BDU Fabric & Material Guide

The Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) was issued by the U.S. Armed Forces as their standard uniform for warfare from the early 1980s to the mid-2000s. Since then, BDU trousers and BDU coats have been replaced by every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, but remain popular uniform choices for public safety officials and U.S. federal, state and local agencies due to their durable construction and features.  

Authentic BDU Trousers are sewn to mil-spec MIL-T-44047E and Authentic BDU Coats are sewn to mil-spec MIL-DTL-44048H.


Different BDU Fabric Weaves


Commonly found in most denim jeans, twill weaves are characterized by small diagonal lines and are generally heavier than their ripstop counterparts. The higher thread count of twill weaves makes them fairly wind- and wrinkle-resistant. In general, twill weaves also retain body heat better than other woven patterns.


Ripstop is a type of plain weave that integrates coarse fibers throughout the fabric in a grid pattern. This reinforced grid provides excellent protection against rips and tears while retaining lightweight characteristics.


Differences Between BDU Fabric Materials

60% Cotton / 40% Polyester Twill

This 60% cotton / 40% polyester heavy-weight cloth is a very sturdy and long-life performer in the public safety community.  Manufactured in a twill weave, this cloth balances comfort, durability, and color integrity very well while offering wind and wrinkle resistance. The 60/40 cotton/poly twill is slightly heavier than its ripstop counterpart, retains heat more and holds color longer. If ripped, the twill will not prevent the rip from growing as ripstop weaves do. The 60/40 Cotton/Poly twill is little heavier than its rip-stop counterpart, retains heat better, and holds color a little better too. If ripped, it will not stop the rip from growing like rip-stop fabric. Choose 60% cotton / 40% polyester twill BDUs when a balance between comfort and long-term wearability in cool temperatures is the priority.

Battle Rip® 65% Polyester / 35% Cotton Ripstop

Propper is proud to offer Battle Rip®, our exclusive 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend manufactured in a ripstop weave. This all-season fabric is durable, comfortable and fade-resistant. These qualities, along with color integrity, quick-drying capabilities and tear prevention, make Battle Rip® our fabric of choice for the public safety community. Choose Battle Rip® 65% polyester / 35% cotton ripstop BDUs when the best balance of all-season wearability, durability, comfort and fade resistance is the priority.

100% Cotton Ripstop

100% cotton ripstop fabric was once the fabric of choice for the original Hot Weather BDUs (HWBDU) in the late 80’s because it is lighter-weight, breathable, tear-resistant and very comfortable. As an all-natural fiber, cotton will fade, wrinkle and shrink faster than modern synthetic fabric blends. Cotton fibers will also lose their strength under industrial wear and long-term laundering. Choose 100% cotton ripstop BDUs when comfort and breathability are the priority and color integrity is not critical.

60% Cotton / 40% Polyester Ripstop

60% cotton / 40% polyester ripstop is widely used in public safety apparel due to its balance between comfort, durability, and color integrity. The ripstop weave contributes to abrasion and tear resistance. Choose 60% cotton / 40% polyester ripstop BDUs when expecting hard-use in warmer conditions.

65% Polyester / 35% Cotton Twill

65% polyester/ 35% cotton twill is a heavy-duty fabric that provides excellent color integrity, shrink resistance and long-lasting durability. The addition of synthetic fibers make the material more rugged and quicker to dry than materials with a higher percentage of cotton fibers. The twill weave also contributes to wind and wrinkle resistance. Furthermore, poly/cotton blends are sometimes preferred over nylon/cotton blends (NYCO) because they are slightly more breathable and feel “lighter” to the end-user. Choose 65% polyester / 35% cotton twill BDUs when garment longevity is the primary concern.


NYCO is a 50% nylon/ 50% cotton blend fabric that resists fading, shrinking and wrinkling, much like its cotton and polyester counterparts. NYCO does differentiate itself by retaining heat slightly more than poly/cotton blends while also feeling a bit “heavier” or “stiffer” than other fabrics. Choose NYCO BDUs when garment longevity and comfort in cooler temperatures are the primary concerns

Authentic Military Clothing at

You can always rely on Propper for the authentic BDUs and current military-approved uniforms you’re looking for. Whether you’re stationed above the arctic circle, in a dry desert, or a damp jungle, you’ll find apparel that’s made right at