Nylon and polyester are both lightweight and durable synthetic fabrics that share many of the same properties, such as easy care and resistance towards wrinkling, stretching, shrinking and abrasion – and both are naturally hydrophobic, which mean they absorb very little water.
Nylon was originally created as a substitute for silk and generally has a smoother texture than polyester. Nylon has a silky texture while polyester has more of a fibre feeling. Even though nylon is more stretchable than polyester it is still extremely durable and is generally considered a very strong fabric. Compared to polyester, nylon has very good resistance to abrasion, fungi, chemicals, and even mildew.
Nylon can be produced in very fine qualities making it possible to create nylon yarn down to 7D, which is extremely light weight.
Polyester is a sturdy and durable material that gives you great value for money. It is strong, crisp and resilient whether being wet or dry. Polyester is more heat-resistant and UV resistant than nylon, and it is also slightly more fast-drying than nylon. Polyester fabrics also tends to be slightly more wrinkle resistant than nylon fabrics.
Even though modern polyester can be quite soft and in some ways match the nylon handfeel, polyester is generally a rougher fabric than nylon, which is why it has traditionally been used in outerwear garment.
Polyester can only be produced down to 20D which sets a natural barrier for producing extreme light weight fabric from polyester.
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fibre that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of cotton plants. The fibre is spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times.
Cotton has been used for many, many years as it is very comfortable and in the brushed version cotton can be extremely soft and nice to touch. Cotton is a great material if weight is not an issue.
Shell & lining
The fabric used for sleeping bags are divided into two main categories: the shell fabric and the lining. Both types need to contain and keep the filling in place, so the density is often high.
The shell fabric of a sleeping bag typically has a high density to ensure that no fibre or down will leave their intended place and that the filling (down or synthetic) inside the bag is held firmly in place in the chambers. The shell fabric is thicker and more rugged to protect the bag when in use.
The lining fabric is the only part of the bag that has direct contact with your body so the lining is often thinner, lighter and thereby softer in order to offer the best possible comfort. For the Nordisk sleeping bags we use a variation of soft nylon, brushed polyester or cotton depending on the type of sleeping bag. Generally the lining fabric is chosen to optimise perspiration management and the softness inside the bag.