Ah, CORDURA. For outdoorsy folks, this is the fabric of our lives. A tough nylon hybrid used in everything from caving suits (see image below) to backpacks and duffle bags. It’s a commodity material used by hundreds of outdoors gear companies, and this month the fabric is celebrating its 30th birthday. So, I thought a little tribute to CORDURA might be in order, as well as a bit of deep-diggin’ information on all you wanted to ever know about this mainstay miracle fabric. . .
The CORDURA brand of nylon-based fabrics (www.cordura.com) is used in the manufacture of luggage, backpacks, boots, and apparel. It’s a commodity material produced by INVISTA of Wilmington, Delaware, and used by hundreds of outdoors gear companies.
CORDURA, known for its long-lasting durability and resistance to abrasions, comes in the following fabric weights and textures:
>Ultra Light Weight Nylon Ripstop Fabrics (30, 70, 100 denier)
>Nylon/Cotton Blends for Workwear and Denim
>Textured Nylon Bottom Weights (160, 330 denier)
>Light Weight Nylon Packcloths (210, 420 denier)
>Textured Nylon or Polyester Packcloths (300, 500, 1000 denier)
>Heavy Weight Nylon Ballistic Fabrics (630, 840, and 1050 denier)
How durable is CORDURA? Ounce for ounce, according to INVISTA literature, CORDURA has a superior strength-to-weight ratio over most fabrics on the market. For example, classic CORDURA fabrics made from INVISTA high-tenacity airjet textured nylon is 10 times more durable than cotton duck, three times more durable than standard polyester, and twice as durable as standard nylon.
Finally, if you’re really into this stuff, here’s a time line of events on the CORDURA calendar since 1977. Go Ripstop!
2007 INVISTA celebrates 30-year anniversary of CORDURA brand at the
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.
2007 Aunde Italia gains adoption of their CORDURA automotive upholstery
fabric in seating of Fiat’s new Cinquicento model.
2006 Nike adopts CORDURA for their collection of packs and luggage
2004 On April 30, subsidiaries of Koch Industries, Inc., acquired INVISTA from
DuPont which included the CORDURA brand and all associated
2003 U.S. military adopts CORDURA fabric based on new 725-denier high
tenacity yarn for use in Marine Corps rucksack.
2003 INVISTA introduces CORDURA high performance polyester fabrics to
further expand fabric design capabilities for bags, packs and luggage.
2002 U.S. military adopts CORDURA solution-dyed nylon with enhanced infra
red signature reduction and camouflage technology.
2002 INVISTA launches a new family of ultra-lightweight CORDURA fabrics
using family of lightweight, high tenacity yarns.
2002 INVISTA launches CORDURA Ballistic as new luggage brand using
high tenacity filament yarns.
2001 INVISTA redefines and re-launches CORDURA as its durable fabric
brand and expands the family of high tenacity yarns to better serve the
market demand for newness and innovation.
2001 The CORDURA brand’s parent company is now named INVISTA with a
renewed focus on delivering superior value and innovation to the global
2000 New production capacity in Korea is commissioned to meet growing
demand for CORDURA fabrics in the Asia/Pacific region.
1998 A new, state-of-the-art production asset in Chattanooga is commissioned
to make CORDURA specialty yarns.
1998 CORDURA Plus Colorlock™ solution-dyed nylon (SDN) yarn is
launched for enhanced color consistency and fade resistance targeted for
1997 A new production facility is installed in England to produce CORDURA
nylon yarn to meet growing demand in the European market.
1996 CORDURA Plus Natural™ is launched for fabrics with the look and feel
of cotton and the durability of nylon.
1995 A lighter weight 160-denier CORDURA Plus nylon yarn is developed for
apparel and knit fabric applications.
1993 A lighter–weight, 330-denier CORDURA Plus nylon yarn is developed
for apparel fabric applications.
1993 Capacity of the Chattanooga asset is increased to meet growing global
demand of CORDURA yarns.
1991 U.S. military adopts CORDURA fabrics to replace leather in lightweight
durable combat boots.
1989 500-denier CORDURA Plus nylon yarn is launched for lighter weight
1988 CORDURA Plus brand is launched for softer, more tactile fabrics used
in daypacks, handbags, and upholstery.
1982 The world’s first coupled texturing machine is commissioned in
Chattanooga, Tennessee to produce CORDURA nylon yarn.
1978 JanSport adopts CORDURA for their new line of daypacks.
1977 CORDURA brand for newly developed, fully dyeable 1000-denier air-jet
textured nylon 6,6 yarn is launched which stimulates growth of the softsided