EQUIPMENT: Common Material, Fiber and Technology Names
In this article, you can get acquainted with some of the most common names of fabrics, fibers, and technologies that you will encounter when choosing equipment.
Ripstop Ripstop is a weaving technology in which the strands twist so that they reinforce the fabric structure and make it more resistant to tearing. During the weaving, dense reinforcing threads are interwoven at regular intervals (typically 5 to 8 mm). This also gives a specific kind of fabric whose structure looks like it is divided into small squares.
The big advantages of the technology are the ratio of the strength to the weight of the fabric and the fact that small tears and holes cannot grow freely. The materials used in ripstop weaving can be cotton, silk, polyester and polypropylene. Nylon is also commonly used, but only for the main reinforcing thread.
Polar fleece (often fleece / fleece only) - Polar fleece is a very lightweight, heat-insulating, soft and fluffy fabric. It is made of a type of polyester called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is hydrophobic (but not waterproof), retains water less than 1% by weight. It can be washed in the washing machine and dried very quickly. A good alternative is to natural wool for people sensitive or allergic to it. It is preferred by mountaineers because of its light weight. Contact with fire does not burn but melts. Plain fleece is not windproof. As a minus, it can be said that it makes it difficult to evaporate the sweat, but still, it is insulating matter.
Thinsulate is a micro-fabric used for thermal insulation in the manufacture of specialized clothing and footwear. When compared to other insulating materials, such as polyester, the fabric offers extremely high thermal insulation on a twice as thin surface. Its various varieties are composed of a combination of polymers, including polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene. One of its main advantages is the high degree of "breathing" and the fact that virtually no moisture reaches the inner layers of the products manufactured with Tinsulite.
Gore-Tex- Gortex is one of the most widely used climatic membranes, invented in 1978. It combines two main characteristics: waterproofing and breathing. It is thin and light, but also very durable. It has a microporous structure and is made of stretched poly-tetra-fluoro-ethylene (ePTFE). There are 1.4 billion pores per square meter of ePTFE. These pores are many times smaller than the actual size of the water molecules. In this way, water in its liquid form (eg rain or melting snow) cannot penetrate the gortex membrane. At the same time, the evaporating sweat is absorbed completely from the membrane and is "thrown out" from the inside of the garment or shoe. The result is that the membrane is both breathable and impermeable.
Cordura - Cordura is 100% polyamide nylon fiber. Its production uses pure polyamide fibers, which are twisted several times. This technology makes the fiber more resistant to friction than ordinary nylon fibers. The corduroy outfit is characterized by exceptional strength and durability, while keeping the fabrics high in elasticity.
Kevlar - Kevlar is an organic polymer, para-aramid fiber, resistant to moisture and rot. The fibers of this material have striking strengths. A Kevlar sample is up to 5 times stronger than a steel sample of the same weight. The kevlar also has high thermal insulation ability and heat resistance. Due to its characteristics, kevlar is often added to other materials in order to enhance their various characteristics. Its qualities make it indispensable in the production of bulletproof vests, military equipment and workwear, protective clothing. It is also used in the automotive, aircraft and military equipment industries.
Hardshell - Generally, this is a class of clothing (usually jackets, but may be a set of top and bottom) that is completely wind and waterproof. Different fabrics are used in their production, and the quality ones have a breathable membrane (for example, hortex) that allows the sweat to evaporate. They are always used as the top layer of clothing. However, with very active activity, evaporation of sweat across the membrane may be difficult. Also, to preserve the properties for longer, the membrane needs to be treated with cleaning and impregnating sprays (tailored to the type of membrane).
Softshell - Also a class of clothing (most often jackets, but also pants). They are highly breathable, supple and allow maximum freedom of movement. Unlike hardshell fabrics, they are partly windy and waterproof (lighter rain or snow). Optimally retain body heat during active activity. The variety of soft shell fabrics is quite large, and accordingly there are differences in terms of insulation properties, water resistance, stretchability and other indicators. The characteristic of all of them is that they are very light. In general, they have high wear resistance, which makes them suitable for everyday use. Softshell jackets can be worn as the outer layer of clothing or as an intermediate insulation layer.