alpacas of Montana has increased the number of outlets around Montana where its products are available, but if you're not a Montanan the manufacturer's website is the only place to buy this company's products.

socks
Three years ago I posted an Owner Review of my Alpacas of Montana Extreme Warmth Winter Socks, noting that this company also offered an even warmer model. This Review reports on the performance of that product, now called the Maximum Warmth Alpaca Socks. [Though I'm still not certain I've found Alpacas of Montana's warmest sock. The company now lists a Warm Arctic Over-the Calf Boot Sock. Does Maximum Warmth really mean maximum warmth?]

FIELD CONDITIONS

Over the past two winters I have worn these socks at least forty times, for resort skiing, backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, backpacking, and fishing. Use has extended into spring, particularly for early season fishing.  I tend to select them when it's especially cold; I've worn them at temperatures as low as -25 F [-32 C]. Footwear has included plastic telemark ski boots, leather touring boots, insulated over-the-ankle hiking boots, insulated après-ski boots [used for hiking and dog walks], regular uninsulated low-cut hikers, and neoprene-lined fishing boots. I have never used a liner sock with the Max Warmths.

PERFORMANCE

Like their brethren the Extreme Warmth socks, the Max Warmths are very warm socks, insulating as well as any single pair of wool socks I've ever worn. I can't really say which of the two is warmer, never having worn both the same day under the same conditions and lacking any scientific equipment to measure heat retention. The Max Warmths are quite a bit heavier. Both are great at keeping my toes toasty when outdoors in the winter.  I'll call it a tie.

The alpaca fiber in the socks makes them very soft against bare skin, which is one reason I have eschewed a liner. Never itchy even after a long day of outdoor activity, and they dry very quickly when I take my boots at the end of the day or in a warming hut. These socks are thick enough [and warm enough] that I don't need to wear slippers or camp shoes when indoors for a spell, though of course the wool isn't waterproof so I do need additional footgear when walking in the snow.

I only took the Max Warmths on one backpacking trip last summer, strictly for use as sleep socks and in that service more for comfort than for warmth. With no warm weather use as hiking socks I can't furnish my upper temperature range for their use in athletic pursuits.

I wash all my socks in batches in my no-agitator washer, sometimes with other wool garments. When I think of it I'll air-dry the Max Warmths in deference to their luxury fabric. When I forget they go into the dryer for a tumble on low heat. Either way I store them flat. Despite at least twenty such baths I have noticed no pilling, very few loose threads, no thinning at the heel or toe, no loss of shape, and no sign of deterioration in performance. Durability is marvelous.

WHAT I LIKE

Really really warm
Tough as iron
When buying them I'm supporting local business
 
WHAT I'D LIKE TO SEE

A knee-length version



Read more reviews of Alpacas of Montana gear
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Reviews > Clothing > Socks > Alpacas of Montana Max Warmth Socks > Owner Review by Richard Lyon



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