- Buyer's Guide
16 Must-Know Brands Innovating With Dyneema®
Every so often, there is a material or fabric composition that changes the world of carry and what’s possible. In the 1980s, PrimaLoft® paved the way for the impressive synthetic insulations we see today. In 1977, when it was dyed and put into luggage, Cordura® reshaped what it meant to have lightweight durability in pack fabric, and the list could go on. Ever since the conception of Dyneema® in 1968, by way of happy accident, it has enchanted innovative minds from one industry to the next. Starting with racing sails on million-dollar yachts, then bullet-resistant vests, oil rig moorings in some of the harshest environments on earth, and even in surgery.
Now we’ve seen that growth crossover into the carry world and Dyneema® continuing to build into exciting new realms. It seems that the wonder fabric has endless applications for those in the carry world. Bringing strength, feathery weight, waterproofness, and its signature crunchiness to jackets, bags, wallets, and sneakers. Dyneema® is surely now the UHMwPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) of choice. We’ve even used it in our collaborations, of course.
Below, we’ve dug through the portfolio of the Dyneema® Project, and pinpointed the top seventeen brands who continue to lead innovation with this marvelous material: from bonded ECCO® leather to moto jeans and ultralight tents.
The material maestros at Vollebak have been tinkering, experimenting, and reinventing outdoor gear since 2015. Solar charged jackets, hoodies, and pants made for the next century, and even ski jackets designed to mimic a butterfly’s reflective wings. They have built a following based on this research and development process. So it seems only natural that they would feature Dyneema® in their products.
The Indestructible Puffer and Vest are a true embodiment of what Dyneema® fabrics are intended for. By taking a popular yet flawed product from the outdoor world (the insulated puffer) and re-engineering it with the world’s strongest fiber, the weakest product becomes one of the most robust. By using Dyneema® black (a thicker, heavier fiber composite) this puffer can take anything you can throw at it, including a knife blade. That isn’t a fallacy, I’ve tried it and the jacket came out stronger on the other side. Not only does it make the outer shell impenetrable, but Dyneema® also gets stronger the colder it gets (often why it is found in mooring ropes). Vollebak continues to innovate, and don’t be surprised to see many Dyneema® products in their catalog in the future.
The team north of the border at Westcomb are known for making elite performance apparel. Not only that, they’re never shy when it comes to using innovative materials. The Switch AP hoody is a fine example of technical excellence and groundbreaking innovation colliding. Handmade in Canada, this piece was designed to allow adventure in the toughest conditions, without slowing you down. Dyneema® Composite Fabric is combined with an eVent® DVAlpine shell to give those mountainous souls shelter when the weather comes in. Robust and weighing in at under 300g, this ultralight packable shell is the pinnacle of alpine performance.
From mountain biking roots in the Bavarian Alps come Racing Atelier, a brand who are the perfect marriage of traditional techniques and modern materials. This partnership is no clearer than in their Rucksack#1, a harmonious mix of vegetable-tanned leather and Dyneema® Composite Fabric combined. The result of this is a made-to-order, handcrafted, luxurious lightweight backpack that looks both like a timeless classic and a high-level performance piece. With vegetable-tanned leather chosen for its natural flow and the Dyneema® Composite Fabric chosen for its lightweight strength, this is truly a beautiful piece that will only get better with use. At 27L this is an excellent daypack that will surely turn heads and hearts.
As the name suggests, these packs are, well, light AF! The team creates custom packs designed for all of your outdoor needs, ranging from fanny packs all the way to fully-featured 46L suspension packs. All LiteAF packs are completely customizable. And as the photo shows, they come in some psychedelic patterns should you choose that route! LiteAF have taken advantage of all that Dyneema® has to offer by creating robust outdoor packs that can be made to fit any situation! With a recommended load weight of 35lbs, the Curve suspension pack is ready to help you tackle outdoor escapades and leave your shoulders feeling all the better afterward!
ECCO® are known for their comfortable and durable shoes. But they’ve also been at the forefront of the game when it comes to incorporating Dyneema® into the carry community. The ExoStrike has won multiple design accolades including ISPO, RedDot, and Scandanavian Outdoor awards. When you see the sneaker, it is clear why. A marriage of elegant design and high performance, the ExoStrike strikes a great balance between timeless style and futuristic technologies. ECCO®’s bonded leather adds incredible lightweight strength to the shoe, while retaining the texture and aesthetics of the leather that we all know and love. These sneakers provide comfort, strength, and style in equal measure.
adidas are the epitome of the sporting world, and their three stripes are iconic worldwide. They have reimagined and reinvented every type of sports equipment going, from soccer cleats to tennis shoes. Their designs are always at the forefront of progression in the sports industry. With the Ozweego sneaker, adidas have harkened back to the instantly recognizable sneaker aesthetic of the 1990s. But they have updated the materials, and the performance, by pairing with Dyneema® to create a mesh upper, adorned in the Dyneema® diamond logo. Add this durable upper to their Adiprene midsole, and you’re left with a sneaker that is durable, comfortable, and striking. That’s a win in our books. These sneakers stand out in a saturated market, and cement adidas’s place as innovators.
ECCO are at it again, this time with Japanese powerhouse Porter Yoshida. The Japanese soft goods brand are known for their thoughtful, tasteful, and intelligent design. It is no surprise then that to celebrate their 85th anniversary, they are the first Japanese brand to use Dyneema® in their manufacturing process. By using the ECCO® bonded leather, they have created an ultra-lightweight, exceptionally tough collection of bags and accessories. Paper-thin, this collection showcases Dyneema® and its versatility. Porter Yoshida and ECCO have created a collection with the same timeless style that leather is known for, but with a modern, long-lasting reinforcement.
Australian motorcycle brand Saint CC worked directly with Dyneema® to create this unique and groundbreaking road collection. Able to slide for four seconds (or more than one hundred and fifty feet) before breaking through, the Unbreakable collection is an ingenious application of Dyneema® into the apparel industry. Much like Levi’s did to workwear, this unbreakable denim could be the new benchmark for performance motorcycle gear. Traditionally there are two camps of motorcycle clothing – tank-like protective gear that makes the wearer look like something from Tron or stylish summer denim that will provide minimal protection. With Saint CC’s new collection, riders can get the best of both worlds. Slim-fitting and stylish, the Unbreakable collection should be on your wishlist.
Stone Island’s Shadow Project has a unique history, particularly when it comes to personnel. Errolson Hugh was responsible for creating an independent design and consulting agency dubbed ACRONYM®. After collaborating with an impressive array of clients that include Arc’teryx, Burton Snowboards, Bagjack, and Disaeran, American sports giant Nike tasked Hugh with the revitalization of their ACG line. Finally, Hugh headed up Stone Island’s Shadow Project, which is their research and development line focused on creating classic products with unique material compositions. In their twelfth year, they have reinvigorated the classic bomber by updating its construction with ECCO®’s leather bonded with Dyneema®, allowing this jacket to be extremely thin, exceptionally light, and still as good-looking as ever.
French natives Samaya have won no less than three ISPO awards in three years. Design pedigree like this is shown across their catalog. But no more so than in the Assaut2 Ultra tent made with Dyneema® Composite Fabric. The winner of the 2021 ISPO Gold award weighs in at a measly 900 grams. With space to fit two people, this is the perfect alpine backpacking tent. Developed with Samaya® athletes, this tent performs in the harshest places on the planet in all four seasons. This tent is the epitome of quality. While it is featherlight, it still provides the comfort and respite that all serious alpinists need during exploration. Samaya® are leading the way in ultralight performance, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.
The North Face are innovators through and through. They have almost single-handedly been responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in outdoor equipment and apparel. Their Purple Line (only available in Japan) often features rare pieces that have been developed in small numbers and haven’t made it to the mass market. The Emergency Jacket comes from this line. And as the name alludes to, it’s a jacket designed for quick deployment in unexpected situations. Made with Dyneema®, this piece is perfect for the moments when you’re caught unexpectedly in a downpour on your commute. Or when you need an extra protective layer when a weather front comes in on the trail. You name it, this jacket will help protect you! Pocket packable, ultra-lightweight, and robust as they come, this jacket is perfect for the UL crowd. Now you’ve just got to try and find one!
In 1998, CP Company designed their now iconic Metropolis Jacket. Created with the goal of providing the urbanite everything they needed from a jacket as they entered the new millennium. Now, 23 years later, they’ve reintroduced the Metropolis in a modern version with Dyneema®. Ready for any urban utopia, the Metropolis Jacket is robust and handles anything that the city can throw at you. Equally functional and futuristic, this updated version with Dyneema® even includes a timely anti-smog face mask that is adjustable through the hood. Even when the clock strikes thirteen, you’ll be ready to roll.
When one thinks of cycling, it is often Specialized that comes to mind. They lead the cycling industry with their innovation for all products that relate to two-wheeled pursuits. They were one of the first to harness the power of BOA® closures. And now they are one of the first to use Dyneema® in performance cycle gear.
Designed for the hottest ascents, the S-works Vent is a cycling shoe built to make rides as comfortable as possible. Mesh uppers can often be a failure point in sports shoes when they are really put under duress. However, that won’t be the case here as the mesh is reinforced with Dyneema®. Meaning you can put mile after punishing mile on these without having to worry about durability. Not only that, the mesh is still supple enough to give you that slipper-like comfort you get when using your shoes. The tour isn’t all that far away, you know…
Most of us in the carry world appreciate the benefit of packing cubes. They are the ultimate tool to organize your trip preparations, both maximizing space and making it easier to find items! However, the more you use, the more weight that is stolen from that measly airline allowance. Zpacks uses Dyneema® in a multitude of their products. But their use of Dyneema® Composite Fabric really stands out in their packing cube selection. Using a wrap-around webbing closure and compression system, you can cinch these as much as you need to maximize space. They also use a waterproof zipper, keeping all your goodies dry. Coming in three sizes – Small (2L/17g), Medium (4L/21g), and Large (8L/27g) – there is something for everyone with these impressive ultralight packing tools.
As the air gets thinner, the push becomes harder, and it all feels heavier. It seems only natural that Dyneema® would find its way to the peak of the mountains! With the Prism, Hyperlite have created the dream alpinist pack. A fully featured technical pack, that can be enhanced or simplified thanks to its modular design and accessory catalog, this was made to charge up ravines and over crevices with consummate ease. With enough storage for up to four days, this is the epitome of high performance. Dyneema® is appropriately used here thanks to its extreme weatherproofness, high abrasion resistance, and featherweight construction. For those in the harshest places on earth, now they can focus on the task at hand, rather than the weight on their shoulders.
As one of the leading teams in competitive racing, team DSM are always looking for an edge when it comes to their performance. Their motto of “Keep challenging” is clear in their quest to create the world’s best performance cycling clothing with their technology partner Bioracer. By using Dyneema® in their racing slicks, they are advancing the traditional cycling suit from a uniform tool to a performance-enhancing must-have.
It’s an exciting time for the carry community in general, with innovators popping up left, right, and center, creating exciting products that solve problems and doing so using the best materials around. Dyneema® is right at the top of that material list. And as you can see from the brands and products listed here, the possibilities are endless. Here at Carry HQ, we can’t wait to see what’s next.