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I'm shopping for some 1" tubular webbing. There is climb-spec webbing and military-spec webbing. The military-spec description says

Meets industry-standard military specs for breaking strength and resistance to abrasion

What exactly is the difference, if any, between these two? When should each be used, and what are the specification differences?

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For the most part they are identical, the only identifiable difference is that military spec tube webbing has a ribbed weave, while climbing spec has a smooth weave. Having a smooth weave obviously makes tube webbing better for tying and most importantly, untying knots; it also makes it a lot easier to pull through your carabiners, especially when stacked. Climbing spec is also slightly stronger – ~19kN vs 17.6kN.

Other than that, there's no real difference, the primary reason why you would use one over the other would be availability. Military spec webbing is more common in stores in some regions, and comes in a larger variety of colours (like digital camo).

Military Spec: (Ribbed)

enter image description here

Climbing Spec: (Smooth)

enter image description here

  • Do you know the significance of the ribbing? I mean, if smoother is easier to use why isn't the military smooth? – Chris Mendez Jan 18 '16 at 15:47
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    @Chris - Buckles. Ribbed webbing holds a lot better in buckles, which makes it a lot more suitable for use in harnesses and strapping down cargo etc.. – ShemSeger Jan 18 '16 at 17:09
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In addition to @ShemSeger's answer, there exists another minor difference that is also visible in his images: On the red webbing, there are three white threads. Each of these threads stands for 5kN of strength. All climbing webbing that I know has this kind of marking, though often in a different color.

At first glance, this might seen to conflict with the requirement that UIAA-certified sewn slings have a strength of at least 22kN, but that is for the loop, i.e. both strands and the sewn connection are tested.

  • I would have loved to cite the respective norms, but I couldn't find a free way of accessing them. If you have an "official" source for the numbers, feel free to add it! (My source was various online posts from climbing magazines or forums...) – anderas Jan 18 '16 at 16:36
  • That is neat, I didn't know that about the webbing. So 19kN webbing is close but not close enough to having 4 threads. – ShemSeger Jan 18 '16 at 17:13

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