Nylon webbing strap

Webbing Wars: Selecting the Right Webbing

The Battle Between Cotton, Polypropylene, and Nylon

There are only three contenders when it comes to who has the strongest webbing. Between cotton, polypropylene and nylon webbing, they each have their strong points, but which one is the strongest? Here is the breakdown of each contender and what it has to offer.


Though cotton is not the strongest of the three, one of the biggest advantages it has over the others is its ability to eliminate static electricity. Though cotton webbing is a thin and lightweight material, it can still be strong. This material, besides having the best texture, is the easiest to sew.

Cotton webbing can be one of the more expensive fibers, but when it comes to getting that natural fiber feel, you have to go with cotton webbing. Cotton can have many uses still, even if it is not the strongest.


  • Military uses
  • Space applications
  • Belts—both apparel and industrial
  • Restraints
  • Canteen straps
  • Bag handles
  • Tents
  • Marine products
  • Indoor furniture
  • Moving straps


Polypropylene, or polypro, is stronger than cotton and one of the more popular webbing materials. It has a tensile strength of 600 to 1000 pounds depending on the width. Polypro is still a lightweight material, but it is as abrasion-resistant and durable as nylon webbing. The biggest advantage for polypro is that it is inexpensive along with these other great features:

  • Water-resistant
  • Dries quickly
  • Stretch-resistant
  • Shrink-resistant
  • Mildew-resistant
  • Floats
  • Great insulator
  • Resistant to hinge stress
  • Easy to clean
  • Wide range of color options

Polypropylene webbing has a lot of great features, but when it comes to strength, it is closer to nylon webbing than cotton webbing. It can lift more than cotton and can be used in lighter weight lifting needs. It is also good when dealing with marine applications due to its water-resistant nature. Here are a few common uses for polypro webbing:


  • Harnesses
  • Boat rigging
  • Dog collars/leashes
  • Belts
  • Luggage straps
  • Child safety


If you are looking for the top contender for strength, then you want nylon on your side. Nylon webbing is the strongest and most durable webbing. Flat nylon webbing has a tensile strength of 270 to 5,500 pounds per 1-inch width. Nylon is also well known for its ability to stretch without breaking and return to its original shape. This webbing is strong and long lasting with a soft and smooth feel.Its other features include:

  • Water absorbent
  • Dries quickly
  • Shrink-resistant
  • Mildew-resistant
  • Does not float
  • Abrasion-resistant

Due to the maximum strength of this material, it makes for the perfect webbing. Nylon has many uses, especially those dealing with bearing heavy weight. Nylon helps with safety in these areas because of its strength and durability. Here are a few common uses for nylon webbing:


  • Climbing harnesses
  • Parachute straps
  • Boat rigging
  • Dog collars/leashes
  • Backpacks
  • Luggage straps
  • Belts
  • Handbags
  • Sports

Each material does have its strengths and weaknesses, but if you are looking for the strongest material, nylon is the clear and definite winner. However, this does not mean that both cotton and polypropylene webbing don’t have their own strengths.