Is Nylon the Best Fabric for Backpacks? (Everything You Need to Know)

Nylon for Backpacks: Is It Really A Game Changer?

What exactly is nylon, and what makes it so popular? A few years ago, I had the same question in mind. But as I immersed myself in backpacks and, even better, started crafting my own, the answers began to unfold.

So, hold on to your backpacks tight because in this blog, I’ll be sharing my ‘secret’ knowledge about nylon backpacks. We’ll see how nylon is an essential part of our backpacks and explore the benefits that come with its use.

The History of Nylon and Backpacks

Let’s turn back the clock to when backpacks were less comfortable and only a source of carrying things around. In the beginning, backpacks were tough; typically made with canvas and leather. There was little focus on the style, durability, or functionality in backpacks.

But post-World War II, nylon entered the scene and stole the show. From raincoats to toothbrush bristles, it was everywhere!

Of course, how could backpacks lag in the race?


So, quickly nylon bags ended up replacing heavy canvas backpacks. Ever since then, backpacks were no longer just for carrying books. They became adventure buddies and fashion statements.

Being highly functional and durable, you could now take them on a mountain trail or simply use them for everyday hustle, all thanks to nylon.

Types of Nylon For Backpacks

Although nylon is one material that rules almost all backpacks, it isn’t one-size fits all. It has different sub-categories, each bringing its own superpowers to the table. Let’s break down the different types of nylon so you can decide which one is for you:

Imagine you’re strolling through the bustling streets, on a mission to discover the best local food In Hong Kong. You’re weaving through the vibrant crowds but suddenly, you come to an abrupt halt; not by the aroma of food, but your backpack snagging on a sidewalk grate.

In such situations, ripstop nylon is a lifesaver. Although it makes a lightweight nylon backpack, the strong threads prevent small tears from becoming big disasters.

→ Best for…

  • Hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts who venture off new paths
  • Travelers who want a durable material that also offers impressive lightweightness

If backpacks were human bodyguards, they would probably wear ballistic nylon!

The ballistic nylon backpack is super tough and can handle anything that comes its way.

From everyday use to off-road escapes, ballistic nylon backpack protects your tech gear well. For example, Aer, a popular backpack brand, uses 1680 ballistic nylon on their iconic Aer Travel Pack 3, and 840D ballistic nylon on their new Pro series.

I have also reviewed some more best tech backpacks if you’re interested.

→ Best for…

  • Travelers who need a backpack that can withstand the wear and tear of urban spaces
  • Professionals who want an urban backpack that looks minimalist and clean

Other Types of Nylon

If the world of fabrics was basketball, Cordura would be Michael Jordan.

Known for durability and resistance, Cordura is one of the most well-known fabric brands in the game.

With exceptional durability, abrasion resistance, and strength, Cordura nylon is one of the ideal canvases for backpack makers . Even after enduring heavy rain and sun-drenched trails, the material keeps you and your backpack looking sharp!

→ Best for…

  • Those who need a versatile backpack that can move from city streets to nature trails
  • Students and professionals who want style and substance

Why settle for one when you can have the best of both worlds?

The nylon/polyester blend gives your backpack lightweight resilience with the comfort of nylon.

The hybrid is like one of those Swiss army knives, adapting to every move you make.

→ Best for…

  • Anyone who wants a well-rounded backpack with the benefits of both nylon and polyester
  • Perfect for individuals who need both durability and a lightweight nylon backpack

Uses of Nylon in Backpacks

Now that you know all the different types, I will show how nylon seamlessly integrates into your backpacks:

Nylon has a tensile strength that makes it essential for the crucial parts you find in a nylon backpack.

You can mostly find it in handles, straps, and the main body of the bag. It ensures that the backpack can hold the weight of your valuables without compromising durability.

Nylon zippers are a solid proof for the material’s longevity. The zippers are not only water-resistant but also glide smoothly, so accessing your belongings in your nylon backpack is a breeze.

The design is made to endure the everyday zipping and tugging that comes with a backpack.

When we are stuffing all our belongings in one place, the backpacks’ stitching is prone to stress.

The strength of nylon plays an essential role here. It reinforces the critical areas of a backpack, like the bottom, where all the weight is applied.

To ensure that your nylon backpack stays intact for all upcoming adventures, the use of nylon prevents any tears or frays.

For people who love DIYs, nylon is a great choice. It allows you to experiment around with different styles, as nylon backpacks have a receptive quality for patterns and dyes.

This is why when you step out to buy one, you’ll find everything from designer nylon backpacks to ones rich in colors. From vibrant hues to good old neutrals, nylon has it all.

Benefits Of Using Nylon in Backpacks

But what’s so great about nylon after all besides the uses?

Well, nylon has some real benefits that have led to its hype in the backpack world.

Let me now take you through the amazing benefits of nylon that make it all: dependable, durable, and stylish.

The essential feature of a backpack that actually makes it worth the money is its durability. With my years of experience in reviewing backpacks, I can say that nylon is the most popular option. Its strength ensures that your backpack can handle everyday life’s hustle and bustle.

Regarding material, there is a common perception that the more tough it is, the heavier it will be. But the lightweight nylon backpacks are a fascinating element here. This is a major reason why these backpacks easily become the travel companion of many, as they won’t weigh you down. The only weight you will feel on your back is your belongings.

Nylon is not only tough against wear and tear but also against all types of weather conditions. With a nylon backpack, the unpredictable weather will no longer stop you from hopping on another adventure. Thanks to its weather-resistant properties, nylon keeps your belongings safe and dry.

To easily wrap around your body as you move, nylon has a flexible nature. It moves with you and ensures comfort throughout the journey. You can surely count on nylon to be your partner in many adventures, as it’s clearly built to last.

Nylon Backpacks Care Tips

I know that there’s nothing worse than seeing your backpack wear out sooner than expected, especially when it costs you a good amount. It’s undoubtedly a different kind of heartbreak. To save you from one, I will now give you some simple yet effective tips on how to take care of your favorite big or small nylon backpacks:

Although nylon is durable, overloading can strain its zippers and seams. We might often feel the urge to do so, please don’t overload your backpack beyond its capacity.

Swipe away any dirt or dust on your backpack regularly with a damp cloth right after you return from an adventure.

Treat stubborn stains promptly by using a detergent plus water solution and scrubbing it gently with a sponge.

Don’t expose your bag to direct sunlight for long hours, as it can cause the colors to fade.

Nylon backpacks are water-resistant, but that doesn’t mean they repel water. If your backpack gets wet, dry it thoroughly with a cloth before storing it.

Nylon Backpack Recommendations

If reading till here is now pushing you to invest in a nylon backpack, here are some great nylon backpack options for you to consider:

Peak Design Travel Backpack 30L

Watch our review

→ Check the best price

Able Carry Max

Watch our review

→ Check the best price

Alpaka Elements Travel Backpack

Watch our review

→ Check the best price

Aer Travel Pack 3 Regular

Watch our review

→ Check the best price


Best backpacking backpack for long-term travel

Watch our review

→ Check the best price

Aer Capsule Pack Max

Fantastic organisation and perfect for carry-on

Watch our review

→ Check the best price

Or, if you need more recommendations, not just nylon related, you can check out my detailed review on the 7 best travel packs.




Final Thoughts

As we wrap up our conversation on nylon, I can surely see that nylon makes a viable choice as backpack material. Your nylon backpack will be your companion in everything ranging from nature’s exploration to an intense expedition.

Here’s to many more adventures and countless discoveries with these rough and tough companions on our backs. And speaking of adventures, if you’re on the hunt for the ultimate traveling backpack list, don’t miss out on my tried-and-true travel list.

Till then, happy exploring!

Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -