How To Choose the Right Marlen Fabric

How To Choose the Right Marlen Fabric

March 28, 2018 Off By Abby Emmons

We were so pumped to have our Marlen Rep come out and speak at our March 2018 IFF! It helped us share how to choose the right Marlen fabric with our attendees.

In case you weren’t able to make the event, here are some of each unique Marlen Textiles fabrics’ strengths and applications.

About Marlen Textiles

U.S. manufacturing company Marlen Textiles makes the well-known Top Gun. They have a number of Top Gun variations and many other fabrics. Each line is specifically designed to enhance certain features, and when there are so many options, it can feel overwhelming to try and judge which fabric is best for a particular project. It isn’t really as complicated as it seems. It’s just a matter of preference.


Coated Fabrics

All Marlen Textile fabrics are made of 100% polyester. Polyester is a hydrophobic, synthetic fiber that dries quickly and is therefore inherently mildew resistant. It is strong and durable, hard to tear, and holds its shape. The coated products take this polyester weave and give it a weather-resistant acrylic coating.  All of Marlen’s textiles are printable. As you read below, note that “D” stands for Denier, which is a thread size unit of measure. The larger the number, the larger the threads.

Top Gun

This is Marlen’s hottest product, and understandably so. It’s a 600D* woven polyester fabric with an acrylic coating on both sides.

It’s completely reversible, 11.5 ounces, highly water resistant, puncture and abrasion resistant, UV resistant, mildew resistant, and doesn’t sag or shrink.

It’s used for boat tops, truck bed covers, canopies, tarps, equipment covers, banners, and wherever a strong, weather-resistant fabric is needed.

All Marlen’s fabrics are between 60-63 inches wide. Top Gun also comes in two-meter rolls.


Top Gun 1S

Also 600d, Marlen coats Top Gun 1S on one side. The other side is bare, non-pigmented polyester. This eliminates color rub and reduces fabric weight to 9 ounces. The bare underside makes it an ideal equipment cover because it doesn’t scratch, and it has all the weather resistant properties of regular Top Gun. It’s great if you don’t particularly need the coated treatment on both sides of a boat top, gazebo, etc.



Top Gun 9

A 9-ounce 450D polyester, Top Gun 9 a lighter-weight variation. While heavy duty enough for applications like boat tops, canopies, and tarps, it’s an economical choice for sleeping bags and packs because of its lightweight feature.



Odyssey is a very light, flexible fabric. It’s 300D with an acrylic coat on one side and a clear back coat that doesn’t scratch. This is a high-performance, lightweight fabric. At 6.5 ounces, it is more affordable and yet can still be used for the same applications as Top Gun.


Softouch is specifically designed to be a very gentle equipment cover. Its Odyssey laminated to a soft, non-woven backing. This product is ideal for protecting paint and other delicate surfaces with a strong, mildew resistant cover. It can be used in mild weather, but since the inside is easy to dirty, it’s been our experience that it performs best as in indoor equipment cover.

Solution Dyed Fabrics

Solution-dyed products have an incredible ability to hold true to their color over time. In these fabrics, the fibers are dyed before they are made into thread, penetrating the color to the very core, instead of soaking already extruded thread in dye.

The end result is like a cut carrot, consistently orange all the way through, as opposed to a radish that is stained on the outer layer but white within.

Top Notch

This is Marlen’s main solution-dyed woven polyester. It’s 11.5-ounces, 840D polyester with a fluorocarbon finish. This strong, breathable, reversible fabric has dimensional stability, UV resistance, mildew resistance, water resistance, abrasion resistance and exceptional colorfastness.

It is commonly used for awnings, marine tops, trailer covers, canopies, patio furniture, cots, bags, and the like.

Top Notch 9

A 600D, 9-ounce version of Top Notch, this lightweight fabric makes fantastic backpack material.

Top Notch 1S

This product is an all-purpose,7.5-ounce, 600D fabric. It has a clear urethane back coat that increases water repellency and abrasion resistance. It’s ideal for awnings, outdoor bags, patio umbrellas, boat tops or anything that needs to stand up to heavy weather.


Fire Resistance

Top Gun, Top Notch, and Odyssey come in FR lines as well. Marlen Textiles specially formulates these fabrics for fire resistance. They can withstand both extremely high and low temperatures without cracking or peeling. They are certified to pass NFPA 701, CPAI 84, CAN/ULC-S109, FAA/FAR 25.853, and California State Fire Marshall.


They also manufacture a safety reflective fabric called Amerglo. It’s 100% polyester coated with fluorescent orange or aluminum and then a thin layer of clear glass beads. It has a 300 ft visibility range, making it great for safety vests or reflective strips on bike gear, bag gear, or boat trailer covers.


All of Marlen’s fabrics are backed by a warranty.

Top Notch, Top Notch 9, Top Notch FR, & Top Gun FR: 8 years

Top Gun &Top Gun 1SL: 5 years: 

Top Gun 9: 4 years

Top Notch 1S, Odyssey, Odyssey FR, Softouch, & Amerglo: 3 years

Hopefully, with a little more understanding of these products’ unique qualities and overlap, you will find your fabric decisions much easier. There are no rules. Which fabric do you think best compliments your needs?

Marlen’s Fabric Finder chart is a helpful quick reference.

Index:   Green= Excellent for that factor

Yellow= Can be used but may not be the best choice

Red= Not recommended if this factor is important for your application

Don’t forget Marlen Textiles also has their own water repellent solution, Aqua Tite Green. It’s a premium grade, silicone repellant available in quarts, gallons, or 55-gallon drums. Click here for tips on cleaning and caring for Marlen fabrics.