Ripstop fabric applied in a paraglider

Ripstop fabrics are woven fabrics, often made of nylon, using a special reinforcing technique that makes them resistant to tearing and ripping. During weaving, (thick) reinforcement threads are interwoven at regular intervals in a crosshatch pattern. The intervals are typically 5 to 8 millimeters (0.2 to 0.3 in). Thin and lightweight ripstop fabrics have a 3-dimensional structure due to the thicker threads being interwoven in thinner cloth. Older lightweight ripstop fabrics display the thicker interlocking thread patterns in the material quite prominently, but more modern weaving techniques make the ripstop threads less obvious. A similar effect can be achieved by weaving two or three fine yarns together at smaller intervals. [1]

Advantages of ripstop are the favourable strength-to-weight ratio and that small tears can not easily spread. Fibers used to make ripstop include cotton, silk, polyester, and polypropylene, with nylon content limited to the crosshatched threads that make it tear-resistant.


Ripstop fabrics are used in yacht sails and spinnakers, hot air balloons, kites, parachutes, and remote control hovercrafts. High quality camping equipment such as lightweight tents, sleeping bags, and camping hammocks tend to use ripstop in order to reduce the wear on their fabrics which are in direct contact with the ground or the wind. Swags, flags, banners, and other applications requiring a strong lightweight fabric use ripstop too. Ripstop reinforcements are incorporated into heavier fabrics requiring extreme durability, such as those used in Army Combat Uniforms, Nomex protective clothing for firefighters and other workwear, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu uniforms, outdoor and sports clothing, backpacks, and luggage bags. Self-adhesive ripstop patches are used to repair both rips and tears in other fabrics.

Ripstop used in high quality camping hammock

Ejector seat parachutes made with ripstop are woven with an elastic-like fabric so that they stretch to allow more air to pass through at high speed. Then as the ejector seat slows, the weave closes and acts like a conventional parachute. This allows the pilot seat to slow gently, avoiding compression that could result in spinal injury.

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