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Polyester Vs Cordura




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When it comes to choosing the right fabric for your outdoor gear or clothing, the age-old debate between polyester and Cordura is one that often comes up.

Both polyester and Cordura have their own set of unique qualities that make them suitable for different applications.

In this detailed blog post, we will dive deep into the world of these two fabrics, comparing their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately helping you make an informed decision on which one to choose for your specific needs.

A Brief History of Polyester and Cordura

Polyester: The Synthetic Powerhouse

Polyester, a synthetic fiber, was first introduced to the world in the early 1940s by a team of British scientists. Since then, it has become one of the most widely used fabrics across the globe.

600D (and higher “D”) polyester will share some of the same attributes as cordura.

Polyester is known for its durability, lightweight nature, and versatility. It is used in various industries, from clothing and home furnishings to industrial applications.

Cordura: The Rugged Warrior

Cordura, on the other hand, is a brand name for a collection of fabrics that are primarily made from nylon. It was initially developed during World War II for use in military equipment and has since been used for various heavy-duty applications such as outdoor gear, luggage, and workwear.

Cordura fabrics are revered for their exceptional durability and resistance to abrasions, making them perfect for demanding environments.

Comparing the Properties


When it comes to durability, Cordura takes the lead. Cordura fabrics are known for their incredible resistance to abrasions, tears, and scuffs, making them ideal for use in heavy-duty applications such as outdoor gear or workwear.

Polyester, while still durable, does not offer the same level of toughness as Cordura.

Water Resistance

Both polyester and Cordura have a degree of water resistance, but they handle it differently. Polyester is naturally hydrophobic, meaning it repels water and dries quickly.

Cordura, being primarily made from nylon, is more absorbent, but it can be treated with a water-resistant coating to improve its water-repelling capabilities.

Overall, if water resistance is a priority, polyester is the better choice.


Polyester, being a synthetic material, is not very breathable, which can be problematic for clothing meant to be worn in warmer temperatures. Cordura, while still not as breathable as natural fibers like cotton, is generally more breathable than polyester, making it a better choice for clothing that needs to be both durable and breathable.

Weight and Packability

Polyester is generally lighter than Cordura, making it a more suitable choice for applications where weight is a concern, such as backpacking or hiking gear. Additionally, polyester fabrics tend to be more packable, easily compressing down to a small size for storage or transport.

Environmental Impact

Both polyester and Cordura are synthetic materials, which means they are derived from non-renewable resources and can have a negative environmental impact. Polyester is made from petroleum-based materials and requires a large amount of energy and water for production. Cordura, being primarily nylon-based, is also resource-intensive to produce.

It’s worth noting that both fabrics can be made from recycled materials, which can help to reduce their environmental impact.

Pricing and Availability

When it comes to pricing and availability, polyester has a clear advantage. Polyester is more widely available and generally less expensive than Cordura. This is due in part to the fact that polyester is more widely produced and used in a greater variety of applications.

Which Fabric to Choose: Application-Specific Recommendations

Outdoor Gear

For outdoor gear that needs to withstand harsh conditions and heavy use, Cordura is the better option. Its durability and abrasion resistance make it perfect for items like backpacks, tents, and hiking boots.


The choice between polyester and Cordura for clothing largely depends on the intended use and desired properties. For activewear or clothing that needs to be lightweight and water-resistant, polyester is the better choice. For workwear or clothing that needs to be highly durable and resistant to abrasions, Cordura is the way to go.

Home Furnishings

For home furnishings like curtains or upholstery, polyester is generally the more practical choice. It’s more affordable, widely available, and offers a greater variety of colors and textures.


In conclusion, the choice between polyester and Cordura largely depends on the specific needs of your project.Here are ten quick facts to help you make your decision:

1. Polyester is a synthetic fiber, while Cordura is a brand name for a collection of fabrics primarily made from nylon.
2. Cordura is more durable and abrasion-resistant than polyester.
3. Polyester is more water-resistant than untreated Cordura.
4. Cordura is generally more breathable than polyester.
5. Polyester is lighter and more packable than Cordura.
6. Both fabrics have a negative environmental impact, but recycled options are available.
7. Polyester is more affordable and widely available than Cordura.
8. Cordura is better for heavy-duty outdoor gear, while polyester is better for lightweight, water-resistant applications.
9. The choice of fabric for clothing depends on the intended use and desired properties.
10. Polyester is more practical for home furnishings, thanks to its affordability and wide range of options.


What is a substitute for Cordura?

One possible substitute for Cordura is ballistic nylon, which is also a durable and abrasion-resistant synthetic fabric commonly used in outdoor and military gear. Other alternatives include Kevlar and high-tenacity polyester.

Which is better 500D or 1000D?

It depends on your specific needs and preferences. The 500D has a higher resolution sensor and better low light performance, while the 1000D has a longer battery life and is more affordable. Consider your priorities for image quality, budget, and shooting conditions to determine which camera is better for you.

What is the difference between 500D Cordura and 1000D polyester?

500D Cordura is a type of nylon fabric that is known for its durability and resistance to abrasions, tears, and punctures. It is lighter in weight compared to 1000D polyester, which is a synthetic fabric that is also durable and resistant to wear and tear. However, 1000D polyester is heavier and more rigid than 500D Cordura. Ultimately, the choice between these two materials depends on the specific application and the desired level of durability and weight.

Is Xpac better than Cordura?

It depends on the specific use case and requirements. Xpac is known for being lightweight and highly water-resistant, making it a popular choice for outdoor gear and backpacks. Cordura, on the other hand, is more abrasion-resistant and durable, making it a good choice for heavy-duty applications like military gear and luggage. Ultimately, the choice between Xpac and Cordura will depend on the specific needs of the product and the user.

What is stronger than Cordura?

There are several materials that are stronger than Cordura, such as Kevlar, Dyneema, and Spectra.

Is Cordura polyester?

Yes, Cordura is a type of polyester fabric that is known for its durability and abrasion resistance.

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