A range of Ventile Cotton backpacks.
Ventile cotton was borne from necessity. During WW2, the aircraft tasked with protecting the Arctic convoys were faced with a challenge. Often taking off from aircraft carriers, operating in dangerous skies and in fierce weather conditions, many planes crashed into the cold arctic ocean.
When the pilots bailed into the water, it wasn’t necessarily the crash that killed them, but the pneumonia caused by the cold waters.
To combat the problem, Winston Churchill commissioned the Shirley Insitute to develop a fabric to be used in flight suits that was breathable when dry, preventing the suit from inflating and deflating during the rapid pressure changes encountered during aerial manoeuvres , but waterproof when wet, insulating pilots from the cold if they ditched into the sea.
To do this, scientist at the Institute employed the natural properties of cotton for it’s impermeability. Ventile is made from the worlds finest long staple cotton fibres, and is extremely densely woven. When the cloth is dry, there are millions of tiny holes in the weave, which allows the fabric to breath. However, when these cotton fibres get wet, they swell, filling the gaps and making the fabric weatherproof.
In this sense, Ventile responds to the natural environment. When it’s dry, it’s breathable, but as soon as it starts raining, the properties of the fabric change, making it waterproof.
Today, Ventile is still worn by Fighter Pilots, Firemen, Surgeons and Antarctic Adventurers. It is a fabric that was built for extremes, and it’s rich history is fascinating. Ultimately, it’s stories like this that we search for here at Trakke. We’re not just making bags - we love to weave these narratives into everything that we make.