I am now carrying a full line of Ecopak fabrics manufactured by Challenge Outdoors in Michigan.
Most Ecopak fabrics are 100% recycled, the average Ecopak backpack takes about 20 plastic bottles out of circulation, and your pack can itself be recycled. The coating contains no flurocarbons or volatile organic compounds. Woven fabrics are recycled polyester. Films are recycled and UV resistant. Ultra fabrics are not recycled.
(Above image from a heavily used tester pack, Ultra400TX top, Ultra800 bottom)
|Item||Content||Construction||Weight (g/m2)||Tear Strength Warp (N)||Tear Strength Fill (N)||Waterproof (bar)||Abrasion (ASTM 3884)|
|RBC200||200d Recycled Polyester||Woven with C0 DWR coating and Polyurethane backing||100gsm||(500 cycles)|
|RBC450RS||450d Recycled Polyester||Woven with C0 DWR coating and Polyurethane backing||220gsm||(1500 cycles)|
|EPX70RS||100% Recycled Polyester Components||C0 DWR, 70d Ripstop face, 45° Blue CrossPly, 70d Ripstop backing||171gsm||17.8||14.1||13.8+||300 cycles|
|EPX70HH||75% Recycled polyester||
Liquid crystal polymer, 70d face, 45° Blue CrossPly, 70d Ripstop backing
|EPX200||100% Recycled Polyester Components||C0 DWR, 200d Ripstop face, 45° Blue CrossPly, 70d Ripstop backing||200.1gsm||26.7||24.8||13.8+||500 cycles|
|EPX400||100% Recycled Polyester Components||C0 DWR, 400d Ripstop face, 45° Blue CrossPly, 70d Ripstop backing||304gsm||37.8||33.8||13.8+||3000 cycles|
|Ultra 400||400d Ultra PE blended with Polyester||400d face, 0.5 mil RUV film backing||158gsm||114.5||117.6||13.8+||8800 cycles|
|Ultra 800 White||800d Ultra PE blended with polyester||800d face, 0.5 mil RUV film backing||274gsm||187.7||161.1||13.8+||10500 cycles|
|Ultra 800 Black||800d Ultra PE blended with polyester||800d face, 0.5 mil RUV film backing||288gsm||250+||250+||13.8+||16000 cycles|
|EPX400HH||75% Recycled polyester||
Liquid crystal polymer, 400d face,
45° Blue CrossPly, 70d Ripstop backing
I have good stock of 15 different colours of Ecopak EPX200:
- Red Barn
- Brick Red
- Bright Orange
- Golden Dazy
- Green Mountain
- Army Olive
- Bright Blue
- Ocean Blue
- Deep Purple
- Coyote Brown
- Snow White
- Wolf Grey
- Black Knight
I dont know of any other maker anywhere who has as much selection. I want you to have any combination you can dream up. I intend EPX200 to be my main fabric for packs in future.
Underside of EPX200
The black custom order Ultra 400TX I have in stock is the same as Ultra 400 but with an added 70d ripstop backing. Standard Ultra is a very loose weave, once the fragile internal film abrades, your pack is effectively a teabag without even a DWR coating. The extra polyester layer inside Ultra 400TX helps to protect the film. Lighter styles of Ultra, say 100 and 200, are not suitable for Fiordland conditions. Heavier styles are better as they are less vulnerable to penetration. The TX version of Ultra is best if you can get it. For most people Ecopak EPX200 or Xpac VX21 is a better choice.
This is the back of standard Ultra. This film will not last long, the fabric is a very loose weave with no coating. Ultra 800 is a more dense fabric with the same film.
I currently dont stock EPX70RS but may do. Colour selection is quite limited. At some point I will probably end up with some grey, for rolltops.
My experience is that internal abrasion is the main problem with all light weight fabrics. They really only need to be tough enough on the outside.
Challenge say that last year weight was their priority, this year it is durability.
This is new Ecopak EP250 LE Graphite, possibly ideal for pockets.
I have an informal fabric testing relationship with Challenge Outdoor so your feedback will help design better fabric, please send your damaged packs for me to fix so I can share lots of carnage photos with them. If you are lucky enough to be a Fiordland Packs tester you might get first look at some new fabrics. As you can see I do a lot of stress testing myself with a sharp steel ruler.
Challenge seems to be where the innovation is happening, however it is driven by the North American market where weight is the primary concern. We need to talk loudly to have any chance of getting what we need. It would be great to see some 20 year old Fiordland Packs out there one day, I still have a made in NZ Macpac Ascent.
Dimension Polyant, a German company, has been my main fabric supplier since the beginning, though the fabrics themselves are manufactured in the USA. These are all very expensive high end fabrics, in my opinion they fall in the sweet spot in terms of weight and durability.
I have good stock os XPac VX21 Cire, VX07 and Liteskin LS07.
|Item||Content||Construction||Features||Weight (g/m2)||Tear Strength Warp (N)||Tear Strength Fill (N)||Waterproof (bar)||Abrasion (ASTM 3884)|
|X-Pac VX21 Cire||60% Nylon, 40% Polyester||DWR, 210d Nylon, Black Polyester X-PLY® at 22°, 0.25 mil polyester film, 50 denier polyester backing||VX21 Cire features an additional face finishing process where in the abrasion resistance is greatly improved without any additonal weight penalty. Surface finish is slightly glossy for a unique look.||203.4||108.5||76.5||13.8+||2000 cycles|
|X-Pac VX21||60% Nylon, 40% Polyester||DWR, 210 denier Plain Weave Nylon face, 0.25 mil polyester film, Black Polyester X-PLY® at 22°, 50 denier polyester taffeta backing||VX21 is our most popular high-performance pack material. The combination of low stretch, waterproof construction and 210 denier face fabric provides an ideal balance of weight and durability.||203.4||108.5||76.5||13.8+||500 cycles|
|Liteskin LS07||53% Nylon, 47% Polyester||Non-Woven Polyester LiteSkin® Face, DP UvT top-coating, 70d Nylon Ripstop backing||LS07 is our lightest waterproof, abrasion resistant pack fabric. Very thin and flexible, it is ideal for day hikes and long runs. An extra layer of backing fabric would be needed for holding bar-tacking and daisy-chain webbing.||115.3||22.7||23.6||11.0||2000 cycles|
|X-Pac VX42||70% Nylon, 30% Polyester||DWR, 420 denier Nylon face, Black Polyester X-PLY® at 22°, 0.25 mil polyester film, 50 denier polyester taffeta backing||VX42 is the best choice for high stress/abrasion areas in combination with lighter styles, or for entire applications requiring very rugged materials.||284.8||138.8||96.1||13.8+||1700 cycles|
|X-Pac VX07 RS||38% Nylon 62% Polyester||DWR, 70 denier, Ripstop Nylon face, Black Polyester X-PLY® at 22°, 0.25 mil polyester film, 50 denier polyester taffeta backing||Heavy weather spinnaker sailcloth technology is used in the VX07 to achieve light weight combined with very good tear resistance.||162.7||56.5||49.8||13.8+||500 cycles|
In addition I use X-Pac V15 but since it is custom made for a trade supplier I do not have any figures for it. The main difference with VX21 is that the face fabric is polyester not nylon which means it takes colour extremely well, and it does not have reinforcing X-PLY. It is similar to VX07 in terms of weight. I currently have only Bahama Blue and Cammo V15 in stock.
HDPE Gridstop is used for the front face of shoulder straps and waist belts because it holds a stitch well for its weight and is not prone to stretch due to the HDPE grid. The key to comfortable straps is an even distribution of weight, not more padding. I use 3D Spacer Mesh on the skin facing sides of shoulder straps and waist belts with 10mm or 3mm EVA foam padding.