What is Cordura ?

What is Cordura ?

What is cordura ?

A high tenacity fabric developed in the 1970’s by Invista. 


  • Rugged
  • Strong
  • Water repellent
  • High Tenacity
  • I pulled these from the official website!

Invista is a textile developer. They make the brand name Cordura. 

Invista has licensed textile mills globally to make Cordura fabrics. There are also “generic” brands of Cordura, using the same technology at a lower cost.  

Massive variety of uses. The reason I like Cordura is because it is breathable and abrasion resistant. It is also a tested, proven protective material for rugged uses. The reason it’s so strong is the “high tenacity” yarn. 

Textile Science Lesson:

High Tenacity = High strength. Much higher breaking point than other yarns of the same category. 

Fiber = smallest piece of the raw material, for example shredding a cotton ball gives you cotton fibers. 

Thread  = pieces of fiber, spun into thread (very thin string)

Filament = thread made of a single, continuous piece of fiber

Yarn = several threads twisted together, twist contributes to strength 

Weave = Structure of the fabric. Yarns are woven into a piece of cloth. Different weave patterns alter the properties of the fabric. 

Denier = A unit of measure for filament fibers (silk, rayon, nylon, etc.) The weight in grams of 9,000 meters of the yarn. Higher denier = thicker, stronger. 

I’m diving into this because every textile is made of fibers. Each fiber has different properties which make it strong or weak.  The yarn structure and twist also impact the strength. The weave contributes to the strength or weakness too. For example, a twill weave is stronger than a plain weave. 

So, textiles are quite complex. They are not all created equal. 

That brings me back to Cordura. It’s been used in VERY rugged conditions, since the 1970’s. Packs that wild fire fighters and soldiers use in harsh, remote conditions. 

Of course, it is also used widely in motorcycle protective apparel and outdoor gear. 

Raven Rova uses Cordura, leather and Kevlar materials. 

Our Falcon Pants, Falcon Jacket are made of 500 denier Cordura. They offer strong, reliable protection in the most extreme conditions. We mix other materials like stretch Kevlar (Keprotec) and leather in to enhance the strength and comfort. 

I also like that Invista has continued to develop cordura. 

The Raven Pants are made of stretch Cordura! That means, it actually has a small amount of elastane (2%) added. The Cordura’s strength is maintained. You can move like you’re wearing everyday clothes, with all the protection. 

And remember, it breathes too! 

How does that work ? 


Partially from the woven structure. Primarily it is coming from the textile science behind the scene. Natural fibers, like wool, silk, leather breathe naturally. They emulate the skin because they are porous. Textile scientists copy these desired properties, and leave out the negative traits, like mold and deterioration. 

Man-made textiles start as viscous mixtures. They are extruded through something that looks like a shower head. The extrusion is called a filament. The filament becomes the thread, yarn, and ultimately fabric. 

Diagram from Cordura.com


"I just spent today doing a cornering class up in Stockton in 108 degree heat, and the Falcon outfit saved me. It was so comfortable for riding out here yesterday too. It really got the heat test coming through Livermore/Tracy/etc when it was around 100 - I sweated so much less wearing that than I have in my leather jacket and riding jeans in similar situations. It’s great to finally have real riding pants for those kind of conditions."

From Lori in San Francisco. She's one of our best supporters!


What's a filament fiber ? 

A single, continuous fiber.

Silk is the ONLY naturally occurring filament fiber. It is quite strong. 


Rayon or Viscose was developed in the 1700’s in France. The demand for man-made silk was high, and only the most elite could afford genuine silk imported from China. It is made from tree pulp, also called cellulose. The pulp is ground up and melted down into a viscous mixture. Hence the name, Viscose. Tencel, Rayon, Lyocel, Cupro, etc. are all made with this process. 

This extrusion process is used to make other man-made filament fibers. Examples; nylon, polyester, and their turbo charged cousins Cordura, Kevlar, Nomax. 

What’s in the mixtures ?

Well, they start with nylon and polyester. Which are petroleum based. Then other compounds are added to the mixture. These compounds add different properties, for example anti-microbial, water resistant, and heat resistant. Like I mentioned previously. Often the man-made compounds mimic traits of natural fibers. Sometimes the fabric is also coated. 

How can we trust this ? 

That’s where the years of testing in extreme conditions comes in. Cordura has been on the market since the 1970’s. The research and real world uses are true. 

When I first started Raven Rova, I started with textiles. I got advice from experts and followed my own experience. 

Breathable, lightweight materials feel good. 

Crashing and sliding (impact and abrasion) hurts. 

Motorcycle gear that protects you AND withstands a crash is the best. 

Protecting the skin from abrasion is one of our biggest priorities. Giving you trusted, durable products is critical! I wear this stuff, I have crashed and slid in it. I also live in California. We’ve been setting record high temperatures. So, breathable gear is another big priority for us. 

I want the best for myself and you. 

That’s why we use Cordura. 

(And leather and Kevlar!)

Did you like this ? I’d love to do more textile science write ups, let me know what you think! 



A note on petroleum based textiles. 

All technical fabrics are made from refined petroleum products. Leather is the only way to avoid this in motorcycle gear.  Buy the best quality you can and take care of it.  Raven Rova makes durable gear that withstands a slide. It's reusable! 


Can we recycle them?

Sometimes. That's a whole other article. 

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