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Fabrics for backpacks and bags: Oxford vs Cordura.

Small clarification: we shall compare visually similar Cordura 1000D and Oxford 1200D (PU) that have similar physical parameters as well as qualitative characteristics. There are many other types of these materials (especially Oxford), but they are much easier to identify and distinguish.

For those who just want to get a quick answer without going into the essence - Cordura is more durable material than Oxford, but much more expensive. At the same time, Oxford has more than enough of positive properties to produce a quality backpack or bag.

What to choose? Let's try to explain on another example. If you need to go somewhere without things - you call a passenger taxi (that is quite enough to bring you to the right place). However, if you need to transport furniture - you call a lorry. On a lorry you can also ride without things, but is it worthwhile? At the same time, you cannot transport the furniture on a passenger taxi.

The same with Oxford and Cordura. Oxford - a reliable material that is cheap at the same time. Cordura is a more reliable material but more expensive. For ordinary use Oxford is quite enough (in normal use, the material can last for decades), for intensive use (for example, for courier backpacks, hiking backpacks, special backpacks for tools etc.) - use Cordura. But is it worthwhile to pay for Cordura if there is no real need for it? This is already everyone deciding on the basis of how intense and in what purposes plans to use a backpack or bag. Everyone decides for himself on the basis of how intense and in what purposes the use a backpack or bag is planned.

Now in more details.

Today, many types of fabrics and materials are used for the production of bags, backpacks and similar goods. Most of them have their obvious advantages and disadvantages, so it's usually easy to choose the right material that is used for the production of, for example, a backpack, if there is a clear understanding of the purpose for which it will be used.

However, there are materials that are quite difficult to distinguish. For example, Oxford and Cordura. These two materials are quite visually similar and have similar properties and this is often confusing. Also these materials are created from very similar raw materials, and therefore, even knowing the marking of the material, it is difficult to understand where Oxford and where Cordura.

Both Oxford and Cordura are synthetic material of polyamide (not a fabric), which the developers called "nylon." Since its inception, Oxford remains the material made of nylon woven fibers. Recently, Oxford is also made of polyester.

Cordura is mostly also nylon (90%), but with the addition of cotton (10%). However, the main difference is not that. The main reason for the exceptional properties of Cordura is the special method of nylon fibers weave, as well as the processing technology during material weaving. This is what guarantees the exceptional durability of Cordura (4-5 times stronger than Oxford and thanks to the use of cotton is more resistant to physical wear and tear) and guarantees the water resistance (moisture-resistant impregnation is applied directly on nylon fibers, which protects from tearing and unstuck of this protective layer). Such a technological process is rather complicated and costly, so the material is expensive.

Cordura is a very durable and reliable fabric, which, moreover, looks very expensive. The material is resistant to wear, the torn or cut part does not tear further, has a high degree of water resistance. In the same time, the material is expensive and heavy, it hardens in the cold (hardens waterproof impregnation) and if it gets wet - it dries very long.

The main positive qualities of Cordura:

- durability;

- resistance to chemical reagents;

- resistance to contamination and ease of care;

- heat resistance;

- resistance to deformation;

- aesthetic appearance;

- color stability;

- water resistance due to special impregnation.

The main negative qualities of Cordura:

- hardens in severe frost;

- loses all its positive qualities with a long exposure to sun radiation;

- if it gets wet - it dries very long.

Cordura material is designated for used in the spheres where excessive load on material is expected, permanent use, difficult weather conditions: army, courier delivery, technical support services, repairers etc. Cordura is often used in the production of hiking backpacks but there is a nuance - Cordura is a rather heavy material.

Recently, Cordura is used in the production of casual bags and backpacks. The main reasons for this are the rich appearance of the material and the qualitative characteristics that attract the seekers of a reliable and durable product.

Someone constantly tryies to fake or replace the Cordura. As a result, there are many similar materials on the market that are very similar in appearance (sometimes, in order to distinguish them, it is necessary to conduct a testing) or properties (materials worse than Cordura, but cheaper). Not all of these materials are bad and sometimes their use is even advisable. However, everything depends on the need. If Cordura is needed but only a fake or a substitute is found, that's bad, so beware and check the material. Genuine (and the best) Cordura is made in the USA. In Korea and at some certified factories in other countries, Cordura is made with almost the same quality as in the United States. Therefore, the country of origin is very important when purchasing Cordura or products made of it. In all other cases, the quality is likely to be significantly different, so we recommend avoiding goods from Cordura from other countries.

As already mentioned, Oxford is a material made of interlaced nylon or polyester fibers. Oxford by its properties is very similar to Cordura but less durable. Although nylon (polyester) fibers during the process of Oxford production are not impregnated as in Cordura, but it is done after weaving the material by impregnating with polyurethane. As a result, new Oxford made products are often even more water resistant than Cordura ones. However, since the impregnation was applied after the weaving, over time Oxford is more prone to loss of water resistance. Durability and wear resistance of Oxford is approximately 4-5 times smaller than in Cordura. But here it is necessary to understand that Oxford is a durable and hardy material, its more than enough for the production of backpacks, bags, etc., that doesn't mean that Oxford is bad, it means that Cordura is extremely durable. With ordinary use Oxford made products can easily last 10 or more years without significant loss of properties and appearance.

The main positive qualities of Oxford made from nylon:

- excellent value for money - high reliability at a fairly low price;

- durability;

- resistance to contamination and ease of care;

- resistance to chemical reagents;

- resistance to deformation (elasticity);

- aesthetic appearance;

- water resistance due to special impregnation with polyurethane.

The main negative qualities of Oxford made from nylon:

- there is not enough durability in case of excessive loads;

- after some time it is wiped out due to constant intensive exploitation;

- hardens in severe frost;

- propensity to accumulate static electricity;

- low light stability;

- water-resistant properties can be weakened over time.

Advantages of Oxford made from polyester:

- excellent value for money - high reliability at a fairly low price;

- durability;

- resistance to contamination and ease of care;

- resistance to chemical reagents;

- resistance to deformation (elasticity);

- aesthetic appearance;

- light stability;

- heat resistance;

- water resistance due to special impregnation with polyurethane.

The main disadvantage is the reduced durability and wear resistance, even compared to Oxford made from nylon.

Thus, the main choice is whether or not you really need the extraordinary durability of Cordura and whether you are ready to pay extra for it. If not, Oxford will be the best choice.