Most people buying tactical gear today will be purchasing gear made of nylon fabric, whether Cordura or otherwise. So here’s the scoop on the three layers that make up this fabric.
Usually the top coating will be a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) that serves as a stain release and water resistant barrier. It could also be an anti-microbial, anti-static, anti-fungal, or wicking layer depending on the needs of the end user.
Middle (Woven) layer:
The woven fabric is the foundation of the textile. It provides the strength and abrasion resistance and is measured in denier. Typical denier weights are 210, 420, 500, or 1000. Ballistic nylon is 1680D.
In most fabrics, the bottom layer is a water proof barrier made from an applied film or coating, typically polyurethane (PU). It can have a multi-ply configuration that might include a waterproof/breathable film and a protective and wicking layer. Many of the attributes of the Top Layer are often added or duplicated in the Bottom Layer. If the fabric is treated with fire retardant, the back of the fabric often looks like it has a milky residue. Military grade (MilSpec) nylon will often add an IR reflective coating and cost a bit more than otherwise equivelant commercial variants.
Well made tactical nylon fabric and webbing will have superior durability and abrasion resistance which equate into long service life.Tactical gear built overseas using knock-off nylon typically does not have the abrasion resistance and durability that most people desire in their go-to-gear.
Back on the farm we never seemed to have the time or money to get the job done right, but we always seemed to find it the second time something needed to be replaced. Buy your tactical gear right the first time!