Obviously, if you are going to do rappelling, you need to bring the correct equipment for your own safety. For your convenience, we have compiled the following packing guide for you!
To rappel safely you will need a gear, which includes the following:
- A rope
- A harness
- A rappel or belay device
- Carabiners and Slings
- A helmet
In today’s article we are going to go more into detail about all of these above mentioned equipment. We have broken them down so that you get to choose the right one before going for rappelling.
Check out this following video to know more about rappelling:
Function: Using a rope, you can lower yourself using an anchor
Can I buy used? No we would recommend you to buy a new rope before going for rappelling
Best rappelling rope:
Other trusted manufacturers: Black Diamond, Petzl, Sterling Ropes, Mammut, Edelrid
A rope is the most important part of gear that you have to buy at first and you are basically going to be hanging over a rope for your dear life then you have to make sure that you choose the best one.
As we have already said it earlier, let us say it again that never ever use a used rope for rappelling, because you do not have any idea if it has worn out or not because ropes are designed with an inner core that is surrounded by a protective sheath. This sheath around the inner core makes it more difficult for you to visually examine a rope, so you won’t know if there are any damage or weak spots in the core that could lead to rope to tear apart
Keep one thing in mind before going for rappelling that always use a rope that is at least 7.7mm in diameter and designed for rock climbing.
The diameter of the rope is the most important part of the rope for rappelling, because we have already said it earlier that practically your whole life is depended on the rope while you are rappelling, so make sure your rope is tick enough so that you can be safe and have a mental satisfaction while rappelling. Thinner ropes have a certain problem that is if the rope is thing it will pass from the belay device and you will fall.
There are two types of rope, one is static rope and the other is dynamic rope. Let’s give a glimpse about them:
- Static ropes are built for hauling gear or swinging off of— activities where you are NOT going to take a fall and stretch the rope and for this reason, they are designed to not have any give in them.
- Dynamic ropes are made out of interwoven fibres or threads that will stretch when they are placed under load and this allows the rope to temporarily lengthen which actually makes them safer.
Both of the ropes will do completely fine but there are some plus point for using a static rope and those are easier to pull through anchors once , they are cheaper, and will wear and tear less when you pull them over edges. The problem of a static rope is that they are much less useful in their functionality and if you are going for rock climbing, then we would recommend you to buy a dynamic rope.
A harness is an equipment which allows you to connect yourself to your lifeline, that is a rope, in a safe and comfortable fashion and that is why it is extremely important.
As we have said earlier we would never recommend you to use a used harness because you don’t know what kind of stress it has gone through, what may have happened to the webbing, or in what type of environment it was stored in. on top of that harness can be quite cheap so it is easily affordable to anyone.
But while choosing a harness we have to keep three features in mind, which are as follows:
- Additional Features
Comfort of Fit
Comfort is the most important thing which you have to keep in mind while choosing a rappel harness, this is because you will be in a hanging position with your weight distributed between the hip and leg loop and trust me staying in that position for a long time can really be quite troublesome. So for choosing a harness you want to make sure that it evenly distributes your weight on your thighs and allows you to achieve a good sitting position when you’re hanging in it and there should be no hotspots on your waist or hips and it should properly fit you not too tight not too loose.
If you are going to spend money on buying a proper harness then we would recommend you to choose such a harness which can absolutely last longer. We know that it is really difficult to choose such a harness because in mountains you will be having a lots or wear and tear scenario but try to find a one which can be strong enough to prevent wear and tear
The more durable it is the more expensive it will be but not always and let me tell you all something weight is not at all an important matter if you are just using the harness for rappelling, so buy something which has a bit more durability from next time.
Additional features like haul loops, gear loops, breathable webbing, and packability can make a difference in the comfort zone of your rappel.
Function: A belay device helps in creating friction in the system while rappelling
Best Harness: The Petzl PIRANA
Can I buy used? You can, but you need to have enough experience to know whether an item is damaged or not.
Trusted manufacturers: Edeldrid, Black Diamond
Now let’s come to the most important equipment of rappelling and that is a belay device as a belay device creates friction so that you can control your descending. Through it, the rope is passed in such a way that the speed at which it travels can be controlled.
Choosing a proper belay device for rappelling can really be a tough job, so we have decided to bring out a criteria for you by which you can choose a proper belay device easily. The criteria is as follows:
- Durability: A durable device is important for rappelling since it must not only endure the test of time but also be able to withstand knocks and scrapes that come with using it around rocks.
- Auto-locking: An auto-locking device can be especially useful for beginners or less experienced rappelers.
- Versatility: In general, it makes sense to find a device capable of doing everything you need it to do, or to have multiple devices.
- Weight: While rappelling, every ounce counts. You might be concerned about how heavy your device will feel when strapped to your waist.
- Specificity: Specific features: As opposed to the criteria above, you might want a device or a device that’s designed for a particular use, such as caving or canyoneering
- Cost: Rappel devices vary widely in price. When you’re shopping for climbing gear, this can be an important factor to consider.
- Safety: Nothing is more important than safety. Regardless of what we say, the best device for you is the one that you feel safest.
Carabiners and Slings
Carabiners And Slings
Function: Carabiners and slings helps you to connect you tobuild an anchor, to your belay device,act as a backup, and much more
Can I buy used? No we would not recommend it
Trusted manufacturers: Metolius, Petzl, Mammut, Black Diamond
Carabiners and slings come in all shapes and sizes, and they serve so many purposes in terms of safety and function so it is always recommended to bring a couple of extra pieces with you everywhere you go and on top of that they are really cheap to buy, so always have a extra set for your own safety.
Slings are multi-functional, in simple terms, slings hold two things together. Slings actually creates a link between two pieces of gear pieces of webbed cord with the ends stitched together so that they form a loop and they can come in several different lengths and are designed to take weights up to 10 kilo-newtons. Because slings do not have dynamic stretch, they are not intended to catch falls or act as a substitute for ropes.
Let me tell you some of the common uses of slings:
- Building an anchor: An anchor can be made from slings for rappelling. You can use them to equalize between two points of contact in the rock, secure to a tree/boiler, or create a backup to whatever primary anchor you’re using.
- Securing you to the wall: During rappelling, you may need to disconnect yourself from the rope so at that time slings will secure you to the wall.
- Carrying a haul bag: Haul bags are cumbersome to carry, butt slings solve that problem.
- Extending your rappel: Rappel devices can be extended by attaching them to the harness rather than to the rappel device itself. As an intermediary step, you can use a sling in order to improve rope control.
Carabiners are metal loops with openable gates that are used to quickly and reversible connect two pieces of equipment and they are used for clipping into things while rappelling, such as a bolt, your rappel device, the anchors, or a sling. If you don’t have any spare carabiners while rappelling, it can lead to some pretty unpleasant situations.
Common uses of carabiners are as follows:
- Your belay device must be connected to you
- Adding rappel anchors to your PAS
- The back-up of a rappel
- Gear attachment to your harness
- Anchor building
There are two types: locking and non-locking. Locking carabiners have some type of cover that slides over the gate and makes it impossible to open until you move the cover and this gets added to the level of safety to your carabiner, as it ensures the gate will stay closed.
Situations in which you should have a locking carabiner:
- The belay device should be attached to your harness
- Connecting your anchor to a rappel ring
- Creating a blocking system for single strand rappels
Function: Proper clothings helps you to keep yourself warm in mountains
Cost: A price can vary from $10 to $500
Can I buy used? Yes, in this case we would highly recommend it.
Trusted manufacturers: Patagonia, The North Face, Black Diamond, and Arc’teryx
Clothes are most important part of rappelling because they helps you to keep yourself warm, which is very much needed in mountain. So, always buy clothes which will keep you warm, be light weight and be durable enou8gh and yes in this case we recommend you to buy used clothes because new ones can be quite expensive
Your shirt serves two purposes while rappelling and those are it protects you from the sun and prevents your harness from chaffing your skin.
In terms of sun protection, you can choose either choose long-sleeve or a short sleeve shirt. We would recommend you to buy long sleeve because it willoffer better protection as some shirts are SPF rated, which acts asan extra layer of protection.
The key to preventing your harness from chaffing is to have a shirt that is long enough to tuck underneath the harness. This will protect your skin and make the whole experience that much better.
Sweaters and jackets
Shivering, cold, and wet conditions are not ideal for performing a rappel. Making sure that you have the right type of clothing to keep you warm and dry can be very beneficial when rappelling.
When combined with water-repelling properties, wool is great for keeping you warm, so a wool sweater could be perfect to bring along with you while you rappel and your sweater should either be short enough not be in the way or long enough to tuck under your harness as this will be preventing the hem from getting caught in any ropes or clips.
The decision between wearing pants or shorts comes down to weather and preference and the material of the pants or the shorts should be something durable yet comfortable. Try to avoid denim pants because they can be stiff and restricting and also try to avoid sweatpants because they tend to bunch up under your harness and may also be uncomfortable. Therefore, try to get a good pair of hiking pants as they will be best for rappelling
Things that we should keep in mind while choosing a pair of shoes are:
- Grip: The shoes you wear should have enough friction to allow you to control your body by placing your feet on the surface you’re rappelling down.
- Weight: Standing with your legs extended in front of you for extended periods of time can be tiring.
- Protection: Protect your feet from injuries, including scrapes, bruises, and crushed toes when you work with hard stone or rock fall hazards.
A pair of approach shoes will probably fit the best as they are sturdily constructed and have good soles for hiking/climbing, so you don’t have to worry about the griping on mountains and in case you don’t have a pair of approach shoes, every day runners will do fine.
Function: A helmet protects your head from ledges, falling rocks, walls, and other unforgiving objects.
Best Helmet: The Black Diamond Half-Dome
Can I buy used? No, the answer is absolutely a big NO!
Trusted manufacturers: Petzl, Edelrid, Mammut
Helmets are one of the most crucial and important part of rappelling.
If you don’t want a permanent damage to your brain make sure to wear a helmet while rappelling.
A helmet is one of the pieces of gear and we would recommend you to buy a new one because helmets is designed in such a way that it cannot to resist repeated trauma. In fact, your helmet is designed to break upon heavy impact. Any helmet designed for climber will do good for rappelling too.
The first is the design of the helmet. Rappelling is a fairly static activity; you’re usually in control of your body, and you’re therefore at a much lower risk of swinging into the wall at a weird angle (like you are when you go climbing). This means that the primary risk you need to contend with is rockfall.
Some things which you need to keep in mind while choosing a helmet are:
- Fit- Make sure the helmet fits on your head and stays on while you’re moving and swinging and it should be comfortable, so that you would not mind wearing it all day.
- Durability- We said helmets can only take one good hit before they have to be retired, but we think they should be able to withstand a little bit of banging without breaking, whether it’s being accidentally scraped with a rock or just being packed away in a bag.
- Breathability- You are more likely to wear your helmet consistently when you’re in the mountains if it is easier to put up with wearing it.
Function: A glove makes it easier for you to grab the rope.
Best Goves: Edelrid Orion
Can I buy used? Yes, you can do that
Trusted manufacturers: Black Diamond, Outdoor Research, Metolius,
While rappelling, your entire body is suspended by a strand of rope, the only thing keeping you from plummeting down that rope is your brake hand.
In cold or pumped-up conditions, or even when exhausted, it can be difficult to grip a centimetre-thick piece of rope with enough force to keep you attached to it. With rappel gloves, you can accomplish this more easily and are therefore safer on the whole.
These features makes rappel gloves different from others:
- Double-padded areas: Rappel gloves are typically double-padded in high-friction areas to prolong their lifespan.
- Fingerless design: The fingerless design allows you to tie knots or work with rope with more dexterity.
- Better material: The fabric lasts longer and is more effective at gripping ropes than other gloves.
In the case of belay gloves or rappel gloves, the above materials can make them well worth the investment. You can also use an everyday pair or gardening gloves if you only intend to use them occasionally or if you just want to save a little money.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What gear do I need to start rappelling?
The gear that you need for rappelling is:
What is rappelling gear called?
The rappelling gear can also be called as rappelling equipment. The rappelling gear consists of the followings:
What equipment do you need to abseil?
The equipment which you require for abseiling are given in this video, check it out now!
How do you rappel without leaving gear?
To rappel without leaving a gear, you have to make sure that the rope ends reach the ground by throwing both ends over the edge of the cliff at the same time. You can now lower both strands of the rope with your rappel. This method is ideal for shorter rappels, and for rappels where your rope is twice as long as your descent.