North St. Bags operates with the goal of continuous improvement. We prioritize the slow and steady, the scenic routes, and doing whatever we can to make our gear the ethical, sustainable, and economic choice.
Enter EcoPak (EPX). It's the first and only durable, waterproof fabric made from 100 percent recycled polyester fiber and film, which comes from plastic bottles. Each yard of fabric is made from approximately 20 reclaimed plastic water bottles, while still being incredibly abrasion resistant, lightweight, and ripstop.
Made by Connecticut-based heritage manufacturers Challenge Sailcloth, EcoPak boasts the storm-weathering performance of virgin nylon cloth with a fraction of the CO2 emissions. Moreover, the fabric uses a CO DWR (no fluorocarbons), so it’s VOC free.
Here's the nitty-gritty on EcoPak:
- All woven components are made from 100% Repreve recycled polyester, primarily made from plastic bottles
- C0 DWR coating is made with no fluorocarbons (proven bad for the environment, and banned in Europe)
- It's proprietary 'Challenge RUV' polyester film backing is 97% UV Resistant, and lasts about 4 times as long as the polyester film used in similar fabrics
- It reduces CO2 emissions by over 1lb per yard of fabric
- EcoPak is recyclable after use
We use two weights in our products. EPX200 is lighter weight and comes in a variety of fun colors. We use this for fronts and side panels of our larger packs. For added durability we picked the thicker EPX600 in Black for high wear points (like backs and bottoms). For smaller products where weight is more important (such as our Adventure Micro Pannier) We opted to use the 200 weight on the whole bag.
You’ll even find EcoPak built into some of our lined 1000d Products (such as our Route 24L Pannier) We use a simpler film-backed version (also known as EPLX200) in a White color to make it easier to see items inside your bag.
This fabric is our preferred choice when performance and weather resistance are important—the eco-credentials are an added bonus.
1000d CORDURA Nylon (Made in USA)
CORDURA is the best woven nylon available on the market. But its success over the years is similar to that of Kleenex or Xerox. When you build a product that is the clear industry leader, often your brand name becomes synonymous with the entire category of product, lumped together with the imitators and infringers. With so many copy-cats (legal or otherwise) on the market, many companies will use imitation nylon and simply call it CORDURA without thinking twice. That's not us.
Today, to use CORDURA brand nylon in your products is truly a differentiator. We source 1000-denier (1000d) CORDURA—a virgin ballistic nylon—for the outer shells of our bags. It's durable, rip- and abrasion-resistant, and it's even coated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish making it fairly water resistant. This fabric is built to last and we are some of its biggest fans.
What's a denier you might ask? For reference, “denier” is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers, it’s the mass in grams per 9,000 meters of the fiber. That's how fabric is measured and rated, with a higher number indicating a heavier weave, thereby (in theory) being more durable and abrasion resistant.
Overall, this fabric is very durable, suitable for withstanding years of tough activities, and because of the DWR coating it can keep stuff dry through light showers or splashes. It comes in a wide variety of colors and has more of a classic look and feel compared to the EcoPak, so is often our favorite choice for everyday bags and hip packs.
Limited Edition EPLX Denim
We made a special, limited edition run of our Woodward Backpack Panniers using EPLX Denim.
It boasts the same durability as standard EcoPak, but with the friendly look and feel of your favorite pair of jeans.
Limited quantities available!
Available in 4 colors. Shop Now!
RBC (Recycled Bag Cloth)
Bags have many different components and fabric needs. We utilize a variety of softer, lighter weight pack-cloths (called Recycled Bag Cloth) for different components. From the binding material used to finish raw edges to the built-in laptop sleeves and internal pocket organizers. These fabrics are carefully selected to perform well, add to the bag’s flair, and not add extra cost or weight to a design.
RBC is actually the base fabric used to make EcoPak (which makes color matching very easy). It is made from 100% recycled fibers.
Examples of how we use RBC fabrics:
- Products made for use inside bags, such as our 10” Internal Organizer or Hook & Loop Laptop Sleeve are made using RBC200, RBC400 and RBC600 fabrics.
- We add a pop of color to the interiors of our hip packs such as the Pioneer 8 with RBC200
- Our backpack straps are made with RBC600, as is the binding material we use to finish interior seams and close roll-top edges.
How to Care for your Bag
Whether it's made from CORDURA or EcoPak we recommend keeping your North St. Bag clean with occasional spot treatment on stains or accumulated dirt with a damp cloth. For set in stains use a brush with lukewarm water and mild detergent or hand soap. Please do not machine wash or dry. Seriously. Air dry for an hour or two.
To keep your bag looking fresh and keep water from accumulating on the outer shell face fabric, reapply a DWR finish. We like Nikwax TX Direct.