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Author Archives: Diane Murphy

  1. Mil-Spec Fabrics: Meeting the Highest Standards of Military Gear

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    Military specification (Mil-Spec) fabrics are materials that meet the stringent standards set by various military organizations. They are designed and manufactured to comply with performance and quality requirements established for military use, including combat uniforms and backpacks. They also undergo rigorous testing to ensure durability and resistance to environmental elements.

    In this article, we will explore why Mil-Spec fabrics are integral components in producing military-grade equipment, contributing to the safety of military forces.

    Unique Properties of Mil-Spec Fabrics

    Here are the key characteristics of this fabric type, making them the go-to option in military applications:

    Abrasion Resistance

    The high level of abrasion resistance in Mil-Spec materials comes from the application of advanced weaving techniques and durable fibers. This characteristic is critical for gear frequently encountering rough surfaces, such as rocky terrains or urban environments. By withstanding abrasion, military equipment maintains its structural integrity over extended periods of use.

    Ballistic Performance

    The materials used in Mil-Spec fabrics undergo careful selection and rigorous testing to ensure they provide reliable protection for military personnel operating in high-risk situations. Whether facing firearms or explosive devices, the ballistic performance of the fabrics contributes to the safety and survivability of soldiers in the field.

    Chemical Resistance

    Military personnel may encounter various chemicals during operations. Mil-Spec textiles are designed to resist deterioration in these conditions. This feature ensures the safety and effectiveness of protective gear and equipment when exposed to potentially hazardous substances. It also safeguards the well-being of soldiers, allowing them to operate confidently in environments where chemical exposure is a concern.


    Durability is a key component of Mil-Spec fabrics. This quality is achieved through a meticulous testing process and the utilization of robust materials. They undergo rigorous assessments to meet stringent strength, wear resistance, and overall ruggedness standards.

    Flame Resistance

    Mil-Spec materials are either treated or inherently designed with flame-resistant properties, addressing the heightened risk of fire or explosive incidents. This critical feature adds an extra layer of protection against burns and injuries. It is also advantageous when operating in settings with volatile substances or facing the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

    Low Infrared Reflectivity

    Infrared reflectivity is crucial in modern warfare, where advanced surveillance technology is prevalent. Mil-Spec textiles are designed with low infrared reflectivity, which minimizes military personnel and equipment signatures in infrared detection systems. This property enhances stealth capabilities, allowing soldiers to operate covertly and reducing the risk of detection.

    Quick-Drying Properties

    Prolonged exposure to moisture can be detrimental to both gear and personnel, leading to discomfort and potential health issues. Incorporating quick-drying properties in some Mil-Spec fabrics is a strategic design choice to prevent moisture retention. This feature is crucial for maintaining comfort and functionality, especially in wet or humid environments.

    Weather Resistance

    The specialized design of Mil-Spec materials ensures that military personnel and equipment are protected from weather damage during diverse combat scenarios. This weather resistance is vital for soldiers’ comfort and for preserving gear’s functionality. These fabrics retain their structural integrity and protective properties, whether exposed to rain, snow, or harsh temperatures.

    Choose HLC Industries for High-Quality Fabrics

    At HLC Industries, we produce lightweight and heavyweight Mil-Spec fabrics tailored for mission-specific applications. Our commitment to precision engineering ensures that each material meets the exacting standards demanded by military operations. Whether your mission demands flexibility or resilience, we have the fabric solution to fulfill your requirements!

    Contact us today for inquiries, or browse our Mil-Spec fabric catalog for more information.

  2. What Fabrics Are Parachutes Made Of?

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    Parachute fabric has to be flexible, lightweight, and durable, and there are several different materials that offer those benefits. Originally made of canvas, then silk, today’s parachutes may be made of ripstop nylon, terylene, or Kevlar, and manufacturers continue to innovate and experiment with materials to find the most effective, affordable, and reliable options for parachutes. 

    The material itself isn’t as important as what the material can do. Manufacturers look for certain characteristics when developing and using parachute fabrics.

    parachute fabric

    Properties of Parachute Fabric

    Parachutes have an important job to do, so the fabric must exhibit certain properties to ensure it can withstand the extreme environment while protecting the people wearing the parachute: 

    • Strength: The parachute fabric must resist the forces of gravity and drag over the course of hundreds or even thousands of falls. Strong, lightweight materials are easier to repack. 
    • Tear Resistance: Parachute fabric should resist corrosion and abrasion. A small tear can become a big problem mid-flight—to avoid this issue, ripstop nylon is woven in a regular crosshatch pattern to create small squares that serve to prevent a small tear from becoming larger. 
    • Elasticity: The fabric must open quickly, and elasticity helps distribute the load more evenly.
    • Permeability: Tightly woven fabric helps prevent moisture and dirt from passing through it.

    Materials Used in Parachute Fabric

    Silk replaced canvas as a parachute fabric because it was lighter, more elastic, thinner, and easier to repack. When the silk supply ran low during World War II, nylon became a go-to choice for parachute fabric. The fact that it’s still used extensively today, even with the availability of options like Kevlar and Dacron, is a testament to its many favorable qualities:

    • Elasticity
    • Excellent strength-to-weight ratio
    • Abrasion resistance
    • Chemical resistance
    • Wind resistance
    • Fire resistance
    • Mildew resistance
    • Waterproof
    • Lightweight
    • Affordable

    Ripstop nylon is specially woven to offer additional resistance against tearing. It’s available in a variety of colors, thicknesses, and textures ranging from silky to stiff, making it suitable not only for parachutes, but for tents, tarps, flags, banners, and even clothing. Because nylon is so strong, it’s also commonly used for parachute harness straps and other components as well.

    For more than 80 years, nylon parachutes have been delivering people and packages safely to the ground. While fabric innovations continue, nylon remains a trusted, economical choice for parachute fabric.

    HLC Parachute Supplier of Military-Grade and Commercial Aerial Delivery Systems

    As the global leader in parachute fabric supply for both military and commercial aerial delivery systems, HLC is proud to be a fifth generation family company. For more than 100 years, our materials have been trusted in the most demanding and mission-critical applications for military, tactical, and industrial purposes. We’re committed to ongoing research and innovation to provide the best options for our clients. All of our fabrics are woven on state-of-the-art looms under ISO 9001 standards, and they’re finished and tested at U.S. government-certified facilities to ensure they’re safe and effective. 

    We’re known for creating high-quality products that meet extreme demands, and our customer service team is friendly and responsive. Contact us to learn more about our parachute fabrics, customized solutions, and long history as a leader in mil-spec fabrics, tactical nylon, and more.