Is Nylon Waterproof?

Is Nylon Waterproof? Demystifying the Water-Resistant Nature of Nylon


The question “Is nylon waterproof?” is a common one, and the short answer is no. As a fabric, nylon actually absorbs water and allows it to pass through when wet. On a molecular level, nylon is hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs water, further confirming its lack of waterproofing.

Nylon and Water Resistance:

Nylon And Water Resistance

While nylon is not inherently waterproof, it can serve as an excellent base material for various water-resistant products. Manufacturers have devised techniques to improve nylon’s water resistance, making it suitable for outdoor clothing and backpacks designed to repel light rain and moisture.

Improving Water Resistance:

There are several techniques used to enhance nylon’s water resistance. Tightening the weave of the fabric fibers or increasing the material’s weight, such as in ballistic nylon, improves the overall quality of the nylon and reduces the amount of water that can pass through when wet.

Water-Resistant Coatings:

To make nylon water-resistant, manufacturers commonly apply external water-resistant coatings to the fabric’s surface. These coatings, such as DWR, urethane, rubber, or laminated waterproof membranes, cause water to bead off the surface, restricting its ability to penetrate the material.

Choosing Water Resistance vs. Waterproofing:

It’s essential to consider whether you truly need a waterproof backpack or product, as achieving true waterproofing can be expensive. Many products on the market claim to be waterproof, but it’s crucial to be cautious as not all are genuinely waterproof. For most everyday situations, a quality water-resistant backpack is more than sufficient to protect your valuable belongings and technology from light rain and occasional showers.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

1. Is nylon good in the rain?

Nylon is generally not the best fabric for heavy rain, as it is not naturally water-resistant. In light rain or drizzle, nylon may provide some protection due to its tightly woven fibers, but it will eventually become saturated and allow water to pass through. For better rain protection, consider opting for a water-resistant or waterproof jacket made from treated or coated nylon.

2. Can I wear nylon in the water?

Nylon is not suitable for prolonged water exposure, as it is not waterproof. While it may provide some initial resistance to water, nylon will eventually absorb water and become heavy and uncomfortable when soaked. If you plan to be in or near the water, it’s best to choose water-specific materials like neoprene or water-resistant fabrics designed for aquatic activities.

3. Is nylon naturally water-resistant?

No, nylon is not naturally water-resistant. It is a hygroscopic material, meaning it absorbs water readily. However, nylon can be treated or coated with water-resistant agents to improve its ability to repel light rain and moisture. These treatments create a temporary barrier on the surface of the fabric, allowing water to bead up and roll off rather than immediately soaking in.

4. Can a nylon jacket be used in the rain?

While nylon jackets can provide some protection in light rain, they are not ideal for heavy or prolonged exposure to rain. Unless treated or coated with water-resistant agents, a nylon jacket will eventually become saturated and allow water to pass through, leaving you wet and uncomfortable. If you expect rain, it’s best to choose a jacket specifically designed for rain protection, such as a waterproof or water-resistant jacket made from treated or laminated nylon.


In conclusion, nylon is not waterproof, but it can be made water-resistant through various techniques and coatings. Depending on your needs and budget, a water-resistant nylon backpack or product will effectively keep your belongings dry in typical weather conditions. Unless you plan on taking your backpack underwater or require extreme waterproofing, a high-quality water-resistant option will serve you well and offer excellent protection during your everyday adventures.

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