What is a Denier? You’ve probably come across this term some time when searching for outdoor gear or clothing. To simply put it, denier a unit of measurement that refers to the thickness of an individual thread or filament in fabric and textiles.
Although referred to the thickness of threads, denier is actually a weight measurement. The measurement of denier is one gram per 9000 meters of fiber and is based on the natural reference of a single strand of silk being approximately one denier. A 9000 meter(9 km) fiber(strand) of silk weighs about one gram. Silk is typically 1d, while human hair is about 20d, this should give you a general consensus to how sheer fabrics are with a range of 20d or lower.
How to make sense of denier
Fabric or textiles with a higher denier count will be burlier while a low denier count means the fabric will be softer and sheerer. A higher denier count will not always mean that that the yarn is particularly stronger. There’s a variety of factors that contribute to fabric strength, such as design and materials used to treat the fabric.
For example, our rainfly consists of 75d polyester which is considered a happy-medium between lightweight and durable. The design of this fabric consists of a grid-pattern that reinforces it from tearing.
Why does this matter?
When choosing your gear or clothing, taking denier into account is crucial. Opting to choose fabrics that consist of a lower denier may seem like the best choice because it is lightweight; however, these pieces may not be ideal for high-abrasion activities. Instead, consider the places and activities you plan to use your gear for, and keep denier in mind.
Heavy duty fabrics are considered to have a high denier rating ranging from 100d and up and often preferred use for backpacks and duffel bags.
Standard weight fabrics range from 40-80d and will be used in most hard-shell jackets, ponchos, and tents.
Ultralight weight fabrics, often used in many technical pieces of gear, jackets, and tents, are usually made with 10-20d.