Palm Equipment Cag and Pant Fabrics - Explained!
Palm use a wide range of fabrics in their clothing and gear. This Blog focuses on the fabrics used in their cags and pants. Different fabrics have different qualities such as weight, durability, waterproofness and breathablity. Choosing the right fabric for the job is important but it can be a bit of a minefield out there... hopefully this guide will help!

First of all there are a few key terms to understand:

Waterproofness (hydrostatic head): This refers to how much water pressure the fabric can withstand before it leaks. It is measured in mm. So a cag rated to 10,000mm can withstand 10 meters of water pressure. The higher the number the more waterproof it is!
Breathability: This refers to how quickly the cag allows air and vapour to pass from inside the cag to the outside. It is key to making sure you stay comfortable and dry on the water and helps prevent base layers getting damp with perspiration. It is measured in g/m²/24hrs, again the higher the number the better!
Face fabric: This is the outer fabric on the cag, the one you see! In Palm's case it is normally form of nylon but can be many other fabrics depending on the manufacturer and application. The nylon is graded in terms of Denier which refers to its thread count and subsequently toughness.
Inner Mesh/Skrim/Print: This is the layer on the inside of the cag (which you can see if you turn the cag inside out). This is usually made of nylon but can also just be a print on the water proof coating. Its job is to protect the waterproof coating, which helps with longevity of life.
Waterproof Coating: This is bonded to the face fabric and is what gives the cag its waterproofness. It has tiny pores in it that are too small for a water droplet to pass through but will allow air and vapour to escape from the cag.
Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Coating: This is applied to the face fabric on Palm cags to stop it becoming saturated with water and becoming heavy. A saturated cag will also not breath very well so DWR coating are very important.

Fabric Laminates
This explain how the different laminiates are made up and the various pros and cons of each as well as the suitible uses for each fabric. Some are lighter and more breathable but not as durable or waterproof, so good for recreational paddling. Others are tough, heavy and very waterproof so more suited to harsh conditions.

XP 2 Layer
This is the lighest fabric Palm use. It is perfect for recreational and gentle/summer touring cags as it is very light, flexible and packs down extremely small when not in use. It is also more breathable than most of Palm's other fabrics due to less barriers for vapour to get through. However as there is no inner mesh or print the waterproof coating is exposed and durability is decreased. You will find this fabric in products such as the Palm Vector, Vertigo and Rocket cags
palm xp2
XP 2.5 Layer
This is the fabric used in most of Palm's mid range cags due to its good mix of durability, weight, waterproofness, breathability and value. It offers considerably more waterproofness than 2 layer fabric and is subsequently more appropriate for white water paddling and touring in rougher conditions. The face fabric is also tougher so gives increased durability. It loses out slightly on breathability to the 2 Layer due to the protective print on the waterproof coating. However this does add longevity of life. White water cags such as the Zenith and Surge and Touring Cags like the Chinook use this fabric.

XP 3 Layer
The XP 3 Layer material is used in Palm's top end white water and touring cags and pants. It is designed to work in the very worst of conditions and offers very high waterproofness whilst maintaining breathability. The face fabric is also tougher than on the 2.5 layer fabric and subsequently the cag is more durable. The only downsides are that the cags are a little heavier and also the price creeps up! Cags such as the Atom (white water) and Bora (Touring) use this fabric as well as Atom pants and bibs.

XP 4 Layer
This is Palm's most durable and waterproof fabric. It is used in their surface immersion dry suits to give ultimate performance and longevity of life even in the harshest conditions. It uses the same face fabric as the 3 layer but the inner mesh is made of a higher denier nylon to increase durability. It is also more breathable then either the 2.5 or 3 layer fabric thanks to the addition of an extra membrane between the inner mesh and waterproof layer that aids with transfer of water vapour through the fabric. Drysuits like the Atom and Bora use this fabric.
Palm XP 4 Layer

Palm use a variety of materials to reinforce their clothing. Reinforcement is added to key areas where wear and tear is most likely such as elbows, forearms, seat and knees. However reinforcement will limit breathability so it is important that it is used sparingly and appropriately in order to get maximum all round performance from a garment.
For most their mid range cags Palm use a high Denier Nylon reinforcement on the forearms and elbows. This gives good durability, flexibility and breathability.
For their trousers and drysuit bottoms they use Cordura Ripstop. This is tougher than nylon and is subsequently well suited for use in the seat and knees of garments which are in constant contact with the boat and are often the things that get the most wear when out of the boat (portaging/swimming).

The world of fabrics is very complicated and this guide only really scratches the surface. Hopefully this has helped simplify it a little and will make choosing your next cag or paddle pants a little easier. At the very least you'll understand all the jargon on the label!

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