What is "Parachute Cloth" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 28-Nov-2023 ( ago)
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Parachute Cloth: Soaring Through History with Lightweight Strength

Brief History and Origin of Parachute Cloth

Parachute cloth, known for its lightness and exceptional strength, played a significant role in both World Wars. The origins of parachute cloth can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries when silk was primarily used for parachutes. The high demand during World War II led to the incorporation of alternative materials like nylon. This was a pivotal moment as nylon proved to be more durable, stronger, and lighter compared to silk, and eventually became the standard material for parachute cloth.

Types of Parachute Cloth

  • Silk: Originally used in early parachutes, silk was favored for its lightweight properties but was later replaced due to the scarcity during WWII.
  • Nylon: Introduced during World War II, nylon quickly became the material of choice for parachute cloth because of its strength, lightness, and availability.
  • Ripstop Nylon: A modern variation, characterized by its crosshatch pattern which prevents tearing, ripstop nylon is highly valued in parachutes and other applications where durability is critical.

Tips in Handling Parachute Cloth

  • Storage: Parachute cloth should be stored in a dry, cool place to maintain its integrity.
  • Cleaning: Its advisable to clean using mild soap and to avoid wringing the fabric as this might cause it to lose shape.
  • Repairs: Any tears should be mended immediately to prevent them from expanding. Use patches of the same material for repairs.

Profiles of Major International Manufacturers or Users

  • Performance Textiles Inc: A renowned name in the textile industry, Performance Textiles Inc specializes in high-quality parachute fabrics. Their fabrics are known for their reliability and are used in various applications including military parachutes.
  • Parachute Systems: Parachute Systems is a prominent manufacturer of skydiving equipment. They are known for their high-quality parachute systems made from durable parachute cloth that ensures the safety and performance of the parachute.
  • APCO Aviation: Established in 1974, APCO Aviation is one of the world's biggest producers of paragliders and harnesses. They use parachute cloth for its strength and durability, which is crucial in paragliding.
  • FXC Corporation: With a long-standing history in the aviation industry, FXC Corporation specializes in life support equipment, including parachutes. Their focus on safety and innovation makes them a leader in the field.
  • Sun Path Products: Sun Path Products is known for its Javelin harness/container system. The company utilizes high-quality parachute cloth in their products to ensure safety and performance.

Applications of Parachute Cloth

  • Parachutes: The primary application of parachute cloth is in making parachutes for both military and recreational purposes. The fabric's strength and lightweight properties are essential for ensuring the safety and functionality of parachutes.
  • Tents and shelters: Parachute cloth is widely used in making tents and shelters as it is lightweight and can be packed compactly. Moreover, it is capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions, making it ideal for outdoor shelters.
  • Clothing: The lightness of parachute cloth has made it popular in clothing. Jackets made from parachute cloth are especially popular as they are warm without being heavy.


Parachute cloth has evolved over time from its origins in silk to the highly engineered fabrics used today. The advent of nylon was a game-changer in the evolution of parachute cloth. The combination of lightweight and strength makes parachute cloth a highly sought-after fabric, not just in parachutes but in various other applications such as tents and clothing. Its utilization across different sectors demonstrates its versatility and value. As technological advancements continue, one can only expect further innovation in the development of parachute cloth, possibly making it stronger, lighter, and more versatile. This enduring fabric, born out of necessity, will undoubtedly continue to be woven into the fabric of daily life and adventure.

Parachute cloth
Lightweight, strong, compact fabric used for outerwear, luggage and parachutes.
Parachute Cloth
A close-weave, lightweight, synthetic fibre or silk fabric with high bursting and tearing strengths.

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