5 Types of Patch Backings

Patch backing material is something you should take into account when buying sweet patches for your tactical gear, clothing, and accessories. 

But what is the best backing for patches? In this article, we’ll go over the 5 types of patch backings and which one might be best suited for your needs. 

What Are Patch Backings?

Patch backing is the material that allows them to be attached to clothing, bags, and other textiles. They are essential because they determine how a patch can be secured to fabric and impact the patch's durability, flexibility, and overall appearance.

There are various types of patch backings available, each catering to different needs and preferences. The choice of backing depends on factors such as the material of the clothing, the desired permanence of the patch, ease of application, and whether the patch might need to be removed or replaced in the future. 

Here are the different types you can choose from:

1. Iron-On 

Iron-on patches are popular for their ease of use and solid grip. The patch backing material consists of a special glue that’s activated with the iron’s heat, sticking firmly to your clothes. Just place the patch where you want it, cover it with something like a thin towel, and press down with a hot iron. 

It’s a no-fuss way to jazz up or mend your outfits, perfect for anyone looking to make quick changes without a lot of hassle. 

If you’re not the sewing type but still want your gear to look great, iron-ons are the way to go.


  • Easy to apply: Just need an iron and a few minutes.
  • No sewing skills required: Great for those who aren't handy with a needle and thread.
  • Durable: Strong hold that lasts through multiple washes.


  • Not suitable for all fabrics: Can damage sensitive materials like nylon or leather.
  • Permanent: Difficult to remove without leaving residue or damaging the garment.
  • Heat required: Not ideal for heat-sensitive materials.

2. Sew-On 

Sew-on patches are all about giving you control and durability. These patches are your go-to if you're into a more hands-on approach. You'll need to stitch the patch onto your fabric, which means you can attach them to just about anything, from backpacks to denim jackets. 

This patch backing material is especially great for gear or clothing where heat from an iron could cause damage. Plus, the stitching makes them super secure, so once they're on, they're not going anywhere unless you decide to take them off.


  • Versatility: Can be used on any fabric.
  • Durability: Very secure, won’t come off unless the thread breaks.
  • No heat damage: Safe for all types of fabrics, including leather and synthetics.


  • Time-consuming: Requires sewing skills and more time to attach.
  • Permanent modification: Punctures fabric, which may not be desirable for some items.
  • Tools required: Needles, thread, or a sewing machine.

3. Hook and Loop

Hook and loop patch backing material is the best choice for flexibility and convenience. 

Think of them as the Velcro-style backing that lets you switch up your style or function at a moment's notice. These patches are perfect when you need the option to change things up—whether it's swapping out identifiers on a uniform or just changing your look. 

They attach firmly but can be peeled off and reattached as often as you like without a fuss. This makes them ideal for anyone who loves to customize their gear regularly without commitment.


  • Flexibility: Easy to remove and reattach, ideal for temporary applications.
  • Adjustable: Can reposition the patch as needed.
  • Strong hold: Securely attaches patches but allows for removal without damage.


  • Bulky: Adds a bit of bulk to the fabric, which may not be ideal for all designs.
  • Visibility: The loop side can be visible and may require matching the fabric.
  • Cost: Generally more expensive than simple iron-on or sew-on options.

4. Self-stick Backing

Self-stick patches are all about instant gratification. Just peel off the backing, slap it on, and you’re done! 

These are super user-friendly, with no need for any tools like irons or needles. They're perfect for a quick fix or when you're in a hurry to add some flair to your outfit or gear. 

Plus, they’re temporary, so you can switch them up as often as you like without worrying about sticky messes or ruining your fabric, assuming the adhesive is up to snuff.


  • Immediate use: Peel and stick application is quick and easy.
  • No tools required: No need for irons or needles.
  • Temporary: Can be removed easily without leaving residues (depending on the adhesive quality).


  • Limited durability: Not ideal for long-term use or items that are washed frequently.
  • Weaker adhesive: May not hold well on rough or heavily textured fabrics.
  • Potential residue: Some adhesives may leave a sticky residue when removed.

5. Button Loop 

Button loop patches are the definition of convenience. They’re designed to simply hang onto a button or hook, which means no fussing with sewing or irons. This type of backing is fantastic if you like the idea of switching patches without any permanent commitment or damage to your clothes. 

Whether it's sprucing up a jacket or customizing a bag, button loops let you swap designs in a snap—ideal for temporary flair or frequent updates.


  • No alterations required: Great for hanging on buttons or hooks without modifying the fabric.
  • Easy to swap: Allows for quick changes between different patches.
  • Minimal damage to fabric: Does not require adhesive or sewing.


  • Limited compatibility: Only works if there are buttons or loops to attach to.
  • Security: Not as secure as sewn or iron-on patches; can be lost if the button is unfastened.
  • Specialized use: Less common and not suitable for all patches or clothing types.

What Is The Best Backing For Patches?

Choosing the best patch backing depends on a few things,

  • Where are you placing the patch?
  • Is it permanent or do you want to be able to switch it up?
  • Do you know how to sew? Or prefer something easier.

Luckily, you can find patches with different backings at Tactical Gear Junkie. Or you can also customize your patch with your own design and the backing that fits your needs the best!

Explore our collections and find the perfect patch for you!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Blog posts

View all
How to Remove Patches From Clothing

How to Remove Patches From Clothing

Mariela Corella
5 Types of Patch Backings

5 Types of Patch Backings

Mariela Corella