Webbing: Is Polypropylene the Best?
When you need webbing for home, work or school use, it is important to know the best varieties for different purposes. Webbing is a durable woven fabric available in an assortment of widths and thicknesses for use on:
• Camping gear – straps and handles on tents and sleeping bags
• School supplies – shoulder straps on backpacks
• Military gear – waterproof belts and straps
• Furniture – outdoor items such as chairs and chaises
• Vehicle safety – seat belts and shoulder harnesses
• Pet supplies – leashes and collars
• Clothing – embellishments or functions
Polypropylene, Nylon and Polyester Webbing Products
Manufacturers of webbing can use materials made of polyester, nylon or polypropylene that offer different benefits. Artificial fibers are routinely used because the materials resist decay in wet weather conditions. It is possible to find tubular and flat webbing products in just about any color, and many manufacturers create this fabric in multicolor designs such as stripes, camouflage or checkered patterns.
Polypropylene has become a popular choice for webbing because it is easy to source and is colorfast even when exposed to frequent sunlight. The chemical nature of polypropylene allows the fibers to float on water, making it especially attractive for use on marine supplies. Polypropylene webbing resists degradation from glues and solvents to provide a material that withstands harsh treatment. It is far and away the most common webbing.
Nylon vs Polyester Webbing
Nylon webbing became well known during the 1940s to use on a variety of military goods but is not as long lasting and strong as polypropylene materials. It is also possible to purchase polyester webbing that resists moisture to remain durable in wet conditions. While polyester is less expensive than polypropylene, it is not as durable and does not have the same type of properties such as floating on water. Webbing made of polyester fiber will not absorb water but withstands high temperatures while remaining soft and pliable.
Hook and Loop Applications
For hook and loop applications, webbing is most commonly used to reinforce straps. Sewn straps are used in a variety of industries where the environments may be intense and the application is rugged such as in K9 unit training and building antennae rigs. It is also used on clothing designed for the disabled or on lightweight medical braces.