Padded armor, which is often called quilted armor, is the simplest form of manmade armor. It usually consists of two or more layers of cloth, stuffed with thick batting, and sewn together. This usually only covers the chest and shoulders, but full body suits are not unknown. This is a common equipment item in many Fantasy Role-Playing games.

Padded armor is usually only worn by the poorest and most unskilled of all warriors. Militia men, bandits, street gangs, and barbarians are the most common wearers of this simple form of protection. But its bulk makes it a poor subsitute for a good set of leather armor.

Even an unskilled person can make a set of padded armor given a couple of days of free time. Since it only requires rudimentary sewing skills. But it does take a skilled armorer or tailor to make a durable and comfortable suit. But even a suit from a skilled worker will wear out quickly. A suit will last a mere month under ideal conditions, but out in the dirty wilderness, the armor will have to be replaced every few days to keep from becoming bug infested. Any wearer of padded armor should always bring along several spare suits when taking any long journeys, otherwise they will end up with no protection at all.

Cloth armor, referred to as "padded armor" in Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy games, is without a doubt the most common form of armor in the history of mankind. More people have gone into combat wearing fabric armor than any other type, and in most wars the majority of combatants have gone into battle wearing fabric armor.

There are a variety reasons for this popularity. Cloth is cheap, light, and very flexible. It doesn't restrict the wearer very much at all, especially compared to other forms of armor. It is also easy to produce and transport.

There are two primary approaches to providing protection using cloth. First, one can quilt the cloth with heavy padding in order to cushion crushing blows. Quilted garments were worn by themselves as armor as late as the 17th century, as evidenced by the long quilted coats used by some American colonists in place of the more expensive leather buff coat. Quilted garments were often used underneath mail and plate armor, to cushion blows and ease chafing.

The second approach is to use tough fabrics to provide protection against penetration or cutting. This approach is used even today, in modern kevlar armor. Heavy canvas or the equivalent was often used for this purpose.

One of the most extreme forms of cloth armor used historically was the ancient Greek linothorax. This armor consisted of up to thirty layers of linen or cotton pressed together and stiffened with glue. This produced a rigid, vest-like garment barely more flexible than a metal breastplate.

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