Fabrics & Materials

Hemp Clothing Guide

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Hemp Clothing Guide

Hemp is a potentially planet-saving material that makes for simultaneously soft and durable fabric, perfect for outdoor activities. Find out all about what it is, its benefits and its sustainability in the following guide.


Contents

  1. What is Hemp?
  2. What are the Benefits of Hemp Clothing?
  3. Why is Hemp Sustainable?
  4. Are Hemp Products Suitable for Adventure Activities?
  5. Is Hemp better than Cotton?
  6. Is Hemp Easy to Care for?
  7. What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?


What is Hemp Fabric?

Hemp clothing is clothing made from the stalk fibres of the industrial hemp plant. These fibres are separated from the hemp plant stalk, then twisted together to create a thread which is then interlaced to create a fabric.


Hemp has been cultivated and used for thousands of years. Evidence from China shows that it was first used by humans over four thousand years ago. Hemp's strength was prized and traditionally used to create rope, sails, fishing equipment, and household textiles.


Today, hemp is praised for its durability and its sustainable properties. It is a carbon warrior, regenerating the soil in the process and requiring no pesticides and little water. Read on to find out more about Hemp's sustainable properties.


What are the Benefits of Hemp Clothing

Strength

As a textile, hemp fibres are among the strongest and most durable of all vegetational fibres. Given that the fibres are taken from the plant's stalk, they are designed to take the weight of the plant, and the fibres are longer than those of cotton or wool. This results in exceptionally strong, durable, and long-lasting material. A 2003 study by Prasad and Sain found its tensile strength to be even greater than steel.


Antimicrobial

Hemp has a very complex macro-composition. It is comprised of over 500 natural compounds (including amino acids, enzymes and hydrocarbons), which gives it its antibacterial property. Due to this, hemp clothing prevents the growth of odour-causing bacteria and can extend the clothes' lifetime by protecting itself from organic wear.


Breathable

Due to the hollow structure of the hemp fibres, hemp is naturally breathable. This allows air to simultaneously move freely, helping you keep cool in summer and trap air to keep you insulated in winter.


Moisture-wicking

Hemp is exceptionally porous, meaning hemp can absorb up to 20% of its own weight in moisture whilst still feeling dry to touch. The porousness allows it to be naturally moisture-wicking by absorbing the sweat from your skin into the hemp fabric's top layer, which is then evaporated away. This helps you keep sweat and odour-free even in the hottest conditions


Combats climate change

If a material could be an eco-warrior, hemp would be it. It is everything you want from a sustainable crop requiring no pesticides, little water, and it sucks up carbon from the atmosphere like an industrial vacuum cleaner. Read more on its sustainable properties below.


Shop our hemp clothing range for men and women.


Why is Hemp Sustainable?

Here are seven reasons why hemp is sustainable:


  1. Carbon capture
  2. Hemp can absorb four times as much carbon as trees. The high leaf surface area and density mean it is constantly turning CO2 in the atmosphere back into oxygen. It is so efficient that for every tonne of hemp produced, 1.63 tonnes of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere.


  3. Saves Water
  4. Hemp is a very easy-to-grow plant requiring 80% less water than other conventional fibres. A study from the Stockholm Environment Institute found it took 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton whereas a single kilogram of dry hemp, 30% of which can be used for fibre production, requires just 300-500 litres of water.


  5. Soil regeneration
  6. Hemp has deep roots, which helps bind the soil together and reduces soil erosion. It also produces high amounts of organic matter, which feeds nutrients back into the soil when they decompose. Hemp is also a hyper-accumulator of soil contaminants. A 1999 study by Dushenkov et al. found hemp significantly reduced radioactive soil toxicity at Chernobyl, improving soil health.


  7. Biodegradable
  8. As a natural fibre, hemp is wholly compostable. This is unlike textiles made from polymers such as nylon that are inorganic and cannot be returned to the earth. Hemp is also recyclable and can be turned into other products once its lifetime as a piece of clothing has finished.


  9. Synthetic-free
  10. Clothing using non-natural fibres such as polyester and acrylic ultimately derive from petrochemicals such as crude oil. If we're to reduce our reliance on non-renewable products, moving to hemp provides a natural option.


  11. Reduces deforestation
  12. Hemp is exceptionally fast-growing. It is ready for cultivation in only 100 days, meaning it can be harvested up to three times per year. An article in the Journal of Cleaner Production found it is also a very high yield crop, yielding 3x more per acre than cotton. This means three times less land acreage is needed to be cleared to produce hemp than cotton for the same quantity of production.


  13. Pesticide and Herbicide free
  14. Hemp is naturally resistant to pests such as insects, fungi, and bacteria; hence hemp doesn't require pesticides commonly used in textile agriculture which are often toxic and contaminate soils and water systems. Furthermore, due to the dense canopy hemp leaves create, this blocks out sunlight reaching the soil preventing other plants from growing, therefore, eradicating the need for weed-killer.


Browse our hemp clothing collection for men and women.


Why hemp is perfect for adventure

Whether you are hiking or travelling, you want clothes that can deliver for you when the going gets tough. Hemp thrives in harsh conditions, not only being hardy itself, but its properties are ideal for battling the elements and terrain.


  • Keeps you warm and cool: The hemp fibres allow airflow helping you shed heat when things get sweaty. In winter, because the fibres are tightly compacted, this allows air pockets to be trapped and warmed by your body heat to give you a protective layer from the elements.
  • Sweat and Odour Repellant: The porous hemp materials allows moisture to be transferred from your body to the top layer of the material and then evaporated, helping keep you sweat-free. Furthermore, hemp's antimicrobial properties combat the odour-making bacteria found in sweat, helping you keep fresh for longer. Ideal for long hikes, camping when packing space is limited, and travelling to humid destinations.
  • UV protection: When in the great outdoors it is crucial to protect yourself from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Along with sun cream, clothes offer your best protection; however, some materials are better UV blockers than others. Hemp prevents 99.9% of UV rays and is 50% more effective than cotton.
  • Tough on the outside: The toughness of hemp is ideal for adventure. No need to worry when battling through undergrowth or scrambling up mountain faces; hemp is highly resistant to showing any sign of wear or tear.
  • Kind on the inside: When we think of tough fabrics, we often associate these with hessian-like materials. While durable, hemp is exceptionally soft on the skin and gets softer with repeated wear. It is also hypoallergenic and therefore kind on all skin types, making it perfect for comfortable all-day use.
  • Find out more about our sustainable adventure gear.


    Hemp or Cotton? What is best?

    Both are great materials for clothing, but there are some pros and cons for each


    Durability

    Hemp has three times the tensile strength (its tear resilience) of cotton, meaning it is far better at holding its shape. Its strength also means it is far more resilient to shrinking and pilling, meaning rips and tears are less likely compared to cotton.


    Softness

    There's no denying that cotton is one of the most comfortable fabrics hence its prevalence. However, as you continue to wash cotton, it can lose its softness and break down the fibres. With hemp, it provides a similar soft feel to cotton but wears in rather than out. This means it gets softer with continued use and washing. The washing of hemp also sheds a microscopic top layer exposing a shine without compromising its structural integrity


    Breathability

    Cotton is lauded as a breathable material, and rightly so. It naturally wicks away moisture from the body, keeping you fresh. However, unlike hemp, cotton isn't naturally anti-microbial nor resistant to mildew. This means hemp can keep you fresher for longer, especially in humid environments.


    Sustainability

    When it comes to sustainability, hemp beats cotton hands down. Cotton requires more than 10x the water to produce useable fibres, requires triple the landmass to produce the same yield and consumes the highest quantity of pesticides of any textile. As outlined in 'Why is Hemp Sustainable?' above, hemp is far kinder to the environment.


    Is Hemp Easy to Care for?

    If you think hemp needs special care and attention, think again. It is machine washable and fast to dry. Whilst some fabrics shy away from machine washes, hemp clothing benefits from it. With every wash, it gets softer and even improves its natural sheen. Due to its toughness, there is also no risk of shrinking or stretching.


    What is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

    Hemp clothing and marijuana the recreational drug, are born out of the same species of plant, Cannabis Sativa. However, over thousands of years of selective breeding, the same species has been bred for two distinct purposes: to be high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element of cannabis, or to produce strong fibres for commercial purposes such as textiles.


    Hemp refers to cannabis that is less than 0.3% THC, although there is technically no taxonomical difference between hemp and marijuana. The blurring of these two products is highlighted by the etymology of canvas, which derives from the old French word 'chanevaz', literally 'made of hemp', originally deriving from the Latin word 'cannabis' meaning hemp.


    Check out our hemp clothing range for men and women.


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Knitwear for Women


What Knitwear is Best for Hiking, Travelling or Lounging?

Different knitwear products are better suited to different activities due to their design and the materials they're made from. Here is what knitwear we recommend for hiking, travelling and lounging:


Hiking


Essential material properties


  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Easy movement
  • Insulating

Suitable materials: Recycled Polyester, Merino Wool and Handcrafted


Recommended knitwear products for hiking


Travelling


Essential material properties


  • Comfort
  • Practical
  • Easy maintenance
  • Flexible

Suitable materials: Merino Wool, Recycled Polyester and Handcrafted


Recommended knitwear products for travelling



Lounging


Essential material properties


  • Ultimate comfort
  • Soft
  • Cozy
  • Warming

Suitable materials: Cotton, Merino Wool and Handcrafted


Recommended knitwear products for lounging



Caring for Your Knitwear

You just need to give it some TLC and always read the label! Show your knitwear love, and it will love you back for many years.


Washing your knitwear

Clothing containing wool should be washed carefully either by hand or on a dedicated wool machine wash, ensuring the temperature isn't above 40 degrees. Play safe, and hand wash if your machine doesn't have a special wool setting.


Using a dedicated wool detergent is also a worthy investment ensuring it treats your knitwear delicately. Finally, always air dry your knitwear – never tumble dry.


Storing your knitwear

It is always better to fold your knits rather than using hangers - this prevents the knitwear from stretching or dropping. You also need to be mindful of pesky insects that love nothing better than munching on a woolly jumper. Invest in some cedar mothballs to prevent any emerging holes.