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5 Brilliant uses for a sheepskin (and 1 awful one that will make you wrinkle your nose).

Sheepskin receives a misplaced special worship when new. Folks treat it like it’s never been dragged through a hedge by a sheep. As though, just now, it has become sensitive to grass or soil. Yet as soon as the poor thing gets dirty folks will relegate a sheepskin to the Pet League. This said, when you understand what a sheepskin is, you can then think much more freely about how you can use them.

Firstly, a sheepskin is a sheep’s skin. Dartmoor sheepskins come from animals that have been slaughtered for meat. Sheepskin will have served the sheep just as well as it will serve you. The changeable British weather will be kept at bay by thick, curly woolen fleece. Wool fibers are hollow and handle moisture and temperature as a connected environmental whole, making sheepskin all-season.

Wool is exothermic, meaning that whilst it absorbs moisture it gives out heat. Water molecules have the opposite polarity to wool fiber, when they collide they produce heat.

The individual fibers are hydrophobic, which comes in handy when you need to shake off a summer shower. Augmenting this ability to shed water comes one of sheepskin’s best known and most loved properties: its ability to wick moisture away from the skin.

It isn’t the wool itself but the structure of the fibers that allows wool to absorb upto 30% of its own weight in water. That it can do this whilst continuing to exhibit excellent thermal characteristics and still feeling dry, is unique and special. Man has yet to come close with his plastic fabrics. Also, at the end of its long life, sheepskin has the good grace to rot away harmlessly.

Into this mix we can toss the quick drying and machine washability of the modern sheepskin, and you have a mobile comfort-rug with numourous uses, some of them utterly horrendous.

The Good.

For picnics. Not to serve food on (except during high winds when cups etc can be nestled) but for sitting and laying on. Sheepskins are really hard wearing.

For festivals. Laying your head in a sheepskin is a level of self care that nurtures the soul whilst it soothes the body. Plan ahead, take some luxury with you. And bog roll, take bog roll too.

For long distance. Long rides on uncomfortable seats are bad for the mood. Might we suggest a soft moisture-wicking sheepskin?

For camping. Hiking is one thing, but for most camping trips a vehical of some sort is involved. In these cases take a sheepy. You will (almost) always have a better nights sleep with a sheepskin under you.

Because you care. Sheepskin emits zero endocrine disrupting chemicals. It’s a safe (and instant) baby bed. Stuck in bed for long periods? Use a fabric that actively helps, rather than just copes. Sheepskin excels at personal care.

The Bad.

Sandy beaches. These are awful with sheepskins. Avoid woodland twigs and leaves too, as these make a right mess. Instead leave the sheepskin inside the camper van or tent and have a No Shoes policy.

Food service. Great at picnics, I said, not great for serving food on. Bowls can be snuggled into fleece in order that they stay the right way up, but don’t let kids mash flakey pastry into sheepskin (unless they really have to).

On hot summer nights. Wool might have scientifically significant properties affecting how water and temperature interact with it, but on a hot night you want cotton.

Leisure vs pet care. Keep cats (and similarly possessive creatures) away from sheepskin, unless you are of weak will and the animal has completely possessed your soul. Pets love sheepskin.

The Ugly.

Amature baby changing. Possibly the worst thing that can happen to a sheepskin is a baby art-painting liquid yoghurt food with a coloured spoon from a pot marketed with cartoon dinosaurs. No one knows if dinosaurs ate bacteria riddled milk, but let’s suspend cynicism and assume it tastes good. This abomination (or pinnacle of natural parenting, depending how you look at it) is marginally pipped at the post for most awful sheep skincident by a common place sheepskin usage: Baby changing. Handled badly this can make adoption seem more attractive.

Normally, parents and careers are sufficiently skilled in baby wrestling before they take on the Outdoor Nappy. Sometimes, however, an unskilled relative or street drunk will step in to assist. Observe them managing a baby, preferably someone else’s, before letting them gain access to your precious sheepskin (or baby). If the carnage has already happened already happened, roll up your sleeves (and your sheepskin) and click here.

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Sheepskins for prams, are sheepskins cool on hot days?

Keep baby cool in summer on a sheepskin

Sheepskin differs from man made fibers in that they wick moisture away from the skin, trapping air as they do so. Both these effects help stabilise the temperature for young and old alike. For young babies you will want a sheepskin shorn fairly short, leaving no long hairs to get in the way. Another benefit of short hair is the speed of drying, which can be surprisingly quick in a tumble dryer (full instructions here).
Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.

BREATHABLE
Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture—either in the atmosphere or perspiration from the wearer—without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable.

Campaign For Wool

Cool as a cucumber

Sheepskins make a great addition to a picnic, giving you an instant soft bed for a flaked-out tot. Lay it out under a tree and the baby should be fine with just a light cotton sheet on top. Pack water, obviously, and check baby’s temperature regularly – sheepskins help regulate temperature but they are not fridges.

Sheepskins have a range of applications where keeping cool is important. Bed bound folks find relief from sores as the soft cushioning effect spreads out pressure. The wicking property plays a key role. What many people don’t realise is that sheepskin can be washed and dried in the same time it takes to wash and dry a pair of jeans.

Tough and versatile

Motorcyclists too use sheepskins on long-haul journeys, finding the added comfort valuable and much preferable to the hard plastic standard issue bike seats. It goes without saying that sheepskins are also warm in winter.

“What makes them so good? Sheepskins are cooler than vinyl or leather saddles when it’s hot. Usually they’re pale in color and reflect heat. There’s shade between the strands of wool and, with aeration, heat dissipates fast, also wicking away sweat.”

– Adventure Motorcycle.com

Sheepskins are not magic and cannot make anything cooler. But they can be shaved short and serve as incredibly useful pram liners, ad hoc beds, seat covers and a multitude of other things. If you want one for a small person in your life simply write ‘SHAVED PLEASE’ in the delivery notes when you place your order. If you have a special use in mind don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll serve you just as we like to be served ourselves.

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