The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that, in 2018, there were around 1,115,000 career and volunteer firefighters in the United States. That’s a lot of manpower. It’s also a lot of equipment — not just the big stuff, but small things like uniform patches as well.
If you’re looking to acquire patches for official use or even just for fun, how do you choose the right backing to ensure they’ll work for their intended purpose? What options are available for patch backing and how permanent are those options? Let’s take a look at four of the most common patch backing options in a little more detail.
Sew-on patches are the most common and also the most permanent option available. They provide a solid and durable hold that will last for years to come, even when exposed to the elements or otherwise rough environments.
Using an adhesive material on the backing, iron-on patches are by far the easiest and fastest way to attach a patch. Use an iron to soften the backing, then place the patch where you want it. While iron-on patches are not as secure as sewn-on patches, they do provide a lasting hold that will withstand pretty much anything you can really put it through.
One step down in terms of permanence is velcro backing. Choose velcro patches if you’re looking for a secure hold that also allows for quick and easy removal and relocation.
Tape is a good option for non-permanent patches used for festivals, concerts, and other events. However, be careful to choose heavy-duty tape to ensure a secure hold for as long as you want it.
There are also backing options such as plastic, button loop, and even pinning patches with safety pins. The only real limit is your imagination.
In the end, patches are a great way to decorate an outfit, show support for a cause, show affiliation with a group, or otherwise just have some fun with an old jacket or shirt. Regardless of what your end goal is, choosing the right patch backing will help you get the look you want and help the results be as permanent as you want them to be.