For those who like to explore vertically, climbing for sport can be a mentally and physically challenging activity that demands excellent focus, determination, strength, and passion. But even as you’re pushing yourself to your limit, you need to remember that safety should always come first. Climbing ropes will be your salvation from a dangerous fall and they are you’re most important pieces of equipment.
We want to ensure that you are always safe when you’re headed off for a vertical adventure, whether you are scaling a cliff, rock, or tree. Our list of the ten best climbing ropes and detailed buying guide is designed to help you find a top rated rock climbing rope that you can use confidently on every trip.
How To Choose A Climbing Rope – Buying Guide
Not all climbing ropes will have the same diameter, which means that you should take into consideration how thick or thin your need your rope. Climbing ropes will be available for purchase in a variety of diameters.
A thin mountain climbing rope would have an 8-9.1mm diameter. This means that the rope is a lot skinnier and more lightweight than other designs. The extra thinness also means that this is a dynamic climbing rope and it will have more stretch. Thin outdoor climbing rope is mostly used by experts who need limited support.
A 9.2-9.8mm climbing rope would be considered to have a medium thickness diameter. This is the most versatile diameter size and is the most popular choice amongst climbers. While it is heavier, this rope has better handing and more strength for difficult climbs.
Finally, a thick diameter would be anything over 9.9mm. Thicker gym climbing rope is best used in areas where there are sharp edges and for when you want to feel extra secure. The extra durability does mean that they are heavier and bulkier.
Length is another important consideration because you don’t want to run out of rope while you are in the middle of a climb. The best rock climbing rope will be available in a variety of lengths, so it is your job to ensure that you purchase the proper length for your activity. With lengths being measured in meters or feet, you can find rope that is short or extra-long. It is better to buy the proper length because it will help you avoid carrying excess weight. But 70m climbing rope is the most common length.
Elongation refers to how much the rope stretches as it starts to support a significant amount of weight. Static rope means that the rope should stretch less with added weight. The best climbing rope will have a static design that does not stretch more than 10% of the rope’s total length. However, dynamic climbing rope has a different elongation.
Dynamic elongation refers to how much the rope stretches on the first fall. If the rope has a higher elongation it means that it will stretch more, and you will fall for longer. Too much elongation can be dangerous, but too little means that the abrupt stop can cause injuries. Ideally, the best rock climbing rope will have a dynamic elongation that is no more than 40% of the full length of the rope.
For most climbers, they want a top rated rock climbing rope that weighs less so that they don’t have to carry as much bulk. While you can’t decide on the exact weight of your rope, you should keep in mind that the factors of diameter and length will affect the overall weight of the rope. Thicker rope will be heavier, while longer rope also means more weight since you have to carry more material. Lightweight climbing rope is the best option because it is less bulky and easier to carry.
Durability is key for the best sport climbing rope because you want it to be long lasting but also extra secure so that you stay safe on your climbs. Durability will be affected by the construction and materials of the rope.
High quality climbing ropes will have a multi-layer construction and strong core, which adds to the durability. You should also look for high quality synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. Climbing rope reviews can help you determine the overall durability of a rope and decide whether it will suit your needs.
Many climbers may enjoy using their gym climbing rope outdoors too, which means that you need to find a versatile design. The best climbing ropes will be versatile enough that they can be used both indoors and outdoors. You should check the product specifications like the materials used to determine whether your rope is safe for use on an artificial or real rock wall.
The handling of a rope will refer to how well you can manage the rope with coils, loops, and knots. A rope for tree climbing or another similar activity should have a handling that is just as easy as a mountain climbing rope. Overall, you want to be able to handle your rope without struggling. A rope that is easier to handle is also a better choice for beginners because it will have a better grip and be easier to manage.
When it comes to your safety, performance should be at its peak. The best rock climbing rope will always have a high quality performance, which is enhanced by its features and construction. With a great performance, you can worry less about injuries or accidents and focus more at the task at hand.
There are three types of climbing ropes – single, twin, and half. A single is a dynamic climbing rope that is 50-80 meters longer. These ropes can catch a fall without having to use a secondary rope. A twin rope means that you clip two ropes together and use them as one. Twin ropes are best used in icy locations because they are skinnier and have more stretch. Finally, a half rope is extra thin and are used for alpine locations where there are a lot of rocks. Half ropes have less impact, but they are much more difficult to manage.
The best rock climbing rope will have a dry treatment that makes it water resistant. It also stops dirt, dust, and extra grime from getting into the core of the rope, which can compromise its performance and reliability. You should always look for a rope that has dry treatment because it is safer and will last for longer.
Number of Falls
The number of falls will refer to the UIAA fall rating, which determines how many falls the rope can safely prevent before it should be replaced. The UIAA rating should be given in the product specifications and is only given after the rope has been through extensive testing. However, a rope in good condition and without any tears or breaks can last for longer than the UIAA rating.
Climbing ropes should be marked in the idle, which gives you an indication of when you have used half of your rope. The mark should be highly visible and long lasting. While markings are not required, the best sport climbing rope will have some sort of marking because it is more convenient and makes the rope easier to use.
Q: What Makes A Good Climbing Rope?
Quality and construction. A good outdoor climbing rope should have an exceptional quality and construction, which makes it suitable for rugged adventures. The better the quality and construction of the rope, the better it will be in guaranteeing your safety on the mountains and rocks.
Q: How Thick Should Climbing Rope Be?
it will depend on your needs. As we discussed in the diameter, climbing ropes come in a variety of diameters to suit the needs of different activities. You will need to consider what type of activity in which you will use your rope and determine whether you need a design that is thin, medium, or thick.
Q: How Long Does A Climbing Rope Last?
10 years in good condition. The best climbing rope is made out of synthetic materials, which means that it will take a long time before it begins to breakdown. But even if you never used the rope, most brands suggest that you replace your climbing rope after 10 years. However, the condition of the rope will also determine how long it lasts.
Q: When Should You Retire A Climbing Rope?
After 10 years or with any signs of wear or damage. As we mentioned above, the age limit for ropes is about 10 years, but it will also depend on how well you maintain the rope and how you use it outside. If there are any tears or signs of wear that could compromise the safety of the rope, it needs to be replaced.
Q: Can I Cut Climbing Rope?
Yes. With a sharp knife, climbing rope is not hard to cut through, but you should take care to use a lighter or matches to burn the ends. By burning the ends, you will prevent fraying and stop the rope from unraveling.
Q: How To Clean and Care For A Climbing Rope?
With warm water and mild detergent. Most climbing ropes can be easily cleaned by hand with a nice soak in your bathtub. You can safely use warm water and a mild detergent, then leave the rope to soak. You should rinse your rope and allow it to completely dry. However, you should never wash your rope in the machine as this can compromise its performance and integrity.
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With the beset rock climbing rope supporting you on your adventures, you can explore the highest peaks or descend into the deepest caves. The best climbing rope should always have your back and prevent any injuries or falls. By taking the time to review each rope, you are more likely to find a quality design that not only suits your needs but will guarantee your safety.
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Do you own one of the climbing ropes that made it onto our list? Let us know which outdoor climbing rope your favorite is in the comments section below.