1. BAG FABRIC
We import the bulk of our bag fabrics ourselves as the high specification we require on our fabric is not available for sale in South Africa. Unless clearly specified otherwise all the outer fabrics of all our bags (including school bags and sports bags) have a Polyurethane (PU) waterproof coating. South African school bag manufacturers and distributors (importers) generally supply bags made from PVC coated fabrics.
The main differences between PU coated fabric and PVC coated fabric:
PU coated fabric has a much higher seam strength than PVC coated fabric. PVC coatings are damaged by seams as the needle punctures cause weaknesses in the coating. These weaknesses eventually tear – this is especially evident in sports bags where tearing tends to occur around the piping joins. Needle punctures do not weaken PU coatings. PVC coatings are not very abrasion resistant and delaminate from the face fabric after even moderate abrasion. PU coated fabrics are almost impervious to abrasion. PVC coatings don’t adhere very strongly to the face fabric and can be pulled away from the fabric in large chunks. It is very difficult to remove a PU coating from its face fabric. Our fabrics have a tighter weave than most local fabrics and this makes them stronger.
Our Red Mountain zips are manufactured to the highest standards and carry lifetime guarantees.
All our sewing threads are manufactured in an SABS approved factory with internationally recognised ISO 9001/2008 technical accreditation. The specific type of thread we use is custom manufactured for use in the motor car industry for the sewing of seatbelts and conform to rigorous international safety and strength standards. Because of the volume we buy we are able to purchase this thread at a cheaper price than the “off the shelf” threads used by most manufacturers. Most people are unable to break our thread by hand, it needs to be cut. The thread yarn consists of multiple strands encased in a soft “glue” sheath. When the thread is cut it doesn’t fray as the sheath holds the strands together.
4. PLASTIC FITTINGS
We import the bulk of the plastic fittings we use. Locally available plastic fittings (such as buckles) are generally made from Polyoxymethylene (POM) nylon, our fittings are made from polyamide (PA) nylon, which is not generally available in South Africa, mostly because they are more expensive.
The main differences between POM plastics and PA plastics:
POM plastics are hard and brittle, PA plastics are softer and more elastic. POM plastics become very brittle in colder temperatures and crack or shatter easily under such conditions. PA plastics are not much affected by cold weather changes. POM plastics are rigid and can snap under pressure, PA plastics are much more elastic and pliable and can absorb more abuse.
Red Mountain offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee on all our plastic fittings. This guarantee includes user abuse which means that we will replace, free of charge, any broken plastic fitting on any Red Mountain product of any age, regardless of how the damage occurred, even if the dog chewed it.
At Red Mountain we use the same specification fabric, fittings and zips for our school bags that we use on our heavy duty technical mountaineering packs. Due to the fact that we import our own fabrics and fittings directly from the overseas manufacturers we are able to offer these higher quality items on all our products at the same price or cheaper than the lower specification fabrics and fittings available for sale locally.