Dry VS Non Dry Rope – Comparison Guide


Buying your climbing rope can be a daunting experience, especially for climbers who are fairly new to the sport and thinking about moving from indoor climbing facilities to the wild outdoors. There are plenty of options and features to consider, like whether you should get a dry vs non-dry rope for instance. Both dry ropes and non-dry ropes have their place in the climbing world, but which one will suit your needs best? Below is a comparison of dry rope vs non-dry rope so you can make a more informed buying decision.

Water-repellent Properties

The main difference between a dry vs non dry rope is its water-repellent properties. Dry climbing ropes have been treated with some form of water-repellent coating, whereas non-dry climbing ropes are not.

It should be noted that dry treatments do not make dry climbing ropes waterproof. Even the best climbing ropes are not completely waterproof, so regardless of the type or level of coating, dry ropes will still get damp or wet when exposed to moisture. However, their water-repellant feature minimizes the amount of water the rope will absorb; hence, giving dry ropes several advantages over non-dry climbing ropes.

Dry climbing ropes are generally classified as a dry sheath or dry core. As the name suggests, dry sheath ropes are those that have their sheaths treated with water-repellent coating after the weaving process; whereas dry core ropes have both the sheath and rope core treated during the weaving process.

However, you may come across several other categories of dry ropes. You may see dry climbing ropes labeled as ‘single dry’, ‘double dry’, and others. In general, though, the main difference between these is the number of times the rope has been treated with water-repellent coating.

Price Difference

One of the most immediate differences you’ll see between dry rope vs non dry rope when you go shopping is the price. Prices will, of course, vary depending on several factors like brand, length, and others but in general dry ropes tend to be more expensive than non-dry ropes by more or less a hundred dollars.


Aside from the treatment and price, one of the huge differences between a dry vs non dry rope is in their usage. At this point, it is important to clarify that their names do not state the environment that they are to be used in. It is quite the opposite.

Yes. A dry rope is meant to be used in wet environments, while a non-dry rope is to be used in dry environments.

A dry rope is designed to be used in environments and climbing scenarios where you expect to encounter excessive amounts of moisture. One example of this would be when you’re climbing up snow-laden mountains or hiking up glaciers and tundra. Another example would be when you’re multi-pitching down alpine areas where occasional heavy rains are pretty common.

A non-dry rope, on the other hand, is designed for dry environments, which usually means indoor climbing facilities and short dry routes where you can just pack your stuff and leave once it starts to drizzle. If your climbing scenarios lean towards these, then you buy a non-dry rope and use the money you saved to buy better rock climbing shoes, climbing helmets, or other climbing gear.

Does this mean that non-dry ropes shouldn’t get wet? No, it doesn’t. It is okay for non-dry ropes to get wet, which is what happens where you’re washing your climbing ropes. However, it’s not okay to use a wet climbing rope because the fibers are in a much weaker state.



Q: What is the difference between dry and non-dry rope?


The main difference between dry rope vs non dry rope is that the former is treated with substances to help it repel water, whereas the latter is not. Keep in mind that dry ropes are merely water-repellent and not waterproof, which means that they will still get wet, though to a much, much lesser degree than non-dry ropes.

Q: Do I need a dry rope?


Choosing between dry vs non dry rope depends on your climbing activity. If your climbing adventures include ice and glacier climbing, or multi-pitch trad climbing in environments where rain is pretty common, then yes you’re going to need dry rope. However, if you’re mostly climbing on dry routes and indoor climbing facilities, then no a dry rope won’t be necessary.

Q: Is a dry rope worth it?


Between dry rope vs non dry rope the former is more expensive than the latter. However, despite their benefits, you really don’t need to spend money on dry rope if you’re mostly sport climbing or indoor wall climbing. Remember, the water-repellent coating of dry ropes wear off after every use, and using dry ropes indoors wastes the coating.

Q: What is dry treated climbing rope?


Dry treated climbing ropes have water-repellent properties. These ropes have been impregnated with a fluoropolymer-based solution which prevents them from absorbing water, or at least minimizes the amount of water they absorb. Dry treated climbing ropes are available in dry sheath and dry core variants, though other types may also be available depending on the manufacturer.

Q: Is wet rope stronger?


No, a wet rope isn’t any stronger than when it is dry. In fact, moisture in the rope’s fibers can cause them to break easier when put under too much strain, such as what happens when you fall. When this happens, consider retiring your climbing rope to prevent accidents.

Globo Surf Overview

Buying a climbing rope takes more thought and consideration than most people think, especially when it comes to what features you want your climbing rope to have. Again, both dry vs non dry rope have their uses in the climbing world, so basically the choice between a dry rope vs non dry rope all boils down to where you’re climbing and what type of climbing you’ll be doing. So when you go out shopping for your very own climbing rope, take into account the aforementioned details. With those in mind, you should have no trouble finding the right climbing rope that will suit your needs.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!