Dust, Dirt, Mud, Water, and Backseat Food Fights….
Wondering which fabric is best for you? We put together a guide to see which seat materials work best for your build.
Something like 90% of all our seats are made with Marine Grade Vinyl. In our experience it holds up the best. It’s durable, comfy, easy to clean, and (most importantly for off-road) its completely waterproof.
We have lots of fun in our vehicles, which usually get pretty dirty. Be it dust, dirt, sand, mud, or backseat food fights. We use Marine Grade Vinyl because it’s best at dealing with all the punishment we put our seats through. UV treated to retain color, stain and mildew resistant, abrasion tested: the material is made to last for years even in harsh conditions.
This is where being waterproof becomes important. “But I only drive in the desert, why do I care that it’s waterproof?” Cleaning, Cleaning, aaaaand more Cleaning. We want to spend our time having fun, not worrying about the hours of cleaning to be done when we get back home.
If you have an open cabin (UTV, Jeep, Buggy), we highly recommend having the majority of your seat Vinyl. Since the material is waterproof, the seats can be hosed off at the same time as the rest of the vehicle. Our GTSE, XC, RS, and High Back models all have a mesh strip at the bottom specifically made to allow water to drain out. So you don’t even have to pull you seats out of the car. (this feature can be added to any of our seats by request).
For light cleaning, a quick vacuuming and simple wipe down with a wet cloth works fine. Light colors might need an extra bit of scrubbing. For long term care use a Marine Grade Vinyl cleaner (found at most Auto Part stores) to restore and protect.
We’re actually surprised at how many times customers ask us if we’re using leather. Vinyl has come a long way in terms of quality and appearance, where many of our options are now almost indistinguishable from leather in look and feel. Add this to how durable it is, and it makes Vinyl the go-to material for most seat builds.
But it does come with a trade off. Since the material is waterproof, its not very breathable. Which means it can become very hot to the touch in direct sunlight. -One trick many people do is make the center of the seat Tweed, and the rest Vinyl. You get a cooler, more breathable back, but keep the durability where the seat is most exposed.
If you see yourself getting even moderately dirty, Vinyl is the right choice. The best durability, ease of cleaning, along with comfort make it the top choice for all our customers
Vinyl is available in a variety of colors and styles. Try out our seat builder, design your own, and see what combinations work best for you.
Worried about the vinyl getting too hot in the sun? Read our article on the Best Seat Materials to Beat the Heat
Tweed creates a classic look that is great for a wide variety of vehicles; Trucks, Buggies, Jeeps or anything you can dream up. It’s probably the second most used material for our seats behind vinyl.
People hear Tweed and think of their old Professors sport coat. You know the one with the elbow patches? That’s not what we deal with here. We use high quality Duramax Tweed, specifically because it can stand up to the punishment needed for off-road environments. Made from 100% Polyolefin, it holds its own with dust, dirt, water and exposure. Spill and stain resistant, non-allergenic, static and mildew resistant. It actually has the same UV and Double Rub rating as our Marine Grade Vinyl.
It’s tough stuff. We have had customers come back after 10 years of use, with their seats only just starting to show signs of wear and tear
Just use an air hose or vaccum to get rid of any dust or sand. Use a wet cloth to wash off any mud or heavy dirt. For a deep clean use a fabric cleaner. Our tweed is water resistant so it can handle getting wet, but we wouldn’t recommend it if your going to encounter a ton of mud.
Because tweed is so breathable, it’s a great choice to have in the center section of the seat to prevent getting a sweaty back. It also means that the material won’t be as cold in the winter or give you second degree burns after sitting in the summer sun.
Tweed is one our our favorites. We used it on the first seats we ever made, and over the last 20 years and its proved its durability time and time again. If you want something other than vinyl for the center of you seat, but you still want something durable and that will last for years, tweed is one of the best options to go with.
Want to see all the colors and materials we have available? Check out our Fabric Selection Guide.
Looking for something a bit more…….tactical? Cordura can help you achieve that look.
It’s the same material used for military gear, rucksacks, and seats. So it’s made to handle some pretty rough stuff.
Cordura is all about durability. In the short term cordura is more resistant to punctures and cuts than Vinyl or Tweed. Long term wear and tear, it holds up better than any other material with very high rub ratings. UV treated, stain and mildew resistant, and water resistant. It’s a rough and tough material that’s made for the harshest conditions.
Cleaning cordura is pretty straight forward. Use air hose or vaccum to get any dust out of the seams, and a damp washcloth to scrub off any dirt or mud. Since cordura is water resistant, any liquid should bead right off it. So don’t be scared to get it wet when cleaning the rest of your vehicle.
Cordura is very utilitarian material. Meant to be used more in turnouts than daisy dukes. So at times it can be a little rough on bare skin. But if your getting down and dirty that shouldn’t be much of a concern.
One thing we will note, is that Cordura can get some large wrinkles in it. It’s made more for utility rather than looks. The material doesn’t stretch very easily over curves, and wont always form to the exact shape of the seat. So you can occasionally get lumps or wrinkles in it. We’ve found that cordura looks best when its on a flat section like the bands or arms.
Cordura is great material for utility and work vehicles, or to add some camo accents to your seats. But unless you want the full workman seat, we wouldn’t cover the entire seat in it. Our recommendation is to only use it on a few sections of the seat that are flat (Arms, Back, Bands), to reduce the chance of wrinkles.
We offer a wide variety of extra options on all our seats including Seat Heaters and Diamond Stitching. Learn more about all our Seat Options and Accessories.
Get a nice pair of blue suede shoes…. wait, we meant seats.
Suede is an extremely smooth and sporty fabric, that has been used in seats and car interiors for years.
Suede is more delicate compared to our other materials. It’s UV Treated, non-allergenic, stain and mildew resistant, and passes all flammability requirements. In terms of real world experience though we would only recommend it for closed cabs vehicles (Jeeps, Trucks, etc..). Suede does fine with sand and dust, but its not the kind of material you would want to get mud all over.
For light cleaning just use an air hose or vaccum to get rid of any dust or sand. If you want a deep clean or need to get out any stains, use a fabric cleaner with an interior scrub brush available at any Auto Parts store.
If your looking for that soft and cushy feeling, suede is definitely the right choice. It’s by far the softest material we currently offer, stays relatively cool in direct sunlight, and won’t freeze your butt off in the colder months.
Suede is soft, comfortable, and the perfect material to create a “luxury” look and feel for your interior. It doesn’t hold up as well as our other materials out in the open, but it’s a great choice to use in any closed cab vehicles.
Have more questions about the materials? Or would like to request a sample? Just give us a call at 1.800.317.6253 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org