Carhartt Bags: Heat Transfer on Water-Resistant Fabric

March 31, 2021

In our last article we took a look at how to embroider decorations on a bag with heavy fabric, like our new bags from Carhartt. This time let’s move on to heat transfer, and how to make it work on a fabric that is water-resistant.

Carhartt bags have a Rain Defender water-resistant coating, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use heat transferred decorations on them. There are many manufacturers of transfers that have aggressive adhesives that will work great. The key to success is your equipment, accessories and transfer selection.


Heat Press EquipmentMany new heat press machines have removable, alternate sized platens. This is vital to finding success with these bags. Machines with alternate platens also provide more room to move the bag around and get the panel you are trying press in the optimal position with a flat smooth surface.


Smaller specialty platens are a must-have for any shop that wants to get into pressing bags. These platens are versatile and open opportunities you might otherwise turn away.

Heat Press in Action

Heat press pads are another invaluable accessory that can raise the press area of a pocket and allow seams, trim and zippers to fall below the press line. Stahls’ carries several different sizes and they can also be found at many other suppliers.

Heat Press in Action


Heat Transfer Vinyl

  • Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) will work very well with this fabric, but due to the use in a rugged work environment I would suggest a thicker HTV material. Thicker vinyls are used in many contact sports and are available in standard colors. There is also the option to use reflective HTV and add an element of safety to the decoration. Most manufacturers have a reflective HTV and Stahls’ carries the 3M 5807 ANSI rated product as well!
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl

  • Print and Cut Transfers will also work well on Carhartt bags. My biggest recommendation is to use a material that blocks dye migration. It’s always best to consult with your supplier for recommendations, but your major manufacturers of print and cut vinyl all have a version with sub-blocking technology.
  • Hybrid Transfers are one of the best options available today. They are full color and capable of achieving fine detail without the need of a border. I would recommend using a transfer that has dye blocking technology like the SupaColor Blocker or the UltraColor Stretch with Blocker.

    Heat Press on Carhartt

  • Screenprinted Transfers are also an option for Carhartt bags. My only recommendation for these is to test prior to production. The heavy texture of the fabric along with the Rain Defender coating is not an optimal surface for these types of transfers to adhere to.

The two techniques we’ve covered — embroidery and heat transfer — are the ones you’ll be relying on when decorating on a bag made of durable, heavy fabric. These bags look especially great when decorated and when you do it right they’re sure to last a long time and be seen by many!