The Best Tape for Climbing

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When approaching that meat-grinder of a hand crack and contemplating whether you'd actually like to see what the bones and tendons on the back of your hand look like…most of us will reach for the tape. While most tapes will do the job, we thought it would be cool to take a more analytical approach to taping up and find out if there is a "best" tape out there. We judged the tapes we tested on the following: Stickiness, Durability and Value. We also judged their performance when used as a crack glove and when taped over a fingertip (like you would do with a split finger).

Read the full review below >

Test Results and Ratings

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Analysis and Award Winners

Review by:
Robert Beno

Last Updated:
April 7, 2011


This was judgment of how sticky the tape was on initial application. We judged this mostly on whether or not the tape stayed put once you put it on. We also factored in the amount of rolling and bunching that happened around the edges of our crack gloves. We found that all the tapes' adhesives were basically done for after one use.


This was a judgment of how the tape held up when subjected to the abuse of climbing applications. In general we found all the tapes to be fairly durable or as durable as tape can be.


An easy measure of the price and quantity of tape per roll.

Crack Gloves

This was a use test of how well the tape performed as crack gloves. How many uses we got from the gloves, the level of protection the tape provided, and the ability to re-use the gloves were all taken into account.


For this we just taped up our fingertips and took note of how long the tape stayed on, how much it stretched, and how much it interfered with our climbing.

The Bottom Line

When put to the test, we found that there was little distinction between the performance of Metolius Climbing Tape and Johnson & Johnson's athletic tape. Although Metolius's tape was just slightly stickier, we didn't have a problem with Johnson & Johnson's tape rolling or balling up on the back of our hands. Both tapes held up equally well and it really came down to a matter of value. As such, Johnson & Johnson Athletic tape wins the Editors' Choice award for tape. It performed admirably in our tests and is significantly cheaper than Metolius's Climbing Tape. Metolius Climbing Tape is our Recommended product. Although Mueller's cloth athletic tape was our lowest performer, we would like to emphasize that there was so little a difference between all the tapes that we really had to split hairs on this one. Bottom line is: go for the tape that is the best price in your area.
Robert Beno