What Are Backpacks Made Of?

Last Updated on May 20, 2021

Herschel Retreat Vs Little AmericaIf you are someone who is interested in investing some money in a new backpack, then I am sure you might have some questions about it.

One of the most important questions is: “What are backpacks made of?”

This is a piece of crucial information required as with it, you get to know what you need.

Backpacks are made of a number of different materials, all of them are needed for a range of occasions and for various activities.

The strength and the features of the fabric also determine what some of these backpacks can be used for.

I am going to break down all the fabrics and provide you with sufficient information.

Let’s get to know more about the making of backpacks!

Fabrics Used for Backpacks

Here we’ll introduce you to different types of fabrics.


Leather backpacks are more commonly seen as luxury items as they are very expensive. But they are also the strongest and the most durable. If you take care of the leather properly, then it will stay with you for decades.


One of the most fabric used to make backpacks is nylon. It is made of Polyamides, which is converted into fiber. The conversion of this plastic to nylon is what allows the fiber to be woven and made into backpacks.

There are a number of different types of nylon used to make backpacks. All of them have their own uses. Now, the main reason why nylon has become the most popular and commonly used fabric for backpacks is its strength and durability. Along with that, these backpacks are able to resist extreme temperatures.


The name of the fabric itself should let you in on what this might be good for. Ripstop nylon is one of the most common types of nylon used as the fabric does not rip. The way it has been interwoven allows the fabric to be much stronger than others, which is why it stays together no matter how stressful the environment.


This type of nylon was processed for something different entirely. But when it was seen how strong and durable the single 1000D nylon thread was, making backpacks with it seemed to be a very logical step. This is usually made of both nylon and polyester, so the performance of backpacks made by this ought to be amazing.

The 500D Cordura is one of the most popular and weighs about 8 ounces per yard.

Ballistic Nylon

Just reading the name of this fabric might present you with an image of backpacks used in the military or police. The fabric was initially brought to use for men in the line of duty. But as soon as its potential was discovered, it was soon being used for backpacks too.

It is a 1050D material, meaning it is strong and very durable. Along with that, ballistic nylon can be water-resistant too.


When it comes to popularity, I would say nylon and polyester are very neck to neck. Both of them are very commonly used and equally reliable material for backpacks. This is also a type of plastic that is converted into fiber needed for weaving the backs.

There are many reasons why this has become such a common choice. Bags made using polyester don’t wrinkle or crease very easily, and they are also very durable. Another thing worth noting here is that even though it is a type of plastic, it has a very high melting point, meaning you are not at risk of a melted backpack in a hot climate.

The most commonly used one is the 600D polyester, which is basically a 9000-meter strand that weighs 600 grams.


Another type of plastic used to make backpacks is polypropylene. However, this isn’t really as common as the other as it starts melting when exposed to heat. This makes it a bad choice in many situations, especially if it involves the outdoors.


Canvas backpacks and shoes have really made their way into the hearts of millions of youngsters. The material might be very old school, but many different brands have brought them back into fashion.

As the fabric is made of cotton, they tend to be on the heavier side. That is one reason why this is a bad choice if you are looking to travel light. But since they are in fashion and durable, many of us use these backpack for school or work.


The performance of the material used to make the backpack is usually measured based on three types of rating denier rating (D), thread count (T), and grams per square meter (GSM).

Out of all of them, I would say the denier rating might be the one to look out for the most when buying a backpack as it determines the strength of the fabric.

Denier Rating

As I said, this is the most important rating of all, as it determines the toughness of the material. The heavier the material, the tougher it will be as it would require more force to rip it. An easy way for you to understand which is tougher would be by the number that comes before the ‘D’.

If you see two bags that look the same, feel the same, but one is a 650D nylon, and the other is a 1050D nylon, the latter is a better choice. The higher the number, the tougher the fabric is.

Thread Count

When it comes to fabric thread count can be important, but in backpacks, the number isn’t that significant. If you were buying bedsheets, for example, a higher thread count could make the fabric more comfortable.

But it will give you an overall idea of the weight of the fabric.

Grams per Square Meter

This measurement is probably the least used. You will commonly find this when you check tags of clothing items, though. But, overall, this is a measurement of the weight of the fabric. As you have read previously, the heavier the fabric is, the less likely it is of ripping.

What Are Waterproof Backpacks Made of?

Let’s get to know what waterproof backpacks are made of.

Oxford Fabric

When it comes to waterproof fabric, the first name has to be Oxford fabric. The one mostly used for making backpacks is the 600D Oxford fabric. This is a type of polyester; thus, it too comes from plastic. But the main difference between this and the other polyester fabric is that this is waterproof.

So, a lot of hiking bags are made of this material.

PU (Polyurethane)

This is a kind of coating that is applied to different types of material to make it waterproof or water-resistant. This is very effective in protecting the content inside from water, but with time the coating wears out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding the topic:

  1. What is the most durable backpack material?

Both polyester and nylon are very durable backpack material. But I would say leather might be the most durable among all materials. It comes with different ratings, so some of them have higher durability.

  1. What are school backpacks make of?

Most commonly, school backpacks are either made of nylon or polyester. But there are some which are made of canvas. Children tend to look at the design rather than the logic behind backpacks.

  1. Which bag material is waterproof?

If you are looking for a waterproof bag, then your best option would be Oxford fabric. They are great and would keep your things safe.

  1. Is nylon stronger than leather?

In almost all tests, leather is stronger and more durable, and tougher than nylon.

Final Words

If you’ve read the entire article, you know what backpacks are made of. So, the next time you are on the lookout for a backpack, you will know which is the best option.

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