The Best Climbing Slings and Runners

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Chris McNamara jugging high on Zenyatta Mondatta, El Capitan. Long slings protect the rope from the sharp edge.
Credit: Jason "Singer" Smith
Climbing runners have come a long way from the archaic knotted bits of rope and webbing that climbing's early enthusiasts had to choose from. In today's climbing world, high-tech fibers stronger than steel allow slings to be skinnier than imaginable and still maintain a full strength rating. As with any situation where one is presented with numerous options of seemingly equivalent quality, choosing the best sling out there has become a bit of a chore. We tested some of the top-selling sewn slings on the market, hoping to take out some of the frustration and guesswork to choosing an appropriate sling for your needs, by not only testing them individually, but comparing the slings head-to-head. In addition to rigorous field testing, we tested the slings for the following: durability, alpine quickdraw ease, knot undo test, rappel backup test, overall feel, and bulk/weight.

Read the full review below >

Review by:

Top Ranked Climbing Slings Displaying 1 - 5 of 11 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Trango Ultratape
Trango Ultratape
Read the Review
Sterling Dyneema Sling
Sterling Dyneema Sling
Read the Review
Omega Pacific Dyneema Sling
Omega Pacific Dyneema Sling
Read the Review
Black Diamond Nylon Runner
Black Diamond Nylon Runner
Read the Review
Metolius Monster Sling
Metolius Monster Sling
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award      Best Buy Award   
Street Price $4.50
Compare at 2 sellers
Varies $4.63 - $7.27
Compare at 3 sellers
$13
Compare at 1 sellers
Varies $3.95 - $8.95
Compare at 5 sellers
Varies $5.06 - $6.76
Compare at 4 sellers
Overall Score 
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81
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79
100
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77
100
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77
100
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76
Editors' Rating
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User Rating Be the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate itBe the first to rate it
Pros Highly Durable, Extra Strength, Smooth HandlingSmooth handling, durable, lightweight.Smooth Handling, LightweightAffordable, Smooth Handling, ClassicSmooth Handling, Lightweight
Cons ExpensiveNo dynamic properties, expensive.Expensive, Less DurableBulky, HeavyExpensive, Less Durable
Best Uses Traditional Climbing, Alpine AscentsTraditional climbing, alpine climbing, anchor setting.Traditional Climbing, Anchor SettingTraditional Climbing, Setting anchorsTraditional Climbing, Anchor Setting
Date Reviewed Aug 28, 2010Aug 28, 2010Aug 28, 2010Aug 28, 2010Aug 28, 2010
Weighted Scores Trango Ultratape Sterling Dyneema Sling Omega Pacific Dyneema Sling Black Diamond Nylon Runner Metolius Monster Sling
Knot Undo Test - 25%
10
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8
10
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7
10
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9
10
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9
10
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8
Alpine Quickdraw Test - 10%
10
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8
10
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9
10
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6
10
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7
10
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7
Durability - 35%
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
10
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8
10
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7
Overall Feel - 10%
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
10
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8
Weight - 20%
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
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8
10
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6
10
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8
Product Specs Trango Ultratape Sterling Dyneema Sling Omega Pacific Dyneema Sling Black Diamond Nylon Runner Metolius Monster Sling
Material Dyneema/nylon weave Dyneema Dyneema Nylon Dyneema/Nylon Weave
Length 24in 24in 24in 60cm 22in
Width 12mm 12mm 12mm 18mm 13mm
Strength 25 Kn 22 Kn 22 Kn 22 Kn 22 Kn
Rappell Backup yes yes yes yes yes

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products
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Trango Ultratape
$3.50-10.50
100
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81
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Black Diamond Nylon Runner
$$3-7
100
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77
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Black Diamond Dynex Runner
$6.50
100
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74
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Mammut Pro Cord
$12
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Titan Cord
$20.00
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Petzl String
$12 (for 10)
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Sterling Dyneema Sling
$9-18
100
0
79
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  • 5
Omega Pacific Dyneema Sling
$7
100
0
77
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  • 5
Mammut Contact Dyneema
$7
100
0
74
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Metolius Monster Sling
$3.50-7
100
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76
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Petzl St’Anneau Sling
$7
100
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75
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Mammut Nylon Sling
$8
100
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71
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Sterling Nylon Sewn Runner
$5-7
100
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70
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Petzl FinAnneau Sling
$7-21.50
100
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65
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Durability
In our durability test we had a tie for most durable between the Mammut Crocodile sling and the Black Diamond Dynex Runner. Both of these slings are a super skinny high-tech sling, and when put to the test they both showed almost no damage to the fibers of the sling. The high wear resistance of these slings ensures a long, useful life of the product.

Alpine Quickdraw
For this test we found that the Sterling Dyneema Sling sewn sling was the smoothest handling and least likely to tangle when making and extending an alpine quickdraw. We experienced almost no tangling when extending the draw and the handling was super smooth. (Here is a video on making Alpine Quickdraw.

Knot Undo Test
In general we found the fatter slings to be easier to untie than the super skinny ones. However, the Omega Pacific Dyneema Sling is in a three-way tie with the Black Diamond Nylon and the Sterling Nylon slings. As a middle-of-the-pack sling in terms of width, we were pleasantly surprised at how easily the knot worked loose in Omega's Dyneema sling. The fatter nylon slings made bulkier knots, consequently requiring little effort to work the knots loose.

Rappel Backup Test
For this test we asked a simple yes or no question: Will the sling work as a rappel backup when rigged as an autoblock? For each sling the answer was yes. Each sling we tested works as a friction knot in the strictest meaning of the word "works." However, due to the low melting point and slippery texture of Dyneema/Dynex it is not recommended that Dyneema/Dynex slings be used in any friction knot configuration. The heat of the friction from the rope can actually melt the fibers of the sling and compromise the safety of the system. In addition to melting fibers, dyneema and Dynex slings may experience more slipping along the rope due to its slippery nature. As such the only slings that we can endorse for use as a rappel backup are the nylon slings: Black Diamond Nylon, Sterling Nylon, and Mammut Nylon.

Overall Feel
In this subjective test, we tried to rate the overall feel of each sling. After judging each one we found that we enjoyed the feel of the Trango Ultratape best. Maybe it was the 25kn rated strength tainting our judgement, but the Ultratape felt super sturdy…almost oozing safety. Our first impressions were also that of easy handling and just overall solidness.

Bulk/Weight
The skinniest, lightest, smallest sling we tested was the Petzl FinAnneau Sling. At a super skinny 8mm wide, this sling is the smallest of the small. If you must have super lightweight slings, this is your best option.

The Bottom Line
Although not the top performer in all categories, the Editor's Choice award goes to the Trango Ultratape. The Ultratape has an extra high strength rating and is extremely durable. We were also extremely surprised by how easy a weighted knot was to untie. Between the sling's superior durability, strength, and ease of handling, Trango's Ultratape sling was the overall top performer of all we tested.

Our Best Buy award goes to the Black Diamond Nylon Sling. These things performed great in our tests and can be used for just about anything. Easy to tie and untie, durable, and classic, we think these are the best deal as far as slings go. A secondary award for Best Buy In Dyneema goes to the Trango Ultratape. As our second overall performer and one of the cheaper dyneema slings we could find, this is a great option for the climber looking to shed weight and keep to a budget.

The OutdoorGearLab Recommended award goes to the Black Diamond Dynex Runner. These slings performed well in our tests and are super easy to track down both online and in retail gear shops. The price for these bad boys will generally remain pretty steady as they are very widely used. They are super durable and handle well. All in all, a pretty easily accessible, durable, and user friendly option.

Robert Beno
Buying Advice
How we Test
Helpful Buying Tips
Climbing Sling and Runner Buying Advice - Click for details
 Climbing Sling and Runner Buying Advice

by Chris McNamara and Robert Beno
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