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Durability Lab Results: Carhartt Cotton Duck vs. TigerTough CORDURA

Durability isn't just a nice-to-have in a seat cover; it's an essential. Whether you're in the construction business, managing a fleet of delivery vehicles, or just an everyday driver who values the longevity of your truck's interior, the quality of your seat cover material plays an important role in protection. But here's the deal: not all seat covers are created equal. 

So, how do you cut through the marketing jargon and truly measure the toughness of a seat cover?

Well, in our case, we shipped off two seat covers to an independent textile testing lab.

So here’s the in-depth, third-party laboratory comparison between TigerTough's 1000-Denier CORDURA®️ and Carhartt's renowned Cotton Duck. No biases—just raw data.

In this report, we'll lay out the results of tests conducted on these materials, shedding light on their abrasion resistance, puncture resistance, and tear resistance. 

If you don’t want to read this entire report, we’ll just tell you now that TigerTough surpasses Carhartt in all three categories. But if you want the details, by all means, keep reading.

Testing isn’t the most exciting thing, and we could get hyper-nerdy about this, but we hope that by the end, you'll have a clearer picture of which material stands tall when faced with the daily wear and tear of rugged use.

The Importance of Third-Party Testing

Here's why third-party testing is an indispensable part of the product development and marketing process:

  • Objective Assessment
  • Credibility Boost 
  • Consistent Standards
  • Unbiased Feedback
  • Leveling the Playing Field

We've already compared Carhartt vs. TigerTough side-by-side, but we wanted to see which one would be more durable. Since we don't have that kind of equipment, we worked with an independent lab.

The Lab of Choice: TexTest

TexTest stands as a pinnacle in fabric testing, with over 30 years of distinguished experience. Recognized for assisting brands in certifying product specifications, TexTest ensures compliance with government regulations and adherence to elite industry standards.

Their credibility is fortified by an ISO 9001 quality management system, guaranteeing consistent and accurate results. This rigorous standardization accelerates the market entry for businesses, relying on TexTest's dependable evaluations.

Furthermore, TexTest's comprehensive array of advanced lab equipment offers an expansive suite of testing services. Their commitment to innovation is evident through active memberships in ASTM, AATCC, AFMA, and IFAI, ensuring they remain at the vanguard of testing methodologies.

Not only are they ANAB accredited, but they're also an officially approved testing lab. That's the expertise and assurance needed for an independent testing facility.

Materials Under Test

The material used in seat covers is pivotal in determining longevity, durability, and overall performance. 

TigerTough 1000-Denier CORDURA®️ (Black)

Derived from a blend of nylon and other synthetic fibers, CORDURA®️ is renowned for its resilience and durability. The term "1000-Denier" refers to the fabric's density, with "denier" as a fiber thickness measurement unit. A higher denier indicates a thicker, more robust fabric.

Carhartt Cotton Duck (Brown)

"Duck" in fabric terminology refers to a heavy, plain-woven cotton fabric. The term "duck" comes from the Dutch word for cloth, "doek." Carhartt's variant, known for its ruggedness, is unapologetically sturdy and has been a staple in workwear for decades.

The Testing Parameters

When assessing the quality and durability of fabric materials, especially those designed for rugged use like seat covers, there are specific benchmarks and tests that experts rely on. These tests are designed to simulate the kind of wear and tear these materials might face in real-world conditions. For our evaluation of CORDURA®️ and Carhartt Cotton Duck, we focused on three main testing parameters:

  1. Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test (ASTM D4157): This test evaluates how well a fabric can resist wear from repeated rubbing. Think of it as simulating the repeated action of sliding in and out of a seat or the consistent contact of a seatbelt against the material.
  1. Puncture Resistance (ASTM D751 Flat Tip Probe): Here, we gauge how the material stands up against punctures from sharp objects. This is vital for those unexpected moments when a sharp tool or object ends up on the seat.
  1. Tear Resistance (Trapezoid Method ASTM D 4533): This test determines the material's ability to resist tearing, especially critical for situations where there's a strain on the fabric, such as when something gets caught on it.

But before we dive deeper into these tests, let's clarify two terms we'll reference quite a bit: 'warp' and 'filling.'

Warp Yarns: These yarns run lengthwise in a fabric parallel to the edge. They are typically more robust and tightly wound than filling yarns.

Filling Yarns (or Weft Yarns): These yarns run perpendicular to the warp, going across the width of the fabric. They interlace with the warp yarns to form the fabric's structure.

Understanding these terms isn't necessary, but these influence the fabric's strength and durability in different directions.

Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test (ASTM D4157)

In the fabric industry, one of the most trusted methods to measure a material's resistance to wear and tear is the Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test. 

The Wyzenbeek Test simulates the action of everyday wear and tear on fabrics. A piece of the fabric is stretched over a frame, and then a specific kind of abrasive, such as a wire screen or a standardized piece of cotton duck, is rubbed against it. The number of cycles, or double rubs, it takes for the fabric to show noticeable wear or breakdown provides a measurable and consistent standard of durability. The more cycles a fabric can withstand before showing wear, the more durable it is.

TigerTough Results

Warp: 1,700,000+ cycles before wear
Filling: 1,700,000+ cycles before wear

Carhartt Results

Warp: 1,670,000 cycles before wearing completely through
Filling: 1,670,000 cycles before wearing completely through

Comparative Analysis

While both materials showcased exceptional durability, the TigerTough 1000-Denier CORDURA®️ demonstrated a particularly impressive performance. Remarkably, it maxed out the test at 1,700,000 cycles in warp and filling directions. This means that the test's limit was reached, so we don't even know how much further TigerTough could have gone.

Carhartt Cotton Duck, on the other hand, exhibited strong durability, reaching 1,670,000 cycles in both testing directions. While commendable, the distinction is clear: TigerTough's CORDURA®️ not only surpassed Carhartt but showcased the potential for even greater resilience that couldn't be quantified in this test, suggesting it provides an even longer-lasting seat cover in real-world scenarios.

Wyzenbeek abrasion test results showing that TigerTough CORDURA is stronger.

Puncture Resistance (ASTM D751 Flat Tip Probe)

Puncture resistance is a crucial parameter when considering the strength and longevity of fabrics, especially in contexts where they may be exposed to sharp objects or sudden impacts. It's the measure of a fabric's ability to withstand penetration, a key determinant in its ability to protect underlying surfaces and, by extension, maintain its integrity over time. Whether it's for seat covers exposed to tools, equipment, or any accidental contact with sharp items, this test provides a snapshot of how well a fabric might hold up against potential damage.

Puncture resistance is necessary. A seat cover might look great and feel comfortable, but its utility is greatly diminished if it easily gives way to things like a screwdriver or dog claws.

TigerTough Results

The results varied depending on the direction of the probe, with scores of 120, 114, and 136, resulting in an average of 120 lbf.

Carhartt Results 

The Carhartt fabric tested at 48, 40, and 36 in different directions, averaging 41 lbf.

Comparative Analysis

TigerTough's 1000-Denier CORDURA®️ exhibited an outstanding performance in the puncture resistance test. On average, TigerTough was approximately 193% stronger than Carhartt. This substantial difference underscores TigerTough's enhanced ability to withstand punctures, providing superior seat protection. Carhartt's performance, while still commendable, was significantly outshined by TigerTough in this regard, highlighting the enhanced protective qualities the latter offers.

Tear Resistance (Trapezoid Method ASTM D 4533)

Tear resistance is one of the essential indicators of fabric durability, especially when subjected to rigorous use. Tear resistance gauges a fabric’s capacity to prevent a small rip or cut from becoming a gaping wound in your seat cover.

Significance in Industrial and Rugged Environments

In industrial or rugged environments, fabrics often encounter various stresses, from snagging on equipment to being caught between sharp or heavy objects. A seat cover's integrity isn't just about withstanding the initial damage but also ensuring that minor damage doesn't escalate into major, irreparable harm. A high tear resistance means that even if the fabric does get nicked or slightly cut, the damage is localized and doesn't spread, thereby maintaining the overall integrity of the seat cover.

TigerTough Results

Warp: The fabric exhibited a tear strength of 103 lbs.
Filling: Recorded a tear strength of 96 lbs.

Carhartt Results

Warp: Demonstrated a tear strength of 20 lbs.
Filling: Registered a tear strength of 20 lbs.

Comparative Analysis

The numbers speak for themselves. TigerTough's 1000-Denier CORDURA®️ exhibits remarkable tear resistance, significantly outperforming the Carhartt Cotton Duck. Depending on the direction of the tear, TigerTough's fabric is between 380% to 415% more resilient in tear strength than Carhartt's.

Summary of Results

Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test (ASTM D4157):

TigerTough: Reached over 1,700,000 cycles, which is the test's maximum limit, implying its true potential remains undetermined.

Carhartt: Scored 1,670,000 cycles.

Statistical Insight: Despite the numbers being close, it's important to highlight that TigerTough's fabric hit the test's ceiling, hinting at even greater durability. On the other hand, Carhartt's fabric, while commendable, did not max out the test. This can translate to noticeable differences in fabric longevity and wear in real-world scenarios.

Puncture Resistance (ASTM D751 Flat Tip Probe)

TigerTough: Registered a puncture strength of 120 lbf.

Carhartt: Recorded 41 lbf.

TigerTough's fabric showcased a puncture resistance 193% stronger than Carhartt's. This means a significantly better defense against accidental stabs from tools, sharp objects, excited dogs, or other potential hazards.

Tear Resistance (Trapezoid Method ASTM D 4533)

TigerTough: In the warp direction, the strength was 103 lbs, and 96 lbs in the filling direction.

Carhartt: Tear strengths stood at 20 lbs for warp and 20 lbs for filling.

Statistical Insight: TigerTough's fabric is between 380% to 415% stronger in terms of tear resistance than Carhartt's, depending on the tear direction. This difference can mean a minor fabric stretch and a full-blown tear for industries or scenarios with rugged use.

Overall Analytical Impression

All data shows that TigerTough's 1000-Denier CORDURA®️ as the superior fabric in every metric tested. 

Every percentage point of difference could signify additional weeks or even months of product life, fewer replacements, increased savings, and an overall enhanced user experience. In a world where durability and functionality are paramount, these test results offer clear guidance on which fabric stands out as the better choice.

Whether you choose TigerTough or another seat cover brand, we want you to be fully equipped with the information so that you can make the best investment for your vehicle.

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8 Years In A Work Truck

So, we just got our hands on a 2011 F550 that was a heavy equipment service truck.

The truck had belonged to a heavy equipment dealer. This company installs TigerTough seat covers on their trucks when they're brand new, so we were pretty excited to see how everything looked.

It was pretty clear this thing wasn't somebody's grocery-getter. Even if you ignored the service body and the crane.

But what do you expect from a service truck that's eight years old? Broken equipment is never clean and rarely easy to get to!

This truck had over 235,000+ miles on it and hadn't been touched since it was decommissioned.

But what does it look like under the covers? Are they worth the money?

We peeled the covers off to see how everything had fared over 235,000 miles of being on the road, eight years of bouncing across construction sites, and countless dirty mechanic entries and exits.

Those pictures pretty much speak for themselves, don't they?

The buyer of this truck technically could have spent a ton of time and money getting the seats shampooed. That would have taken out some of the stains.

The shampooing wouldn't have touched the wear on the edge of the seat from eight years of getting in and out, though. You don't see any because the seat covers prevented it from happening. The original owner invested a little bit in preventing a costly problem

Seems like a good idea, doesn't it?

If you operate a service truck (or a bunch of them), seat covers are a pretty cheap way to keep the inside of your truck in good shape. They're inexpensive and often overlooked, but you just see what they'll do.

Save Your Service Truck.

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Harrisonburg Police Testimonial

Sgt. Chris Terrell has been using TigerTough seat covers in his fleet since 2016. See what he thinks of his experience.

Since we've been working together, he's been able to significantly reduce wear to the seats in their police interceptors rather than fixing the wear & holes they were dealing with.

Seems smart, doesn't it?

Check out Police Car Seat Covers Here.

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North Dakota Construction Trucks Look Like New

Construction is a tough, dirty job. When you’re a complete utilities contractor helping develop the oil fields of North Dakota, you know that all too well. Bryan, the fleet manager for Anderson & Wood Construction, knows that. That’s why he was pretty impressed when the seats in the 2014 and 2015 trucks that were being sold were in perfect condition. Because the covers had held up so well, he decided to wash and re-use the covers from their 2015 trucks on their new ones. They could have used the 2014 covers as well but they wouldn't fit on the new trucks. Take a look at the before and after pictures

 Construction truck after 5 years on the job.Construction truck with seat cover peeled back, showing the clean seat underneath

Check out how dirty the seats are after five years in the field. They peeled the cover back to see what the seats looked like.

Construction truck interior after being cleaned.

A quick vacuum job on the seats and a good cleaning of the rest of the truck. Bryan also sent a picture of a 2012 F150 that came in to sell. This picture shows the seats immediately after taking the covers off.

These tan seats haven't even been vacuumed yet.

2012 F150 with 123,000 miles. Tan seats are in perfect shape after 6 years of TigerTough seat covers.

You're looking at a 2012 F150 with 123,000 miles.

Want to preserve your truck's interior? Check out the best seat covers for trucks and find a brand that fits your needs and budget.

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An Extra $3000 In Resale Value

Black Hawk Energy Services' trucks are on the job 24 hours a day servicing oil wells in the Williston, ND area oil fields. They implemented TigerTough seat covers as a part of their preventative maintenance plan and saw the resale value of their trucks increase dramatically. As Travis Hjort put it, “I’ve got nothing but positive things to say”.

Black Hawk Energy Services' logo embroidered on their TigerTough seat covers.

Black Hawk Energy Services' logo embroidered on their seat covers. Black Hawk Energy Services is a 24/7 oil well-servicing company in Williston, ND. They do the tough, greasy, oily stuff once a well is fracked and running. As Travis Hjort, the Shop Foreman puts it “that’s when we come in and basically get it as dirty and grimy as we can and try to complete the well as fast as well can.”

Since they’re always on call, Travis says that it would be easier to count the engine off hours rather than the engine on hours on their equipment. We’ve been working with Black Hawk Energy Services since 2014, so we sat down with Travis to get his input on TigerTough seat covers.

Before we got to know each other, Black Hawk Energy Services was just ruining their trucks because they didn’t know there was another option and were too busy to look for one. If you’re familiar with the oil fields, you’ll understand. They go flat out until something breaks, fix it, and go flat out again. While this was working, Travis wasn’t happy with it because, as he puts it, “It looks like a rat’s been living in the seats for the last four years.”

They were getting a really low valuation on their crew trucks when the fleet buyback company came to evaluate the vehicles. The representative from the company couldn’t even get in the vehicles because they weren’t comfortable getting into a truck whose seats were covered in oil and grease and were completely torn up. They found that the buyers would give them an estimate based off of a visual inspection of the trucks.

Once Travis and his team got their feet underneath them, they started implementing a better preventative maintenance plan which included installing TigerTough seat covers on new trucks before they ever went into service. This meant that no oil-covered technician ever came in direct contact with the factory seats.

Now, Travis says, they go about their job without worrying about the interiors of their trucks. They can grease the entire carrier for a rig and rush to the next job, jumping into the truck covered in grease, dirt, and whatever else you pick up around an oil well. They wipe the seat covers off the best they can and keep doing the stuff that makes them money.

When a rig is down and they can take time out for a service day they’ll pull the trucks’ covers off, wash them, and put them back on, leaving a clean truck for the next crew. Travis says he is at the point where he is analyzing when to get rid of vehicles and equipment rather than running them into the ground. Once a truck gets to the end of its useful life with them, he appreciates the fact that he can take the seat covers off and have brand new seats underneath. While Travis attributes their new preventative maintenance planning and better schedules to the $3000 increase in their trucks’ resale values, he says that seat covers are a big part of it. Here is what he has to say about it:

“I’m sure it’s not all TigerTough, but in some respect it really is. When you open the door, you see a brand new seat in a truck with 170,000 miles, but you’re like, oh it’s been taken care of.” “I think first appearance, you can’t really deny that first appearance, psychologically for the human brain, it’s true. When you can actually get, the used car guy can actually jump into the vehicle instead of being like, oh, I’ve got my nice pants on, like not a chance. Yeah 5K, check that box for 5K max or whatever, when they get in there and fire it up and do a function test and feel comfortable, that’s huge.”

Discover all the ways seat covers can save you money.

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100,000 Miles A Year On A Construction Truck? No Problem.

M. J. Electric, LLC (MJE) is an electrical services contractor from Iron Mountain, MI that we’ve worked with for years. They perform an amazing range of services including power transmission lines, power distribution lines, substations, and storm response, along with other specialized services. They’ve been doing this for over 60 years, and we’re proud to have been working with them for a few of those years.

M. J. Electric Truck

Some of the MJE drivers put 100,000 miles on their trucks in a year, and we’re not talking about all smooth-sailing highway miles. They are inspecting new power lines or navigating the wreckage of a storm. Their trucks truly get pushed to the maximum of their abilities over the course of their life.

The folks at M. J. Electric were introduced to TigerTough seat covers when one of their service truck drivers bought a set and put it on his truck, and it’s taken off from there. They were impressed because they’d been burning through cheap seat covers and weren’t happy with that.

Instead of patching up seats or wrecking cheap covers like they used to, M. J. Electric is now putting TigerTough seat covers on those trucks and not worrying about losing money to damaged seats anymore.

Karl, the Parts Coordinator at the corporate office, said they had a truck that they were getting rid of come through, and “We took [the seat covers] off and the guys said, 'The seats are just like new in there!'"

Karl told us that a fleet owner that isn’t currently using seat covers should seriously look at it because they certainly seem to hold up and that helps keep the value of the truck.

M. J. Electric has proved the benefits of using quality seat covers in their trucks and has started using them in their MJE Drilling trucks as well.

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