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The other day I used some mysterious, ultra-sticky climbing-tape at my local gym, which got me thinking: How much should I be paying for my tape?

Prices for climbing-specific tape seem to be somewhat upward-sticky (econ-pun intended.) I have gloved up with Metolius tape for $4 a role and I have used generic athletic tape for almost half that. I did noticed a difference in their performance, which made me wonder:

Is some tape best used for specific situations? When is it best to go with the more expensive, climbing-specific tapes and when and what can I tape with the cheap stuff? What kind of tape is best for gloves that I am going to be using once, and should I spend more on reusable tape-gloves? Is one kind of tape better for fingers? What other tapes are out there that are either super sticky or super cheap?

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I've always just used tape marketed towards climbers (Metolius) and reused the gloves, applying more tape as needed. Gloves last me almost a while season in this fashion, so I don't worry about price too much. Other athletic tapes don't always work as well, for some reason, but there may be exceptions. FWIW, I don't think this SE is a great place to discuss prices , but opinions may vary. $4 isn't totally unreasonable, IMHO –  DavidR Jan 26 '13 at 18:34

3 Answers 3

I've always just used tape marketed towards climbers (including Metolius brand tape) and reused the gloves, applying more tape as needed (although I have friends who make new gloves every time). Gloves last me almost a whole season in this fashion, so I don't worry about price too much. Other athletic tapes don't always work as well, for some reason, but there may be exceptions. $4 isn't totally unreasonable, IMHO

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First off, let me admit, I have never made crack-climbing gloves with tape.

But I have bought a lot of tape over the years, and I have always regretted buying any tape that wasn't climbing-specific. Oh, the tape may make all kinds of claims. But in the end it is always too weak to hold up to granite, or just not flexible enough to keep an injured finger safe.

I have not done price-shopping, but I highly suggest you stick with tape made for climbing. Not gymnastics. Not first-aid. Climbing.

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I have only used Metolius tape myself but this blog post makes the claim:

With tape, stickiness is crucial. If your tape isn’t sticky, it will start to roll up and actually become a liability rather than protecting your skin. Oddly enough, most tape sold in America is intentionally made to be less sticky than tape sold in Europe.

I know this because I called the Mueller tape company in a panic when I was working on the Salathe Wall, and I couldn’t find any tape that didn’t immediately roll into fat, sticky tubes on the backs of my hands when I was trying to climb the headwall. Which actually made it harder–but without tape, I would rip all my skin off.

The nice woman I spoke to (in Minnesota, I think) told me they actually produce two versions of their tape, one for the U.S and one for Europe. The “Eurotape Platinum” is the same as the US version, except the adhesive is much more sticky. (When I asked why, she diplomatically explained that well, Europeans have different preferences than Americans, um, they prefer to use less of something that works better. Which somehow makes me see tape adhesive as a metaphor for all sorts of things, but anyway.)

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