Cordura has been around for decades, but its new fabrics keep innovating

how cordura created the incredibly strong t420ht 15894986 10155216666995101 721900348742805027 n
CORDURA® Brand Fabric/Facebook
Invista’s Cordura brand has for decades produced linchpin textiles for unforgiving applications designed to keep hard workers and adventurists productive and protected in the most extreme scenarios. Outdoor gear manufacturer Kelty adopted Cordura for use in the iconic Serac external frame backpack of the 1970s. Fellow early adopters of Cordura technology included powerhouse JanSport as well as the legendary Dana Gleason of Kletterwerks, Dana Designs, and Mystery Ranch fame.

Today, Cordura textiles are found in products intended to help protect a motorcyclist from injury during a fall, to carry heavy loads in a backpack over long distances through unfriendly terrain, and to outfit hands-on worksite staff for demanding environments.

That reputation for excellence might explain why the armed forces look to Cordura for dependable nylon and cotton blends to use in their clothing. Soon, these high-performance blends will be getting a next-generation upgrade.

Born from two years of research and development at the same Delaware facility responsible for the original commercialization of nylon 6,6 in the late 1960s, the latest “high tenacity” T420HT nylon 6,6 fiber offers improved performance across the board in the “Nyco” fabric blends where it will be found.

One such fabric featuring the new fiber, the 5.4 ounce per square yard Nyco Extreme, features a 55 percent T420HT and 45 percent cotton mix that Cordura claims is 18 percent lighter and 10 times more breathable than 50 percent T420 and 50 percent cotton, 6.5 ounce per square yard military spec fabrics using the original fiber based on preliminary laboratory test results.

The jump in performance stems from tweaks to the nylon 6,6 at the molecular fiber level.

The jump in performance stems from tweaks to the nylon 6,6 at the molecular fiber level. The upgrades allow for the manufacture of lightweight, abrasion resistant, high tensile strength fabrics that hold up through extreme abuse with the potential of lower replace and repaired frequencies.

For many outdoor enthusiasts, the Cordura brand of fabrics have long been synonymous with durability. If end-users have enjoyed the current product for so long, what drove the development of a new, even more resilient fiber?

“We listened to the needs of the US military,” says Cindy McNaull, global Cordura brand and marketing director. “Every time you see a US military uniform, that’s us.” You can expect to see the new T420HT fiber used in clothing worn in all branches of the military, she notes. “Lighter and stronger” is the goal, one Cordura always works towards.

Lighter, stronger, more breathable, quick to dry materials have obvious battlefield advantages, but what about advantages for the consumer market? Cordura envisions the T420HT fiber making its way to lifestyle denim products like super durable skateboarding jeans and rugged workwear that hold up better than many existing products without placing new aesthetic requirements onto apparel makers. Clothing manufacturer Dickies is one of the early adopters of the new material and has plans to use it in upcoming apparel lines.

Expect to see more from Cordura – like this attractive collaboration with Cone Denim — as they celebrate their 50th year as a brand. When asked about other upcoming material improvements, such as fabrics with greater flame resistant properties, Cindy at Cordura says, “hold that thought”.


Don’t call it retro. Atari’s VCS is a modern console for PC gamers

You might think the Atari VCS is another retro console like the Nintendo SNES Classic or Sega Genesis Mini. You'd be wrong. Atari's VCS is actually a modern console that runs PC hardware. Yes, it can play Atari games, but it does much more.

Will Detroit be the ultimate test for Argo A.I.’s self-driving Ford?

Ford-backed Argo A.I. revealed its third-generation autonomous prototype in Detroit. Based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the car is fitted with technology that sees better and further, thinks faster, and is more comfortable to ride in.

Can the 3900X beat the 9900K to become the best gaming CPU in the world?

One of the most important head to head hardware battles in 2019 is the Core i9-9900K vs. Ryzen 9 3900X. Whichever wins will be the best gaming processor the world has ever seen. Here's why we think the winner deserves the crown.

Here are the dates and times for your favorite publishers' E3 2019 conferences

E3 2019 has arrived, featuring conferences from some of the biggest game publishers in the world. Here is the E3 2019 conference schedule, as well as the highlights thus far and what we think is yet to come.

Home Depot Memorial Day sale drops prices on grills, tools, and appliances

Though Memorial Day sales traditionally begin the weekend before the actual day itself, Home Depot has already released its discounts. You can save up to 40% on major appliances, grills, and power tools for a limited time.

Olympus launches Tough TG-6 waterproof compact, and we’re not entirely sure why

With a spec sheet nearly identical to that of its predecessor, we're having a hard time figuring out what's new about the Olympus Tough TG-6. A new flash diffuser and fisheye adapter were also announced.

REI cuts prices on Garmin Fenix 5 and Suunto 3 fitness smartwatches

REI is currently dropping prices on Garmin Fenix and Suunto smartwatches for its anniversary sale. With fitness tracking, GPS, and smartphone connectivity, a solid wearable is one of the best companions outdoorsmen could wish for.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Health & Fitness

Forget foam. This fluid-filled helmet mimics your brain to protect your head

Fluid Inside is a protective system for designed to prevent injuries not only to the skull of an athlete but brain trauma as well using an innovative approach that is adaptable to cycling, skiing, hockey, and other sports.

Stay toasty in the best lightweight backpacking sleeping bags you can buy

Whether you're a cold sleeper, desire a bag with heaps of features, or consider yourself an ultralight backpacker who will settle for half a bag, here are our picks for the best backpacking sleeping bags currently available.

Apple Maps adds Street View-style imagery, but with a neat trick

A revamped Apple Maps is on the way, bringing with it a bunch of new features that include a Street View-style tool called Look Around. According to the demo, it includes a neat advantage over Google Maps, too.

Bird to expand its shared fleet with this 2-seat moped-like machine

Bird's rentable scooters are available in more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and now it's planning to add a moped-like electric bike to its fleet. The Cruiser is a chunky two-wheeler with a large seat for two people.

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…

The best Father’s Day gifts for outdoorsy, adventure-loving dads

For Father's Day 2019 forget the ties and socks and give your adventurous and outdoorsy dad the gifts that he really wants to take with him on his hiking and camping excursions in the backcountry.