February 28, 2020

Why Ballistic Nylon is the Most Durable Fabric for your Backpack

Choosing the right backpack involves weighing a number of factors and features.

These include but are not limited to the purpose for which you will be using it, the gear you will be transporting, your ability and willingness to carry heavy loads and much more.

Equally important but often forgotten is another vital issue, the material out of which your backpack is constructed. The truth is that not all types of nylon are created equal.

Before you shell out your dollars on gear, take a few minutes to learn what ballistic nylon is, how it is made and why it is worth the price.


When you hear the term “ballistic nylon”, you might be tempted to think that it is simply a term created at the desk of a savvy advertising executive.

In reality, it has its roots in World War II where it was invented by DuPont to safeguard military personnel in aircrafts from shrapnel, bullets and other projectiles.

Although the fabric did not turn out to be very effective for its originally intended purpose, it has proven extremely useful in protecting gear such as luggage and backpacks against abrasion.


Ballistic nylon’s durability comes from the way it is constructed.

Made from high-denier (thick-fibered) nylon thread, its true strength comes from the way that heavyweight thread is tightly and densely woven.

As a result of the specific 2×2 or 2×3 basket weave that is used, the nylon fabric withstands tears from all directions as well as being resistant to scratches, scrapes and other abrasions.


As you peruse backpack options, you have probably seen that some are made out of a material called DORDURA.

Just what is CORDURA, and how does it differ from ballistic nylon?

For one thing, ballistic nylon is made from smooth “filament” yards while CORDURA is more texturized.

When push comes to shove, CORDURA is better at abrasion resistance while ballistic nylon stands up better to rips and tears.

For most consumers, however, these distinctions are meaningless; both fabrics will work well to meet the needs of the everyday backpacker.

However, what you will notice is the difference in appearance.

Ballistic nylon is rougher and more rugged than its smoother CORDURA cousin. Furthermore, ballistic nylon generally comes in black because its fibers are harder to dye.

There is no doubt that it is worth taking the time and resources to invest in a high-quality backpack.

Regardless of whether you are using it for overnight camping excursions or extended survival missions, it is important that you have a bag that will last for a long time and stand up to the bumps and scrapes that are inevitable while tramping through the woods.

For many travelers, insisting on ballistic nylon means that they can trust that what they carry will remain safe and protected no matter how rugged the conditions may be.

When you look at it that way, it makes a great deal of sense to spend a little extra to guarantee that type of resilience and durability.

You can also see for yourself in our collection of backpacks.