The most obvious difference between nylon and polyester is the commonality.
Nylon backpacks are generally preferred among manufacturers which gives way to more being in the market. The reason is the cost involved in manufacturing. But don’t let that deter you away from polyester packs.
As for most things: there are pros and cons to both.
Both these fabrics are flame retardant but polyester is better at resisting heat while nylon is considerably stronger. There are many physical, technical and subtle differences between the two to consider when making a choice.
While both are strong fabrics and resistant to abrasion and damage from many chemicals, there are some details and situations that would make one type of backpack better than the other.
I’m going to break down what goes into each individual fiber, and compare each one head-to-head.
What Goes into a Nylon Backpack?
In the case of nylon, it has a low absorbency of moisture this makes it better to combat the elements such as rain and snow. This means you can expect a backpack with nylon material to hold up in stronger weather.
If you’re constantly out-and-about and experience varying weather patterns, a nylon backpack would be a safe bet to hold up in the rain and snow.
In addition: the material for the backpack is lightweight, soft, smooth and warm.
This is a great feature to have in a backpack to ensure you’re getting a comfortable carrying experience.
Nylon is also used for specialty wear such as raincoats, windbreakers, ski apparel and swimwear among others. This is a good basis to understand how durable and robust a nylon backpack would be.
A nylon backpack is much more resilient and is a great option if you want a pack that will last you for years to come.
The Ins-and-Outs of a Polyester Backpack
Don’t sleep on polyester backpacks.
They’re a great fiber that is strong and durable (but not as resilient to nylon). It’s resistant to things like wrinkles, stretching, and different types of chemicals. If you’re focused on appearance and style, a polyester backpack is holds a much more consistent appearance.
In addition: if you’re green conscious, you can purchase polyester backpacks that are made only from recycled polyester.
Overall, polyester backpacks are smooth to the touch and lightweight to carry around.
If you want a form of comparison, most types of clothing are made of a polyester material. It offers a strong hold and will survive your commute to school, work, or general travels.
The one downside of polyester backpacks is they are less common to get because manufacturers prefer nylon material due to its cost.
Head-to-Head Comparison: Nylon vs Polyester
Nylon backpacks are stronger but cheaper variants may be weaker than polyester backpacks. So if you’re worried about longevity of a backpack, invest in a nylon one.
Weather Durability: Nylon Backpacks
Polyester backpacks may show signs of wearing when regularly exposed to the sun, rain, wind and snow, so if you’re constantly outside I wouldn’t recommend getting one. Nylon doesn’t suffer much aesthetic deterioration at the hands of the weather.
Washing & Water Conditions: Polyester Backpacks
Polyester backpacks will not stretch or shrink, even when it is wet. While nylon won’t necessarily develop wrinkles there are instances of subtle shrinkage if you’re washing it frequently. Nylon backpacks are better suited in wet climates or when it is raining outside. While polyester also has a low absorbency of moisture, nylon fares better.
Colder Climates vs Warmer Climates: Nylon or Polyester
Nylon is warmer so it is a better option in colder climates. In tropical or subtropical climate, nylon can be slightly uncomfortable as it tends to get sweaty. It tends to cling to your body on hot and humid days. Polyester doesn’t have such a problem. Other than this issue, both materials are equally comfortable. If you live in an area were it tends to have warmer months, I would get a polyester backpack.
Eco-Friendly: Polyester Backpacks
Neither of the two are natural fibers and hence they are not green in the stringent sense. However, nylon is made from byproducts that cannot be prevented or avoided. It is better to use such byproducts in a regulated manner than to just dump them somewhere. The effective impact of producing either of the two materials on the ecology is minimal. Nylon is to an extent biodegradable so in that sense it is better than polyester. However, polyester is widely recycled and it doesn’t have to be biodegradable if you are buying a completely recycled polyester backpack.
Appearance: Nylon Backpacks
In terms of appearance, both nylon and polyester are available in diverse colors. However nylon is more lustrous while polyester is slicker. Manufacturers tends to use nylon because it provides a more attractive look and style.
Which Material is Better for Backpacks?
The bottom line for you will be determined by your choice.
If your main concern is durability: nylon backpacks all the way. If you want an eco-friendly pack that is easy to clean and ideal for hotter temperatures, get a polyester backpack.
But keep in mind: the quality of nylon or polyester will vary from one manufacturer to another.
It is not just about the specific quality of the fabrics but also the construction of the backpack that needs to be looked into. As is the case with any product, both nylon and polyester backpacks have different price tags depending on their features and quality. Compare specific backpacks and make an informed choice instead of generalizing the differences between the two fabrics.