If you love your ropes like we do, you’ll know the importance of rope protection.
There are hundreds of different types of rope pro available on the market today. Edges are the natural enemy so which protector or which combination of protection is right? That will depend on what sort of work you’re doing and the conditions you’re working in.
There are some important factors to consider:
Are your ropes fixed or moving?
Do you need to rope protection to move with your ropes?
Are you working in muddy or icy conditions?
Is there a chance your ropes will come into contact with a hot surface?
What is your budget?
Types of Rope Protection
There are three main types of protection; Flexible, Rigid and Rolling.
Flexible rope protection can be made of fabrics, plastics or metal mesh.
The most common type of rope protection is a canvas sleeve style protector, like our most popular “ Love Your Ropes”. Canvas pads, like the PMI Duck Pad, are very versatile and often used in combination with sleeve type on particularly abrasive edges. Sleeves and canvas pads are best used with fixed ropes.
Flexible plastic options have seen great improvements in the past few years. The SMC Rope Tracker is our favourite because of its versatility. It can be used with fixed or moving ropes, ganged together for long edge transitions, and even wrapped around a tree or post to be used as a redirect. The SMC Flex is a great budget option that can be used in many of the same scenarios as the Tracker.
Rigid rope protection is most useful where ropes are moving in very high risk environments such as sharp and irregular rocks, over cables and confined space entrances.
The Petzl Set Caterpillar is one of many similar articulated protectors that can be used on their own or joined together for complex edges.
For ropes passing over wire rope in ski lift evacuation require a tubular rope protector such as the RSI Line Saver.
A favourite for confined space teams is the Singing Rock Atika as it can be used both as rope protection and as an edge transition for evacuating a stretcher from confined space.
Edge Rollers are the best tool for moving ropes. These combine elements of rigid protection with friction-reducing rollers. These are especially useful when hauling long ropes over a sharp edge such as a building parapet. Many of our customers also use rollers for pressure-washing hoses.
The champion of this category is the Russ Anderson Roof Roller; huge, high efficiency rollers, a hooked base for the parapet edge, rubberized base to help hold it in place makes this an indispensable tool. Similar to the roof roller, is the Made-In-Canada Eyolf Rand; a single, large roller that can be used on it’s own or chained together. We're also excited about the recently released Petzl Roller Coaster, though we would have loved to have seen a rubber pad on the bottom.
A pair of fantastic little devices developed by our friend Rick Lipke are the Conterra Edgebot and Clampbot. Compact, versatile, light and extremely well built, these are used by rope access technicians and rescue teams.
Most rollers can be pretty pricey given the high quality of materials used. One that doesn’t break the bank is the ISC Edge Roller. Coming in at under $40, these can be used in pairs or longer groups.