Is it Cordura or Kodra?
The abrasion resistance and the lightweight are the main strengths for Cordura and Kodra. Even though they’re not as puncture resistant as the heavy weight Oxford Weave Nylon nor waterproof as Nylon, the Cordura and Kodra are a strong choice for the tactical backpacks. As for the water resistant feature, we may find the Polyurethane coated Kodra and Cordura that are seen as waterproof.
Cordura is the brand name used for a series of fabrics that are quite common in many areas, from luggage, pants, military wear, and performance to backpacks.
Cordura fabrics are well known for their durability and ability to take abrasions, scuffs and tears. They were developed and registered by E.I. DuPont DE Nemours and Company in the ‘30s, but now are owned by Invista. Cordura fabrics are made with yarns or fibers from Invista and may include 100% synthetic fiber or in blends with various natural fibers or cotton. No product is displayed as Cordura until it Invista sees it and approves it.
Even though Kodra is no longer a registered trademark, it’s still a brand name used by various manufacturers. Back in the day it was manufactured by Kolon Industries Inc. and was used for the manufacturing of the White Mountain Backpacks.
The Nylon/ the rip-stop Nylon
We’re going to talk about cotton canvas a bit later, and we take a look right now at polyurethane coated Nylon fabrics as they are so popular at the moment. Back in the days, heat bonded Polyurethane coating was also used but it degraded sooner than expected. Nowadays, premium Nylon materials are cold bonded which gives higher resistance to delaminating and are double coated for even better wear resistance in backpacks.
Rip-stop Nylon is a common choice and it replaces the well-known Nylon. It’s not difficult to tell it apart from the regular Nylon as it presents a grid pattern of heavy threads sewn in the warp and weft of the fabric at some even close distances. The threads are heavy so the ripping in the pack is minimized, even if the pack is torn or punctured.
Regular Nylon is going to continue ripping when torn, even if the pressure is minor. Let’s not mention the risk for unraveling as well. And this isn’t something you’d want when in the outdoors, with no duct tape or thread to solve the problem. A torn Nylon backpack put under the pressure of a 44 lbs. load isn’t going to hold up very long.
A rip-stop design is going to give more protection so your backpack doesn’t fall apart in the middle of nowhere.
The best parts about the rip-stop nylon are that it’s rather lightweight and ready acceptance of waterproof.
When Rip-stop Nylon is used in lighter fabric weights, you may notice holes caused by the long time abrasion. Rip-stop Nylon is slowing winning the market in the US, whereas it’s far more accepted in Europe.
The Cotton Canvas
The first models of tactical backpacks were made with cotton canvas that was waterproofed with wax coating. Even though they were indeed waterproof, the backpacks were kind of heavyweight and the risk for abrasion was high, not to mention that they would rot if stored wet.
We still find on the market tactical backpacks made of canvas, but we talk about technologically advanced canvas materials that include synthetic materials, becoming stronger and better water resistant.
Truth be told, most backpacks made from cotton canvas aren’t waterproof on regular basics (except from some limited brands) and you’re going to find this type of material especially in the military. But even the military are currently replacing canvas backpacks with Kodra Nylon, Polyurethane coated Cordura Nylon or some other Nylon fabrics. As cotton canvas isn’t waterproof not has the ability to absorb water and moisture, it’s quite obvious why the first choice for the tactical backpacks isn’t cotton canvas.
Cotton canvas does hold its place as it’s low priced and so are the backpacks made from it. This doesn’t mean you can’t find high quality canvas fabrics though, but you’re going to have to pay the extra buck for the technologically advanced fabrics that not only are pricey, but also a bit heavier.
The Pack Cloth Polyester
The Polyester Pack Cloth presents a high resistance to UV degradation, which is a good thing. Polyester is cheaper than Nylon which is why textured polyester pack cloth that look a lot like Cordura are the economical option on the market. As for the Nylon, we’re still going to find it in the high-end area of the market.
Minimize the risk for delaminating of the Polyurethane Coating
For quite some time now the synthetic laminated backpack materials had the risk of delaminating of the Polyurethane Coating. The exposure of the Polyurethane Coating to direct sunlight for a long time , various natural causes, the damaging chemical used for cleaning, exposure to swimming pool chlorine, storage for a long time in damp areas (cement floors) are the main causes for the delaminating. This is why you need to make sure that your backpack is 100% dry when you store it away and you want to rather hang it, for better air circulation around your backpack.
You don’t need to go over the top when taking care of your backpack made from synthetic materials with Polyurethane Coating. You need to keep the backpack clean and dry at all time and always make sure it’s like that when storing it away. Wet synthetic material may mildew which also means delaminating, leaks and bad smells. Once a backpack is delaminated and damaged from mildew, you may very well start looking for a new backpack.
The Polyurethane Coating is going to soften and stick to itself if you’re storing your pack when it’s still damp (this is a chemical reaction known as hydrolysis). Long time exposure to moisture causes the coating peel away from the fabric, creating leakage.
Don’t get us wrong: all Polyurethane Coated Synthetic backpacks are going to wear out sooner or later and the material lamination is going to fail in the end. This doesn’t mean you can’t extend the lifespan of your backpack, taking care of it and storing it accordingly.