How to Buy the Best Climbing Rope Bags and Backpacks

As a climber, you need to take good care of your rope. This is the only way to ensure that it will remain in great working condition, for longer. The main thing that you can do to keep your rope safe and secure is to place it in a rope bag when you are climbing. This will provide you with all of the protection that you need.

There is actually a considerable amount of variety in climbing ropes which is why it isn’t the easiest thing to decide on. In this article, you will be able to discover all of the factors that you should look at before making a purchase. This way, you will be able to figure out which option is right for you.

A Climber’s Guide to Buying a Rope Bag

If you are an avid climber, you understand that your rope is your most faithful climbing accessory. This is why you need to take the necessary lengths to keep it protected at all times. This will allow you to safeguard the rope that you have and considerably prolong its lifespan. Since a rope bag is the perfect tool for the job, let’s take a look at some of the considerations that you need to make about them:

Do You Need a Rope Bag?

The first thing that you will probably ask yourself is do you really need a rope bag? Interestingly enough, there are a few instances where this type of bag is unnecessary. The most common of these is if you only climb in a gym, indoors. Since there is very little dirt or debris around, it isn’t as important to protect the rope.

Another example of not needing a rope bag is if you are worried about additional weight. There are some climbers who want to climb with as little extra load as possible. They may only want to carry their climbing pack or no bag at all. In this case, a rope bag will not really suit you all that well.

If you don’t fall into either of the above categories then you definitely need a rope bag. Why? The main purpose of a rope bag is to keep it away from other substances and surfaces. This keeps your rope clean and ensures that it has as little contact with mud, sand, or debris as possible. If you are wondering why this is so important, the answer is simple. When you keep your rope clean and away from abrasive surfaces, you are able to extend how long it lasts in good, working condition, perhaps up to 25 percent more. This means that you could presumably use your rope for twenty years or more.

The Types of Rope Bags – Which One is Right for You?

Basically, rope bags fall into two categories: rope bags and tarp bags. Rope bags look like the traditional bags that you have and they all come with straps. These bags are sturdy and tend to have a greater capacity, allowing you to carry more items in them. At the same time, all of this material tends to add weight to the bag.

Tarp bags are lightweight and are great for keeping your rope protected from water and sand. There are quite lightweight and are easy to carry with. Now, not all tarp bags come with straps. Some, don’t and meant to be rolled up and placed in a climbing pack. The main disadvantage with this type of rope bag is the lack of space.

There are some rope bags that actually come with a built-in tarp bag. While these may be a little on the heavier side, they do have the benefit of protecting your rope extremely well and also having a little more space to work with. These offer the best of both worlds with rope bags.

Deciding on Rope Bag Design

There are two main designs to choose from with rope bags although there can be quite a bit of variation, depending on the manufacturer. This is the rope pack and the rope sling bag.

Rope Pack

The rope pack is very similar to a traditional backpack. This is because it has two straps that you can sling across your shoulders. The benefit of this type of bag is that it is easy to secure on your back. There is minimal movement while you are climbing so it will not throw you off your flow. They are also more comfortable as the weight is evenly distributed and are usually preferred for longer climbing treks.

Sling Bag

Sling bags are also referred to as messenger bags. They have just one strap that you use to wear the bag diagonally across your torso. Smaller bags can be placed on your back while larger designs will need to be worn in front. These bags can make it quite difficult to climb as they don’t sit flush against your torso and can move around. One of the advantages of this bag, though, is that you can also carry a climbing bag on your back if you want to.


It can be a little difficult to find the true carrying capacity of a rope bag. This is because many of the manufacturers don’t actually describe these bags volume in liters or cubic centimeters. So, it can be a bit of a guessing game, sometimes. The best way to figure out what bag will work for you is to figure out how much you want to carry. For instance, do you only want to carry your rope bag or do you want to take other pieces of equipment with you?

As you can imagine, if you only want to carry rope in your rope bag then you aren’t going to need all that much space. However, you should compare the length of your rope with how much space the bag has. Since the bags do offer dimensions, you can determine whether the rope and storage space are compatible based on this.

The bags on the larger end of the spectrum are actually able to carry quite a few things, in addition to your rope. This includes shoes, draws, harness, water, and even some snacks. So, if you are going on a more intense expedition, you will probably be better off with a larger bag. At the same time, you should take the weight into consideration as you will be carrying a considerably heavier load.

Durability of the Rope Bag

Now, the bag itself must be quite strong so that your rope remains protected. Having a built-in tarp inside the bag certainly helps to improve the durability of the bag. Of course, the material that the bag is made of also plays a significant role.

If you are an intense climber or don’t expect to hit too many snags when you are on your treks, then you can opt for a bag that is made from polyester. These bags are lightweight, quite strong, and can be water resistant to a certain extent.

If you are looking for a little more durability, though, you may want to favor a bag that is made of nylon instead. This material, especially one of a higher denier, tends to be a little thicker and tougher. You may, however, find yourself paying a higher price for this privilege.

Now, these two materials aren’t actually all that water resistant and are certainly not waterproof. If you feel like your bag will have to withstand moisture as well, look for bags that have a polyurethane coating on top.

Additional Requirements

There are a few other things that you should look for with your rope bags. The requirements are as follows:

How Easy It Is To Pack and Unpack

A rope bag that you actually want to use is going to be easy to pack and unpack. This way, you will not have to keep rearranging the rope after and before every climbing trip. Now, there are a few things that come into play when considering pack-ability. The first is the opening of the bag. It should be sizable so that you will not have to force the rope in or out. This feature is particularly important for longer and thicker ropes.

In terms of unpacking the bag, you should look for a rope that holds the rope against either the wall of the bag or the tarp. With this feature, you will not have to keep re-stacking the rope every time that you want to climb. However, it should be noted that it is quite difficult to find a bag that does this perfectly so you may have to settle for a bag that ensures that your rope doesn’t get tangled.

The Presence of Tie-In Loops

Most basic rope bags have tie-in loops of different colors. The main purpose of these loops is to provide the end of your rope with an anchor. Once tied to the loop, you don’t have to worry about losing the rope. So, this feature really can be considered a vital and necessary feature on a bag that you choose.

Compression Straps

It isn’t absolutely necessary for you to have compression straps on your rope bag. In fact, if you have a smaller bag, these will probably prove to be quite pointless. On the other hand, if you have a large bag that you have used to pack a lot of gear, the compression straps can actually come in quite handy. These straps help to secure the items in the bag so that they don’t move around. This, in turn, helps the body to sit closer to your natural center of gravity. You will find it easier to climb without any swinging if this feature is present.


The level of comfort afforded by a pack or a sling is also something that you need to take into consideration. For this, you should look for packs with wide, padded straps that will help to distribute the weight of them. It can also be helpful to have your bag sitting above your hips so that your movement isn’t impeded while you are climbing.

So there you have it, all of the things that you should be aware of when you want to buy a rope bag for climbing.

Top 10 Best Climbing Rope Bags

1 – Arcteryx Haku

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Here’s what the reviewers think about the Arcteryx Haku:

Reviewers like these things about the Arcteryx Haku

  • Reviewers thought that the Arcteryx Haku rope bag is clean and simple yet fully functional.
  • Other reviewers noted that it is sleek and durable due to its nylon ripstop material.
  • Many of the users thought that its funnel design allows them to pack the rope quickly when transporting between routes quickly.
  • Those who have used the pack pointed out that its integrated tarp could keep the cord out from dirt.
  • Users found the bag to be lightweight.
  • Other users found that it was easy to carry the bag due to its adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Testers thought that the pack could be compressed well.
  • Other testers also commented that it had a lot of room for such a small bag.
  • Many reviewers thought that the tarp is able to provide enough space to lay out the rope.
  • Reviewers felt that it is easy to pack and unpack the rope.
  • Users indicated that it perfectly fits into a backpack.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user said that the bag had no outer pockets to store extra gear.
  • Another user had trouble when it came to flaking the rope.

2 – Black Diamond Super Chute

Black Diamond Super Chute Rope Bag
  • Barrel compression straps with metal buckles. Two internal tie-in loops. Adjustable courier-style shoulder strap.
  • Funnel or traditional roll-loading. Holds ropes up to 80 m. Tarp dimensions: 126 x 146 cm (4 x 5 ft).
  • Volume: 25 L. Weight: 490g (1 lb, 1 oz).

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Black Diamond Super Chute:

Reviewers like these things about the Black Diamond Super Chute

  • Several users have commended the Black Diamond Super Chute rope bag for its ultralight construction.
  • Reviewers recommend the pack for hiking, traveling, and climbing.
  • Users have noted that it was easy to access the components of the bag.
  • Many reviewers commended its barrel compression straps with metal buckles for making it capable of being compressed easily.
  • Other reviewers noted the presence of two internal tie-in loops where the end of the rope could be tied.
  • Most of those who have tried the bag said that they could place a rope up to 80 meters without straining.
  • Testers commended the durability of the product.
  • Other testers thought that its simple design does not add unwanted bulk to the capacity.
  • Others felt that its courier-style shoulder strap could be adjusted to suit the individual preference.
  • Users noted that the pack has a minimal yet fully functional design.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A user noted the bag gets dirty quickly.
  • Another user thought that the pack is likely to bend or break under pressure.

3 – Petzl Kab

Petzl KAB Rope Bag - Blue
  • Polyester fabric and straps. Aluminum buckles. Large volume rope bag for carrying a rope of up to 110 meters.
  • Stays upright when rope is being used. Trapezoidal protective tarp integrated into the bag, providing a clean area of 140 x 140 x 50 cm for the rope. Handles on two corners of tarp for storing rope in the bag.
  • Equipment loops and pocket for keys. Pocket for topo map easily accessible on the flap.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Petzl Kab:

Reviewers like these things about the Petzl Kab

  • Some users find it super sleak to ride bike with as it fits to their body like a glove.
  • Others said it works amazing as a gym bag, fits everything they need.
  • Some users thought its material is built to last.
  • Others find the outer cover with zip pocket very useful for storing small items such as antibacterial sprays.
  • Many reviewers love the waist stabilizer and detachable tarp.
  • Others thought it’s perfect climbing gym bag with enough room for a 60 meter rope, harness, shoes and a lunch.
  • Many owners thought it does not only works great but looks gorgeous too.
  • Some are glad that it comes with built in canvas tarp to keep their rope clean.
  • Others thought it’s a great rope bag to hit the crags.
  • One user commented that its extra features like the gear loops, the mesh pocket and outside pocket make it an outstanding bag.
  • Many climbers thought that the handles are great and durable and look like they will last.
  • A lot of users agree that it’s a great bag for sport climbing, able to fit plenty of quick draws and other gear inside and holds a 60m rope plus shoes, and a harness.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Others thought the top pouch is hard to access when the bag is really full.
  • Some users said it lacks a handle on the outside.

4 – DMM Classic

DMM Classic Rope Bag Blue, One Size
  • Use it as a rucksack on its own, or convert it easily to a courier bag with the padded straps
  • Large rope tarp with colour coded tie in points
  • Large enough for an 80m+ single rope or a pair of 60m halfs with a few extras
  • Zipped valuables pocket
  • 31 litre capacity

Here’s what the reviewers think about the DMM Classic:

Reviewers like these things about the DMM Classic

  • Most users said that it feels light but durable.
  • Many users said that it is easy to adjust the straps.
  • Users also mentioned that it’s well made.
  • Most reviewers said that it fits everything they need for a day of sports climbing.
  • One great feature mentioned by many users is that the removable tarp option. You can leave it attached, or unattached and just take the rope to the next route instead of having to drag all of your stuff.
  • Reviewers said that the compression straps on the outside are also great for attaching stuff.
  • They said that they love the versatility of the backpack and shoulder sling option.
  • Some of them loved the fact that it is very comfortable as a backpack.
  • Most reviewers praised the fact that the shoulder strap can be moved to make it a great duffle bag.
  • Buyers said that the rope is easy to get in and out and the large detachable mat makes it easy to take the rope from climb to climb.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users complained that zipper seems like it might be a weak point as it occasionally jams up a bit from loose debris or sand.
  • One user complained that the pack lacks waist or chest straps.
  • Another user said that the material seems thin and the suspect that the zipper is going to tear away.

5 – Metolius Ropemaster HC

Metolius Ropemaster HC Bag
  • World's first and best selling rope bag improved with larger capacity
  • Redesigned tarp facilitates easier loading 52 x 58" / 132 x 147 cm
  • Rope widow for quick cord identification
  • Unbreakable aluminum buckles

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Metolius Ropemaster HC:

Reviewers like these things about the Metolius Ropemaster HC

  • Many users find it sturdy and big enough for a long rope.
  • A number of users find the tarp large enough to flake the rope without having to take it off the tarp.
  • Some users love how the draw cord closure and buckles help to cinch the bag as small as possible for transport.
  • Others tought the loops on the tarp prevents them from reflaking the rope every time they changed walls.
  • Many users chose it for its huge capacity and large sheet for total protection from the ground when flaking and belaying.
  • Some reviewers find the cinching easy and compresses nicely.
  • A number of users like the presence of a convenient loop on one end which gives them a place to clip on shoes or quickdraws.
  • Many users are impressed with the huge space it provides for their shoes, harness, accessory rope, beaners, quickdraws, gloves, etc.
  • Some reviewers thought it’s designed for quick unpacking and packing up rope.
  • Other reviewers find the buckles indestructible .
  • Many climbers love how the built in tarp makes it easy to lead climb without having to store an extra tarp to keep the rope clean.
  • Some reviewers thought it’s easy to carry slung around the shoulder messenger bag style.
  • A lot of users thought it has quality materials and stitching, well designed and easy to carry either with the shoulder strap or by the handle at one end.
  • Some owners said the bag’s features allow for easy use of the rope without tangling.
  • Others thought the easy of packing and cinch ties allows for considerable compression of the contents.
  • A lot of users like how it rolls up nice and neat so they dont have to restack their rope every time.
  • many users are impressed with how it keeps their rope secure and compact with enough room for some smaller pieces of gear.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some reviewers would prefer for this bag to have backpack straps and haul loops on both ends.
  • Others wished it had storage for extra climbing accessories.

6 – Psychi Rope Bag

Psychi Climbing Rope Bag with Ground Sheet Buckles and Carry Straps (Orange)
  • Orange rope bag comes with built in ground sheet keeping your rope clean and safe whilst in use. With tags in either corner to tie the rope ends on when stored away. This avoids any rope tangle during transport and storage.
  • Adjustable padded shoulder carry strap for easy transportation.
  • Draw string and buckle closure to secure once packed away.
  • Room for 60m rope.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Psychi Rope Bag:

Reviewers like these things about the Psychi Rope Bag

  • Most users said that it is a great backpack that weighs lighter.
  • Many users said that it is made of nice, thick and good quality material.
  • Reviewers said that its storage is easy and convenient.
  • Most reviewers agreed that the backpack is highly durable.
  • Several users said the pack is worth the money.
  • Many users love that it has small zipper packet on top.
  • Reviewers who have used the pack said that the rope tarp works great to wrap the gear.
  • They’ve mentioned that the pack also comes with a backpack strap.
  • Users said that it is easy to use and secure your rope.
  • Some other users mentioned that the top storage pouch is roomy too.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user complained that the strap doesn’t seem to be stitched well.
  • Another user complained that the straps should be more reinforced.
  • Another user complained that the mat is a bit small for the size of bag.

7 – Petzl Bolsa

PETZL Bolsa Rope Bag
  • climbing gear. Protective integrated tarp provides a clean area to stack the rope (tarp measures 4 ft. 7 in. x 4 ft. 7 in.). Two distinctly colored loops help you keep track of rope ends.
  • Adjustable shoulder straps provide greater comfort when moving around; can also be carried bandolier style. Zipper for opening and closing.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Petzl Bolsa:

Reviewers like these things about the Petzl Bolsa

  • Many reviewers commend the Petzl Bolsa rope backpack for its durability and strength.
  • Other reviewers said that the bag is conveniently lightweight.
  • Testers noted that it could be worn on the back or as a bandolier.
  • Other testers pointed out that the back allows them to move around conveniently with their gear.
  • Many reviewers pointed out that it could protect the rope from dirt and gravel.
  • They also noted that the rope could be stacked and stored easily inside the bag.
  • Several of those who have tried the pack said that it is practical and easy to use.
  • Other reviewers noted that its shoulders straps could be adjusted.
  • Users liked its minimalist design.
  • Many of those who have tried the pack said that it is comfortable to wear it.
  • Many users recommend the pack for those who are into hiking and climbing.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • A reviewer thought that the shoulder straps lack padding for added comfort and support.
  • Another reviewer noticed that the bag does not have loops for hooking items while on the go.

8 – DMM Pitcher

DMM Pitcher Rope Bag - Red
  • Easy stash tarp system for quick rope packing
  • Large enough for an 80m+ single rope or a pair of 60m halfs
  • Removable shoulder straps for either carrying as a rucksack or using as a stuff sac in your cragging pack
  • 30 litre capacity
  • Use it as a rope bag, a rope bucket, a carry on route sack, or nipping to the wall.

Here’s what the reviewers think about the DMM Pitcher:

Reviewers like these things about the DMM Pitcher

  • Most users said that this bag can haul a lot of gear.
  • Many other users said that the two straps on the back make this bag much more comfortable.
  • They also said that it has two removable straps which are comfortable enough for hauling.
  • Some users said that the design is great and easy to use.
  • They also said that the pack and material are rugged but still relatively light.
  • Reviewers said that the thing that really makes this bag special is how easy it makes picking up the rope.
  • Reviewers also said that It easily carries their rope and the rest of their climbing gear with room plenty of extra room.
  • Most buyers said that it is an excellent bag with the tarp making it easy to shoot the rope in the bag.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Some users wished that that this bag had an additional pocket or two for valuables and water bottles.
  • Some other users said that it would be great if they had some compression straps so you can compress the bag.

9 – Metolius Dirt Bag II

Metolius Dirt Bag II
  • Popular rope bag improved with larger tarp and capacity
  • New closure system for greater durability and functionality
  • Padded shoulder strap
  • Capacity can hold 70 meter ropes

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Metolius Dirt Bag II:

Reviewers like these things about the Metolius Dirt Bag II

  • Many users find the nylon bag pretty durable for the price and weight.
  • Others thought the tarp is plenty big enough to keep the rope off the ground with a nice water repellent coated bottom.
  • Many reviewers love the snap closure feature.
  • A lot of users are happy with how it fits everything they need for short sport routes.
  • Some users find the shoulder strap very comfy.
  • Many reviewers thought the large tarp let them easily bundle up the rope, fold it all in half, and drop it in the bag.
  • A lot of users refer to it as the easy, convenient, and durable bag.
  • Many users chose the bag for its capacity, functionality and durability.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • One user thought it’s not built to withstand abuse.
  • Other owners said the snap closure doesn’t stay snapped.

10 – Trango Antidote

TRANGO Antidote Rope Bag - 1525cu in
  • Carrying Options: removable backpack straps, grab handle
  • Closure: 2 metal buckles
  • Tarp Dimension: 4 x 5 ft
  • Claimed Weight: 1 lb 3.4 oz
  • Recommended Use: climbing

Here’s what the reviewers think about the Trango Antidote:

Reviewers like these things about the Trango Antidote

  • Many users thought it does its job well by keeping ropes clean and organized.
  • Some owners are amazed with how the bag has more than enough space for all their needs.
  • A lot of reviewers agree that it’s a nice rope and gear bag for climbing.
  • Others love how it fits rope and climb gear, carabiners in one neat package.
  • Some like how it comes with generous floor mat and rope tie.
  • Many praise its lightweight but durable material.
  • Other owners like how they can use it as a backpack or handy bag.
  • Some find the plastic inside very smart and good size.

Reviewers don’t like these things

  • Other users wished it comes with a rope pouch.
  • Some users thought the backpack straps could be improved a little.

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Last update on 2018-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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