How to Store Climbing Rope – Tips, Tricks, and Precautions

A climbing rope is a critically important gear for any climber, regardless of experience level. It is the tool that allows you to ascend and descend the mountain safely and rapidly. Because a rope is such an important piece of gear, it is important to know how to store climbing rope the right way when not in use. We say storing a rope the right way is as crucial as washing, breaking in, and stretching out climbing shoes.

To store successfully, you must know how to coil climbing rope, how to clean the climbing rope, and more. Whereas without mastering the technique of coiling the rope, you cannot and should not store it; storing a dirty rope is a total waste of time, labor, and investment.

This article will explore all the points indicated in the easiest and clearest ways possible besides examining why you should store your climbing rope properly. Furthermore, our team has narrowed down the necessary precautions, tricks, and tips to make you reap the best out of climbing rope storage.

What Are the Crucial Reasons for or Benefits of Storing Climbing Rope?

Keep climbing rope well-stored amounts to preserve the efficiency of the rope very crucial in ascending and descending with it. Unless you store it with care, you will find it unsafe while using ascenders to climb a mountain. Here you go with why you must store the rope and the multiple benefits of storing climbing rope.

To Save Major Investment: A climbing rope is a major investment. It rests at the top, regarding investment, among the climbing gears you will buy as a climber. Not storing it properly may damage or lose your rope, and then you have just lost a significant portion of your investment in climbing.

Storing the rope the right way keeps the rope from becoming prematurely worn out or damaged or frayed. You need to dump a worn-out or damaged climbing rope and buy a new one.

Extended Rope Life: A climbing rope can be used for many years and sometimes a decade. Even if you only climb once a year, your rope can still be used for many years. Climbing ropes are typically made of nylon or polyester and will last for a decade of use only if you maintain it regularly.

Therefore, carefully and timely stored ropes mean to enjoy an extended rope life; otherwise your climbing rope will have a life cut-short too early.

Protection against External Element: To protect the rope from UV damage from direct sunlight. No matter how careful you are, UV rays will weaken the rope if not stored when and where it is due.

If a climber is not storing their rope properly, they are leaving their essential gear destined to decay and damage leading to a major failure.

Climbing is often done in unfavorable conditions, and it is important to make sure that your rope does not become damaged or worn out caused by harsh weather and extreme temperatures. You can avoid this by storing it in safe condition between the just-finished session and the next one is on.

Prevent Dirt Build-up and Insect Infest: To protect the rope from dirt and other harmful elements that could damage it, you must store the rope in a safe and clean location while in and not in use. Climbing ropes are known to get dirty. Many climbers do not keep their rope clean and instead leave it on the ground outside or hang it in the gym.

This is a huge mistake and can cause damage to the rope by developing dirt and dust pile besides inviting an insect to infest.

Prevent Kink and Tangle: Storing is urgent to prevent the rope from becoming kinked or tangled. A rope can become tangled at the anchor point and not be able to be retrieved because it is kinked in a tree or bush, so make sure you have dealt with those after every climbing session.

Thus, you are ensuring an adequate length of rope as you don’t have to cut the kinked part, or tangling will not shorten it.

How to Store Climbing Rope: Clean, Coil, and Store it

Storing Climbing Rope in Bag
As suggested at the outset, storing process of the climbing rope entails three tasks: cleaning, coiling and then storing it. Here you go with the necessary steps.

Clean the Rope Properly

Why do you need to clean the climbing rope before storing it? If not cleaned regularly, dirt and other debris accumulated in it can work its way into the rope’s fibers and cause it to weaken over time. Moreover, you can neither coil a dirty rope, nor should you store it unclean.

Dust, dirt, and other pesky particles can cause the filament of the rope to wear down. This will lead to fraying and eventually breakage. To prevent this, clean your rope and store it in a dry place.

However, cleaning a climbing rope is not a difficult process, but it should be a regular ritual to maintain its safety and performance.

Hand-washing is the more effective and cheaper alternative, but machine-washing can also serve the purpose. While washing in the machine, set the machine in a low cycle and use a mild detergent to avoid abrasion of the machine wash.

Coiling the Climbing Rope

How to coil rope is an important basic skill for climbers. So, learning rope coiling methods properly is well worth your time, especially when you want to store it.

Here is one of the five ways to coil rope:

  1. Lay the rope out flat on the ground. This will make it easier to coil.
  2. Start coiling the rope from the bottom up. As you coil, make sure each loop is tight and even.
  3. When you reach the top, tuck in any loose ends and give the coil a good tug to tighten it up.
  4. If you’re storing your rope in a bag, try finding one about the same diameter as your coil. That way, it will be easier to get your rope back into the bag.

Now you’re all ready to take your rope with you organized and tangle-free while you transport it or leave it in a cardboard box or canvas box to remain stored, well-ventilated, not kinked and tangled for how you want.

Storing the Rope: When, How, Where, and Where Not

Your rope is clean and coiled, waiting to be stored. When storing a climbing rope, you cannot escape considering the place, storage space, duration, climbing rope storage temperature, and the environment where it stays stored.

Storage Duration Matters

You need to store your climbing rope both when you take a long break from climbing and take a break for a short duration during a gap between the two climbing hits or transporting time to reach the next spot.

To be more specific, short time storage includes transporting to get to the next location or waiting in a range after a just-finished session. And long-duration storage is due when you pack up until the winter is over and if you are not interested in ice climbing.

Storage duration may change the way you store the rope. While storing for a few days or before the next hit, you keep it flaked rather than coiling it. You don’t want to go through the tasking and time-consuming uncoiling before every hit when climbing every day or so.

But storage for a longer period requires cleaning the rope to the last particle and coiling it neatly so that it doesn’t develop knot, kink, and tangle over time.

Long duration storing occurs at home – indoor and outhouse- indoor preferred. And the outhouse comes to second consideration when you have no space available in your closet or anywhere else inside the main house. And short duration storage locations are car boxes, rope bags, and more.

Storing Indoors


How to Store Climbing Rope at Home
Storing Climbing Rope at Home

As indicated above, storing climbing rope at home offers two storage locations outside and indoors. There are several things to consider in this regard. Temperature and humidity can have a significant impact on a rope’s longevity. Ropes stored in hot, humid environments can deteriorate significantly faster than those stored in cool, dry environments.

A closet or around an open window is ideal. You can also put the coil in a mesh bag or hang it on a hook to keep it off the ground. Avoid storing the rope near radiators, stoves, and other heating sources, which can damage the fibers.

Outhouse/ Garage Storage

If you’re to store your rope at your garage or outhouse for long time storage, it is important to make sure it’s dry, cool, and has good airflow before putting it away. It is also important to avoid exposure to sunlight, as UV rays can damage the fibers in a rope if you store the rope outside.

Storing while Transporting or in the Range

An important thing to remember while storing your climbing rope on the go is not to keep your rope inside the box of your car. Doing so will expose your precious climbing gear to fluctuating temperatures. In this case, either hot or cold, the climbing rope will be victim to the worst decay to show up in a few days.

And while in the range and you are going through frequent climbing sessions, flake the rope and put it inside the rope bag after every climbing hit. A good way is storing climbing rope in bag. The process includes flaking it or coiling it loosely and placing it in a rope bag. Thus, the rope will keep clean and tangle-free.

It is also recommended to use a rope bag made of plastic or nylon. Not to forget, never leave the bag exposed to sunlight for long. Find a dry and sheltered spot.

Ensure Ample Storage Space

When storing a climbing rope, it’s important to consider the inside of the storage container – the best options include a cardboard box or canvas bag so that the coiled rope can breathe.

The diameter of the rope and whether it will be stored coiled or uncoiled are factors to look at. A small diameter rope can fit into a smaller container, while a larger diameter rope needs more space.

If the rope is to be stored coiled, there must be enough room in the container for it to coil fully; if there isn’t enough space, the coils will get messy, and the rope will wear faster.

Conversely, if the rope is to be stored uncoiled, there must be enough room in the container for it to hang straight without kinking; otherwise, knots will form in the rope, and it will wear faster.

Tips, Tricks & Precautions While Storing Climbing Rope

Here you go with the expert tips, pro tricks, and precautions to take while storing essential and costly climbing gear like climbing rope. Some of these may seem repetitive, but the repetition is worth it – to avoid the mistake and to make the tasking job more convenient.

  • If you plan to use the rope frequently, you will want to store it in a place that is easy to access. If you plan on storing the rope for long periods, you may want to put it in a place where it won’t be damaged by moisture or sunlight.
  • Make sure the rope isn’t touching anything else that could damage it, like sharp edges or metal objects.
  • Whether in the closet or outhouse -it’s best to store a climbing rope in a place with plenty of room to move around.
  • Take note if the rope is wet or not; wet rope could freeze and become brittle. The rope can absorb moisture in a humid environment and become heavy and difficult to use.
  • You should store ropes in a clean, dry place where rodents or insects will not damage them. It is also important to avoid exposing ropes to sharp objects or liquids.
  • Plastic is more durable than nylon, as ropes can break if exposed to water and sunlight.
  • If you have a long rope, you will need more space to store it. You may also need to consider the weight of the rope. A heavier rope may be harder to store than a lighter one.
  • Always coil the rope in the same direction. This will help keep it from getting tangled. Use your hands to form loops rather than your arms. Please make sure each loop is tight and doesn’t have any slack.
  • Keep the coils as close together as possible. But don’t coil the rope too tightly – allow for some slack, so it’s easy to uncoil when you need it.
  • When undoing the coil of a climbing rope, hold one end of the rope in each hand and slowly uncoil the rope evenly. DO NOT pull on either end of the rope to uncoil it – this can cause kinks in the rope.
  • If there are any knots or tangles in the rope, carefully work them out using your fingers. DO NOT use a knife or other sharp object, which could damage the rope.
  • Once the rope is fully uncoiled, lay it flat on the ground and spread out any coils or kinks. – Make sure all the rope is completely dry before reusing it.


How do you rack a climbing rope?

When you’re not using your climbing rope, you’ll want to rack it, so it’s organized and easy to find. Here’s how:

  1. Find a place to hang your rope. A tree or sturdy post will do.
  2. Drape the rope over the branch or post to hang in the middle.
  3. Take the two ends of the rope and tie them together with a knot (figure 8 works well).
  4. Take the loop created by the knot and put it over your shoulder. Now you’re ready to climb!

How long does a climbing rope last in storage?

When you’re not using your climbing rope, it’s important to store it properly to ensure its longevity. The general rule is that a climbing rope should last about ten years in regular use, but it can last up to longer than that in storage if cared for properly. Several factors can affect the lifespan of a climbing rope.

When in storage, it’s important to protect the rope from exposure to sunlight and moisture. And limiting exposure to air also helps preserve the rope fibers, eventually leading to fraying.

How do you store rope for carabiners?

When storing rope for carabiners, it’s important to keep in mind the way the rope will be used. For example, if you’re using a dynamic rope for climbing, you’ll need to store it to prevent kinking and tangling. One way to do this is to coil the rope loosely and tie it off with a figure-eight knot.

If you’re using a static rope for rappelling or hauling, you can coil it more tightly since there’s less chance of it getting tangled. Make sure to tie off any loose ends with a square knot. Another option is to use a storage device like a Carabiner Coil. This will keep your rope tidy and easy to access when you need it.

How do you flake climbing rope?

There are a few ways to flake climbing rope, but the most common is to lay it out in a spiral.

  • Begin by uncoiling the rope about halfway and laying it flat on the ground.
  • Then, take the rope’s end and wrap it around your hand, creating a loop.
  • Hold the loop in your hand and start walking in a circle, keeping the rope taut. As you walk, make sure to keep the spiral tight and even.
  • When you reach the rope’s end, coil it back up into your hand and start again.

How do you take care of ropes?

Ropes can take a beating, but they need some TLC to stay alive and function. Here are a few tips on how to take care of ropes:

  • Don’t leave your rope in the car or direct sunlight. The heat will damage the fibers and make your rope weaker.
  • Don’t let your rope get wet. Wet ropes can stretch and lose their strength. If your rope does get wet, dry it off as soon as possible.
  • Avoid tying knots in the middle of the rope. This puts unnecessary stress on the fibers and can cause them to break.
  • Coil your rope carefully after use. This prevents kinks from forming in the ropes, weakening them.
  • Keep your rope away from sharp objects such as knives, keys, and screws. These can all cause damage to your rope.
  • Don’t over-tighten knots in the middle of the rope. This can cause the fibers to break and weaken the rope.
  • Store it properly when not in use.

How do you get rid of twists in a climbing rope?

Ropes can get twisted when they are being stored for carabiners. This is because the ropes are in a coil, and the weight of the carabiners pushes down on one side of the coil while the other side is pulled up.

  • Climbers can prevent this by storing the ropes in a figure-8 pattern. To do this:
  • Take two ropes and tie them together at one end.
  • Twist one of the ropes a few times and then tie it to the other rope.
  • Now twist the other rope a few times and tie it to the first rope. The two ropes should now be in a figure-8 pattern.

How do you store rope in a rope bag?

Rope bags are an important piece of gear for any climber. They keep your rope organized and tangle-free, but they also protect your rope from the elements. When choosing a rope bag, it’s important to consider how you will use it.

When you plan to store your rope in the bag while it is still wet, look for a model with a waterproof lining. If you are only using the bag to transport your rope, choose one that is lightweight and easy to carry.

But while planning to use the bag for any other purpose, like storing gear or holding rocks, then choose a bag made of heavy-duty nylon.

Is it okay to put rope in a plastic bag?

There are a few different ways to store rope, and which way you choose depends on the type of rope and how often you plan to use it. One popular way to store rope is by coiling it and putting it in a plastic bag. It is a good option, when and if you only plan on using the rope occasionally, as it will keep the rope from getting dusty or wet.

However, if you plan on using the rope frequently, it’s better to store it in a container that allows for airflow, such as a cardboard box or canvas bag. This will help prevent the rope from becoming tangled or knotted.

How do you unspool a new climbing rope?

When you first get a new climbing rope, you’ll need to unspool it. This is how you do it:

1) Cut off about 8 feet of rope from the end. This will leave you with a large loop.
2) Take the loop and put it over your shoulder.
3) Hold the other end of the rope in one hand, and use your other hand to feed the rope through the carabiners on your belt.
4) Feed the rope slowly, making sure not to let it tangle up. When you reach the carabiners at the end of your belt, take them off and put them back on your harness.
5) Continue feeding the rope until it’s all out.

Wrap Up

So, storing climbing rope means storing the rope on the go, between the climbing sessions, and sitting idle for long in the winter if ice climbing is not your cup of tea.

Proper storage of climbing rope is important to ensure its longevity. When storing your rope, a few key things are worth remembering: keep it dry, away from UV light, and out of the sun. By following these simple tips, tricks, and precautions regarding how to store climbing, you can ensure that your climbing rope will stay in good condition for years to come.

Check the condition of your rope before each use and retire it when it shows signs of wear.

Afzall Rahman

Afzall Rahman is a college teacher by profession and is a rock-climbing enthusiast from his early childhood. So, anything on climbing keeps him glued to for hours - be it a movie on or related to climbing, book on or by climbers, article or podcast on climbing destinations, skills, gears, or the likes.

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