Over the past couple of years, we've released a range of products made with highly durable, abrasion resistant, weatherproof, and UV proof sailcloth fabric. This particular type of fabric is made by US company Dimension-Polyant, makers of X-Pac®. So we wanted you to learn a little bit more about the origins of the company, the fabric, and why we chose to work with this reputable company as one of our fabric suppliers.
We recently sat down with Jon Merereau, Sales Manager at Dimension-Polyant and asked him a few questions. Here's what he had to say:
- Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Dimension Polyant and X-Pac® fabric development?
Dimension-Polyant was founded in 1966 as a laminate sailcloth manufacturer. After a few iterations we now have headquarters in Putnam, CT USA and Kempen, Germany. X-Pac® is a purpose-built pack fabric; a direct descendant of sailcloth laminates, utilizing similar technologies needed in high-performance boating exercises. All our X-Pac® is laminated and shipped from our facility in Putnam and made on the same machines as sail cloth used on racing yachts around the world.
- What is X-Pac®? And what function do the X-PLY® fibers have in the fabric strength?
X-Pac® is a laminated pack fabric for the most extreme applications. X-Pac® has been used everywhere from Mt. Everest, to airports, and normal everyday carry options on a commuter train. The X-Ply® is actual fiber reinforcement laminated between layers of X-Pac® itself. It is not a print, or weaving trick. The 22-degree orientation of the X-PLY is important and specific to X-Pac®, as it provides off-axis reinforcement and load carrying support within the fabric. If you look at a backpack made with X-Pac® you will see the X-PLY fibers are oriented such that they carry load from the shoulder of the pack to the opposite hip. The X-PLY fiber also acts as a rip-stop in the case of torn fabric. The laminate construction is inherently waterproof and adds stability to the fabric, allowing X-Pac® to perform at a higher level than its weight would suggest.
- What are the main differences between different X-Pac® fabrics (i.e. X50, VX42, RVX30, etc)
The main difference in our fabrics lies within the construction layers of the laminate. We have three primary laminate constructions:
X4 – 4-layer laminate (face fabric – X-PLY® – Polyester barrier – woven taffeta backing)
X3 – 3-layer laminate (face fabric – X-PLY® – polyester film backing)
LS – LiteSkin® laminate (non-woven face fabric – polyester barrier – woven taffeta backing)
Under each of these constructions we have a wide variety of fabrics. The fabric names associated with the denier of the face fabric used in each. For example, VX21 is a 4-layer laminate with a 210D face fabric, while X50 is a 3-layer laminate using a 500D face fabric. All X-Pac® can be identified by its name as to where it falls within the product line.
- Why did you choose to make X-Pac® in the USA?
X-Pac® is made exclusively at Dimension-Polyant USA in Putnam, CT. Dimension-Polyant is known as the leader in the outdoor market, producing the highest quality laminate fabrics. Manufacturing in the USA is a key to that success. As a vertically integrated manufacturer we have full control over our fabric preparation, lamination, finishing and inspection processes. We are focused on uncompromised quality and performance in our fabrics and manufacturing. Our R&D team also sits in Putnam, CT which allows for a quick innovation cycle when it comes to fabric development. Stay tuned for new fabrics from Dimension-Polyant!
- Are there differences in tear, and abrasion resistance between the fabric?
Yes – all X-Pac® styles have different properties from each other. It is a balance between fabric weight, tear strength, and abrasion resistance. There are many factors that play into this, for instance the denier of the face fabric, and whether the laminate construction is 3-layer, 4-layer or LiteSkin® construction makes differences in performance. ®. We have the ability to use different X-PLY® fibers to tailor the performance of the fabric. With X-Pac®’s unique laminate construction, we are able to get the most out of each individual component increasing performance and reducing weight. This ultimately results in a fabric that can suit anyone’s performance or durability requirements.
- Does X-Pac® have recycled material variants?
Yes, as of this year we have just launched our new RX line, which are 100% post-consumer recycled polyester fabrics. We source plastic bottles on the east coast of the USA, send for spinning and weaving on the east coast, and to our facility in Putnam, CT for lamination.
In addition to our new fabrics, we have fully transitioned all our standard polyester X-PLY® fibers to be 100% post-consumer recycled polyester as well.
- What plans do you have in the future to make X-Pac® more sustainable?
Sustainability is a large portion of our ethos here at Dimension-Polyant. As of 2021 we have certified both our manufacturing facilities in Germany and the USA as 100% climate neutral. Going one step further we are starting to certify our fabrics as 100% climate neutral and are doing so with our cleenTEC® seal. Currently VX21, RX15, RX30, RX36 and X11 Cotton fabrics are covered by the cleenTEC® seal.
This seal is our guarantee towards a more sustainable fabric, and represents fabrics that utilize recycled, bio-based, or sustainably sourced materials while being 100% climate neutral. We reduce our impact where we can by using green energy but understand that in manufacturing there are inherent emissions in the process. We offset these emissions by investing in wind turbine programs in the Caribbean to prevent diesel burning for energy and we invest in programs to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. As a company of outdoor enthusiasts, we want to have a tangible impact on the world we enjoy and aim to preserve for future generations. We plan to expand the availability of cleenTEC products across the entire X-Pac® portfolio in the near future.