The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Metolius Ropemaster HC Review

An upgraded version of the original Ropemaster, that we found to be much more useable than the older version.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $40 List | $29.96 at Amazon
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
Manufacturer:   Metolius
By Ian Nicholson and Steven Tata  ⋅  Sep 30, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 9
  • Packability - 30% 5
  • Carrying Comfort - 25% 4
  • Rope Protection - 25% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6

Our Verdict

The Metolius Ropemaster HC is a heavy-duty model with a large tarp and impressively spacious pack. The high volume of the HC means you can easily fit your climbing shoes, harness, chalk bag, and a few extras inside with a thick 70-meter rope. Also, as rope standards get longer and longer we think this slightly larger rope bag is a good long-term purchase. It's a relatively cheap option and works well for any type of single-pitch climbing, whether you're in a gym or at the crag. While it doesn't have a lot of extra features, it does an excellent job of keeping the rope clean and neat while being easy to pack.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $29.96 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$55 List$63.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$79.80 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$46.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
57
100
0
82
100
0
78
100
0
67
100
0
64
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Easy to roll up rope, big tarp, compressibleLarge removable tarp, comfortable backpack straps, useful compression strapsLarge carrying capacity, comfortable backpack straps, padded back panelSleek design, padded laptop sleeve, nice tarpWorks as a cragging pack, padded shoulder straps are suprisingly comfortable, big tarp, nice zippered pocket
Cons No smaller pockets, not as nice to carry for long distancesThin fabric, not as durable as other modelsAwkward to pack with too little or too much gear, lacks adjustabilityExpensive, not great outdoors, single carrying strapPackability
Bottom Line An upgraded version of the original Ropemaster, that we found to be much more useable than the older version.A top-notch model that is comfortable to carry and easy to pack.A spacious and comfortable backpack-style model.The KAB is a specialized rope bag for gym climbing. Within its intended use, it excels.The Speedster is a great single day cragging pack for fast and light days where you don't need a ton of extra equipment or layers.
Rating Categories Metolius Ropemaster HC DMM Classic Mammut Crag Petzl Kab Metolius Speedster
Packability (30%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
5
Carrying Comfort (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
Rope Protection (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Specs Metolius... DMM Classic Mammut Crag Petzl Kab Metolius Speedster
Bag Design Burrito Burrito Burrito Funnel Funnel
Tarp size (inches) 52" x 58" 43" x 51" 60" x 48" 55" x 20" (trapezoidal shape) 52" x 58"
Pockets 0 1 1 3 1
# of shoulder straps 1 2 2 1 2
Compression Straps Yes Yes No Yes No
Metal or plastic buckles Metal Plastic Plastic Metal None

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The large tarp on the Metolius Ropemaster HC keeps the rope out of the ground  while the blue duffel is big enough to easily stuff up the rolled burrito of a rope inside. The newest version of the classic ropebag design.
The large tarp on the Metolius Ropemaster HC keeps the rope out of the ground, while the blue duffel is big enough to easily stuff up the rolled burrito of a rope inside. The newest version of the classic ropebag design.

Packability


The Ropemaster HC features a traditional fold-and-roll burrito-style design. Its large opening made it among the easiest of these style bags to pack. It wasn't quite as quick and easy to load as the "funnel style" bags that we tested but this is a minor disadvantage given the amount of space available in its main pack. Two compression straps help to cinch the bag closed and reduce any extra volume. We were able to fit a rope, shoes, chalk, harness, and some quickdraws inside the bag with a bit of room to spare.

To pack this bag up simply fold over the edges of the tarp and roll it up like you would a burrito in a tortilla  then slide the burrito into the attached blue duffel. The opening of the bag is plenty large enough to easily slide in the wrapped up rope  then cinches closed.
To pack this bag up simply fold over the edges of the tarp and roll it up like you would a burrito in a tortilla, then slide the burrito into the attached blue duffel. The opening of the bag is plenty large enough to easily slide in the wrapped up rope, then cinches closed.

The end result once this rope bag is all packed up is a tight package that is more compact than if you had coiled the rope  with little to no extra dead space  and is versatile enough to be carried over the shoulder or stuffed into the pack.
The end result once this rope bag is all packed up is a tight package that is more compact than if you had coiled the rope, with little to no extra dead space, and is versatile enough to be carried over the shoulder or stuffed into the pack.

Carrying Comfort


The Ropemaster HC has a single padded shoulder strap that was padded 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. It is a bit bulky and heavy to be packed inside of a larger backpack but compresses nicely for this purpose. 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.

This bag comes with an over the shoulder strap for carrying it outside of the pack. This works fine for short hikes in and out of the sport crag  but is not comfortable enough for long approaches. Luckily the whole package is small enough that it can usually be either stuffed in a large climbing pack or strapped onto the top.
This bag comes with an over the shoulder strap for carrying it outside of the pack. This works fine for short hikes in and out of the sport crag, but is not comfortable enough for long approaches. Luckily the whole package is small enough that it can usually be either stuffed in a large climbing pack or strapped onto the top.

Rope Protection


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 tarp doesn't taper as much as some more modern models more useable surface area. The tarp feels plenty large to comfortably flake ropes on and was big enough to catch falling cords post sending. Even an 80-meter rope will have plenty of space to be flaked out on the Ropemaster's tarp.

This 70m rope is very well protected by the large tarp provided by this bag  which leaves plenty of extra area for organizing the rest of your gear out of the dirt as well.
This 70m rope is very well protected by the large tarp provided by this bag, which leaves plenty of extra area for organizing the rest of your gear out of the dirt as well.

The Ropemaster's main pack is made from thick nylon fabric and feels as durable as any of the other models that we tested. Despite lacking the more sleek styling of newer bags, it has a classic design and will stand up to years of use, whether you use it for cragging or at the gym.

Ease of Use


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. It has a clear plastic 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 some use we found it to be useful and anybody with a quiver of ropes will appreciate being able to quickly identify which rope is in the bag without having to open it up. The Ropemaster HC's aluminum buckles are awesome, durable, and easy to use.

To aid with keeping the ends of the rope out of the pile  both for convenience and preventing accidental knots  this bag has two tie in points  one red for the bottom end  and one black for the top end.
To aid with keeping the ends of the rope out of the pile, both for convenience and preventing accidental knots, this bag has two tie in points, one red for the bottom end, and one black for the top end.

Two straps help cinch down and compact this bag  and we like the hook design with metal buckles which are easy to attach  and also more durable than plastic ones.
Two straps help cinch down and compact this bag, and we like the hook design with metal buckles which are easy to attach, and also more durable than plastic ones.

Value


The Ropemaster HC is a solid no-frills rope bag that comes at a relatively low cost compared to other models that we tested. This low price comes with limited features and a simple burrito-style design, but it is perfectly functional and has a great tarp area to cost ratio.

Conclusion


This Metolius Ropemaster HC fulfills most rope-bag functions adequately. 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. It 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 frills and can't be used comfortably as a cragging pack, but it remains very functional at its most important goal of keeping your rope out of the dirt.

The Metolius Ropemaster HC is an updated version of many older climbers' first-ever rope bag. It features the now-classic design of a tarp that is rolled up and stuffed into an over the shoulder duffel  here at use near the home of Metolius -- Smith Rock.
The Metolius Ropemaster HC is an updated version of many older climbers' first-ever rope bag. It features the now-classic design of a tarp that is rolled up and stuffed into an over the shoulder duffel, here at use near the home of Metolius -- Smith Rock.


Ian Nicholson and Steven Tata