November 22, 2022

What is X-Pac? And Why We're Excited for It

What is X-Pac? And Why We're Excited for It

If you have seen our recent announcement of the Addax 26 and Addax 31 (Debuting November 28th at 7 am PST) you may have seen the latest addition to the TOM BIHN fabric lineup: X-Pac®

Now unless you’re a materials geek (like us) you might not know very much about this fabric. So we have decided to put together a compilation of information about X-Pac and why we are excited to introduce it.

What is X-Pac?

X-Pac® is a brand of Dimension-Polyant, a USA manufacturer of high-quality, advanced sailcloth. X-Pac is a different beast than most of our materials, instead of being a single woven fabric, it's a laminate fabric. What this means is that it has layers of material (3 layers of polyester in this case) bonded together with an adhesive to create a composite material with a layered structure with different properties in each layer to provide specific benefits like water resistance, structure, strength, and texture. The patented X-PLY®  pattern helps reinforce the fabric at a 22-degree angle to give stability when used as a pack fabric, not just strength from the 0 and 90-degree directions. The 22-degree angle has been chosen because it is the angle from a shoulder strap to the opposite hip-side of a pack, helping distribute load. RX30 is also coated with a C0 durable water repellant, compared to the C6 used on our Ballistic Nylon.

X-Pac RX30 is our first PFC-Free, 0-Chain DWR Fabric, and it's really cool! In addition to being PFC-Free, it's also made with 100% post-consumer filament, specifically from recycled PET bottles collected from the east coast of the United States. In the RX30, the backing fabric is a thin film of polyester, the middle layer is Dimension Polyant's X-Ply® material made with post-consumer recycled polyester, and the face is a 300 denier 100% recycled polyester. It's finished off with a PFC Free DWR.

The RX line is 100% certified climate neutral. Dimension-Polyant works with a company called Climate Partner to offset the impact of its fabric production fully. Climate Partner helps invest in wind turbine programs across the world to offset the need for diesel fuel consumption. 

Why do we love it?

There are many reasons why we are loving RX30! We love the technical aesthetics, performance, and environmental friendliness. We are excited to incorporate it into our first bag!

Here is what our team has to say about X-Pac®:

“There are many things that get me excited about adding X-Pac to our line. Among them, I really like the look and feel of X-Pac and the fact that we’re supporting another American manufacturer.” - Cindy, CEO

“I’m excited to start using it because it’s a stock material with no 6-month lead time (just kidding), but seriously, I like that it’s a cool ‘techy’ fabric that's also environmentally friendly. It’s been proven in the industry and fits well into our existing fabric and color schemes.” - Ben, Materials 

“I'm so happy to be introducing our first PFC-free DWR-coated fabric! We've been talking about this need for a long time and the X-Pac RX30 checks all the boxes. It looks and feels great too. I'm excited to get these bags out into the world!” - Mike, Operations

"I'm excited about the benefits X-Pac provides, it’s a strong lightweight fabric that has great water repellency. I think it’s a great addition to our fabric options and it opens new design opportunities for us."- Jose, Design

“X-Pac has its own characteristics. It is more modern in looks and has a unique feel to the fabric that is different from all fabrics we currently use. The feel of X-pac has a bit more crispness to it, but it has very little give so bags made with X-Pac are more challenging to sew.” - Fong, Production


"Digging into the details of X-Pac helped me get as excited about the fabric as the rest of the crew here at TB. I also appreciate that it’s U.S. made and an environmentally friendly option." - Nik, Advisor

PFC Free, 100% Recycled RX30 X-Pac®

WEAVE: Recycled Polyester face, laminated X-Ply at 22°

FIBERS: 300d 100% Recycled Polyester, Black recycled X-PLY®

COATING: 0.5mm polyester backing, PFC-free DWR face coating 


HAND: X-Pac has a more substantial hand than 400d - somewhere between our ballistic and 400d in that regard. It could be described as having a stiff-ness that none of our other fabrics have but the RX30 specifically has a really satisfying feeling on the face fabric. 

Once the fabric becomes a bag, it doesn't have the same amount of flex or give that 400d Halcyon has but is not as rugged as ballistic- a really nice sweet spot between those two. And the smooth laminated backing (only visible in a couple spots on the Addax) has a slick feeling that feels good to the touch.




Tear Strength Warp

Tear Strength Fill



Abrasion ASTM 3884


Stephen - December 8, 2022

I’m sorry to tell you this, but even with the addition of X-Pac Tom Bihn is truly behind the curve when it comes to using new fabrics. Over the past year, most premium backpack makers have been switching from X-Pac to one of the new fabrics from Challenge Sailcloth - either the EPX or Ultra series fabrics. (I own bags made of each.) The EPX is a direct competitor to X-Pac, and it’s unmistakably a better choice for your bags: it’s more durable, and has a much better hand feel. Plus, EPX uses 100% recycled components and no fluorocarbons, which isn’t true for X-Pac.
TOM BIHN replied:
Hi Stephen! Thanks for the feedback! The RX30 is a relatively new fabric from X-Pac that is recycled face and x-grid, completely PFC free, and is domestically made in the US. :) We looked extensively at several Challenge fabrics, including the fabrics you mention- we even made some test packs! We personally liked the hand of RX30, which we find to be softer than EPX, and some other X-Pac fabrics. Those factors made the RX30 X-Pac win out for us—but to each their own!

Pamela - December 5, 2022

Fabrics looks great! Please use this on Cafe bags and Side Kick!
Also the Graphite Piscine is great!

Bob - November 27, 2022

I’ve always been wondering what your take on X-pac was. How come RX line instead of the usual VX21 I see others use? Beefier?

Aventurera - November 27, 2022

This sounds like a great fabric – strong and sturdy, made with post-consumer polyester, and a great look. Thank you for all the info.

I second Joyce’s request for Ocean Blue. Evergreen and Bluebell also look good. I’d love to see them used for a Medium Cafe Bag or Truckasana (both have been on my to-buy list for more than a year, but I haven’t loved the available color options and am waiting until I see one I like).

Joyce - November 24, 2022

Please consider adding Ocean Blue RX30 to your fabric selection if customers are receptive to X-Pac. It looks like a good alternative to Night Walk Halcyon.

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