more info on ultraweave

  • Below is an email that we received from our fabric rep who introduced us to Ultra Weave. It breaks down all of the main points and compares it to DCF. Please note that he is referring to the 200 denier version, while the desert pack uses mostly the 400d w/ some 800d. The next batch of V2s will be made from the 200d Ultra Weave.

    Please see full detail below, the ‘Cliff Notes’ version is:
  • At the same weight, 200 Ultra has 3X the UPE content as DCH5
  • 200 Ultra has 3X the tear strength as DCH5
  • 200 Ultra has 7x the abrasion resistance as DCH5

    Comparison between EPL Ultra and DCF

Face fabric: outside of pack:

  • The EPL Ultra face is woven 200d, 400d or 800d UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Poly Ethylene) also called Dyneema or Spectra.  UHMWPE was originally branded as Dyneema by DSM and  Spectra by Honeywell.  Once the patent ran out on the manufacturing process, un-branded UHMWPE fiber started entering the market about 20 years ago.  Now virtually all sail, kite and rope companies use un-branded UHMWPE as the technical properties are very close to Dyneema/Spectra but at a fraction of the cost.  Woven UHMWPE has excellent abrasion resistance, and the EPL200 Ultra registers 3800 cycles on the Taber D3884 abrasion test -- about double 500d Cordura.

  • The DCF face is 50d or 150d woven polyester, which is laminated to .25mil polyester film, then laminated to the DCF.  This is because the glue/fiber matrix that is the core of DCF is very strong and tear resistant, but weak in abrasion.  This is a relatively light solution to the abrasion problem, but unfortunately 50d and 150d woven polyester are also not great in abrasion: only 500 cycles on the Taber test.  For reference, the 50d is the backing used for most Xpac fabric, not used on the face.

Backing fabric: inside of pack:

  • The 200 Ultra backing is .5mil (.5oz) recycled polyester film.  This is laminated to the Ultra weave for waterproofness and bias stability.
  • DCF/DCH50: the backing is the spread Dyneema composite core.

Technical properties comparison between EPL200 Ultra 3.5oz, and DCH50 3.5oz (the most popular DCF style used for packs)

UHMWPE content by weight, as % of the laminated fabric:

  • DCH50: 20%
  • 200 Ultra: 60%

Tear strength:

  • DCH50: 43 lbs. warp; 43 lbs. fill
  • 200 Ultra: 103 lbs. warp; 133 lbs. fill

Taber abrasion test:

  • DCH50: 500 cycles
  • 200 Ultra: 3800 cycles   

Technical properties comparison between EPL400 Ultra 4.65oz, and DCH150 5.0 oz:

UHMWPE content by weight, as % of the laminated fabric:

  • DCH150: 14%
  • 400 Ultra: 60%

Tear strength:

  • DCH150: 55 lbs. warp; 55 lbs. fill
  • 400 Ultra: 114 lbs. warp; 118 lbs. fill

Taber abrasion test:

  • DCH150: 500 cycles
  • 400 Ultra: 7600 cycles   


  • DCH150: yes
  • 400 Ultra: yes