Hair is collected from the coat of the Bactrian camel, a shaggy haired camel found across Asia. The camel malts for 6-8 weeks in the spring. The hair can be collected by hand, combing the coat during the malting season or, the camel can be sheared akin to a sheep.
The coat consists of two layers, an outer layer of longer coarser guard hair, that can be woven into a stiff haircloth or mixed with other natural fibers to form a softer fabric and the softer undercoat, made up of fluffy fur. Shorter and finer than guard hair, the undercoat is highly insulating. Traditionally used for tents, carpets and cloaks by the Berbers and in other areas where camels were kept camel hair began to be used in the west from the 17th century onwards, becoming increasingly popular after the British fashion house Jaeger used the fiber in its tailored suits.