User Content

ORTOVOX Swisswool – Produced by Nature

Published by Mountainblog on .

ORTOVOX has been processing swiss wool into highly functional insulation products since 2011. However, this wool is much more than just insulation material – it tells the story of native, Swiss Alpine sheep and of people who dedicate themselves to their animals and to a traditional way of life.

High up in the Swiss Alps around 400,000 mountain sheep enjoy an almost BOUNDLESS HABITAT and NATURAL FOOD resources. In summer the animals live high up in the Swiss Alps, far from civilization, in the cold winter they find protection from the elements in large stalls where they are fed nutritious dried grass. They are shorn by hand in the traditional manner just twice a year, in spring and in autumn.

It was not many years ago that Swiss sheep farmers could hardly earn a living with their sheep’s wool. Due to the texture of its fibers, Swiss virgin wool cannot be woven directly and was thus not a competitive option in the global market. When the Swiss government decided to cut subventions for wool processing, many sheep farmers faced total loss. The natural product that is wool was no longer viable. The SWISSWOOL initiative was founded with the aim of saving this TRADITIONAL TYPE OF ALPINE FARMING. Because wool is a natural, functional raw material with manifold uses. Swiss wool is an ideal, natural insulating material for both clothing and the insulation of buildings. The SWISSWOOL initiative has now set up a network of approximately 35 collection stations where sheep farmers can deposit their wool for a fair price. This promotes the regional economy and upholds traditional farming structures. This regional wool is processed into insulation products for mountaineers by ORTOVOX in Europe.

SWISSWOOL products by ORTOVOX are not only sustainable, they are also HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL. Wool fibers are hydrophilic, they can absorb up to 30% of their own weight in moisture without feeling wet to the touch. Unlike down or polyester linings, wool warms even when wet. This natural fiber scores points with its low weight and packing volume. Furthermore, wool also neutralizes bad odors. During processing wool is mixed with polyactide, a bi-component fiber obtained from corn starch. This makes this insulating product by ORTOVOX particularly easy to care for and washable at 30°.