Ripstop Nylon vs Ripstop Polyester

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I'm very familiar with ripstop nylon and Dacron, but I have not heard of ripstop polyester what is the difference? As in advantages and disadvantages?

I believe my kiteboard kites are ripstop nylon with Dacron leading edges, but maybe I have misidentified the ripstop material.  Is there an easy way to tell the nylon and polyester apart?


lighter....stronger...less stretch.....stronger brighter colors...does not fray....price is different too....

pretty certain that most of the kiteboarding skins out there are nylons with great waterproof coatings (like Chikara which is also used in tents)..and dacron LE for durability....

if you grab a close up picture or two and post them someone might be able to call it out definitively...

What does the manufacturer say about it?


With modern coatings used today there is little difference. I say little difference... as there is still a slight difference. In some cases, like higher end stunt kites, this can make a difference.


Polyester has less stretch then Nylon but when stretched it fails since it will not return to it's original state, just a little more pressure and the fibers break (tear). Nylon has an ability to stretch and return to it's original state to a point, it does have a failing point where it won't return or tears but those points are much higher then Polyester. Nylon also has higher abrasion resistance then Polyester.

Polyester is hydrophobic, that is Polyester fibers do not absorb water, Nylon fibers absorb water and expand when exposed, that can change the sail shape. The shape returns once dry though. Nylon sail cloth manufacturers have developed very good coatings over the last 20 years though and water absorption  isn't as big a deal any longer. As long as you're getting quality Nylon made for sail cloth.

Clothing and parachute ripstop Nylons do not have reliable water resistant coatings, stay away from them for kites. Balloon Nylons have better coatings but balloon fabric is designed to have some flex across the grain since that is a positive feature for balloons. Although that flex has been used to advantage in some kites that were experimenting with shaped sails it usually is not a desireable feature in kiting.

Nylon makes for a smoother flying kite in bumpy winds as it absorbs some of the shock, but by the same measure it isn't as responsive as Polyester to a sharp input.

I hear most sail manufacturers have returned to using Nylon for all but the highest performance sails because of it's higher catastrophic failing point and abrasion resistance.



Personally, I think the manufacturers use nylon over poly for most kites because of cost.  If they were priced the same, I feel most kites would be made from Poly.

I don't have the info to back that up, it is just my personal opinion. :)

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