Polyester vs. Canvas vs. Nylon Backpack — Which Is Better? The Pros and Cons

Can’t find the best material for your backpack? There are many options to consider, but they end up confusing you. Luckily, we will help you with that.

This article will compare polyester vs. canvas vs. nylon backpack. Please check it carefully, and you can determine your favorite!

What is Polyester Fabric? The Pros and Cons

Polyester is a kind of plastic manufactured from petroleum. Manufacturers use a process named polymerization to create a reaction between an alcohol and an acid. It melts plastic and spins it out into fibers.

After processing, the fibers will turn into strands of polymers that are incredibly strong. Thanks to its durability, we use polyester for many purposes.

Using polyester backpacks you will have these pros and cons:


  • Polyester is cheap.
  • Polymers make the fabric resilient and strong.
  • We can easily stretch the fibers into shape.
  • The material can blend well with other fabrics.
  • Polyester is moisture-wicking and heat-resistant.


  • You may prefer more breathability.
  • Polyester isn’t an environmentally-friendly solution.
  • It’s flammable.

What is Canvas Fabric? The Pros and Cons 

Canvas is a plain-woven material consisting of hemp, polyvinyl chloride (often known as PVC), or sometimes cotton, linen, or both.

Cotton makes perfect sense for canvas since it has various varieties and easily adjustable thread sizes.

Manufacturers find it easy to adjust the fabric for different purposes by changing the yard used to weave the threads.

If you intend to use canvas backpacks, consider both pros and cons:


  • This material is highly durable.
  • It can print colors well.
  • Manufacturers can apply chemical treatments on the fiber to promote its qualities.
  • It’s a natural material.


  • Maintaining the material requires multiple tasks.
  • It’s expensive.
  • Your backpack may fade easily.

What is Nylon Fabric? The Pros and Cons

Nylon fabric consists of multiple fibers spun together. Those fibers may be entirely nylon or a combination of nylon with other materials. No matter which the combination is, the outcome is synthetic nylon fabric.

These days, the nylon fabric we use is mostly blended material. It guarantees that you will have a strong, cheap, and stretchy material to work with.

Here are some pros and cons of using nylon backpacks:


  • The material is strong and stretchy.
  • It has impressive corrosion and abrasion resistance.
  • Your bag will be lightweight.
  • You can pre-color or dye it in different colors.


  • Nylon production is not very eco-friendly.
  • Nylon can melt and burn.
  • It’s not good at resisting sunlight.

Which Is Better: Polyester or Canvas? 

The first battle is between polyester and canvas backpacks. Let’s see how they are different from each other.


Both materials are famous for their durability. You can use them for years. However, in this round, the canvas seems to stand out.

Canvas has thick fibers, making it suitable for carrying heavy stuff. You may have seen many tote bags made from this material.

Polyester is also a good choice in this regard. However, compared to its competitor, it needs some texture improvements to its strength.


Because of the thick threads, canvas backpacks will be heavier. You can use them for your trips to local supermarkets or grocery stores but think carefully before packing your stuff there when planning a lengthy hike.

Polyester may make a better choice for your outdoors. Consider that it’s a durable tool while being lightweight. Hence, backpackers prefer this fabric.

Weather resistance

Polyester is sensitive to high heat. When put under a hot temperature, it may melt and finally burn. Even if you don’t intend to let your backpack endure such experiences, it’s still a drawback of polyester to canvas.

Meanwhile, canvas can resist external conditions, such as heat or UV radiation. Unfortunately, you can’t expect your backpack to be water-resistant. If you want a waterproof bag, apply waterproofing spray or wax.

This video will show you some tips to waterproof your bag:


Synthetic materials can’t win over natural ones. In this case, canvas, as a natural fabric, wins.

Polyester isn’t biodegradable. Therefore, if not recycled, it will linger in the ecosystems for thousands of years and continue to harm the environment, the seas, and wildlife.

Moreover, polyester, made from non-renewable sources, creates large volumes of plastic trash and microfibers and increases CO2 emissions.


Polyester is a synthetic material. So, the price will be lower than natural ones, like canvas. Moreover, since you don’t have to pay much attention to maintenance, your overall investment will be lower.

What Is The Difference Between Canvas and Nylon? 

Nylon backpacks are also getting popular these days. We will compare them with canvas models to determine if they can be what you need.


Canvas backpacks are more breathable than nylon ones because the latter contains synthetic materials. It means that canvas backpacks will have better airflow.

Aside from better breathability, canvas is also better at insulating. So your back can stay cool even when hiking on hot days and remain warm when the weather is cold.


Both materials are durable, but their thick fibers make canvas backpacks more resistant to tearing.

You may sometimes accidentally get rips on your backpack. You can stitch it easier using a sewing tool if it’s a canvas one.

On the other hand, fixing nylon rips is possible but requires a special patch. Otherwise, you can’t cover the tear nicely.

Nevertheless, despite the lower durability, nylon has a superior strength-to-weight ratio. Nylon is a little bit less sturdy than its competitor, while it’s much more lightweight.


As aforementioned, nylon is lighter. A nylon backpack can be your ideal companion if you intend to pack for a long hiking trip.

Meanwhile, canvas backpacks are bulkier and heavier. It doesn’t matter if you just use it for school or work. Yet, the canvas backpack will become a hassle once you plan arduous trekking.

Weather resistance

Of course, you won’t let your backpack stay indoors as its mission is to assist you outdoors. Hence, it should be resistant to weather elements.

Canvas is UV-resistant. Meanwhile, nylon may wear down due to continuous exposure to sunlight. Thus, a canvas backpack often lasts longer than its nylon counterpart.


Canvas, with its natural fibers, makes it biodegradable. Even when your backpack has reached the final stage of its life cycle, it can degrade into the earth and leave no harm.

On the other hand, the petroleum content in nylon is a non-renewable material. Manufacturing your backpack involves some harmful chemicals.


Canvas backpacks are more expensive because of their natural materials. If you need a more affordable option, we will recommend nylon models.

Is Cotton Better Than Polyester? 

Cotton is one of the most popular types of fabrics used for making backpacks. There are no synthetic materials in cotton since it is chemically organic.

Many people confuse canvas and cotton. But cotton comes from the fibers around the seeds of a cotton plant, while canvas is a combination of multiple natural fibers. Sometimes, cotton plants can be a component of canvas.

We have cotton bags too. This section will focus on the difference between cotton vs. polyester so you can better understand the two materials.


Cotton and polyester are both sturdy materials but in different ways. The variety of weaves used in the cotton fabric gives it its strength. The heavier the weave, the stronger the material.

On the contrary, polyester fibers are resistant to water, dirt, and wrinkles since they are made of plastic. Moreover, as they won’t break down easily, they can sustain a great deal of wear and strain.


Although the thread counts of the two fabrics are similar, the weight makes the story different. With the same thickness, cotton is heavier than polyester.

A polyester fabric may have a high thread count, but it thickens the weave and enhances its resilience. In contrast, heavy-weight polyester feels lighter than the thickest denim, although the weight will differ significantly.

This case is the same as comparing canvas vs. polyester. So our advice won’t change: bring a polyester backpack for your hard trip.


Polyester is highly resistant to shrinking because of its synthetic qualities. This characteristic makes it an ideal material for backpacks that require frequent cleaning.

On the other hand, cotton is popular for its susceptibility to shrink. The degree of shrinking is always highest after the first wash.

Which Backpack Is Better: Nylon Or Polyester Or Canvas? 

Comparing the three materials is tricky. First, please look at this comparison table. You will picture how they differ and can determine which suits you best.

Nylon Polyester  Canvas 
Durability  ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐
Flammability ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐
Breathability  ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐
Ease of Maintenance ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐
UV Resistance ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐
Water Resistance  ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐
Sustainability ⭐⭐⭐
Price  ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐


Each material has pros and cons. They can be the best in some cases and need improvement in certain terms. Here is our recommendation for each material.

Why choose polyester backpacks? 

As you can see from the comparison table, polyester appears to be the best material in terms of water resistance. Moreover, it’s lightweight, easy to maintain, and comfortable to the touch. You will love the price too.

With all those characteristics, you can use your polyester backpack for many purposes, including trekking, hiking, and camping.

Why choose nylon backpacks?

Nylon is the easiest material to maintain and wash. It shares some features with polyester as they are both synthetic material, but surpasses its counterpart when it comes to durability.

So, you can use nylon backpacks as you do with polyester ones. They are easy to clean and quick to dry. If you need something simple, these cost-effective options will fulfill your requirements.

Why choose canvas backpacks?

Canvas is much different from the other two materials. This natural material can last for years and resist UV light effectively. They are also breathable, comforting your back after hours of use.

Besides, if you care about the environment, you won’t go wrong with canvas backpacks because they are biodegradable.

The only problem with canvas is that it demands more maintenance and comes with a high cost. However, since it’s the most durable option, you will have a good long-term investment.


What are the benefits of canvas tote bags?

Using those bags, you will have the following benefits:

  • Canvas tote bags have an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It means that your bags will be lightweight but still handle a lot of belongings inside.
  • Canvas is a durable material. Hence, you can use your tote bags for years.
  • The bags are easy to wash.
  • You can print on your tote bags without worrying about bleeding.
  • Canvas is an eco-friendly material.

Which material bag is best?

It depends on your requirements. If you like lightweight backpacks for your long trip, nylon and polyester will be more suitable. But if you prefer something that can last for decades and doesn’t harm the environment, you should choose canvas.

Is polyester a good material for bags?

Yes. Polyester has strong heat resistance, excellent elasticity, wrinkle and distortion resistance, durability, and corrosion resistance.

Moreover, polyester bags require minimal maintenance. You can wash them using water and simple cleaning products. They can also dry fast.

What is the most durable material for a bag?

Canvas is the most durable material used to make bags. It can remain good for years or sometimes decades with good maintenance. Even when degrading, it doesn’t leave any harm to the environment.

Are canvas bags strong?

Yes. These bags can carry up to 40 pounds thanks to the thick fibers. Canvas is also one of the sturdiest materials used for bags.

Are canvas backpacks waterproof?

No. The material itself is not waterproof. However, you can apply waterproofing sprays or wax coats to waterproof your backpack.

Is canvas better than leather?

Canvas is superior in terms of durability, reliability, and maintenance. However, if fashion is your top concern, you may prefer leather bags because of their sleek appearance.

Which is better: a nylon or polyester backpack?

Nylon is stronger and more durable than polyester. However, polyester is water- and stain-resistant. You can also maintain polyester backpacks easier.

What is the difference between nylon and re-nylon?

The most significant difference between these two materials is that re-nylon is more matte and comes with a smoother texture, making it look better.

Are canvas backpacks good for camping?

No. Although these backpacks are highly durable, their weight will soon exhaust you before you can arrive at the camping site. But if you have a car camping trip, they can work.

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