BAMBOO RAYONBamboo stalks contain bast fibers that can be processed into a relatively stiff and rough fabric like flax (linen) or hemp. Most bamboo fabric in the market, however, has a smooth, silky hand that feels similar to rayon—because that’s essentially what it is.
Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber, which means that a natural raw material is converted through a chemical process into a fiber that falls into a category between naturals and synthetics. The source of cellulose can be wood, paper, cotton fiber, or in this case bamboo.
Most bamboo fabric has a smooth hand that feels like rayon—because that’s essentially what it is.
RAYON ALTERNATIVESPatagonia’s material developers have been investigating bamboo since 2003, but since almost all available bamboo fabric is made using the viscose process, we don’t use bamboo fabric in our product line. We’re aware of some linen-type bamboo fabric that is processed as bast
fiber, but currently we’re not using it because we have hemp fabrics that perform well in this type of application.
The appeal of bamboo fabric is usually the drape and the hand that is a product of the viscose-type chemical processing. We’ve searched for an alternative fabric with these attributes, but with less harm to the environment.