Behind the Scenes: What is Dyneema?
Posted on February 26 2019
The Fiber from the Future.
Dyneema is an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene formerly known as Cuben Fiber. Exclusively manufactured by Netherland based DSM, it is the strongest fabric in the world and is made up of superlight fibers allow it to be 15 times tougher than steel yet both lightweight and floatable on water. On top of that, the material has a great UV resistance, completely waterproof, very durable, and a distinctive look.
The military and law enforcement use it to produce body armor, fishing industry for ropes and nets, boats for high-performance sails and although it is a relatively new material for the outdoor industry, many companies are realizing its potential. When designing and manufacturing anything with this kind of material, there is a requirement of a more skillful hand. The fiber itself requires a combination of precision stitching and bonding techniques that compared to using a traditional interface such as a sewing machine, make it a more difficult material to work with.
Dyneema fabrics have a very distinct look. While the material is great for durability and weather resistance, they often look like a wrinkled tarp in a silvery white or muted black. It isn't shiny nor the prettiest material; it will continue to develop wrinkles and creases. For some designers, that may be a dealbreaker. Others, the pros of a durable/lightweight/weatherproof material outweigh the cons.
Nowadays, many brands such as Best Made, Black Yak, DSPTCH, Hyperlight Gear, and Outlier to name a few are taking advantage of the new material to incorporate them into their products. Thing is that anything with this material is now going to probably be quite on the expensive side. It's really up to you to decide whether it is worth it or not.
Left to right: Best Made Dyneema Patrol Pack, Black Yak “Emergency Jacket".
Is Dyneema something you're looking forward to seeing in future gear? Or do you already have some in your collection?