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Top Nylon backpacks Reviews and Buyer's Guide

Last updated July 2, 2019

Nylon is one of the most popular backpack materials, but unfortunately not all nylon backpacks are of the same quality.

Some nylon backpacks aren't good enough for every day use, so it's really important that you take care and check the different brands and models before you buy.

Also make sure you look beyond the materials and consider the size of the different models and whether they have the features you need.

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Buyers Guide to Nylon Backpacks

[toc] 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 2x2 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.

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Last updated on July 02, 2019