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The 3 Best Fabrics To Use Outdoors

Precipitation, humidity, temperature, and UV/sun are all factors when it comes to outdoor gear in quote "good" or "bad" weather. Selecting the appropriate fabric to use in making gear for the outdoors is extremely vital to its ability to perform in the harshest of conditions. Let’s break down three of the best fabrics for use in outdoor gear and which ones "weather" better than others.


Polyester is a tough, versatile fabric. Polyester works well outside because it is resistant to stretching, abrasion, mold/mildew, and rot - it’s also lightweight and flexible. Polyester can come vinyl-backed which adds to its inherent durability. Solution-dyed polyester is especially great for outdoor use - it has exceptional UV/sun resistance and wear properties. Not to mention, solution-dyed fabrics are much better for the environment (less water waste is used during production).

Our stock fabrics to check out:

This fabric is lightweight, yet tough and durable. It features a fire-resistant UV coating making it ideal for tents or awnings.

This fabric is tough. It’s designed for rugged and harsh conditions – yet is very economical. It’s the perfect choice for boat covers or tents due to its water and mildew-resistant qualities. Looking for a versatile fabric that could work for multiple projects? This material has almost endless uses for outdoor and sporting goods applications.

We also stock 600D polyester with medium/heavy vinyl backing.


Nylon has a lot of the same qualities as polyester but also some key differences. One difference being nylon has superior abrasion resistance - making it the choice fabric for use in military and pet applications. Nylon is easy to wash, extremely versatile, and somewhat UV resistant. It’s also extremely quick-drying and highly water-repellent when finished with DWR!

Nylon really is one of the most versatile fabrics in the textile industry - so it is no surprise that it (and blends of nylon like our stretch wovens) have many common outdoor uses such as bags and packs, tents, tarps, dog gear, and outdoor apparel.

Our stock fabrics to check out:

500D/1000D NYLON
Both 500D nylon and 1000D nylon are made of a nylon weave that varies in thickness. Although they are both made from the same material, the 500D weave is made from thinner yarn than the 1000D. 1000D is known to have a greater puncture and rip resistance over the 500D, but both are highly durable fabrics that hold their color (especially solution-dyed nylon) and are built to last. Our stock 500D nylon is domestic/mil-spec (Berry Compliant). We offer domestic, import, and mil-spec (Berry Compliant) options of 1000D nylon.

We also offer 1000D Nylon CORDURA Brand TrueLock™ Fabric in coyote brown, ranger green, and wolf gray. This fabric is specifically designed for high-performance and long-lasting color and is the preferred fabric of militaries and outdoor enthusiasts all over the world.

These fabrics are various mixes of nylon/polyester and spandex. Those styles with nylon give you the excellent inherent abrasion resistance of nylon with a bit of stretch from the spandex that makes these fabrics especially great for outdoor and performance apparel.


Ripstop is technically not a specific fabric but a weave that is done in many different synthetic fabrics (polyester, nylon, and blends). The weaving technique used to make this fabric stops rips from spreading once they begin - hence the name “ripstop”. Ripstop fabrics have unique uses, especially when it comes to the outdoors. They are commonly used in rain jackets and camping equipment like tents and sleeping bags. Kites, parachutes, and flags are commonly made from ripstops, too. Ripstops are easy to identify because of the square, cross-stitch pattern they have.

Our stock fabrics to check out:

70D (1.9 OZ.) RIPSTOP
This fabric is breathable and lightweight - yet provides excellent strength/durability. It’s also finished with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) which helps water bead up and roll off the fabric. Our domestic option also features a fire-resistant UV coating. Typical outdoor applications include hammocks, tents, stuff sacks, and lining for bags or jackets.


Lucky for you, we stock all three of these fabrics in many different varieties, deniers, and colors. Please let us know if you need fabric for your next outdoor gear or apparel project. Contact us or give us a call at 440-899-8050 for pricing, samples, and more information.

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