CORDURA® fabric is a highly sought-after textile for apparel and tactical or outdoor gear because of its strength, durability, and resistance properties. With its ability to meet the challenges of rugged applications, this high-performance fabric is useful for the composition of products like backpacks, luggage, military gear, and other outdoor wear. Also, as fashion trends and garment technology move towards sustainability, environmentally friendly materials such as CORDURA fabric are becoming more popular. Learn more about the origins of CORDURA, what it comprises, its applications, and where to source it.

Cordura Fabric

CORDURA Fabric Origins

Today, CORDURA® is a registered trademark of Invista, but its history spans more than fifty years. In 1967, the CORDURA brand debuted its first fabric offering, introducing a highly durable variety of nylon: Nylon 6.6 fiber. By the 1970s, manufacturers like Eastpak, Jansport, and Kelty started using CORDURA in their product lines for its high durability and tear resistance, breathability, and capabilities for UV protection and water repellency.

CORDURA broke into the urban wear market in the 1980s. Then in the ’90s, CORDURA became increasingly popular as a high-performance fabric, with the U.S. military and companies like Carharrt utilizing CORDURA for tactical apparel and outerwear, and the brand began offering a line of dyed nylon yarn for enhanced color options. Over the last few decades, CORDURA has evidenced its commitment to eco-consciousness and innovation, with recycled polyester yarn and upgraded fabrics like mesh knits with better tensile strength. The textile continues to be prized for military and workwear, backpacks, duffels, and luggage.

CORDURA Fabric: What’s It Made Of?

CORDURA is a synthetic textile made from Nylon 6.6 fiber or a blend of cotton and other natural fibers. Nylon, in general, is a high-quality material due to its stiffness and hardness. It also has supreme toughness, particularly given its lightweight, with resistance to heat, fatigue, abrasion, and general wear.

Although Nylon 6 is also common in industrial textile applications, manufacturers choose Nylon 6.6 for its greater resistance capabilities. Nylon 6 exhibits a higher rate of water absorption, a lower melting point, and suboptimal resistance to acids as compared to Nylon 6.6. Elasticity is another beneficial property of Nylon 6.6. Considering its wealth of advantages, Nylon 6.6 is perfect for rugged or high-tech applications in which dependable durability is paramount, such as military, work, or outdoor apparel, as well as carpets, tires, airbags, parachutes, and much more.

CORDURA Fabric Applications

While CORDURA has a multitude of uses due to its versatility, some of the most common applications include:

    • Work apparel. Manufacturers use this fabric to make work apparel such as jackets, Dickies and Carhartt pants, overalls, and safety clothing because of its high tear resistance and water repellency.
  • Military apparel. CORDURA provides rugged strength in military boots, ponchos, body armor, tactical gear, and other Mil-Spec wearables for military applications. 
    • Backpacks. CORDURA makes high-quality backpacks for rugged outdoor or adventure applications because it is tough, lightweight, and has a durable finish.
  • Soft-sided luggage. Duffels, suitcases, and more capitalize on the abrasion resistance and tensile strength that CORDURA offers.

What Is CORDURA Ballistic Fabric?

A higher-performance alternative to CORDURA, ballistic CORDURA is a tightly woven fabric made with high-tenacity Nylon 6.6. This fabric offers superior durability and resistance to tearing and abrasion, making it ideal for military applications, as well as work apparel, bags, footwear, and motorcycle gear. While it offers supreme tensile strength with an optimal strength-to-weight ratio, manufacturers can also coat or laminate it for added protection or enhanced properties.

CORDURA Fabric From HLC Industries

HLC Industries, Inc. has been supplying light- and heavy-weight textiles to diverse industries since 1916. As an ISO 9001:2015-certified manufacturer of nylon woven fabrics, we produce our innovative products in the USA and maintain Berry Amendment Compliance. HLC Industries also offers military-grade fabrics for added reliability in critical applications. Our fabrics range in weight from 1.1 oz. to 12.0 oz. to best serve our customers’ unique projects.

If you’re looking for high-quality, American-made fabric solutions, review our product catalog for more information on our offerings, or request a quote today.

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