Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Gear Guy

Can You Use Adhesive Tape on Ropes, Cords, Webbing?

Is it OK to use adhesive tape on ropes, cords and webbing? I like to use sports tape to secure the tails of my prusiks and tied slings, but I also don’t want to weaken them.

Lock Icon

Unlock this article and more benefits with 25% off.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

25% Off Outside+.
$4.99/month $3.75/month*

Get the one subscription to fuel all your adventures.


  • Map your next adventure with our premium GPS apps: Gaia GPS Premium and Trailforks Pro.
  • Read unlimited digital content from 15+ brands, including Outside Magazine, Triathlete, Ski, Trail Runner, and VeloNews.
  • Watch 600+ hours of endurance challenges, cycling and skiing action, and travel documentaries.
  • Learn from the pros with expert-led online courses.
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Is it OK to use adhesive tape on ropes, cords and webbing? I like to use sports tape to secure the tails of my prusiks and tied slings, but I also don’t want to weaken them.

—Jesse Dank, Enumclaw, WA

As a general rule, if a substance is fine for skin, it is fine for ropes and slings.No one or no company has tested every type
of tape on every type of sling, cord and rope, so use tape at your own risk. I can say that I have had the tails of the back-up cords on my Jumars
duct-taped since 1981 with no apparent harm. I say apparent because all I know is that the cords haven’t broken, and the tape hasn’t eaten through
them.

If I could do it over, I would use cloth surgical tape instead of duct tape, because the adhesive in surgical tape is kind to skin, and the rule is if
a substance is fine for skin, it is fine for ropes and slings.

Duct tape may or may not be safe to use—its adhesive is typically a rubber compound mixed with various substances to optimize viscosity and tack.
Those various unknown ingredients aren’t likely to damage nylon—it is illogical that a tape maker would make tape that damages one of the very
things it is supposed to mend—but why take the chance? Just use white surgical tape. Next!

This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 229 (September 2015).