You might have heard the word denier thrown around in the outdoor clothing or gear world, and wondered what it means. In this post, I will explain exactly what denier is, how it’s measured, and what it means for you when buying clothing or gear.
Denier is a measure used in fabrics to define the liner density of a particular fabric. This is done by measuring exactly how heavy a particular material is (in grams) for a length of 9000 meters (5.59 miles).
That may seem a little odd, but it helps to have large length of a particular material to get a reliable measurement. Especially when many nylons or polyesters are so fine.
Now that we have the definition out of the way, how does this help you?
When you are buying a backpack, sleeping bag or outdoor clothing, you will see things such as 20D, 250D Nylon or 500D Polyester.
This number is essentially a measure or rating of the thickness of a fiber. The thicker a fiber is, the stronger and more durable the material will be that is made from it.
Don’t be confused by all the fabric names that are used by companies with their outdoor gear and clothing. It is almost impossible to keep up with it all.
You will see a variety of names tacked on to the end of the material depending on the specific weave or proprietary coatings they may use.
Here are a few examples from various outdoor companies such as Osprey, North Face, Patagonia and the like:
I have gone over a lot of this before in relation to backpacks in this backpack materials post.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!