We use а variety of technical material in our gear considering durability, waterproofness, wind resistance, UV resistance, stiffness… In a nut shell, we look for the lightest possible material that will do the job at 100%. Here are the most used material in the GearSwifts gear.
Dyneema® Composite Fabric (DCF)
DCF are the lightest fabrics for their strength. They were developed for sails but are by far the best option for many outdoor gear applications. The term fabric is not accurate though – the DCFs we use are laminates of extremely strong ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWP) with polyester films. This technical materials also do not feel like fabrics – the laminates fold like thin wrapping paper and the folding marks stay visible. Fortunately that does not influence the performance and the folding marks give the material its distinctive look. For more information you can visit the dedicated site of the project. Here is why we use Dyneema®:
– Lightest material for its strength – by far
– 100% inherently waterproof, no impregnation, no mmH2O specification
– Does not soak water at all – so you can just wipe your gear dry
We use a variety of DCFs for our gear:
This is the lightest waterproof fabric that we have. We use it for tent canopies, rain ponchos and tarps. The weight savings by these big sheets are quite significant. This material is strong enough in both direction of the UHMWP fiber. The downside is the low abrasion resistance – the gear made of this material is not for bushwacking.
~23g/m² (0.67oz/yd²) camouflage
This version is like the 0.51oz DCF but with added realistic forest camo print.
This is a laminate of the above 1.43oz/yd² DCF and woven 50D polyester. It is the strongest and heaviest fabric that we use. The added polyester layer gives the laminate great abrasion resistance. We use it only for our everyday wallets, for tie outs and for bottoms of backpacks.
Nylon Ripstop 25g/m²
This is a classical ultralight fabric with a fine 1.5mm grid to make it robust against tears. It is calendered (ran through rollers to flatten and smoothen the fabric). This makes it down proof, wind resistant and soft to the touch. It is much tougher that it feels. Its durable water repellent (DWR) coating is PFC-free. The water slides of the fabric as you would expect from a smooth DWR treated fabric, but soaks in heavy rain, so we do not use it for rain protection gear. It is great for wind stopper jackets, insulated jackets, small bags and quilts.
We use 3k roll wrapped carbon fiber tubes for our ultralight tent pegs. Unlike the much cheaper protruded carbon fiber tubes this tubes resist bending quite well. This is the lightest option for tough, stiff material.