The Ropemaster HC is the new and improved version of the mega classic Metolius Ropemaster which is possibly the most popular rope bag of all time. The new HC or "high capacity" version adds a larger rope tarp which measures 52" x 58", a larger carrying capacity of 1960 cubic inches and a clear vinyl rope ID window to identify which rope is already packed inside. The HC means you can easily fit your climbing shoes, harness, chalk bag and a few extras in with a fatty 70m rope. Also as rope standards get longer and longer we think this slightly larger rope bag is an improvement over the already bomber original. The Ropemaster HC is also one of the better-priced rope bags at $40 so while it doesn't have a lot of extras it does an excellent job at a rope bags core uses; keeping the rope clean and nicely stacked all while being easy to pack.
Metolius Ropemaster HC Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Easy to roll up rope, big tarp, compressible
Cons: No smaller pockets, not as nice to carry for long distances
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Keeping It Clean
The Ropemaster HC features a 52" x 58" tarp that while average among rope bags we tested, is above average when compared with most of the other rope bags on the market. The Ropemaster HC is more than 1 inch dimensionally larger than the Black Diamond Super Chute. The tarp doesn't taper as quickly as with the Super Chute giving you more useable surface area. The Ropemaster HC's tarp felt plenty big to comfortably flake ropes on and was big enough to catch falling cords post sending.
Ease of Packing
The Ropemaster HC uses a traditional fold-and-roll burrito style design. Its large opening made it among the easiest of these style bags to pack and scored near the same as our Top Pick the Petzl Kab. It wasn't quite as quick and easy to load and put-away as the "funnel style" bag we reviewed, the Petzl Bolsa, but the Ropemaster HC proved easier to unpack and kept our ropes less tangled.
Ease of Transport
The Ropemaster HC uses a single padded shoulder strap that was enough to carry outside of a pack for 20-30 minutes comfortably, beyond that our testers felt it was nicer to carry in a separate larger pack. For short hauls, the Ropemaster HC has a grab loop and is voluminous enough that you can pile a lot of stuff in for short route-to-route moves.
The Ropemaster HC might not have a ton of extra bells and whistles but it does offer a few nice bonus features that set it apart. The Ropemaster HC has a window in the top so you can see which rope you left packed inside, while we thought this was a little gimmicky at first, after using it, we liked it and anyone who owns more than one rope will appreciate it at some point. The Ropemaster HC's aluminum buckles are awesome, durable and easy to use.
This Metolius rope bag fulfills most rope-bag needs. If you pack this inside your crag pack, it works well for any climbing day. If you want to carry it on its own, it's best for approaches under 30 minutes. The rope-ID feature is a nice feature for folks trying to keep track of multiple ropes.
The Ropemaster HC is a solid no-frills rope bag at a respectable $40 price tag. It was a contender for our OutdoorGearLab Best Buy Award because it's a nicer rope bag than the winner of that award, the Metolius Dirt Bag II, but the Dirt Bag II's $30 price tag propelled it to that award.
The Ropemaster HC remains a sweet rope bag that is simple to roll up and put away a rope as well as easy to shove inside a backpack. It doesn't have a lot of extra's like the Petzl Kab and can't be used as comfortably as a cragging pack like the Metolius Speedster but it remains very functional at its most important goal of keeping your rope out of the dirt. If you're comparing the Ropemaster HC and the similarly designed and priced Black Diamond Super Chute, it's a close call. What tips the scale for us is the Ropemaster HC's tarp lays a little flatter, and the rope viewing window is a small but useful feature.
— Ian Nicholson