Edelrid Swift Eco Dry Review
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Edelrid Swift Eco Dry
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|Pros||Eco friendly, nice handle, super light, triple rated, uncoils perfectly from the bag||Durable sheath, supple feel, soft catches, saves some weight over thicker workhorses||Distinct bi-pattern colors, dense weave inspires confidence, excellent handling when broken in||Outstanding handling and catch, great bargain, impressive durability, sheath is made from repurposed yarn||Soft catches, low impact force rating, durable|
|Cons||Expensive, dry coating wears off sheath quickly, a tad stiff||Middle marker wears out quickly, still heavier than thinner ropes||Expensive, slippery at first, not available without dry treatment||Slightly heavy, not available with any dry treatments or as a bi-pattern, lighter color stains easily||A little too stretchy for top roping, stiff|
|Bottom Line||Our favorite option among the skinny lines we have tested for an extended sport climbing trip||This rope is a winner due to its superior handling, durability, and excellent catches||A top-of-the-line climbing rope with the most distinct bi-pattern on the market||An environmentally friendly and high-performance rope at an affordable price||Not the best handling but excellent overall performance|
|Rating Categories||Edelrid Swift Eco Dry||Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla...||Edelrid Tommy Caldw...||Mammut Crag We Care...||Beal Booster III|
|Specs||Edelrid Swift Eco Dry||Mammut 9.5 Crag Cla...||Edelrid Tommy Caldw...||Mammut Crag We Care...||Beal Booster III|
|Diameter||8.9 mm||9.5 mm||9.3 mm||9.5 mm||9.7 mm|
|Weight||52 g/m||59 g/m||57 g/m||59 g/m||61 g/m|
|Lengths Available||60m, 70m, 80m||60m, 70m, 80m||60m, 70m, 80m||60m, 70m, 80m||60m, 70m|
|Dry Coating Option||Eco Dry||Classic, No Dry Treatment||Eco Dry||Classic, No Dry Treatment||Dry Cover|
|Middle Mark or Bi-Pattern Option||Middle mark||Middle mark||Bi-pattern||Middle mark||Middle mark|
|Certified Use||Single, Half, and Twin||Single||Single||Single||Single|
|UIAA Fall Rating||Single 7, Half 22||6-7||7||6-7||8|
|Impact Force||8.8 (single), 6.7 (half), 10.4 kN (twin)||8.8 kN||9 kN||8.8 kN||7.3 kN|
|Static Elongation % (in use)||9 (single), 8.6 (half), 5.3 (twin)||8.8||7.4||8.8||9.7|
|Dynamic Elongation % (first fall)||31 (single), 28 (half), 26 (twin)||33.8||34||33.8||38|
|Sheath Proportion %||34||40||39||40||42|
|Calculated Weight of Sheath||18 g/m||24 g/m||22 g/m||24 g/m||26 g/m|
Our Analysis and Test Results
As mentioned above, this rope serves two different styles of climbing perfectly. Edelrid specifically says that this rope is not burly enough for working pitches or top-roping, and if you want it to last as long as possible, we would have to agree. However, while we mostly spent our trip onsighting, we took plenty of huge falls on widely spaced bolts, pulled back up, and worked sequences out, as one would on a normal sport rope, and after over 100 pitches, this rope feels like it's only just starting to break-in.
The other area of practical application for a thin single rope such as this one is alpine climbing. We will admit to not having tested it for this purpose (yet), but we see no reason the Swift Eco Dry should not be in the running. Saving weight while alpine climbing is a huge bonus, and the fact that it is so thin but rated as a single, twin, or half rope should make anyone who likes the versatility of switching up systems based on circumstances happy.
Beyond the weight savings that comes from being a single rope with a meager 8.9mm diameter, what really sets the Swift Eco Dry apart is the "Eco" part of its name. Edelrid incorporates three different production strategies that make this rope one of the friendliest on the environment that you can buy, a reason all by itself for choosing it. First, it is Bluesign certified, which means that less energy and pollution go into the production process. Secondly, it is made of recycled yarns from the ends of spools, giving it its unique rainbow color, and ensuring these left over threads aren't simply thrown away. Thirdly, the dry coating is PFC (Perflourinated Chemicals) — free, meaning it doesn't use the highly toxic substances that are used in virtually every other dry treatment, while still living up to the UIAA standard of <2% water absorption for water repellency. We applaud all companies working to introduce products built with higher environmental standards, and recommend this rope for these reasons, as well as its high performance — a double win!
While it may not be quite significant enough to be a deciding factor in most purchases, we also have to point out how awesome the "Lap Coil" system for Edelrid ropes is. Basically, one end comes out of a hole in the packaging, which you simply pull on as you flake the rope for the first time. This system works perfectly! It avoids the huge tedium of carefully undoing a drum coil for the first time you use a new rope, ensuring that a rat's nest of knots and loops does not ensue.
This rope handles very nicely. It starts out very slick, like most ropes, and the first few days we used it we noticed that the slickness combined with its thin diameter meant that belay devices such as the Trango Vergo that are rated to 8.9mm as their low end were allowing it to slip slightly. However, after a few days and around 25 pitches of use, much of the slickness wore away and it took on the texture of a semi-rough used climbing rope.
For such a thin cord, we love how easy this rope is to grab while clipping, pulling up after falling, or while trying to yard in slack while belaying. It retained its circular shape very nicely, not flattening out into an ovular shape like some thinner ropes tend to do, which can have the effect of focusing the sheath wear onto one side of the rope. The Swift is supple and flexible, although not quite as soft and bendable as ropes made by Sterling. We also lent the cord out for a number of days, and those testers agreed that it was a really nice handling rope.
This rope comes with three ratings, as a single rope, half rope, and twin rope, and the numbers for Impact force, static elongation, and dynamic elongation are listed in those orders in our specs table. Be aware, that if you use it as a half or twin rope in conjunction with another cord, there will be different impact forces when falling and less elongation, but we only used it as a single rope, and so will focus on those statistics. Its impact force rating of 8.8kN is right about average for our test ropes, as is the dynamic elongation percentage of 31%. The static elongation percentage of 9%, on the other hand, is a bit high compared to the competition, but that is certainly to be expected from a thinner rope.
The high-ish static elongation percentage would lead you to believe that there will be some significant stretch when top-roping with this rope, and we would have to agree. On the other hand, we felt that lead falls were pretty average, but if we had to call them harder or softer we would actually say they struck us as slightly firm. This is just a general impression. After multiple falls on the same pitch, we wanted to switch the ends of the rope for the next pitch, both for the sake of the catch and to limit wear on one end. We never had any issue taking falls on this rope, but don't think the catch is quite as soft or springy as some other models.
This rope bottoms out the charts in weight, coming in at a mere 52 g/m. This is near the limit for single ropes these days. Its weight multiplies out to just under 7 lbs for a 60m rope, or about 9.2 lbs for an 80m.
We found it interesting that this rope weighs the same as some 9.0mm and 9.1mm ropes, suggesting there are more fibers woven into the Swift Eco Dry's 8.9mm construction. This may be one component of why we found the Swift to be the most durable of the skinny ropes that we tested.
As an 8.9mm single rope, you should not expect this one to last anywhere near as long as a workhorse such as the many 9.8mm options out there. In fact, you really need to be careful only to use it in low-wear situations if you don't want to trash it too quickly. In the alpine, that means being mindful of sharp edges and limiting the amount of jugging on it that you do. At the crag that means using it only for onsighting or redpoint burns, limiting the amount of working a route you use it for, and only top-roping on it if the rock is vertical or overhanging with nothing for it to rub against.
Despite its aversion to hard work, we did a lot of top-roping on it, as well as taking plenty of long whippers and subsequently working out the sequences we failed on — standard sport climbing practice. We were surprised by how well the sheath held up. What didn't hold up, however, was the dry treatment on the sheath of the rope. The entire rope, including the core, is treated to not absorb water, but like many dry ropes that spend most of their life climbing rock, the sheath very quickly lost its slick, coated sheen and soon took on a rougher, more aged character.
This rope retails firmly on the pricey end of the rope spectrum. We think it performs better than other skinny singles we tested, and so presents a good value for those who can treat it right and know what to expect. For those who intend or expect to beat up their rope, we highly recommend spending less money on a thicker workhorse option.
The Edelrid Swift Eco Dry is an 8.9mm rope that comes in lengths between 60m and 80m, and is best used for situations where weight savings is mandatory. We loved our 80m for onsight attempts on 40m pitches at Chulilla and Montsant in Spain, and also laud Edelrid for taking the steps necessary to produce the most environmentally friendly climbing rope they could. While it isn't a highly affordable choice, it is certainly one that is worth the money.
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