Reader Tech Tip – An Improved Way to Coil the Rope for Backpack-Style Carry

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Reader Tech Tip - An Improved Way to Coil the Rope for Backpack-Style Carry

I’ve discovered a way to simplify the conventional method of coiling a climbing rope for carrying like a backpack — nice for hiking to or from a climb when you don’t want to use a pack. This method makes it easier to coil and uncoil the rope, and it prevents tangles.

The conventional method I was taught requires finding the center of the climbing rope, and then coiling it so that both ends are available for tying the rope onto your back. I coiled my rope this way for some time, but never liked the extra effort it required to find the center, or working through the tangles if I didn’t take the extra time to flake out both rope halves individually. What’s worse, sometimes after the rope was coiled, I would have to fight tangles again when uncoiling because the two rope halves often wrapped around each other.

All of this extra flaking and tangling bothered me, so I usually just coiled the entire rope from one end and did my best to tie it to my back with the other. But this never worked very well because the rope was only over one shoulder and could easily slide off.

One day, as I was coiling the rope from one end, I realized that if I made a big loop in the rope when tying it, I could essentially create two rope “ends” from the one, and then tie it onto my back using the conventional method! (Better yet, no more tangles!) I might not be the first person to discover this, but I would really like to share it with you all.

There are a few ways to tie the climbing rope after it’s coiled, but the main thing to remember is that you begin by coiling from just one end.

Here is a detailed description:

01) Grab the rope with your left hand about two feet from one end.

02) With your right hand, coil the rope back and forth across your left hand (coiling it back and forth, rather than in a circle, prevents the rope from twisting and tangling). Leave about 24 feet of rope uncoiled; this uncoiled rope is used to tie the coiled rope.

03) Wrap the long uncoiled part of the rope around the center of the coiled rope to secure it. Four or five wraps should suffice.

04) Feed a small loop of the uncoiled part of the rope through the top loop of the coiled part of the rope.

05) Feed a loop of rope from the long part of the uncoiled rope through the new small loop of uncoiled rope. This is the step that essentially creates two ends of rope. At this point, the looped end of rope is short, and the straight end is very long.

06) Pull the looped end of the rope through the small loop until the straight end and the new, looped end are about the same length (about 5 to 6 feet).

07) Feed this long looped end of the rope underneath the small loop.

08) Now feed the same long looped end through this new loop you created, to tie a knot.

09) Tighten the knot. You now have two rope ends: the long looped end, and the straight end.

10) Put the rope on your back with one end of the rope over each shoulder.

11) Put each end under your arm and over the coiled rope around your back.

12) Wrap the ends around your stomach, and tie them together.

13) If you get the lengths about right, you can tie the straight end into the looped end with an overhand knot. Otherwise just tie them together with a square knot.


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