ORTLIEB’s hallmark is 100% waterproofness. High quality fabrics and welded seams are totally waterproof up to a 100.000 mm water column. A further important factor for the degree of waterproofness and dustproofness is the closure type. All ORTLIEB product closures are submitted to a field simulation test. IP (ingress protection) standards originally derive from electronic technologies and are now more and more applied to the outdoor industry. Please find further information on quality features here.
When choosing materials for ORTLIEB products we bear a double responsibility: for best product quality and long life – without making compromises. However, our materials must also be environmentally acceptable. This challenge demands constantly finding new solutions and improvements – we list a few examples. Our first sustainability report which was published in 2017 will discuss this topic in detail.
All chemical substances employed by ORTLIEB are allowed by the European Chemical Regulations REACH. These regulations according to REACH provide a high degree of safety for people and the environment. To put it simply: ORTLIEB products are made of materials which do not cause any health problems for you.
The base for waterproof ORTLIEB quality are high tech fabrics designed for particular fields of applications. We use polyester, nylon and Cordura fabrics with single or double laminations. With the single lamination the textile structure is maintained, the double lamination creates the typical “tarp” look. Our laminations are thermoplastic synthetic coatings ensuring 100% waterproof material of far higher quality than standard tarp or backpack coatings.
Impregnation of fabrics with interior single coating
Our single coated fabrics have an interior coating and a durable external dirt and water repellent treatment. ORTLIEB products with this type of impregnation are always free of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). At the moment PFOA free is defined as values below the currently possible detection limit. Our fabrics are PFOA-free because this substance is ecologically detrimental. PFOA belongs to the group of perfluorinated chemicals (PFC). , and
single coated fabrics are impregnated with a PFC 6 formulation which avoids using PFOA. PFC 6 has fewer ecological drawbacks than PFOA. We are working to also eliminate PFC from our products, however, at the moment we do not have an equivalent replacement providing the same product performance and having better ecological aspects for people and environment.
Doing without BPA (bisphenol A)
All ORTLIEB products are free of BPA (bisphenol A). It is a basic substance for producing polycarbonate which is e.g used for the production of bottles and food containers. It is a substance considered as harmful to hormones. Tiny amount will affect the hormone balance and will influence the growth process in cells.
Why are PVC and plasticizers used in ORTLIEB products?
PVC (polyvinylchloride) is a functional and durable polymer. It has been used for many years for applications as diverse as blood donation bags and truck tarps. However, PVC has been considered controversial with regards to ecological and health aspects, due to phthalates and other plasticizers added to make the material softer. These softeners accumulate in the environment and are suspected to cause cancer.
The discussion about general advantages and disadvantages of PVC are well known. ORTLIEB uses PVC laminations because PVC is extremely functional and it is regarded as one of the most intensely investigated polymers. In particular, plasticizers used to soften PVC have been the subjects of long term studies. However, we also see the ecological risks in manufacturing and disposal. Therefore, ORTLIEB’s PVC fabrics are exclusively manufactured in Europe, and the plasticizers are made in Germany. DINP and DIDP are the only plasticizers (phthalates) used by ORTLIEB.
Our aim is providing an ORTLIEB collection entirely free of phthalates. We want to employ alternative plasticizers with reduced impact on people and environment, while guaranteeing at least the same product quality and product life as now. We are working full speed on this issue.
Alternatives to PVC in ORTLIEB products
Our collection includes numerous and diverse alternative to PVC, for example our Plus line panniers (Cordura), our urban line (Cordura and cotton) or bags made out of nylon. So if you wish, you can select a PVC free bag from ORTLIEB. Please find further information on materials and their properties here.