Ripstop Fabric for Traveler Bags

Ripstop Fabric for Traveler Bags
Don’t you just hate it when someone says some jargon like,
“Ripstop Nylon.”

Great, the material of my Travel Pack is made with Fabric that is supposed to stop Rips. Hmm, go figure, but how does it do it?

Rangsit, Thailand
Thammasat Rangsit University Apartment Hotel
Monday, September 8, 2008
Blog of Andy --- --- Travel Bag Design Survey --- Professional Traveler Bag

Ripstop as defined by
Rip-stop nylon is a light-weight nylon fabric with inter-woven Ripstop reinforcement threads in a crosshatch pattern, so that the material resists ripping or tearing.

They lost me on the word “Crosshatch,” I have never used that word in my life.

Well, they said Hot Airs Balloons are made from it, but trust me, I am still lost, what is Ripstop?

The balloon photo, nice photo, probably made of Ripstop fabric and this seems like a very good idea.

Ok, this is a photos of what best I can understand and determine is Ripstop Fabric. See the little white thread, they are made into little square, what must mean “Crosshatch,” however, I am not sure, and I do not really care, because I am not going to use the word again.

Each white thread is the STOP, ripstop has little squares.

So you cut, and it hit a thread that slows the pace of a rip. The Traveler Bag I am making presently is with Spectra Thread, this is one of them 10 times stronger than steel thread, like Kevlar with a different name. What is funny to me, I can cut the stuff, however it will dull a pair of scissors very fast, I cannot rip it, I must cut it.

So if you are looking at your Travel Bag, the hope is you see some little squares, you should kind of hope it is not just flat looking. Now there is another word, “Denier,” this means the size of the thread. The bag I showed a few days ago has a 500 Denier thread, the 500 is bigger, however in a way more porous, so water will go through it, while if I used a 70 Denier, it would be about the same as an umbrella, however not as strong of thread.

Small number 70 is small thread
Big number 500 is big thread.
It is the diameter of the thread.

The bigger the thread, the harder to cut, I am not sure, however Spectra is more difficult than Nylon and I think the same as Kevlar.

I can make a bag out of 100 percent 200 Denier Spectra Fabric that would be very light and strong, but one problem, the Spectra Fabric does not take dyes well, so it would be a white bag. I am not sure how many people want a white bag, it would not bother me, however not sure I am normal...

I would recommend a lesson I have learned many times, if you do not want your bag to rip. Make sure the bag is not wider than your body. My first bag had two large side pockets that caught on everything, I think I cut that bag about 10-15 times, the shoe repair people like me. The bus doors were the number one offender, jumping down from a bus, and rip.. with a stop.

Will a Spectra Ripstop or Nylon Ripstop stop a knife slash?

My answer would be NO, but it would slow them down unless their knife is very sharp.

Benefits of CORDURA® Fiber
Cordura - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
CORDURA® Brand Home Page
Units of textile measurement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BBC NEWS Americas Colombia's bullet-proof tailor
Kevlar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kevlar cloth Manufacturer exporting direct from China
Kevlar® Ballistic Laminate - GILFAB 1360A - Buy Here
Kevlar® brand fiber is an innovative technology from DuPont
Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Reviews of Hiking - Backpacking Packs
Ballistic nylon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ripstop nylon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
DSM - Dyneema® - Home
DSM - Innovative products and services in life sciences and materials sciences - Fabrics - Aramid and High Performance Data Sheets
Spectra Fiber in Custom Applications
Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ripstop Fabric for Traveler Bags


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I assume you're actually using Spectra Grid fabric for your pack, and not full Spectra. So, only the outlined white threads on your pack are Spectra - the remainder is regular nylon - usually 210HT but can be higher. And because the white threads are Spectra, they are very resistand to tearing - hence the term, ripstop. The nylon in between these threads will tear/puncture relatively easy.

I ask for clarification, because pure Spectra fabric is very expensive - making your pack cost between $400-600 US. Is that the direction you're going?

Yes, you are describing Ripstop Materials, I assume I will use a Ripstop, however it is possible I use a 100 percent Spectra Fabric.

I am weighing the advantages and disadvantages of fabrics still at this time. I will try to purchase many samples and evaluate the pros and cons.

I am heading for the best possible fabrics on the market that achieve the goals of the Traveler Bag. The survey on this site does not indicate slashing a bag to enter is a problem. I personally know one person who had a daybag slashed in Morroco, however I am postive any bag needs a method of chaining the Traveler Bag to a pole or fence or other immovable objects because I know many people who have had the whole bag stolen.

Spectra Ripstop is good, 100 spectra is white, and would tell teh whole world it is a valuable bag, this creates a security problem as other travelers woulld maybe steal it. I do not wish to have a bag that obviously is valuable, these are the bags that get stolen by other traveler, not really the locals.

Durablity is less of a problem for the fabric, most fabrics will wear for years, however stopping a rip from spreading is a need, because bags do rip.

There is a brittle nature to 100 percent Spectra so I am 80 percent sure I am not going to use 100 percent Spectra or Kevlar, they are not obviously the best fabrics for a Traveler Bag. Although using a spectra ripstop does seem like a good idea.

This bag seems to stretch, I am not sure why, however this bag is meant to be of carry on size, stretching makes it bigger.

The goal is to make the best possible bag, the cost of the materials does not truly increase the cost of any bag. The costof bags is not really correlated to the cost to produce.

My gut feeling is regular ripstop nylon will prove too light and delicate for a bag. Though it has stop threads the whole fabric will wear, creating holes.

The Spectra fabric you have is good, but cordura would also make a good bag. Though other weights are available, 500 denier is usually used for this type of application.

For a weight savings you may want to look at "packcloth". It comes coated and uncoated and is usually lighter weight than 500 cordura.

here's some links for reference:


The Spectra Ripstop was the best possible fabric I could find.

I am trying to access the wear of fabrics, strange as it sounds the cloth on bags does not normally get worn. IF it does get weak or worn in spots, it is normally because I packed something wrong.

For example, I have a steel dutch cooker, if this is just places in the bottom of the bag, the metal would rub against the sides and could wear a hole in ONE trip.

If I had a hair brush against the side of the bag, it could wear a hotel in the side. However normal abrasion from touching the side of a bus does not normally cause a problem, however wet food items in the bottom of bus compartments often causes a problem.

I am becoming more aware that knowing how to pack a bag instructions is needed. There is the simple roll up your clothes tip, however to simple.

I pack my bag also for internal support, I pack it so the items in the bag provide support to the bag.

I put softer items on the side to alllow the side to be padded, and create a security layer if someone decide to cut the bag. I often place dirty underwear and socks on top of all the other items so when the customs opens they really have not desire to continue.

I have written many tips about how to pack a bag, however no comprehensive step by step procedure.

No bag I can envision will withstand a Traveler who packs difficult items in silly ways.

I pack light bulbs every trip, I carry lightbulbs and they do not break.

I see many traveler drag bags through airport on the floor, this for sure is a problem.

There seems to be a ying and a yang to a bag, any and all bags need to have special care. Then we hope they survive when the baggage handlers and taxi drivers take over the job.

I have found that the Sailboat Fabrics suppliers have better fabrics and more knowlegeable than the outdoor fabric groups. They have a much harsher use of fabrics than a traveler bag.

HI Mr. Andy,
Ive been meandering around the links you gave for materials and various bags. There's a whole universe of bags out there. Just out of curiousity I chased the links for biggest concensus of quality packs. As you point out regularly, the Artful Dodgers are well schooled in recognizing telltale signs of opportunity for booty.
The crosshatch pattern could possibly be one such sign.
McHales packs for example.

They also have a very interesting page on the pitfalls of manufacturing and construction of bags overseas. As if written by the illustrious Hobo himself..hehe.

An extremely simple feature you may find interesting is the "daisy chain" method of attaching other bags in almost any conceavable arrangement. Maybe not too practical, but I marveled at its function and simplicity.
A side note, I was sidetracked by boots and footwear of similar pathetic manufacturing pitfalls. Definite signs that consumers are revolting at all the garbage being thrown at us from China. Expecially when some brands over 100 years old made in USA were once reknowned for quality. Somehting else more or less confirmed my thoughts on manufacturing. Some things such as boots were USA materials, but also used Poland or other eastern europe manufacturing. Zero loss of quality, while lower production cost. Almost a bait and switch dirty tactic now with lesser materials, lesser quality of production and pisspoor performance.

Fashion, labels and a pretty face are dominating the Bag, Shoe and Clothing industry. Plus the cost of a product just does not seem to phase the average buy.

Therefore marketing and spin has taken over the market. I notice the comments by readers often only are pointing out the look, feel, and fashion of a bag, it is like there is not ability for critical thought.

I do however believe that the best quality on the market will always have a place. I am sad when a high quality company sells out to the marketing dollars they can receive for just putting a product out.

I know 100 percent, I could just take the average wonderful looking bag with colors, shapes, small gadget pockets and place my name on the bag. People would puchase, and I probably would more money than the bag I am making.

I often think about calling the bag "The Ugly."

Because, damn if I am going to have some truly beautiful bag on my body, I refuse to get robbed just to be fashionable. I want the bag to look plain on the outside, with the best quality possible.

Doing business in Asis or these cheap countries does not have to sacrifice quality. The company just has to slow down the companies and start small, keep the quality in line, however quality is not the motivation, money is the motivation.

I truly do not need the money, I am doing this more for the love of a good Traveler Bag.

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