Aug 17, 2005 at 8:31 am #1216636
Polyester appears to have two very desirable characteristics if used as a shelter fabric.
1) Hydrophobicity (compared to nylon) could make the gear easier to dry out in the morning or after rain showers. Wet gear is pretty heavy.
2) UV resistance.
I’m aware of the fact that nylon has a greater abrasion resistance but does that really matter? I have an Epic -35F bag and abrasion resistance is probably the last consideration for its intended application. Also, MEC (at one point) offered polyester-faced Gore-Tex so I think there must be some progress in closing the strength/weight gap between nylon and polyester.
Thoughts?Aug 17, 2005 at 11:34 am #1340473
Polyester also stretches less than nylon, which is desirable for a fly or tarp. With silicone rubber impregnation as a coating, the coating adds to the strength of the fabric. Urethane coatings on nylon actually reduce the tear strength of an uncoated fabric, requiring heavier base fabric weights for a particular finished strength.
Personally I prefer polyester for windshirts, and have seen a few Goretex garments that use polyester. This makes sense as polyester fabrics with good dwr treatments hold up well and shed water remarkably well. I’d like to find a good dwr treated 1.1oz breathable polyester such as what Marmot used in their Chinook windshirt, but haven’t found any through the usual cottage industry outlets.
I think the outdoor industry prevalence for using nylon has to do with its traditional availability after WWII when fabric mills geared up for all manner of military and civilian uses for the fiber. Nylon is cheap, common, and available in many grades, forms, and colors. While it will always be stronger than nylon, for most uses a suitable polyester could be substituted just fine. Sails have been made of dacron polyester for decades, and a sail sees considerable windloading. For a ground hugging shelter, lightweight polyester fabrics as used in the SpinTarp perform amazingly. They provide less durability margin for accidents like falling branches however.Aug 17, 2005 at 11:35 am #1340474
Correct that to say “while nylon will always be stronger than polyester for ag iven weight or denier..”Aug 17, 2005 at 3:08 pm #1340484
My understanding is that epic is a silicon encapsulated polyester and that silicon treatment gives it more abrasion resistance/ tear strength. However, at 2.6 oz/ sq yrd its pretty heavy. I’m wondering if the inherent hydrophobicity of polyester can’t be exploited by DWR treatment of the outer side of the fabric while leaving the inner face untreated. Maybe that would help to “shift” the dewpoint of the material to the outer face of the fabric?
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