Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $45
Pros: Biggest tarp in the review, compressible, can fit a lot of things
Cons: Doesn't roll up quite as well as other models
Best Uses: Sport Climbing, Cragging
Metolius has replaced the Rope Ranger with the Metolius Vortex which looses one of the backpack straps but gains two trap handles, a rope ID window and a larger tarp. Metolius also recently updated the Ropemaster rope bag with the bigger Ropemaster HC which now has the largest capacity in their rope bag line. The Vortex retails for $50 which is $5 for than the Rope Ranger. The HC retails for $40 which is the same as the original version.
The Metolius Rope Ranger is the big brother to the Metolius Ropemaster. They are nearly the same size with the Rope Ranger being 100 cubic inches bigger, a difference we hardly noticed. They both have a super spacious 4x5-foot tarp that are the largest in the review. Both are among the more compressible bags we tested, ideal for climbers who often carry their rope bag in their pack. The difference between them is the Rope Ranger features two shoulder straps and a side pocket and as a result is $5 more. The second shoulder strap can make the Rope Ranger a great half-day sport climbing pack as long as the approach isn't too far nor do you need to bring too much.
The Metolius Rope Ranger was our OutdoorGearLab Editors' Choice because it had the largest tarp in the review, was one of the easier rope bags to pack, we could carry it over our shoulder or in backpack mode and it even had a little pocket for smaller items. Plus it had a bunch of sweet little features like a window to see what rope you packed, four places to tie the end of your rope to and unbreakable metal buckles. All and all a great rope bag that will last most people the rest of their lives. The Rope Ranger excels for climbers looking for a more compressible rope bag to fit into their larger climbing pack for longer approaches. If you love to dump everything in your rope bag, then the Super Slacker or the Black Diamond Super Chute might be better options.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
We really liked the big tarp of the Metolius Rope Ranger, a 4x5-foot tarp which ties for the largest size in the review. It is super nice for capturing pulled lines and is comfortable to flake our rope out onto. The Metolius Rope Ranger is the third easiest to roll up the Black Diamond Super Chute and the BD Super Slacker each requiring a bit less effort. The Rope Ranger is a little less demanding than the Metolius Porta-Cord or Arc'teryx Pali when it came to moving our rope to the next route. While the Arc'teryx Pali is a smaller unit, the Rope Ranger is the most compressible rope bag in the review. Making it a sweet choice for climbers who often end up putting their rope bag in their backpack. Also, the Rope Ranger is one of the better rope bags to be carried on its own. Sporting two shoulder straps it can be be worn like a backpack or carried with one strap over the shoulder. It scored second best, behind only the even more backpack-like design of the Metolius Porta-Cord. We still don't think its comfortable enough for approaches greater than 30-plus minutes in backpack mode or 20 minutes in over-the-shoulder mode. For most hikes longer than that we'd throw it in a backpack. When using a single shoulder strap it did as well as any other rope bag we reviewed. We also like how much we could fit in the Rope Ranger. It easily fits a 70m rope and 15 quick draws plus a few smaller items like a guide book (Yosemite Valley Free Climbs easily fits in with a rope) or a pair of rock shoes. The only rope bags that could carry more stuff is the Black Diamond Super Chute and the BD Super Slacker. The Rope Ranger features a small pocket on the side that is great for keys, cell phones, headlamp or a small wallet. The clear window on the top of the bag enables you to see which rope is inside. We also like the lifetime guaranteed "unbreakable" buckles. They are easy to clip and un-clip while never seeming to come undone unexpectedly. Another nice feature is having four small color-coded loops to tie the ends of your rope to.
There isn't a whole lot we didn't like. It wasn't quite as easy to roll up as the Super Chute or Super Slacker but it made up by being more packable. We also never used the tarp pocket and didn't see why it needed to be there.
The Rope Ranger is third most expensive rope bag in the review. It has a few extra features compared with most of the other $40 "Burrito style" rope bags we tested, like two shoulder straps and a small pocket.
— Ian Nicholson
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Most recent review: November 22, 2010
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