Friday 15 March 2013

DIY/MYOG Material Sources

This question gets asked periodically, so I thought I would compile a list of sources. This list touches broadly on “outdoors equipment.” Packs, pouches, tarps, tents, sleeping bags, clothing and the like. Most fabric/sewing stores are great if you’re putting a new cover on a cushion or making a halloween costume. Anything outside that scope is usually not worth asking about. To make your own lightweight underquilt or a military pouch or a hunting pack often requires shopping at specialty stores.  

Some of these vendors sell small quantities, some only large amounts; some are geared towards military stuff, some geared towards strictly civilian lightweight camping stuff; some are very specialized and some sell a broad variety of items. I have tried to give a little blurb about each place, noting anything out of the ordinary they carry, etc. Not a definitive description of the place, but I hope it narrows it down a bit for you.

Some of these places appear to have a web person on staff, updating frequently, and some appear to have a very static site that was set up a decade ago. Might not be a bad idea to contact the companies to inquire about their actual stock levels before ordering.

Some of these companies I have dealt with many times and will do so again. Some I have never had an opportunity to deal with. 
Inclusion on this list is not intended to be a recommendation or endorsement of any kind. I wouldn’t knowingly include a firm with disreputable business practices, but you shop at them at your own risk. If you have any suggestions, additions to make to this list, praise for a particular company, horror stories about a particular company, notification some shops may have closed, I would like to hear about it all. 

(A very wide selection of stuff, quite broadly oriented. Navigating the site is fairly straight forward. Good company to deal with. Located in Loveland, Colorado.)

(Anything parachute related, so a source for some more obscure stuff - metal hardware, critical applications, etc. Sell in small quantities. Located in Skokie, Illinois.) 

(Predominantly Milspec. Some things sold only by roll, some by the foot or yard. Cordura, webbing, hardware {metal and plastic}, hook & loop, zippers, thread {69#, 92#, 138#, 346#}. Located in Waycross, Georgia.)
(Camo fabric, mesh, clear vinyl, rubberized type fabrics (hypalon and the like), shock cord and elastic, hardware, some tools. Located in Sealy, Texas.)
(Comprehensive assortment of fabrics, including upholstery and marine fabrics, hardware, webbing, zippers, some books and patterns, and machines. Located in Seattle, Washington.)

(Comprehensive assortment of fabrics, some metal hardware and zippers. Retail buyers receive wholesale prices if they buy 20 yards or more of something. Located in Caldwell, Idaho.)
(Besides some shock cord, zipper and webbing, they carry ACRONYM 500D laminate in several colours and patterns, 500D fabric from PenCott and A-TACS, mesh and sheet Velcro in MultiCam, Trelleborg HANK in 18 oz and 35 oz, by the yard or foot, laser cut HANK components, including their proprietary WTFix attachment system, pull tabs and shock cord tabs, as well as a PALS marker. They can also produce custom tags. Located in Mesa, Arizona.)
(1.1 oz nylon and polyester ripstop, 1.9 oz nylon ripstop, 1.1 oz Silnylon, 1.1 oz Silpoly, 1.0 oz and 1.6 oz HyperD diamond ripstop, 1.0 oz nylon taffeta, 0.51 oz and 0.8 oz Cuben Fiber, 0.75 oz No-See-Um mesh, 300D and 420D diamond ripstop. Lots of Multicam - 1.55 oz Epsilon, 1.9 oz ripstop nylon, 330D nylon, 1.1 oz Intruder in uncalendered, calendered and silnylon. Hyperdry down, ClimaShield Apex, and Promaloft in various weights. Bunch of other stuff. 
Wholesale prices with no order minimum. Lots of colour options. The only catch is that they ship once a week. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina.)

(Fabric, hardware (nothing that exotic), cordage, webbing, some books and patterns. Located in Corvallis, Oregon.)
(Leather working stuff, metal hardware (including Chicago screws), beads and studs, some civil war re-enactment supplies, small selection of nylon fabrics, some 43668 and 17337 webbing, small selection of plastic hardware, a few colours of 1" & 2" Velcro, some other webbing, some zippers. Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.)
(Nothing too out of the ordinary, but a source for some of the ITW-Nexus stuff, including the G-hook, sling swivels, etc. Located in San Jose, California.)
(Texcel webbing and some ITW/Nexus hardware.)
(A wide selection of fabrics and webbing, as well as cordage, elastic, thread, hook & loop - with military spec and colours being one subset of all those - but perhaps most importantly one of the few sources I know of that carries National Molding/Duraflex products. A wholesaler, the minimum order for hardware appears to be a 100 pieces, fabric 10 yards, webbing 1 roll, and thread 1 cone. Located in Kent, Washington.)

(Best place for paracord and accessories for lanyards and the like. Type 1 accessory cord and shock cord, as well as ITW Nexus hardware. Mark is a great guy to deal with. Located in Marlboro, New York.)
(The name says it all. Anything to do with webbing, strapping, ribbon. Rope, elastic, plastic and metal hardware, thread {92#}. Some Milspec, but largely civilian. Located in Eugene, Oregon.)
Broad selection of seat belt and Milspec webbing. Lots of colour choices. I particularly appreciate the chart with clear photos explaining some of the myriad Milspec webbing choices. Limited info on site - need to contact the company for more than some cursory details. Set up more for bulk orders than small hobbyist orders. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee.)
(Sells only larger quantities, but I gather hardware can be sold in singles. Limited info on site - need to contact the company for more than some cursory details. Some of their selection is decent but limited {fabric, plastic & metal hardware} while other stuff is a bit more expansive {cordage I’ve not seen anywhere else, Milspec webbing, 6" wide Velcro}. Located in Tucker, Georgia.)
(Really great prices on an amazing selection of fabrics. Located in North Bergen, New Jersey.) 

(Excellent selection of stuff difficult to find anywhere else. Servicing the aeronautics, aerospace, skydiving, military segment. $25 minimum. Located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.)

(Fantastic selection of high tech fabrics. Lots of Corduras, WPBs, fleeces, etc., etc. Located in Portland, Oregon.)

The following seven are geared towards the light weight camping market:
(Terrific selection of material. Source for Nomex, Cuben, tent poles. Patterns and kits for backpacks, tarps. Hardware, zippers, thread. Extensive gallery of projects made by customers to inspire the viewer. Located in Sarasota, Florida.)

(Momentum, Pertex, Dyneema Gridstop, Climashield, down, Primaloft, very limited colour selection of cordage, hook & loop, grosgrain, webbing. Kits for a quilt and some clothing. Plans for projects. Articles and a forum. Located in San Francisco, California.)

(This one has a hammocking slant, but certainly not limited to that. Supplier of Insultex. Some excellent tutorials as well. Located in Maine I believe.)
(Silnylon, several weights and colours of Cuben and Tyvek, but also fire resistant stove jack material. Good selection of poles and parts for poles. Few other odds and ends. Located in Fort Collins, Colorado.)
(Mainly stuff for DIY hammocking. Located in Idaho.)
(Silnylon, including woodland camo, and no-see-um mesh.  Located in Asheville, North Carolina,)
(Argon 1.6, Argon 67, Argon 90, PolyD 1.2, PolyD 1.4, Nylon D1.6, Cuben fiber material and tape, Tyvek, No-See-Um mesh, titanium sheet (.005" x 12"), Amsteel and Dynaglyde, and all sorts of proprietary buckles and hooks for hammocking. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.)

(Another venture started by Dutch of Dutchware, but with a broader focus, including stuff for sheath and stove making, and a forum and tutorials. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.)

The following six are Canadian: 

(Lots of high tech outdoor fabrics - soft shell, hard shell, fleece. Not certain if they sell just small quantities though. Located in Calgary, Alberta) 

(Geared more towards  householdy type stuff. Located in Port Coquitlam, B.C.) 

(Lots of high tech outdoor fabrics - soft shell, hard shell, fleece, including nomex fleece. Colour selection has a bit of variety as well. They state up front that their supply may be somewhat erratic at times, so contact them to see what is on hand or can be ordered for you. Located in Campbell River, B.C.)
(Seems geared more towards sewing clothing and home decor, but some outdoorsy stuff as well. Well rounded selection of items. Webbing sells in 5 yard increments. Velcro sells in 5 meter or 25 meter increments. Colour choices are often rather limited. Located in Calgary, Alberta.)
(Good website. Seem to cater towards larger manufacturers more than hobbyists. Hook & loop, some webbing, magnets, metal hardware {chicago screws, G-hooks, MASH hooks, metal quick release buckles. luggage items}, and plastic hardware (Snap-Dragons, Picatinny QASM Ramp}.  Located in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.)
(Website isn’t too helpful, but they carry webbing, metal and plastic hardware (Duraflex / National Molding). Located in Alfred, Ontario)

The following four are located in Europe:
(Some original patterns. Lots of high tech fabrics, and merino wool fabric. Most anything else you might want to MYOG. Very much a civvy slant. Easy to navigate website. Located in Oulu, Finland.)

(Extensive selection of fabrics, including Kevlar and Nomex, X-Pac, polyamide, Cuben, Dyneema, Aramid and carbon sailing laminate, merino fabric, Tyvek, neoprene, primaloft, Climashield, down - and pretty much everything in between. Located in Dresden, Germany.)
(Terrific selection of fabrics and colours. The info on webbing is a bit sketchy. Source of harder to locate camo like DPM and Flecktarn - desert and woodland - in a few different materials. Boating materials. Most everything else you might want. Website is a bit tricky to navigate, but certainly serviceable. Located in Tattenhall, England.)
(One of the few places I know of that carry cotton moleskin, as well as P80 Ventile. Hardware that I haven't seen anywhere else - rollcage hooks, gaiter hooks, lockable buckles, a few other unique items. Tentpoles. Waterproof zippers. Unique patterns (look under leaflets). Only have polypropylene webbing and in limited colours. Located in High Bentham, England.)

The following four are if you need a lot of something:
(Lots of obscure, specialized fabrics. I suspect these folks are just a mill that sells rolls of material, not a few yards to a hobbyist. Never contacted them to find out for sure though. Located in New York, New York.)
(Another large scale seller. $250 minimum. Geared towards military and fire services. Webbing, cordage, and limited choice of metal and plastic hardware. Website is a bit sketchy on details of products. Need to contact company for info and quotes. Located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.)
(While I really like National Moldings products, finding anyone that sells their stuff is really hard. This place is one of the few. Website is ho-hum. Contact is required to find out what they actually have. $100 minimum and rolls or bolts only. Located in Lafayette, Colorado.)
(Another company that handles National Moldings line. Again, $100 minimum. Decent selection of 69# thread colours, and a very wide array of nylon and polyester colour thread, what appears to be a wider selection of #31472 tubular webbing colours, some mil-spec webbing. Located in Chino, California.)
(Wholesale supplier of upholstery and marine supplies. Located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.)

Plastic Buckles:
Name says it all. Lots of obscure stuff, but I don’t know if they sell name brands or their own versions of them. Taiwanese company that I gather has a US outlet.




(Besides making clothing, they also sell the raw material used in their clothing. Source for worsted whipcord wool, among other things. You can buy by the pound or by the yard. Located in Johnson, Vermont.)
(Specializing in uniforms, especially law enforcement uniforms, and the materials to make them. Source for whipcord wool, as well as many other (not necessarily wool) fabrics. Located in New Hyde Park, New York.)
(“Qualified buyers only.” Located in Los Angeles, California.)
(Located in Norwalk, Connecticut.)
(Located in San Francisco, California.)
(13 colours of wool felt. Located in Berkeley, California.)
(Located in Clinton, Massachusetts.)
Source for many thicknesses of wool felt. Located in Boston, Massachusetts.)

(Source for Amsteel Blue for whoopie slings.)



Dimension Polyant:
(Manufacturer of high tech sail cloth. No idea whether they sell small quantities to hobbyists.)

Specific Camo Fabrics:

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