The evolution of fabrics has helped save the lives of countless firefighters. Today, firefighters step out into dangerous conditions wearing wildland firefighter protective clothing made with materials like Nomex IIIA, Kevlar, and Sigma. Each of these materials has undergone rigorous testing to ensure maximum protection and durability while maintaining comfort and ease of use. However, the proper clothing or fabric for an individual firefighter or department will depend on price, weight, job duties, and other factors.
Below are 5 of the best fabrics and materials that every wildland firefighter should be familiar with when shopping for protective clothing.
1. NOMEX® IIIA
DuPont engineered Nomex IIIA to give workers extra protection from heat and flames. Wildland clothing made with Nomex IIIA is exceptionally durable, with superior abrasion and tear resistance compared to flame-retardant treatment (FRT) cotton and FRT cotton/nylon blends. Garments made of Nomex IIIA blend have the industry’s longest average wear life when compared with similar-weight thermal protective clothing.
The flame-resistant (FR) protection of the Nomex IIIA fabric cannot be washed out or worn away, unlike cotton or cotton blends that have received FRT. In addition, Nomex IIIA fabric has a lower weight while meeting applicable standards — compared with FRT cotton or cotton/nylon garments.
Other excellent fabric features include easy cleaning, low shrinkage, excellent color retention after laundering, and a rare need for pressing.
LineGear offers numerous products featuring Nomex IIIA fabric. Here are a couple of our top sellers:
WORKRITE® 7.5 OZ NOMEX IIIA WILDLAND TACTICAL PANT
This wildland tactical pant features two large cargo pockets with flaps and hook-and-loop closures and is certified to NFPA 1977 and 1975. This pair of pants is available in Navy Blue and Midnight Navy.
CREWBOSS BRUSH COAT 6.0 OZ. NOMEX
Made with Nomex thread, this industry-standard brush coat has a large right breast pocket, a radio pocket on the left breast, two large hip pockets, and raglan-cut sleeves.
2. ADVANCETM (Kevlar/Nomex blend)
TenCate Advance fabric is a blend of Nomex and Kevlar fibers to create a material that is extremely tough and durable. Wildland clothing is made with Advance fabric to protect firefighters battling wildfires or structural fires. The solid ripstop weave of the Advance fabric is superior in harsh environments.
To shop wildland clothing made with Advance fabric, consider the following items:
CREWBOSS ELITE BRUSH PANTS 7.0 OZ. (ADVANCE)
This pair of brush pants have a tailored, ergonomic fit designed to increase function and comfort. The Crewboss pants have stress points bar tacked at 38 locations for maximum durability.
COAXSHER ETHOS WILDLAND FIRE PANT
This pair of pants is reinforced with Advance fabric in the rear, knee, and instep areas to enhance protection and comfort on the job. The Coaxsher wildland fire pant is highly breathable and durable, as well.
3. TECASAFE® PLUS
Tecasafe Plus, created by TenCate, is the first flame-resistant multi-purpose fabric to incorporate the lyocell fiber for improved comfort and superior laundering durability. This fabric offers excellent protection from flash fire and electric arc for firefighters battling structural fires.
TenCate offers numerous types of Tecasafe Plus fabrics with varying compositions, weights, and benefits for firefighters.
LineGear sells the following wildland firefighter clothing made with Tecasafe fabric:
CREWBOSS TRADITIONAL BRUSH SHIRT 5.8 OZ. TECASAFE
This brush shirt from CrewBoss exceeds NFPA 1977 standards, delivering superior durability and abrasion resistance. Features of this shirt include two large breast pockets, hook and loop cuff closures, hook and loop cuff closures, and extra-long tails.
COAXSHER VECTOR WILDLAND FIRE PANT
Stay protected day and night with fire pants from Coaxsher made with Tecasafe® Plus Ripstop 7oz material for maximum comfort and durability. This particular pant is tailored for excellent fit and maneuverability, featuring seamless undersides, cargo pockets, and double reinforcement in high-stress areas to enhance durability.
Sigma was developed after years of testing in the lab and is now worn by over 100,000 American soldiers across the globe, protecting them from wildland fire.
The Department of Homeland Security conducted a two-year trial with over 1,000 wildland firefighters, and concluded Sigma fabric received the highest ratings for system heat dissipation and comfort.
“The higher preference ratings for Sigma are most likely due to the better heat transfer performance, as the Sigma fabric received the highest ratings in both system heat dissipation and comfort by a noticeable margin.” – DHS ReportSIGMA SAFETY COMPONENTS
Today, Sigma fabric is the fabric of choice for numerous US Marine and US army garment applications.
Sigma fabric is a blend of meta-aramid, polyamide, para-aramid, and Lenzing FR. It is certified NFPA 1977, NFPA 1975, and NFPA 1951.
Sigma clothing is available in multiple colors, including black, navy, yellow, orange, and tan.
Checkout this product featuring Sigma fabric:
CREWBOSS GEN II RESPONSE JACKET
This jacket is NFPA 1977 certified and provides excellent thermal protection, breathability, and comfort. Developed in conjunction with the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Army’s Natick research center, and numerous other government agencies, the Gen II system exceeds the high standards set for wildland garments. The garment system offers optimal protection and breathability to reduce the risk of heat stroke and exhaustion in extreme weather conditions.
Pioneer fabric blends Kevlar and Nomex, offering lightweight thermal protection across various environments. Made with ENFORCE Technology, Pioneer delivers exceptional abrasion resistance for extended durability. Clothing made with Pioneer fabric is certified for wildland, structural, and technical rescue use.
Pioneer fabric is a lightweight outer shell that increases strength without inhibiting movement. The twill weave offers a good range and ease of motion, allowing firefighters to move around freely on the job. Pioneer is 10 percent lighter than outer shells from other brands while delivering equal strength and durability. The fabric is available in multiple colors, including Yellow, Spruce Green, Light Gold, Dark Gold, Black, and Khaki.
Need Expert Advice on Protective Clothing?
LineGear is proud to offer products featuring high-quality and affordable fabrics and materials to wildland firefighters and search and rescue teams. Contact our customer service team at 800-466-7574 with any questions about our offerings or for help filling a purchase order.