Best Rope Bags for Climbing

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Jason Broman flaking ropes during our SuperTopo rope bag testing.
Credit: Ian Nicholson
We looked at the seven most popular rope bags on the market today. We compared them side-by-side in a variety of ways. How durable they were, how big their tarps are, how easy they are to roll up, how easily we could fit a 60m rope, a 70m rope, and a rope plus other items like shoes, draws, water bottles and so on. We toted them around comparing how well each one carried while slung over a shoulder, worn like a backpack, strapped to a backpack and how well each compressed to be shoved into a backpack. We compared other usable features like tie-in points for the ends your rope, small pockets for keys and cell phones, little windows and so on.

Read the full review below >

Review by: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab November 1, 2010

Top Ranked Rope Bags Displaying 1 - 5 of 6 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Metolius Rope Ranger
Metolius Rope Ranger
Read the Review
Black Diamond Super Chute
Black Diamond Super Chute
Read the Review
Metolius Ropemaster
Metolius Ropemaster
Read the Review
Black Diamond Super Slacker
Black Diamond Super Slacker
Read the Review
Metolius Porta Cord
Metolius Porta Cord
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award      Top Pick Award 
Street Price $45Varies $40 - $45
Compare at 8 sellers
Varies $32 - $40
Compare at 7 sellers
$40
Compare at 3 sellers
$40
Compare at 1 sellers
Overall Score 
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86
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79
Editors' Rating
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User Rating
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100% recommend it (2/2)
Be the first to rate it100% recommend it (2/2)
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100% recommend it (2/2)
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100% recommend it (2/2)
Pros Biggest tarp in the review, compressible, can fit a lot of thingsFits a ton of stuff, easy to roll up rope, big tarpEasy to roll up rope, big tarp, compressible.Super easy to put the rope away, fits a lot of stuffcarrys well, nice pockets
Cons Doesn't roll up quite as well as other modelsNo small pocketsNo smaller pockets, not as nice to carry for long distances.No smaller pockets, not as nice to carry for long distancesSmallest rope tarp in review
Best Uses Sport Climbing, CraggingSport Climbing, CraggingSport climbing, cagging.Sport Climbing, CraggingSport Climbing, Cragging
Date Reviewed Oct 26, 2010Nov 06, 2010Nov 15, 2010Nov 07, 2010Nov 01, 2010
Keeping The Rope Out Dirt - 30%
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Ease Of "Rolling Up" - 20%
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Compressing The Rope Bag - 15%
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How Nice It Is To Carry - 15%
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Ability To Fit Other Things - 20%
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Product Specs Metolius Rope Ranger Black Diamond Super Chute Metolius Ropemaster Black Diamond Super Slacker Metolius Porta Cord

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products
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Metolius Rope Ranger
$45
100
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90
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Black Diamond Super Chute
$40
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88
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Metolius Porta Cord
$55
100
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79
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Black Diamond Super Slacker
$40
100
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84
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Metolius Ropemaster
$40
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86
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Metolius Dirt Bag
$35
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67
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The most important part of any rope bag is protecting your rope. We defined protecting your rope as keeping it off the ground and out of the dirt/sand/moss. With this in mind we felt that rope bags that came with tarps that were bigger and would lay flatter and thus cover more ground were better.

On the key metric of keeping dirt out, we thought the our Editors' Choice winner Metolius Rope Ranger and it's smaller sibling the Metolius Ropemaster just edged out the Super Chute. The Rope Ranger/Ropemaster tarps were only marginally bigger than the Super Chute on keeping dirt out, but their ability to lay flatter gave us more room. The Black Diamond Super Chute won our Best Buy award based on it's ability to roll up easier and to carry additional things, combined with lower price. Not far behind on keeping dirt out was the Arc'teryx Pali, but it scored relatively poorly on other metrics. The Black Diamond Super Slacker tarp, while it wasn't bigger than those of the Super Chute or Rope Ranger, felt bigger due to its rectangular, flat-laying nature. The Super Slacker scored at the top for ease of rolling up and ability to carry other things. The Metolius Dirt Bag and Porta Cord both sported 3' x 3' foot tarps that were better than nothing but we wished were bigger. Despite smaller footprint, the Metolius Porta Cord earned our Recommended award as it was our favorite for the ability to carry the rope and also very good for fitting in other things beside the rope.
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This photo is used to show the sizes and the usability of the Rope bags we tested. On the bottom is a Metolius Rope Ranger (Same tarp as a Rope Master) then a Black Diamond Super Chute then a Black Diamond Super Slacker on top of that and a Metolius Porta
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Look at the Rating tab to see how all the products we tested fared on each of the key factors we considered.

Bottom Line
We liked all the rope bags we tested for different reasons and picking our overall favorite was challenging. Certain key features could prove to be the difference for certain people. A climber whose cares the most about how easy it is to roll up their bag might choose the Black Diamond Super Slacker or Super Chute. Others might like the superior pack-ability of the Arc’teryx Pali or the ability to use the Porta-Cord as a cragging bag.

All and all after our side by side testing we decided to give the Metolius Rope Ranger our OutdoorGearLab Editors Choice because it has the best combination of features and usability. It was the best or almost the best in every category we tested and it had the largest tarp in the review.

We gave our OutdoorGearLab best value to the Black Diamond Super Chute because it had nearly the largest tarp in the review and was so easy to put away a rope with all our gear. Not that the Dirt bag isn’t a good rope bag but we decided because climbers rarely buy rope bags that it was worth the extra $5 to get a bigger tarp and more features.

Ian Nicholson
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