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 will be published in 2016 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.
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.
(Source: https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/publikation/long/3540.pdf, S.8)
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.