National Outdoor Leadership School teams up with DuPont Cordura
By Matt Lloyd, NOLS Media Intern
Reprinted from The Leader, Fall 2000, Vol. 16, No. 1
The longstanding relationship the National Outdoor Leadership
School has with DuPont recently paid off in a significant
donation to the NOLS scholarship program by DuPont Cordura.
DuPont Cordura will provide NOLS with $24,500 to support
the NOLS scholarship program this year. The scholarship is
open to all students who apply for spring or fall 2001 semester-length
courses and demonstrate merit and financial need.
DuPont Cordura is a division of DuPont, a well-known science
company, with interests in food and nutrition; health care;
apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation.
Founded in 1802, the company operates in 70 countries and
has 94,000 employees.
Innovations developed by the company also have uses in the
backcountry. Indeed. many of the products we use and wear
to keep us safe, warm and comfortable contain technologies
developed by DuPont, including, Tactel, Lycra, Thermax, Coolmax,
and Cordura. Packs, boots, apparel and numerous other items
are constructed of DuPont fibers.
Cordura is "air-textured, high-tenacity nylon." The
product results in some of your most used and abused products
being lightweight, abrasion-resistant and durable. Many outdoor
manufacturers such as L.L. Bean, Nike, The North Face, Marmot,
Outdoor Research and Patagonia, use Cordura in their products.
It is also found in NOLS wind gear and backpacks.
DuPont has a long running history with NOLS. In the late
sixties, NOLS seamstress Thelma Young developed the first
synthetic filled sleeping bags with DuPont Dacron 88 synthetic
fill fiber. Synthetic filled sleeping bags and clothing were
a revolutionary change from down-fill in the development of
water resistant insulation for outdoor products. Thelma's
famous stitching designs provided baffles for the fill. These
baffles prevented the fill from "packing out."
The school's founder, Paul Petzoldt, was instrumental in
helping bring synthetic-fill bags to the field of outdoor
"Since Dacron provides even insulation, a bag of Dacron
sleeps well even when wet," said Petzoldt in a 1970 article
about the school's use of the material. "A wet down bag,
on the other hand, could mean turning back from the trip rather
than risk the possibility that someone might suffer extreme
And as DuPont continues to revolutionize and refine its synthetic
fibers--Fiberfill, Fiberfill II, Hollofil, etc.--NOLS continues
to use these DuPont fibers in sleeping bags, jackets and pants.
DuPont Cordura has also sponsored the annual National Trails
Day program since its inception in 1993. National Trails Day
is a nationwide day of public events, observed on the first
Saturday in June, that is aimed at raising public awareness
of, and appreciation for, America's trails and the volunteers
who maintain them.
The first three DuPont Cordura scholars will participate
in NOLS semesters this spring.
information on the NOLS/DuPont Cordura® Scholarship