Best Rope Bags
We use cell phone cases to keep our smartphones safe, wallets to keep our money and cards protected, and laptop bags to ensure our computers don’t get crushed. But can this kind of protective bag apply to our sporting goods, too? Why, of course, it can. You wouldn’t want to throw your brand new snowboard into the trunk of your car where it could easily get beat up on the ride up to the mountain. Now, as a rock climber, you may be wondering why you would need a specific bag to protect your rope. I mean, it’s just a rope. What difference can one bag really make over the other? But surprisingly, a good rope bag can make quite the difference in the health of your rope.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Integrated protective tarp
Comfortable to use
Top 10 Picks
1. Petzl Bolsa
Integrated protective tarp
Comfortable to use
Capacity could be a bit more
No separate pockets for other equipment
If you need a bag that is comfortable to use and provides great overall practicality and protection for your rope in a wide range of situations, it’s hard to beat the Bolsa Bag from Petzl. Designed with the active climber in mind, this is a great balance between protection and practicality.Read more
This bag features not only a sturdy construction but also an integrated protective tarp that is designed to create a clean area of approximately 140 square centimeters that can be used to store your climbing rope.
Ease of Use
In addition to featuring a comfortable backpack design, this bag also has a number of practical features that make it a great overall choice. The tarp has handles on each of the four corners which make gathering it up to fold over the rope a simple process.
If you prefer to wear a backpack style bag in your travels, it’s hard to find fault with this bag from Petzl. The easily adjustable straps offer a great way to distribute the weight of the rope and your equipment across your back easily. While we certainly would have liked to see a little more padding overall on the straps, they are certainly comfortable enough for most situations.
While it can’t really compress down too far with the rope or equipment inside of it, this bag does flatten down very nicely when not in use for easy storage.
This specific bag can house a maximum of eighty meters of rope with relative ease. Unfortunately, there isn’t that much room for more equipment in the main compartment if that max threshold is reached. In addition, there are no real outside-accessible pockets for the storage of additional supplies or equipment. This bag from Petzl is clearly designed to hold your climbing rope and not much else.
If you want a simple way to store your climbing rope that is comfortable to use, and practical, you certainly should take a look at the Bolsa Bag by Petzl. While we certainly would have liked to see a little more room dedicated to the storage of other equipment and supplies, if you want a bag to keep your rope in, this is a great choice.
Available in six bright and unique colors
No exterior gear loops
Nylon material is thin
Often compared to the Metolius Ropemaster, the Psychi is a great addition to our list. It weighs only one pound, is water-resistant, and packs up easily. While we would have liked to see some daisy chains or exterior gear clips, this is still a great budget-friendly option.Read more
The Psychi bag provides great protection to the contents of the bag. Inside, you will find a 104cm2 built-in groundsheet. The bag itself is made from Nylon and features a drawcord and adjustable aluminum buckles to close the bag. The nylon material is naturally water-resistant and folding up your rope in the tarp will provide even more protection to your ropes.
Ease of Use
Folding up your ropes on the tarp of this bag couldn’t be easier. On two corners of the tap, there are corner tie loops to connect your rope and avoid tangles. After this, you simply roll it up, pull the drawcord, and adjust the buckles.
This bag weighs only one pound. It can be carried by its rubber carrying handle or worn as a backpack. Many reviewers are surprised at the overall comfort of the Pyschi as a backpack. Given the small nature of the backpack, unless you are collecting rocks, you won’t be able to fit enough in here to make it uncomfortably heavy.
Seeing as how this bag is made from nylon, once you take out your ropes you can fold it and squish it any way you want. It can be clipped on to another bag or folded up and stored.
According to Psychi’s website, this bag can fit 50-meters of rope and a sports climbing rack or 60-meters of rope without the rack. However, many reviewers have found that it actually fits much more than that! Some climbers say they use this bag comfortably with 80-meters of rope. Additionally, there is a small top pocket to store your wallet, phone, and keys.
The Psychi bag is a great option for a climber who is looking for an affordable and lightweight option. The material of this bag is thinner than some of our other options, but with proper care and handling, it should last you for quite a while.
3. Petzl Kab
Comfortable to use
Easy to access the interior
Protective of gear
Not always suitable for use while actually climbing
Shoulder strap may be a bit small
With our second entry from Petzl in this list, the KAB Bag offers a durable and very versatile option for those who like the messenger bag style. While it isn’t for every taste, this bag is certainly one to consider if you’re more comfortable slinging your bag over your shoulder than carrying it on your back.Read more
In addition to a tough outer shell, this bag also features an integrated tarp that allows for 140 x140x50 centimeters of space for protecting the rope from the elements. In addition, it also features equipment loops and pockets on the inside of the bag for additional supplies or equipment that you want to keep out of the elements.
Ease of Use
Overall, this is one of the easier bags to use, whether you’re on the approach or setting up your gear at the base of the wall or cliff-face. It’s a simple matter to unbuckle the flap and get to the rope or gear you need with very little effort. For some, however, using it while actually climbing may be more than a bit of a hassle. It really depends on the climber’s personal preferences.
If you prefer to sling your bag over your shoulder messenger bag style, this is a fairly comfortable and easy bag to use. Some customers did find the shoulder strap to be a bit too short, but other than that there were no serious complaints.
While this bag can certainly be folded down when not in use, it doesn’t really offer much more compressibility beyond what you would expect from a normal messenger bag.
This bag has the ability to hold up to 110 meters of rope, plus equipment depending on the size and thickness of the rope itself. Some found the capacity to be a bit on the small size when larger diameter ropes were used, but overall most climbers found this bag to have more than enough room.
The KAB from Petzl is a great choice if you’re looking for a bag that can be used on the approach to the climb, or at an indoor wall. While some may find it a bit cumbersome during the actual climb, most find the easy to access interior and shoulder harness to be a benefit.
4. Kavu Sling
Easily access equipment and rope
Plenty of room
Great color and design options
One-shouldered sling might be uncomfortable for some
If you’re not planning on carrying a whole lot of large equipment with your rope, and you want something light and easy to use, the KAVU rope sling bag is certainly a possibility. This bag is a great choice for something that is streamlined and easy to use.Read more
This bag offers fairly good overall protection for your rope through the use of 600D polyester material. While it doesn’t include a dedicated tarp, the easy use zippered main pouch makes it easy to store your rope and retrieve it without too much of a hassle.
Ease of Use
This features an easy to access main pouch, as well as two exterior pouches that can be used to store smaller equipment and climbing supplies. In addition, the slingback styling makes it easy to swing around to your front or side as needed while climbing.
The single shoulder strap is fairly comfortable and sturdy. The bag can be a bit awkward though, especially if you prefer to use a full backpack style or a messenger bag, as it falls somewhere between those two extremes. However, for most people, the simple sling handle is easy enough to carry on the go.
When not in use, this bag can be easily rolled into a much smaller size and placed inside another backpack or bag.
This bag can hold 10.8 liters or 660 cubic inches of rope and equipment as the climber sees fit. It is a little on the smaller side but is more than enough room for someone who simply wants to climb without the use of too much equipment.
If you’re looking for a great bag that is perfect for use on an indoor climbing wall, this bag by KAVU is definitely one to consider. It’s relatively lightweight and compact, but still has plenty of room to carry your rope and other essentials needed for a single person climbing adventure.
5. Black Diamond Super Chute
Easy to store away and access your rope
Fairly comfortable to carry
Shoulder strap could use a bit more padding
Not much room for added equipment
If you’d rather spend more time climbing than packing away your rope, this Super Chute Bag from Black Diamond is worth a closer look. Designed to allow the rope to be quickly packed away using a unique funneling system, this bag allows you to focus on the fun part of rock climbing instead of the necessary (but boring) parts of the sport.Read more
This bag is made from a tough vinyl material that is designed to stand up to the usual wear and tear that most active climbers will encounter on the approach. While some found the overall construction a bit flimsy for the price, most users found it more than adequate to keep their rope and equipment safe from the elements.
Ease of Use
Overall this is one of the easier bags to use on our list. The included funnel-like tarp with colored rope guide leads make it fast and easy to pack away the rope at the end of the climb and make it fairly easy to deploy it when the time comes. While it does take a few minutes of practice to pack it away correctly, once you get the hang of it, the whole process only takes a few minutes.
The longer shoulder strap makes it fairly easy to carry and distribute the weight of the bag across your shoulders and back. While the style may not be for everyone, it is still a fairly easy way to carry your rope and equipment. The only downside we saw was that the shoulder strap itself could have used a bit more padding for comfort while carrying it over longer distances.
This bag offers some compressibility when not in use, but can be a bit awkward to collapse down without some practice. The barrel compression straps are great to use while the bag is full to further reduce the size but really offer no real benefit when the bag is empty.
This bag has the ability to hold about 80 meters of rope but leaves little real room for other equipment. If you choose to use this bag, be prepared to bring an extra bag for equipment.
The Black Diamond Super Chute is a great choice if you’re looking for an efficient way to pack away your rope for easy storage and retrieval. While it doesn’t offer much room for anything else, it does perform quite well as a way to carry and protect your ropes.
6. Metolius Ropemaster HC
Lots of room for equipment and rope
Very easy to use
The bag may be too bulky or heavy for some
Not very far behind the Black Diamond Super Chute in quality and dependability is the Metolius Ropemaster HC Bag. Touted as one of the best-selling options on the market today, this entry on our list is well suited for the serious climber with ample room, and an easy and comfortable carry.Read more
This bag features a sturdy canvas outer layer that is well suited to protect your rope and equipment from the elements, as well as a 52” by 58” rope tarp that can be easily used to keep your rope protected while flaking, or coiling the rope for storage or later use.
Ease of Use
One of the reasons why this bag is so popular is because it really is simple to use. Just unbuckle the two strong aluminum buckles and unroll.
While the shoulder strap is comfortably padded, this bag is somewhat of a burden to carry over longer distances simply because of its greater size. In addition, the size also makes it impractical to carry while actually climbing. However, if you’re looking to simply carry your rope on a relatively short approach, this is a great bag to use.
In truth, both with the rope inside and without the rope, this bag offers some of the best compressibility that we’ve seen in a long time. The compression straps attached to the buckles are strong and durable, and the bag itself can easily be rolled into a very tight bundle when needed.
Capacity is certainly one area where this specific bag excels. It has a carrying capacity of approximately 1960 cubic inches, which is more than enough room for longer ropes, equipment, and supplies to be carried in the central pouch area. While there aren’t any side pockets, most people use the included tarp to hold the rope and store their other equipment inside the main pocket as well.
The Ropemaster HC by Metolius is one of the best-selling bags on the market today and with good reason. It has ample room, is easy to use, and provides great compressibility when needed. While its bulk and weight make it less than ideal for longer treks, as a simple rope bag it’s hard to beat.
7. Metolius Speedster
Very easy to use
Different colored ties
A great transitional bag
Straps could be thicker
If you’re planning on climbing a number of different pitches in a day at multiple locations and you need a bag that allows you to quickly transition from one site to the next, this is the one you want. This is the biggest bag offered by Metolius and is well-equipped with great features to keep you organized on the trail.Read more
In addition to the protective outer shell, this bag also features an included tarp (52 x 58 inches) that can be used to protect your rope and equipment from the ground during packing and unpacking.
Ease of Use
When it comes to putting the rope away and retrieving it, this is one of the easiest bags to use. The full-length zipper allows you to fully open the bag flat. Once opened, you will also notice colored points to tie your ropes to and keep them organized and separate. There are a zipper guard and a drawstring for added security. When it’s time to deploy, just unsnap, unzip and remove the rope as needed.
The Speedster features 2 straps and is meant to be carried as a backpack. Overall this bag isn’t that hard to carry, although the shoulder strap could have been a bit thicker to make it more comfortable for long distances.
Unfortunately, this bag does not compress down. It is a 29-liter bag and weighs 1.4-pounds.
In total, this bag has about 1,775 cubic inches of storage space, and most climbers find that it provides more than enough room for their rope and other essential equipment. For your phone, keys, or other small accessories, there is a small vertical zippered pocket on the front of the bag as well.
The Metolius Speedster is a great choice if you’re looking for something that allows you to carry your rope easily from one climbing location to the next. While we wouldn’t suggest using it for longer distances, the unique zippered design makes for a quick deploy when needed.
8. Petzl Pro Bucket
Fairly easy to use
Can’t collapse it down to a smaller size
No allowance for other equipment
Somewhat awkward to carry over long distances
If you know you’re going to be carrying a lot of rope, and you need a sturdy bag that can handle the extra bulk and weight, the Petzl Pro Bucket is the one to consider first.Read more
This bag offers adequate protection for your rope through the use of heavy-duty polyester material. In addition, the ridged nature of the bucket makes it easy to quickly store the rope away when the elements are less than ideal.
Ease of Use
Unlike most of these bags, this one stays ridged even when not in use, so it’s a fairly straightforward process to coil the rope into the bucket or remove it when the time comes.
This bag features a few different options for carrying. There is a shoulder strap that allows the bag to be worn low against the hip, or it can be carried by hand using two smaller side straps. Finally, there is an internal ring that can be used to attach the bag to the harness with a strong carabiner. Overall it’s a fairly easy carry over short to medium distances, but the weight of the longer rope may prove to be a bit much for longer treks.
Generally speaking, this bag doesn’t have any compressibility to speak of. The rigid nature of the bucket doesn’t allow the bag to be made smaller. However, in most cases, this wasn’t a huge issue considering the above-average capacity.
Generally speaking, the capacity for rope storage is where this particular bag has nearly every other example on this list beat. This bag has an interior volume of nearly 35 liters, and can easily fit between 275 and 300 feet of rope depending on the size of the rope. The one major flaw is that you really can’t fit much else in there and still be able to deploy the rope easily because of its design. In order to deploy the rope quickly and easily, it needs to be coiled in like a snake. This leaves little room for anything else depending on the thickness of the rope.
If your climbs are long, and you need to carry a rope that can go the distance in both length and thickness, you’ll need something that can handle it. The Petzl Pro Bucket is an excellent choice to do just that. While it may not be the best for packability, it does offer a great way to hold a lot of rope.
9. Black Diamond Full Rope Burrito
Easy to use
Grab handles at each corner of the tarp for easy mobility
Holds up to 70m of rope
Only one color option
Not comfortable for long distances
The elastic opening means it doesn't fully close
The Full Rope Burrito is a simple bag from Black Diamond. It is made from nylon, lightweight, and with a few great features. It isn't an option that thoroughly wows us, but it comes from a brand with a great reputation and is priced fairly. If you are looking for a no-frills, reliable bag, this one is worth checking out.Read more
While the Full Rope Burrito doesn’t offer the most impressive protection for your bag, it still has a lot of impressive features. The bag is made from nylon, making it water-resistant. The built-in tarp measures 40” by 40”. The Burrito has an elastic opening that leaves the bag slightly vulnerable.
Ease of Use
Inside this bag, you’ll find the built-in tarp with color-coded tie in points. These are useful for keeping your ropes organized and untangled. The tarp also has four grab handles, one on each corner, making it simple to move from spot to spot without repacking the bag.
Funny enough, this bag weighs about as much as your loaded burrito might! It weighs only 12-ounces. Although it is lightweight, it is not ideal for traveling long distances. It has only two nylon handles that don’t have a great hand feel.
The Burrito can easily be placed inside another pack! You can place it inside a larger pack for easier transport or squish it down when it is empty.
Overall, this Black Diamond bag holds has a total capacity of 28-liters. It can fit up to 70m of rope, without much room for extras.
If you are just looking for a simple and affordable bag that will offer decent protection to your ropes, the Burrito is a great choice. While we would like to see a few more features and improved overall comfort, it is priced accordingly.
10. Rock N Rescue Grand
Many colors and sizes available
Wide top opening
Not much room for accessories
If you’re looking for a fairly sturdy option at a very reasonable cost, the Rock N Rescue Grand is certainly worth a second look. This bag is available in five different colors and six different sizes.Read more
This bag is created using a tough 100 denier nylon material that offers a good bit of protection from the elements. The drawstring closure also helps to keep all your belongings safe.
Ease of Use
Overall the bag is fairly easy to use, and the top handles and drawstring closure widen to easily accommodate larger hands and rope. There is also a clear pocket on the side of the bag where you can store an identification card.
This bag features two fairly sturdy handles that can easily be held by hand but aren’t really suitable for carrying the bag for long distances. Luckily, this updated model features extra cushioned shoulder straps to keep you comfortable.
These bags do not compress much but they are available in sizes XS (20.6-liters) to XL(107.1-liters).
Depending on the size of the bag that you choose, each one can accommodate a different amount of rope and accessories. The XS bag holds up to 100 feet of ½ inch rope. The XL bag holds up to 600 feet of ½ inch rope.
If you’re looking for a simple, yet fairly sturdy bag that is great for use at an indoor wall or near an easy to access cliff face, the RNR Grand is certainly an option. Available in many colors and now with the option of embroidery, there is something for everyone.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the central uses of this type of bag is to protect your climbing rope. Over time, dirt, grime, debris, and yes even the chalk dust from your hands can get into the rope’s fibers and begin to wear them out. The rope itself will begin to fray and become unusable.
While replacing your rope is necessary from time to time, you can help to prolong its life by simply storing it correctly in a bag that is specifically made to house rope that offers protection from the elements. In order to offer the protection you need, the best types of bags are made from sturdy materials such as canvas, nylon, heavyweight leather, or a duck cotton material. In addition, any seams should be re-enforced, or at least tightly woven in order to prevent seam failure.
Ease of Use
Let’s face it; a bag like this is only as good as the willingness to use it during your climbing activities. A rope bag that sits in the trunk of your car while you approach a cliff-face isn’t going to do you much good. So in order to be the best for your needs, it has to be user-friendly. Openings need to be easily accessed, it has to be comfortable to carry and wear on your person, and most of all it needs to be able to handle what you need to haul.
Of course, another factor that you should consider when purchasing a bag like this to use while climbing is how easy it is for you to carry. It certainly won’t be the only thing that you need to take along with you, so having comfortable straps and a bag that can be easily distributed along your body is a good idea. It also needs to work well with your other equipment. The last thing you need is a bulky and cumbersome bag getting between you and your chosen climbing surface.
The ability of a bag to be packed away when not in use is also an important factor to consider. While it needs to be large and sturdy enough to carry the climbing rope and possibly other essential equipment, it also needs to be able to compress down into a smaller size. This is especially important for the moments when you are actually climbing.
Perhaps you have another small pack, or hydration pack, that you prefer to wear while climbing. It is important to know if your bag can be folded down and stored into this bag while you climb. Thankfully, many of these bags can be easily rolled, collapsed, or folded into a smaller size for storage in a wide range of places, on or off the wall.
Sometimes you need to carry more than just rope in the bag you choose. That’s just one of the reasons why having one with a decent amount of capacity is so important. In addition to a climbing rope, you can easily store extra carbineers, gloves, climbing shoes, or even chalk or first aid supplies in your specific bag if it has enough capacity.
Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to have a bag with enough capacity to hold double the volume of the rope you’re using. Yes, it may sound a bit excessive, but the extra capacity can definitely be a life-saver at times. While not every bag on this list meets this guideline for every situation, most offer a pretty respectable amount of room.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
It’s highly convenient to have a bag that can carry your rope equipment and life essentials, such as a cell phone or keys. If you find that organization is an important factor for you, you will want to find a bag that has a lot of extra pockets and storage compartments. However, some people really don’t worry too much about keeping a tidy “workspace” or rope bag, so it really is up to personal preference.
When buying a specific bag for your ropes, it’s important to take into account a number of factors into account. The most important, however, is how well the bag will protect your rope and equipment from the dirt, grime, and moisture that can do some serious damage them. Don’t forget to check out how the bag closes to keep everything inside clean and safe! Thankfully there are many quality options to choose from on the market today.
Other Factors to Consider
As indicated earlier, sometimes rope isn’t the only thing that is stored in your bag. There is often plenty of other equipment being taken along for the ride, and keeping that in mind will often help you in choosing the right bag for your needs.
If you find that you need to take additional equipment or materials that need to be easily accessible at a moment’s notice, a bag with extra zippered pockets on the outside may be a good choice for you. If most of your equipment can either be worn or is not needed until you reach a stopping point, then something with a larger central section that can offer more protection or stability may be in order.
Above, in the protection criterion, we focused on how well each bag protects your ropes. However, you should also take a look into the overall durability of the bag itself. Sure, the main focus of this product is to protect your belongings, but you also don’t want to invest is something that will only last you a few ascents.
While climbing up a rock face, there is a high possibility of the bag rubbing up against the rock. For this reason, a bag that is made from a strong abrasion-resistant material is ideal. Additionally, you'll want to take a look at the seams and overall construction of the bag. Reinforced seams (especially around the handles) and a reinforced bottom are always good signs. Luckily, many of these bags are inexpensive and could be replaced easily when they die out.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the best way to pack one of these bags?
The short answer here is carefully and with patience. Trust us, the last thing you want to do is hurry your way through packing a bag. You’ll just end up with a pretty big mess of tangled rope, and that is never a good idea, especially when you’re out on the rock face. In truth, the best way to pack one of these bags depends on the bag itself. If there is an included tarp, be sure to lay that out on the ground.
Sometimes there will be loops at the end of the tarp that can act as guides to pull through, so even if you don’t coil things correctly, the rope can still be removed with relative ease through those guiding loops. If you don’t have those loops, or you don’t have a tarp, one packing method that works very well is to find the center-line of your rope and create large coils, either using your hands or your neck as the center point for the coils themselves. The trick is to make sure that the coils alternate in direction so that the rope lies relatively flat in the bag, and can easily be unwound if needed.
q: Do you need a general or “specific use” rope bag?
Depending on the type of climbing you enjoy, or perform for work, you may need to have a bag which is specifically designed to be used in that situation. These bags come in many different shapes and sizes, and ones designed for use in colder environments, by rescue personnel, or even during canyoneering expeditions all exist. The examples presented here can all be used for general purposes, and can often be used in a pinch for more specialized circumstances.
q: How should I hold my bag?
In essence, there aren’t too many different ways to carry these bags, especially when you’re climbing. You can sling it over your shoulder like a messenger bag, keep it on your back like a backpack, carry it in your hand, or attach it to your harness.
While we certainly wouldn’t suggest you carry it around by your hand, how you carry your bag is really up to your climbing style and personal preferences. Some climbers prefer the stability and hands-free storage capabilities of wearing it like a backpack, while others prefer to have their rope and equipment be a bit more accessible, and use a messenger bag type of pack.
q: How should I store my bag when not in use?
When your bag isn’t being used, it can be treated like any other bag that is used to keep a serious investment protected. Store it in a relatively cool and dry place, and make sure that it doesn’t contain any significant damp areas or areas of stress. Most climbers store their bags along with the rest of their equipment inside a closet or hanging in their room.
q: What else should I consider carrying in my bag?
As you have seen, some of these bags are filled to the brim with just tarp and rope, while others leave room for customization. Some other items that you may want to carry with you include water, chalk, sunglasses, a small first aid kit, and shoes.
Depending on the rocks you’ll be climbing, you may be changing shoes often. Keeping your shoes in your bag will help to keep them free out dirt and dust and out of the way. Just remember that just about everything will need to come out of the bag to get to whichever item is on the bottom, so you need to pack carefully.
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