Nylon Backpacks – All You Need to about the Best Nylon Backpacks and the Fabric

When choosing a backpack, one of the first things that you will need to consider is the material that is made from. This is because this will determine the capabilities and durability of the bag. One of the most common fabrics used to construct backpacks is nylon.

Despite this, you probably don’t know a lot about this material, let alone why manufacturers use it to make different kinds of backpacks. Well, in this guide, you will discover the various properties associated with the material. This will make it easier for you to decide whether nylon backpacks are the right option for you.

A Guide to Nylon Backpacks

There is more to nylon backpacks than meets the eye. There are different types of nylon and they are used to construct specific types of backpacks. This material boasts different strengths as well as properties. Here you will all of the details about nylon and why it is used in backpacks:

The Advantages of Nylon Backpacks

The first question that you will need to answer is why manufacturers tend to use nylon over other materials to construct backpacks. Well, there are several reasons for this:

Balance between Strength and Weight

Nylon has that much sought after ability to be both lightweight as well as strong. This is particularly important when constructing backpacks. A good backpack needs to be able to carry a considerable amount of weight; especially those used as school bags, multi-day packs, and laptop backpacks. At the same time, the bag shouldn’t add to the weight that a person has to carry. Since nylon manages to be heavy-duty while not weighing you down, it fits the bill perfectly.


Nylon backpacks also tend to be a more durable than most others. They are abrasion resistant which means that they are less likely to wear out due to continued friction against other surfaces. Therefore, buying a nylon backpack really is an investment. Even with continuous use, you can still expect it to remain intact. In the same vein, it can also resist damage done by oils, liquids, and other substances.

Water Resistant

By itself, nylon cannot repel water completely but it is water resistant. This is because this material doesn’t absorb water easily. Instead, it remains on the surface, which makes it easier for the liquid to evaporate. Due to this, backpacks made from nylon offer a certain amount of protection against drizzle or small amounts of liquid. It is precisely this feature that also makes these type of backpacks so easy to wash when they are dirty.

Heat Resistant

Although nylon will not hold up well against a naked flame, it is incredibly heat resistant. It will maintain its solid shape until 220°C. This means that nylon backpacks can be used in most climates and you will not have to worry about the backpack disintegrating or losing its shape over time.

Can Be Dyed

While nylon is resistant to many things, it can actually be pre-colored or dyed with relative ease. This is why you will find that nylon backpacks come in an array of colors and with different patterns. Therefore, although your nylon backpack is strong, durable, and resistant to wear, tear, and water, it can still be quite aesthetically pleasing too.

Types of Nylon Backpacks

As mentioned, backpacks can be composed of a variety of nylon materials. Here are the most commonly used types:

Pack Cloth Nylon

Pack cloth nylon is slowly being phased out of the backpack industry. This is because while it has numerous useful properties, it is still quite heavy to carry around. Still, this material is quite strong and durable, making backpacks made from this fabric abrasion resistant. Due to its texture, it is also easy to waterproof. The threads in this material have the same diameter and are quite soft and glossy to the touch when woven together.

Cordura Nylon

Cordura nylon is actually a patented material. It is known as nylon 6.6 in industry terms and is typically available as 500 denier and 1000 denier. One of the treatments used on Cordura nylon is air texturing. This is when air is blown over the material, making it bulkier. This is the reason that one of the most well-known characteristics of Cordura is its abrasion resistance. This type of nylon has the tendency to look and feel a lot like canvas. Cordura nylon tends to be relatively lightweight and can even be puncture resistant to a certain extent. It is not all that water resistant, however.

Ballistic Nylon

There is often a lot of confusion between ballistic and Cordura nylon. If you are trying to decide between backpacks made of both these materials, there is only one distinction to remember. Ballistic nylon, due to its weave texture, has greater tensile strength and it is difficult to tear. Ballistic material has a 2×2 basket weave and is usually found in 850 denier and 1050 denier. Backpacks made from ballistic material often look smooth and polished and are great for more professional bags.

Rip-stop Nylon

Rip-stop nylon is actually gaining a lot of popularity in the industry. Over time, it may even replace standard nylon backpacks. As the name implies, rip-stop nylon prevents rips from spreading and effectively tearing a backpack apart. The threads in this type of fabric are heavier and sewn in a grid pattern. This prevents rips from worsening. While rip-stop nylon may not be puncture resistant, it is abrasion resistant. It is also lightweight and incredibly easy to waterproof.

Understanding Abrasion Resistant, Puncture Resistant, and Tear Resistant

While all types of nylon are strong, their strength lies in different categories. This is why one of the ways to distinguish the different types of nylon is to discuss their strength properties. For instance, Cordura nylon is abrasion resistant and relatively puncture resistance. Ballistic nylon is tear resistant and rip-stop material prevents tears from spreading. Let’s take a look at what all of this definitions mean.

Abrasion refers to the contact created when two surfaces are rubbed together. The friction that results can wear away at materials causing pilling and eventually thinning of the fabric. Therefore, abrasion resistance refers to the fact that this process is negligible. So, even if your abrasion resistant backpack were to be in constant contact with another material or even your own skin, it is unlikely to wear out for years to come.

A puncture is caused when a force is applied to a particular area of the material. The fabric is penetrated causing a gap. Backpacks that are puncture resistant, even just a little, are able to withstand greater amounts of force. This means that an object has to strike the backpack quite heavily for it to be able to do any damage.

It is important to understand that even incredibly hard materials can tear and so, there is no real correlation between these two surfaces. Since nylon is a fabric it is not impossible to tear through the material, although the stronger types such as ballistic and rip-stop do require greater amounts of force. What these materials are actually capable of doing, however, is preventing these tears from continuing, largely due to the way that the fibers have been woven together.

Which Nylon Backpack is Right For You?

So, all of the information above may cause you to ask the question, which backpack is right for you? While the use of standard nylon is slowly diminishing in the industry, it is still the most common material used. This is largely because it is affordable, relatively lightweight, water-resistant, and is quite strong. So, if you are just looking for a book bag or don’t really require any special properties, a backpack made from standard nylon will do.

Rip-stop nylon is a good option for people who like to hike or backpack in the wilderness. This is because, it is in these instances, that the rip-stop properties will come in most useful. It is quite normal to snag your backpack on a tree or rock, causing a tear. With a backpack made from rip-stop nylon, however, you can be certain that the tear will not get any bigger, causing all of your belongings to fall out. In fact, the bag should hold quite well until you find your way back to civilization.

Backpacks constructed from ballistics nylon are usually used for travel purposes. This is because it is quite difficult to puncture or tear such bags. In addition to its strength, this type of material has the distinct advantage of looking quite polished. As such, it is favored among business individuals who want a strong yet attractive backpack to carry around.

Cordura nylon is commonly found in heavy-duty and tactical backpacks. It can carry plenty of objects, is very strong, and is very abrasion resistant. It is a good idea to get this type of backpack if you want a truly tough and hardy outdoor bag. This material tends to be more expensive than other types of nylon and is usually an investment.

On its own, nylon backpacks are not waterproof but rather water resistant. These types of uncoated backpacks will work fine in a drizzle as it is able to keep minimal amounts of moisture out. Now, if you want a backpack that can withstand a heavy downpour or even be submerged, you will need backpacks that have been coated with polyurethane. This substance is cold bonded to the backpacks to repel all moisture. There are certain types of nylon such as Cordura and rip-stop that take to this process better than others. As such, they will be much more likely to keep your belongings dry in a storm or similar environment.

This is all of the information that you need concerning nylon backpacks. As you can see, there is quite a lot to decide between these types of backpacks. Doing so, however, will allow you to find your perfect fit.

Top 10 Best Nylon Backpacks

1 – Chrome Kadet

Chrome BG-196-BK Black One Size Kadet Sling Messenger Bag
  • Quick release seatbelt buckle and shoulder strap connection with daisy chain mounting
  • Loops to attach additional accessories
  • Abrasion resistant 1050 denier nylon
  • Padded rear U-lock holster
  • YKK zippers

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Chrome Kadet:

Reviewers like these things about the Chrome Kadet

  • Users have noted that the Chrome Kadet bag is built with robust nylon materials to ensure durability.
  • Several users said that it is designed in a belt pack style for cross-body wear.
  • Many of the reviewers indicated that it was designed well to provide comfort to the users.
  • Other reviewers noted the presence of a seatbelt aluminum buckle that could be released quickly.
  • Reviewers said that it has a shoulder strap connection.
  • Testers noted that its daisy chain mounting loops could allow users to attach additional accessories.
  • Other testers said that it had padded rear U-lock holster.
  • They also noted that the pack was well-balanced and fully functional.
  • Testers recommended the use of the bag for travel or everyday use.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer found that it is quite small.
  • Another reviewer had issues with the strap of the bag.

2 – Herschel Barlow

Herschel Supply Co. Barlow Medium, Black, One Size
  • Ballistic weave
  • Height 17.25in / 44cm
  • Width 9.75in / 25cm
  • Depth 5.5in / 14cm

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Herschel Barlow:

Reviewers like these things about the Herschel Barlow

  • Most users said that this bag is sturdy and practical, and it looks nice.
  • Many reviewers said that it is a perfect pack for commuting, hiking, taking the dog places.
  • Many users said that the back and straps are rigid and padded with mesh over foam. They make it comfortable to carry heavy things.
  • There are a few tiny reflective elements, tiny loops on the bottom and top.
  • Most reviewers agreed that it’s slim and expands upwards instead of outwards so it doesn’t knock into things when getting onto the bus, etc.
  • Many users said that the top loading style allows them to over-stuff it if needed while still protecting its contents.
  • One great feature mentioned by many users is that there is a sternum strap that adjusts lengthwise and slides up and down the shoulder straps.
  • Reviewers said that the shoulder straps and sternum strap all have an elastic sleeve to hold coiled extra strap after everything is tightened down.
  • Many users said that the laptop sleeve can fit a 15′ Mac book, charger, and a folder of papers in the laptop sleeve without trouble.
  • Another great feature mentioned by many users is that the laptop sleeve has a smaller pocket on the outside to hold a slim phone.
  • Another fantastic feature mentioned by the users is that it has a hook for keys Above the laptop sleeve.
  • Many users said that there is a a mini daisy chain to hook a hydration pack or whatever else.
  • Users said that there is one large compartment with laptop sleeve, one small compartment in top flap for small easy access items and one tiny bottom compartment for rain-fly in it.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that the strong mesh laptop sleeve is not padded.
  • Another user said that it does not have lots of pockets.
  • Another user complained that the draw string cap broke early.

3 – Cotopaxi Luzon 24L

Cotopaxi Luzon 24L Del Dia Daypack - Del Dia 24L One of A Kind!
  • Lightweight, remnant nylon fabric. Large main compartment.
  • Zippered shoe pocket with internal divider. Top drawstring closure. Front zippered pocket.
  • Ultralight mesh shoulder straps. Internal organizer with key clip.
  • Dual mesh water bottle pockets.
  • ONE OF A KIND! Each Del Dia product is made proudly in the Philippines by an employee who has total creative control over the pack's colorway. No two are the same!

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Cotopaxi Luzon 24L:

Reviewers like these things about the Cotopaxi Luzon 24L

  • Reviewers thought that the Cotopaxi Luzon daypack is one light pack.
  • Other reviewers noted that this bag is handmade, and workers have control over the colors of repurposed nylon used in each pack.
  • Testers also said that its design is enough for short hikes, beach outings, and bike rides.
  • Several users pointed out that the bag’s chest and hip belt allow them to tighten the mono-compartment.
  • Other users noted that it holds up to perspiration and light water contact when cleaning the bag.
  • Other reviewers pointed out that the manufacturer uses a nice ripstop nylon on the pack.
  • Some users are pleased with the stitching at the seams the held fast.
  • According to some users, its strength-to-weight ratio is solid.
  • Other reviewers thought that its splashy color scheme gets a lot of attention and starts a lot of conversations.
  • Some users felt that it has a unique aesthetic.
  • Many commended its sustainability ethic.
  • Users were delighted that it’s easy to like this simple, goofy bag.
  • They also mentioned that its almost imperceptible weight makes it great for easy travel and simple loads.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that it does not have anything beyond a sleeve for a hydration bladder, one big main compartment, and an outer zip pocket for small things.
  • Another reviewer noted that the items inside will have a tendency to shift and sort on their own unless they carefully pack.

4 – Cotopaxi Cusco

Cotopaxi Cusco 26L Backpack - Beech Canopy 26L
  • Durable cotton/polyester canvas shell.
  • Internal laptop sleeve fits most 15in laptops.
  • Breathable, padded back panel and shoulder straps.
  • Large expandable front pockets.
  • Two water bottle pockets.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Cotopaxi Cusco:

Reviewers like these things about the Cotopaxi Cusco

  • Most users said that the most versatile backpack they’ve ever owned.
  • Reviewers have mentioned that the little top pocket is perfect for keys, Chap Stick, earbuds, etc.
  • Many users praised the fact that the pack is a combination of a stylish and functional backpack.
  • Some other reviewers said that the zippers are beefy.
  • Users also said that the stitching is straight and strong.
  • Reviewers who have used the pack said that water beads on it rather than soaking in.
  • Several users said that the curved shoulder straps are comfortable and the chest and waist straps hold it in.
  • Reviewers have also mentioned that it is well designed and constructed in a sturdy manner.
  • Some other reviewers said that the material looks and feels durable.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that the water bottle side pockets don’t really stretch,.
  • Others users mentioned that though there is plenty of pockets, they don’t have a closure.

5 – Ethnotek Raja

Ethnotek Raja Travel Backpack with Hand Woven Fabric | Large 46L Pack | Guatemala 1
  • UNIQUE: Hand-woven interchangeable front-panel by traditional artisans.
  • LAPTOP FRIENDLY: Fits 15-17" MacBook Pro and most 15" PC laptops.
  • PRACTICAL: Giant 46L water-resistant main bag (15" x 22" x 9"). Easy-access pockets.
  • ETHICAL: Purchasing sustains traditional ethnic textile-arts and artisans.
  • DURABLE: Water resistant 840-Denier Ballistic Nylon fabric. YKK zips.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Ethnotek Raja:

Reviewers like these things about the Ethnotek Raja

  • Users said that the pack is worth every penny.
  • Most users said that the pack fits under airline economy seat.
  • Many users love that it has a Padded laptop pocket.
  • Reviewers have mentioned that the sleeve inside fits letter size papers so they won’t get crunched.
  • Some other reviewers said that the straps and back are padded.
  • Many users praised the fact that the sternum clip strap balance out heavy loads.
  • Most reviewers agreed that the backpack is extremely durable.
  • They’ve mentioned that the pack comes with an external-entry laptop partition.
  • One great feature mentioned by many users is that there is a built-in wallet which is secure with a zipper and a flap and they never have to worry about dropping or setting down my wallet.
  • Users agreed that it has the right size to carry while traveling or for every day.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that the front thread fabric began to come out.
  • Some users complained that the pack is not water resistant.
  • Another user complained that the zipper on this bag is big, clunky and sharp.

6 – Mammut Lithium Speed 20

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Here’s what the reviewers think about the Mammut Lithium Speed 20:

Reviewers like these things about the Mammut Lithium Speed 20

  • One favorite feature among users is its multiple storage options that comes in handy on multi-day or multi-week journeys.
  • A lot of users enjoy the stuff sack in the bottom which is perfect for sleeping bag.
  • Others find the bottom compartment ideal to keep damp or stinky clothes separate from the rest of their stuff.
  • Some users that another handy thing the pack offers is the ability to easily change the back length.
  • Others thought the back pads make hauling gear just a little bit easier.
  • Many reviewers love how the rainfly rolls up nice and tight in a zipper on the top of the pack and is super easy to throw over when unexpected weather rolls through.
  • MAny hikers like how the hip pocket allows them to easily access necessary items without having to stop.
  • Others are thankful that the pack has an integrated place for a bladder and they can snake the mouth spout through the back to attach to the shoulder straps for easy access on the trail.
  • A lot of users thought it’s an extremely well built and sturdy bag.
  • Others said it has a nice structure but still lightweight and comes with all the handy features of a bag.
  • Many owners find it perfect to bring on hikes, overnight trips and camping.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Others find the material low quality.
  • Some reviewers find it too big for their liking.

7 – Knomo Beauchamp 14

Knomo Luggage Beauchamp 14 Business Backpack 16.5 X 11.6 X 3.9, Black, One Size
  • Polyester lining
  • Fastens securely with a nylon zipper at the top for main compartment
  • Dimensions : 16-Inches shoulder drop,16.5-Inches high,11-Inches wide
  • Sleek nylon exterior with saffiano leather trim
  • Holds up to a 14-Inches laptop within its quilted laptop pouch with shockproof protection

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Knomo Beauchamp 14:

Reviewers like these things about the Knomo Beauchamp 14

  • Many reviewers commend the Knomo Beauchamp backpack for it fastens securely with a nylon zipper at the top of the main compartment.
  • According to users, the bag offers so much more than a normal backpack.
  • Reviewers note that it protects the laptop and allows them to be totally hands-free without compromising on smart style.
  • Testers noted that the pack is comfortable and stylish.
  • Several of those who have tried the pack noticed that it is a nice, feminine looking, non-bulky laptop backpack.
  • Other users thought that the pack has beautiful details, quality materials, and great craftsmanship.
  • Reviewers noted that the bag is simple but very functional at the same time.
  • Testers said that it’s thin, yet sturdy.
  • Other testers thought that its outside black material is slick and never gets dirty.
  • Reviewers felt that the gold accents make it look sophisticated.
  • They also mentioned that it is very comfortable to carry and the outside pockets give easy access to essential items.
  • Testers praised the high-quality materials used.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the depth is just a little bit too narrow.
  • Another reviewer noted its material is a cheap synthetic material.

8 – Thule Stravan 13

Thule Strävan Backpack
  • Padded, dedicated compartment protects both a 15" MacBook Pro and an iPad
  • SafeEdge Construction lines MacBook compartment for superior bumper protection
  • Crush proof SafeZone compartment for sunglasses or scientific calculator plus a dedicated phone pocket
  • Removable SafeZone compartment for versatile storage

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Thule Stravan 13:

Reviewers like these things about the Thule Stravan 13

  • One user described it as a sexy contemporary attaché design.
  • Many find the water repellent fabric material functional.
  • Others love the large handles for briefcase style carry.
  • Some users liked its compact profile.
  • Many find the auxiliary pockets extremely convenient at providing easy access for additional storage like pens, hard drives, snacks, etc.
  • Others liked how it looks good on them regardless in what they’re dressed in, making it perfect for business or casual.
  • Many love the microfiber soft material and foam of the bag to protect laptops and tablets.
  • Many reviewers find the shoulder strap well-padded and very comfortable.
  • A lot of users thought the construction of the bag is top notch, seams all looked very good and the zippers feel strong.
  • Many users thought the overall appearance and construction of the bag is excellent and well beyond their expectations.
  • A number of reviewers liked how it provides a firm fit for the MacBook Air with some interior pockets for other things.
  • Others find exterior pockets easily fit a mouse, power supply and DVD drive.
  • One user described it as a good professionally looking bag.
  • Some appreciate the presence of layers of protective felt like material on the inside of the bag that keeps devices protected and scratch-free.
  • One user particularly noted the good grip and multiple compartments of compartments.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users wish there was a bit more space for items other than the computer, iPad, and phone.
  • Other users thought the bag’s capacity is limited.

9 – Everki Beacon

Everki Beacon Laptop Backpack with Gaming Console Sleeve, Fits up to 18-Inch (EKP117NBKCT)
  • Dedicated ultra-soft padded laptop compartment accommodates up to 18" laptops
  • Gaming console sleeve included (suitable for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, etc)
  • Clever buckle system allows for both partial or full 180 degree opening of the main compartment for easy loading
  • Hip pockets for quick access to items like keys, media players, and mobile phone without taking the bag off your back
  • Dual hand-carry handles for easy lifting

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Everki Beacon:

Reviewers like these things about the Everki Beacon

  • Some users thought the Everki Beacon is an excellent choice for business travelers and frequent flyers.
  • Solid construction, supplemental load bearing straps, heavy duty zippers, metal hardware, perfect size, storage capacity and functional pockets are cited as the main reasons for choosing this bag.
  • Others are so amazed with how its interior is able to fit an xbox console, books, power supplies, even a full size projector.
  • Some appreciate the presence of a side pockets that is equipped with a loop to secure water bottles.
  • Hip pockets are also praised by a number of users.
  • A lot of users agree that this bag keeps their bag safe and snug and well protected from any harm.
  • Some users are so happy with how it surpassed their expectations for compartmental options.
  • Many reviewers noted the zippers are heavy duty, straps are comfortable without a ton of extra slack to dangle or need to be tied up.
  • A lot of users find the grab handles awesome.
  • Others fine the internal bag perfect for extras such as power block, mouse, headset, wires, etc.
  • Many reviewers find the front zippered pocket to be incredibly useful for items that need to be grabbed quickly.
  • Some owners like how the internal laptop compartment is lined with a fuzzy material.
  • A lot of users appreciate that it comes with numerous compartments for storing items of all sizes, from the power brick to flash drives.
  • Many users agree that this backpack is so incredibly well-built and intuitively designed.
  • A lot of owners thought that this bag provides enough room, pockets and dividers that make everything organized and easily accessible.
  • Many reviewers love how comfortable the straps are and how they can be adjusted to fit the back.
  • Others particularly liked how the zippers locks in tight.
  • Some users thought the the strapping configuration allows for an exceptional degree of weight redistribution.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Others thought the only drawback is the lack of locking features on all the zipper heads.
  • Some users thought it would be perfect if it had a water bottle pouch.

10 – Incase Reform Tensaerlite

Incase Reform Collection TENSAERLITE 15" Brief, Black
  • Compatibility: Up to 15" MacBook, iPad
  • Material: Eco-dyed 300D poly Ecoya/ Nylon Black: durable abrasion resistant 840D Nylon
  • Strap: Detachable padded shoulder strap
  • Storage: Padded, faux-fur lined laptop cage with TENSAERLITE

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Incase Reform Tensaerlite:

Reviewers like these things about the Incase Reform Tensaerlite

  • Many users thought it looks nice.
  • Some reviewers like how it stands on its own.
  • Others are pleased to find the backpack comes with several layers to protect their laptop and other belongings.
  • A number of users find it high quality, functional and sleek looking.
  • Some users love its beautiful minimalist design that is versatile for business and weekend.
  • Others find it light weight yet strong and sturdy.
  • Some users thought it’s the perfect bag for smart commuting.
  • Padded laptop compartment is lauded by a lot of users as it protects their laptop against bumps.
  • Many reviewers also love its padded , adjustable shoulder straps.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Other users thought the internal pockets are too deep.
  • Some reviewers said the material is a bit stiff.

Selected reviews

Rush Faster reviewed the Ethnotek Raja

It is more expensive than your average backpack, but if you are looking for a backpack that combines durability, functionality and impressive storage capacity with good looks, the Raja will go the distance. And it has a social conscience.

Posted 10 February 2015 by Kelly – Read full review

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Last update on 2018-11-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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