When making a purchase decision, not only the type of bag, but also the material plays an important role. There are big differences and important issues that interested people should consider before buying.
Cotton / canvas
The term canvas describes cotton (originally hemp), which is woven by a tight weave pattern into a strong and very resistant fabric. One big advantage of canvas is its enormous load-bearing capacity. The material withstands heavy weight and has the practical feature that its fibers swell when they come into contact with water and close the fabric.
One disadvantage of canvas is that the fabric becomes permeable to too much water. As a result, contents are no longer protected in heavy rains. To solve this problem, however, Bartuggi subject canvas bags to additional surface treatment, making the material even more robust and completely waterproof. In addition, canvas bags are harder to keep clean than the alternatives made of leather, nylon or polyester.
Leather is one of the most popular materials in bag production. Cowhide is the most commonly used. High quality leather bags are mostly made of calfskin. The advantages of leather are obvious. It is both robust and durable, but also elegant and timeless. In addition, the material is easy to clean and looks even better aged than new.
One disadvantage to be mentioned is that leather is not waterproof without additional impregnation and must be regularly maintained.
As a material, this synthetic version of the real thing offers numerous advantages. In terms of performance, polyurethane leather is waterproof, can be dry-cleaned, is soft and supple and much lighter than real leather. And although it tears more easily than genuine leather, this synthetic form does not crack or fade under sunlight, making it particularly ideal for bags.
Other benefits of polyurethane leather include its environmental credentials. As a biobased material, genuine leather’s main environmental benefit is its biodegradability. However, this has to be considered against the background of the material’s production process. Traditionally, leather production and the tanning process use several toxic chemicals, which produce pollution in our interior and exterior environments. Tanneries themselves also release polluting chemicals including ammonia and chromium in the form of liquid and solid waste. This results in considerable water pollution, particularly in developing countries. By contrast, innovative manufacturing techniques make polyurethane leather cleaner to make, with less natural resource use and free of animal cruelty.
Nylon is a relatively modern bag material. The polyamide synthetic fiber is extremely light and flexible. These are also the biggest advantages of the synthetic material and at the same time the reason why it is being increasingly used for bags. A bag made of nylon has almost no weight and can be folded small and stowed anywhere. Another advantage is that nylon is completely wind and weather resistant. Even when it rains a nylon bag keeps its contents dry. The smooth surface is easy to clean and impresses with its pleasant feel.
In most cases, however, nylon is used more for sports bags, making it less suitable for use in the office, for example.
Like nylon, polyester is a synthetic fiber. The two materials are very similar in many properties. Both fabrics are convincing due to their resistance and lightness.
However, unlike nylon, polyester is even more water-repellent and breathable and can be said to be completely waterproof in a blend with polyurethanes. This mixture is often used for rubber boots and raincoats. Another advantage of polyester is its great shape retention and heat resistance.