Comparing The Fabric of Chef Bags

Posted by Chef Chelsie on 2019 Dec 17th

Comparing The Fabric of Chef Bags

As a chef, professional or if you are just starting out, you’ll want to make the purchasing of your chef knife bag seriously. After all, the point is to find a bag you can carry with you throughout your career. It’s not only important to find the right bag for you but to ensure that the chef knife bag you choose will last a long time.

One way to ensure dependability is to know the kind of fabric your bag is made of. Sure, a bag can say that it’s made of nylon or cotton canvas, but getting into the details of the different fabrics available to you can be a game-changer.

For chef knife bags there are common fabrics that you will come across. Those are:

  • Cotton Canvas
  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Leather

Within these fabrics, we can break down what it is that makes them great for chef knife bags and what their key differences are.

Cotton Canvas

In a time long ago, the cotton canvas was the go-to fabric for backpacks. They were made water-resistant by adding a layer of wax, though this wouldn’t keep the bags from suffering abrasion damage.

These bags were heavy, typically military-grade, and if they weren’t properly cared for they could start to rot and decompose. This would then require either replacing the bag or, if the damage wasn’t too bad, leaning how to re-coat the bag in wax.

While cotton canvas hasn’t changed much over the years, there are a few things you should know if this is the fabric you have your eye on for your chef knife bag.


1. Measured by Weight

You might be surprised to learn that cotton canvas fabric is measured by weight, specifically ounces. To make it even more confusing, the numbers can run in a reverse measuring system or ounce per linear. This just means that if the manufacturer is using the linear measurement system, a number 10oz canvas will be lighter than a number 4oz canvas.

The cotton canvas is measured based on the weight of one square yard of material. This makes it simple because no matter the size of the bag, the weight of one square yard of material does not change. What does change, however, is when you start adding dyes to the fabric to get the color you want. Dye adds weight. So while the square yard weight might be 6oz, a navy blue bag will weigh more, and the same bag in white will weigh less.

The important thing to be aware of when it comes to the weight of your cotton canvas chef knife bag is that a heavier weight doesn’t always mean a sturdier bag. There are various processes used in creating cotton fibers, how they are stitched and so forth that can make those lighter weight cotton canvas bags more durable.

2. Wax On

A part of a cotton canvas chef knife bag’s durability comes from the canvas being coated in wax. In fact, it is very rare to find a cotton canvas bag that isn’t wax coated due to the benefits it brings to the owner of said bag.

The key benefit being that the wax coating allows the bag to be water-resistant. It repels water, which for a chef working in a messy kitchen can be a blessing. You don’t have to worry about any splashes or wet hands ruining your knife bag.

The wax will also bring an extra layer of durability to your cotton canvas chef knife bag that will make it last for a long time without needing too much care. Though to keep it in the best shape you’ll need to reapply that wax coat after one to two years of use. This will ensure your bag stays in top shape.

Handmade Waxed Canvas and Leather Knife Bag

3. Final Thoughts

Today’s cotton canvas bags are usually blended with some form of synthetic fibers, such as nylon or polyester in order to give them longevity. The fact is while cotton canvas totes are still very much a thing, you’ll find that most backpacks are now made completely with those same synthetic fabrics as they do tend to be more durable and reliable.

But if you have your heart set on a cotton canvas chef knife bag, know that it is still one of the top choices available to you.

Polyester

Polyester is one of the two common synthetic fabrics you will find most backpacks are now made of. It is the perfect kind of fabric for your chef knife bag if you are looking for something that is durable and economical.

Here are a few things to know if you are looking at purchasing a chef knife bag made of polyester.


1. Graded in Denier

Polyester fabric is measured using a system called denier, but what does that mean? A denier is a unit of measurement that is used to define the fiber thickness of individual threads or filaments that create the fabric. If the fabric has a higher denier count then you should expect it to be thicker and more durable. On the other hand, if the denier count is lower then you should expect a more soft and silky fabric.

The most popular polyester denier grade is 600d. That is a single strand of 9000 meters silk will weigh 600 grams. There are also 500d, 400d, 300d, and 210d polyester grades.

What makes the 600d polyester grade so popular is the fact that it is a reliable fabric that can be produced in large quantities. This is why you will most likely see this particular grade of polyester in your day to day life, including your chef knife bag. From suits to school backpacks to safety belts you are more likely to see these things made of that 600d polyester.

Premium 600D Polyester Chef Knife Vintage Backpack - Heather Grey

2. A Great Bang For Your Buck

It will be hard to look at the price of a polyester chef knife bag and not think “what’s the catch?” and the fact of the matter is there is a reason you won’t be breaking the bank if this is the bag you purchase.

For one, polyester can be a durable fabric but it is still not as durable as nylon or even sometimes cotton canvas. This makes it a great bag to use everyday, such as a school backpack, without fear of it getting damaged.

3. Final Thoughts

Polyester fabric is one of the go to fabrics when it comes to wanting a bag that can handle normal wear and tear. Another bonus is that, just like a cotton canvas bag, it too can be water-resistant. It is also known for being a perfect fabric for holding in color well. Essentially, it is a great option if you are just starting out as a chef and might need to watch what you spend on your chef knife bag. It is the reliable economical option.

Nylon

Nylon is the second synthetic fabric that has come into common use since cotton. Nylon is basically plastic or polymer that is refined into various shapes through the use of melt-processing.

It has become the new go-to fabric of backpacks making it fairly likely that the chef knife bag you have your eye on is made of nylon.

1. Denier Grade, Again

In addition to being the other synthetic fabric, nylon also shares the same denier measurement system with polyester. But you should know that there are key differences in each of their grades.

500d nylon is not the same as 500d polyester. In fact, strength tests show that 500d nylon is 1.4 times stronger than 600d polyester. Proving that nylon is, in fact, the stronger and more durable fabric between the two.

Fortified Ballistic 500d Nylon Chef Knife Sling Bag - Black

2. More Bang For Your Buck

If you are looking to get the most out of your purchase of a chef knife bag than you really can’t go wrong with a 500d nylon bag. Next to the 600d polyester bag, it is the most popular fabric for more heavy-duty backpacks.

Like cotton canvas and polyester, your nylon bag will be water-resistant which will help prevent any normal stains. However, a nylon bag provides additional benefits that the other two options don’t.

The nylon fabric will also make your chef knife bag durable, abrasion-resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and oil stain resistant. If you are a chef in need of a reliable chef knife bag with all the bells and whistles then you’ll want to make sure it’s made of nylon.

3. Final Thoughts

The nylon chef knife bag will carry a higher price tag than the other options listed above but with its added versatility and features it will be a cost well worth it in the end.

Leather

Leather is the only material on this list that is not made up of fibers but is instead made by the tanning of animal skins or hides. When it comes to chef knife bags you can find that the ones made from leather are usually the knife rolls.

If you are looking for a more extravagant knife bag that is designed specifically for your knife set then a leather knife roll would be perfect for you. Here is what you need to know.

1. Leather Grains

Leather material is graded by its own system based on the grain of the leather. There are four types of grains:

Corrected-grain leather or PU Leather is a lesser-known grain leather that is the most economical and made easily available leather. It is a special type of leather made from hides that don’ t meet the required standards in making aniline or vegetable-tanned leather. It has an artificial grain on top that is dressed out using dyes or stains. Imperfections are then corrected. It is mainly used in the production of pigmented leather

Corrected-grain Leather

Genuine leather is the lowest quality in the class of real leather products. It is made from the leftover leather scraps after the high-end leather products are made. It won’t look or feel as appealing as the high-end products and will typically not last as long. However, this is again a more affordable option and is widely available for purchase.

Genuine Leather

Top-grain leather is the second-highest quality in the class of real leather products. It is thinner, more pliable, with a sanded surface and a finished coat that gives it a more breathable, but plastic feel. It is more resistant to damage or corrosion and is more stain resistant. While only cheaper than full-grain leather it is still a popular option for those looking for a leather that is more durable and still readily available.

Top-grain Leather

Full-grain leather is the luxury brand of leather. Its surface will have little to no flaws from being buffed, sanded, or snuffed to remove any natural marks or imperfections. Since the grain is not removed it is more durable and it will also have less moisture from the grain being naturally breathable. It will not wear out easily, making it the most popular grain of leather as well as the most expensive.

Full-grain Leather

2. A Luxury Look

It’s important to remember that in order to get the full benefits of a leather knife roll bag you’ll have to be willing to open your wallet wide. It can be tempting to go for the style of a leather bag, but just be sure you are getting a good grain for the luxury look you’re going for.

3. Final Thoughts

Not all leather bags will have a large price tag, but it is true that they will probably be the most expensive bags with the smallest sizes.

Chef Knife Bag Quick Comparisons

COTTON CANVAS

Durability: Medium

Water-Resistant: Medium

Stain-Resistant: Low

Price: $$

POLYESTER

Durability: Medium-High

Water-Resistant: Medium

Stain-Resistant: Low-Medium

Price: $

NYLON

Durability: High

Water-Resistant: High

Stain-Resistant: High

Price: $$$

LEATHER

Durability: Medium (Top-grain), High (Full-grain)

Water-Resistant: Low, Full-grain only

Stain-Resistant: Low

Price: $$$$