I'm looking for a good longer rope (e.g. 70m or so) to use for rappeling during canyoneering trips. Most of the ropes on Amazon or REI are dynamic, and my understanding is that static ropes are generally preferred for canyoneering.

Most of the lighter ropes I see (7.9mm or 8.5mm) are only rated twin or half. Presumably these would be usable when rappelling double-rope, but wouldn't be advisable for single-rope rappels due to low friction?

In short, for the described purposes, what kind of specs should I look for in a rope?

  • Hi mfeingol and welcome to TGO. We do not allow shopping recommendations, so I removed the part about specific recommendation and left the part about asking for specs, which is perfectly on topic for this site. I hope this is still helpful to you as it is now.
    – imsodin
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


You need to be looking for semi-static rope, as used by cavers for SRT, usually of thickness between 8.5 and 11.0 mm. It's normally sold in 200-metre reels, though most retailers will cut to a specific length for you.

The only difference to caving rope is that some specialist canyon ropes are designed to be less dense than water, so they float rather than sinking. That's a feature you may or may not want.

  • Thank you, Toby. A few questions:
    – mfeingol
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 4:08
  • 1. Are there reasons to prefer thicker ropes rather than the lightest possible 8.5mm rope? E.g. too little friction on long rappels with thinner ropes? I tend to use an autoblock when rappelling, so presumably that would make up for it? 2. Is there a minimum breaking strength (e.g. 10kN) below which one wouldn't want to go? 3. I have a couple of 30M Sterling Fusion Photon Dry XP ropes. They appear to be dynamic and at 7.8mm they're pretty thin. Would these be inappropriate for rappelling, or would using them double-rope style be okay? Thanks again.
    – mfeingol
    Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 4:11
  • 1
    Fatter ropes do give easier braking (and some can actually difficult to feed through the abseil device). They also have less bounce and have more durability (i.e. greater service life). I'm pretty sure there's a UIAA standard strength that all the ropes you're considering should conform to. I don't know the answer to your third question, but personally, I wouldn't use a dynamic rope for canyoning, even twinned up. Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 8:00
  • Thanks, that makes sense. So why would you avoid dynamic ropes? Would the stretching make the ride down too jittery?
    – mfeingol
    Commented Sep 6, 2019 at 6:42
  • 2
    Dynamic rope is dynamic to limit max shock force on anchors from leader falls in recreational climbing, the dynamic properties are undesirable for most other applications and even top rope climbing. Besides the points made @TobySpeight one annoying thing for canyoneering and caving would be the rope stretch when beginning rappel, it makes starting over ledges to be a lot more exciting. On the other hand you can rely on the stretch to get an extra few meters /
    – crasic
    Commented Sep 14, 2019 at 3:36

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