Backpack is the most important thing that you require while you go out for a rappel. Backpack helps you to carry all the equipment required for rappelling. If you want to know about the gear required for rappelling, kindly check our article! So the important thing that you should know is how should we wear a backpack while you go out for rappel. In this article we are going to tell you that how will you rappel wearing a back pack.
Is it possible to rappel while carrying a backpack? Yes, it is possible to rappel carrying a back pack. Those who rappel with backpacks can wear them normally around their shoulders or attach them via a tandem rappel. You will have to choose an option based on how heavy the bag is.
As a rule, rappelling with a backpack is just like rappelling without one. Be aware, however, of how bulky the bag is before you decide to wear it like you usually do. Too much gear can throw your balance and compromise the safety of your rappel if you have too much gear. To avoid having your centre of gravity impacted, it is sometimes necessary to attach the bag via tandem line to your harness.
So according to us you should learn about both of these techniques. In this article we are going to guide you about the techniques thoroughly.
Drawbacks of Rappelling With a Backpack?
While rappelling with a backpack, the main danger is how it will affect your weight on the rappel. First, you need to understand what is happening in terms of physics while you rappel.
While rappelling, most people will wear a harness attached to their waist/legs to help them stay connected to the ropes. These harnesses are great for a few reasons including their affordability, portability, and ability to comfortably sit on the rope.
The rope attachment point is located near your waist, which makes rappelling difficult while carrying a load. Most people’s upper body is already heavier than their legs, making them top-heavy when rappelling.
It is important to use proper rappelling technique and the right harness to combat this effect and keep you right-side up when rappelling and using your core and the ‘sit-down’ position, you can maintain neutral posture throughout the rappel.
In addition to this, if your back becomes very heavy, you will have a hard time maintaining this position. The risk is that you might flip over, so that your head is dangling towards the ground and your legs are pointed upwards.
Why Is This Bad?
Now, you may ask that is rappelling with backpack is dangerous or not? Well the answer to it will be that yes it is quite dangerous to rappel with a backpack.
The first issue with this is that your brake hand has much less control. While upside down, you have a harder time holding on to the rope, and there’s a greater chance of losing your grip and falling.
Regardless of whether it occurs, flipping over on a rappel still poses a lot of risk. Put aside the possibility that you may hurt yourself or your equipment if you swing into a cliff face. You are actually more at risk here of getting stuck, as if you flip with a backpack heavily slung over your shoulders you will have a difficult time returning to a normal position.
There are many problems caused by this. Essentially, there are three options available to you in this situation:
- Await the rescuer’s arrival.
- As you hang upside down, drop your bag (difficult to do and potentially damaging to what’s inside) so you can complete the rappel.
- Try to complete the rappel while upside down which is absolutely not recommended.
You should clearly avoid such a situation. In order to achieve this, you must prevent your bag from having too much influence on your centre of gravity.
How Heavy Is Too Heavy?
In light of this, it should be asked: under what weight is your bag too heavy to be dangerous?
There are a number of factors that affect the answer.
- The amount of weight you have
- The distribution of your bag’s load
- How much rappelling experience do you have
Additionally, terrain plays a role: if you can brace your feet against a rock face, it’s easier to maintain a position than if you’re simply hanging in midair.
But even with all of that in mind, there’s not much room for rappelling while wearing a backpack. When descending, veteran climbers may be able to wear 20 pounds if they know what they’re doing.
We wouldn’t recommend it for anything weighing more than 10-12 pounds. As a consequence, you can fit a Nalgene, an extra sweater, and possibly some snacks or miscellaneous gear in your bag; anything else will make it dangerous to rappel with.
So What’s the Alternative?
If you don’t want to wear the bag on your back, you can use something called as a tandem rappel. The tandem rappel consists of being able to dangle the bag between your legs, alleviating the concern that it will throw off your center of gravity and any bag that is quite heavier than the parameters specified above should use this technique.
There is a bit of confusion involved in tandem rappels. During our research, we encountered the following questions:
What Are the Steps? When you perform the rappel, a rope is used to attach the bag to your harness, so that its weight pulls directly down on your waist. The centre of gravity is shifted into a more advantageous position.
What’s the best place to attach the bag? Bags can be mounted on belay loops, fully reinforced haul loops, or even the rappel device itself. It is absolutely not recommended by us to hang it from one of the side loops that is attached to your harness; those loops may not be strong enough to support the weight, and you will end up lopsided.
What is the procedure for attaching the bag? An adjustable sling or short cordlette will work with your harness to attach your bag. A carabiner is the easiest way to attach the back to the cordlette, as knots are difficult to undo. If you are out of ‘biners, knots will do.
Does it Feel Uncomfortable? There is an element of discomfort in rappelling in tandem (especially for men), as it squeezes against the groin area. You can mitigate this by attaching the bag to the rappel device instead of your own harness.
How To Tandem Rappel With a Backpack
After learning a little about tandem rappelling, here is a simple guide to doing a tandem rappel with your backpack:
- The rappel should be prepared as normal, including attaching your device, tying a backup knot, and performing safety checks.
- If you are still on flat ground, remove your backpack and place it by your feet.
- A sling should be clipped (or tied) to your harness or rappel device
- Attach the other end of the sling to the backpack. Getting the loop attached varies from bag to bag, but we usually recommend the top loop (once it’s strong enough to hold the bag’s weight).
- Pick up the bag with the other hand while keeping your brake hand on the rope.
- When you are on the rope, slowly walk backward in the direction of your rappel.
- The bag should hang between your legs once you’re in the air.
- As you descend the rest of the rappel, slow down near the bottom so that your bag does not hit the ground too hard.
- You should untie your bag and clean the rappel.
To know more about it, kindly check out this video:
There we have it! It can be tricky to rappel with a backpack, but it doesn’t need to make your rappel more dangerous.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the gear required for rappelling?
The gear required for rappelling is:
A rappel or belay device
Carabiners and Slings
To know more kindly check out this article written by us.
Is carrying backpack while rappelling dangerous?
Yes, carrying backpack can be dangerous while rappelling, if the weight of the backpack is huge because it can take you down.
What is tandem Rappelling?
A tandem rappel is a technique you use when you and the patient are both on the same anchor and with a Tandem rappel, both climbers use the same rappel device rigged on an extension.
Should we rappel with backpacks on?
Well, we would suggest a big no! This is because your importance is of utmost importance to us and if the backpack somehow becomes too heavy then it might take you down and cause a deadly accident. So as we all know better safe than sorry, therefore avoid rappelling with backpacks.