Durability Is Sustainability

March 12, 2021

To quote German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, “No design is possible until the materials with which you design are completely understood." Mies is advocating that design should be informed by the materials. This is what primes our thinking at ILE. If the materials are built to endure time and natural stress, the outcome is a product designed with timeless intent and inevitably, environmentally sustainable. 

At ILE, durability and sustainability work in tandem. That’s because to us, durability is sustainability.

There are a few ways to think about the durability of an item. Fit durability is how long an item continues to serve your proportions, while emotional durability is how long one continues to use a product before being tempted to buy a newer version. Yet, the most fundamental aspect to durability is what Mies suggested: material awareness. For this reason, material durability is at the forefront of our thinking. 

To exceed the everyday demands of traveling, rucking, or commuting requires knowledge of hard-wearing and dependable materials.

For example—the top layer: we use either Cordura Nylon (500D/1000D), a textured fabric with exceptional resistance to abrasion, water, and fading; or XPAC Sailcloth, a racing sail laminate with a rip-stop grid and a waterproof film. An ideal balance of weight and durability.


Still, designing for durability requires as much attention to the interior as the exterior. That’s why all our roll-top bags have an RF-welded lining, which enhances the strength of the original fabric through a bonding process that leaves no holes from the stitching. Our use of Uretek coated zippers ensures the inside of your ILE bag stays weatherproof, while AustriAlpin Cobra hardware, made from the highest-quality 7075 aluminum alloy, fastens your bag securely.

More importantly, designing with material awareness means your ILE bag can still be repaired, reconditioned, and one day, even reappropriated, instead of tragically discarded. This is our approach, to overbuild in quality and ensure your ILE bag can withstand the harshest conditions to meet the toughest requirements.