7 Best Ropes in 2020

In order to bring you the best rope for a variety of situations, including the best rope for an outdoor swing and the best rope for camping. We’ve looked at the specs and performed handling tests on a multitude of products, analyzing rope types, in addition to strength and overall performance. We then focused on safety and durability, selecting rope with a tensile strength of at least three times the expected working load for climbing and utility ropes. Finally, we considred UV-resistance, weather resistance and long-lasting rope for outdoor and boating uses.

Our top pick, the TOUGH-GRID 750lb Paracord/Parachute Cord is nylon rope with a diameter of 3/16 inch and 750 lb load capacity, making it 200 lbs stronger than most common types of thin paracord. Keep reading to see more of our top picks as well as our recommendations for the best polypropylene rope and the best manilla rope.

Top 7 Best Ropes

 #1  TOUGH-GRID 750lb Paracord/Parachute Cord

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This Type IV mil-spec nylon rope has the best abrasion resistance and resistance to UV of any synthetic ropes we tested, plus it adds a useful 200-lb boost in tensile strength over the more common 550-lb parachute cord.

Pros
  • Extremely high weight rating
  • Soft and pliable with 30% stretch
  • UV-resistant
Cons
  • Doesn’t float
  • Not ideal to be used as climbing rope, as it is thin

This Type IV mil-spec para-cord consists of 11-stranded nylon rope and features a static load capacity of 750 lbs, exceeding the 550-lb capacity of most commonly produced parachute cords. Thanks to being manufactured from nylon, it has a great stretch of up to 30 % and is abrasion resistant and UV resistant.

This nylon rope makes a great choice for outdoor swing, camping and survival uses. It can be wound and braided easily, so you can store it in a lanyard or bracelet-form for use in your emergency kit or it can be used as standard outdoor gear. And with its 750-lb strength, it can easily handle the weight of an adult in a hammock or swing. This para-cord will be a necessary addition to even the best disaster first aid kit.

 #2  Ravenox Natural Twisted Cotton Rope

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This natural fiber cotton rope is an aesthetically pleasing option made from pet and animal safe materials and boasts a strong UV resistance for outdoor work. It’s a great choice for dog leashes, hammocks, and horse leads, among other uses.

Pros
  • Best braided
  • Very animal-safe
  • UV-resistant
Cons
  • More sensitive to rot and mildew than synthetic ropes
  • Not as stretchy as nylon rope

If you’re in the market for pet-safe, good looking natural fiber ropes, this cotton rope from Ravenox is a great choice. Made by one of the only American Cordage Institute-approved rope companies, it’s triple twist braided for extra strength and is guaranteed not to degrade from sunlight. It comes in various sizes ranging up to 1” diameter, making it the best braided rope with natural fiber construction.

In 3/4 inch and 1-inch diameter form, this cotton rope is suitable for dog leashes and outdoor decorations as well as such uses as outdoor swings, hammocks and tug of war toys for dogs and kids. This is not a synthetic product, however, so it is somewhat sensitive to rot and mildew, among other typical ailments. You could use this rope to suspend your best disaster food kit on your next camping trip.

 #3  T.W Evans Cordage 23-410 3/8-Inch by 100-Feet Twisted Sisal Rope

Award: BEST FOR PET TOYS

WHY WE LIKE IT: An economical and chemical free natural fiber rope, this 3/8-inch twisted rope is great for making cat and dog toys and leashes for smaller breed dogs, in addition to arts and crafts projects.

Pros
  • A biodegradable and eco-friendly product
  • UV stable
  • Less expensive by foot than cotton rope or manilla rope
Cons
  • Not quite as strong as nylon rope, with a maximum load of 180 lb
  • Can be rough on hands with prolonged use
  • More susceptible to rot and mildew than synthetic rope

This natural fiber twisted rope is a great choice for cat toys and is the basis of most high quality cat scratching posts that use natural fiber rope windings. It’s also a versatile rope for indoor and outdoor crafts, though it should not be stored wet since, being all-natural, it is more susceptible to rot and mildew than synthetic rope.

This rope is good for clotheslines and tug of war dog toys, as well as any applications where you want a rough hewn, natural or antique vibe. It’s the best rope for garden uses where a natural appearance and animal safe materials are necessary. It’s UV-stable but is more susceptible to weather damage than nylon rope. If you like collecting different outdoor survival equipment, take a look at the best emergency blanket.

 #4  OUTDOOR Paracord Planet Commercial Grade 550lb Type III Nylon Paracord

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: Inexpensive yet highly versatile, this standard “commercial grade” paracord is very compact and easy to carry around in an emergency kit or to have on hand for outdoor uses.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact making it easy to store
  • 7-strand core nylon rope
  • Holds knots and doesn’t tangle
Cons
  • Not strong enough for climbing uses
  • Less stretchy than 3-strand twisted nylon ropes

The standard type of cordage used in survival kits for emergency tying, this thin 5/32-inch parachute cord is also among the most versatile rope types and should be high on the list if you’re looking for the best rope for a wide variety of camping uses.

While this 550-lb test rope will hold the static weight of a person, it’s not for climbing or other critical load-bearing uses since it lacks the dynamic strength to catch a fall. It is, however, great for fishing line, as we found that it excels with holding knots and tends to not tangle, even with prolonged use. Don’t forget to pack your best survival knives along with this rope for your next backpacking trip.

 #5  Attwood Neon Colored Diamond Braided Polypropylene Marine Utility Cord

Award: BEST FOR BOATS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This inexpensive polypropylene rope is lightweight and floats on water, making it a good choice for light load fishing and marine applications.

Pros
  • Resistant to UV fading, mildew and rot
  • Doesn’t lose strength when wet
  • Bright colorization is easy to see
Cons
  • Not as strong as nylon rope
  • Not as much abrasion resistance as parachute cord

This solid braid rope is inexpensive and will float on water, making it a great choice for applications such as life preservers, swimming pool draglines and assorted, low to medium duty marine applications. It can be used as a mooring rope for very small craft like kayaks, for instance.

Polypropylene rope is often used for boating and rafting since it doesn’t lose strength when wet, and because it floats on water it avoids underwater snags. This double braid polypropylene rope is also suitable for use as a flag rope and for clotheslines. We also loved that it is resistant to UV fading, rot, and mildew. If you want to be as prepared as possible for your next camping trip, consider adding the best earthquake kit to your collection of outdoor essentials.

 #6  RAM-PRO 80 ft. Diamond Braid Polypropylene All Purpose Flagline Rope

Award: BEST FOR DIY JUMP ROPE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This ultra lightweight diamond braid polypropylene rope is easy to handle and doesn’t tangle easily, making it great for light duty applications like flagpole lanyards and dock railings.

Pros
  • Soft on hands yet durable
  • Lightweight
  • Does not tangle easily and floats on water
Cons
  • Doesn’t hold knots well
  • Not as strong as nylon rope
  • Not suitable for chew toys

This diamond braid polypropylene rope is marketed as a flagpole line but it’s among the most versatile types of rope for household and light duty outdoor uses. It makes a great clothesline or pulley rope for light loads, since it doesn’t stretch like nylon rope does.

This polypropylene rope also floats and is suitable for tying down small objects on boats attaching to floats and buoys. It’s not as strong as nylon rope of a similar thickness, and it is more slippery than 3 strand twisted rope, so it may not hold knots as well. It’s also not as suitable for making chew toys and tug of war toys for dogs as natural fiber rope, since the polypropylene fibers can irritate dogs’ and cats’ mouths.

 #7  ZOUTOG Macrame Rope

Award: BEST FOR ART PROJECTS

WHY WE LIKE IT: Inexpensive and free from chemical dyes, this cotton rope is great for macrame and indoor projects, wall hanging knitting and houseplant cradles. It can also be used for pet toys.

Pros
  • Best for knitting and household crafts
  • Tangle resistant
  • Free from bleach and chemical dyes
Cons
  • Only comes in 1color
  • Not as strong as some picks on this list

If you’re looking for the best crafting rope for hanging small potted indoor plants and for macrame projects, this thin, three-strand twisted cotton rope is an excellent choice. It resists tangles and is easy to braid and tie into knots, so you can use it as the base for a complex macrame hanging wall art project. It’s strong enough to hold a 10- 15 lb houseplant and won’t fade in sunlight.

This natural rope is also free of dyes and bleach, so it’s pet friendly and you can use it to construct a homemade DIY cat scratching post or a tug of war dog toy. It’s not big enough to be used as a lead for larger dogs, and unlike synthetic rope, it should be stored indoors and kept away from moisture.

How We Decided

In order to highlight the best rope choices for a wide variety of tasks and purposes, we focused on different rope types and strengths and selected only the best examples of each.

For camping and outdoor light utility uses, we only considered abrasion resistant, UV-resistant rope which could be stored wet or dry. Typical choices were mil-spec 750 lb parachute cord and nylon braided rope.

For boating uses, we included rope that would resist tangles and which would float on water. A minimum strength of 195-lbs with minimal stretch were also considerations. However, for mooring rope, some stretch is desirable and so we preferred nylon rope for this purpose.

For household crafts and pet toys, we selected only natural fiber ropes that were free of dyes and chemical bleach. These included cotton rope, sisal rope and twisted cotton twine for macrame.

Best Rope Buyer’s Guide

Features to Consider

  1. Strength
    To decide on the best rope for your needs, make sure you first select a rope strong enough to hold the forces it will encounter. As a general rule, the static load rating of the rope should be at least three times the weight of anything you’ll plan to hold or suspend with that rope.
  2. Natural vs Synthetic Ropes
    Natural ropes that are good for indoor and outdoor use include manilla rope, cotton rope and sisal rope. People often prefer the look of natural fiber rope for craft projects like macrame and indoor hanging plant cradles. Natural rope is also great for pet toys, just make sure it is free from dyes, bleach and other chemical additives. Synthetic rope includes nylon rope, polypropylene rope, polyester rope and kevlar rope. For most outdoor applications, nylon rope is a great choice since it resists damage from UV rays and has good abrasion resistance as well as a good strength to weight ratio. The best rope for camping is likely a nylon rope for this reason.
  3. Stretch
    If you need a static line that doesn’t stretch, such as for anchoring during climbing or for boat rigging, twisted nylon rope may not be the best choice. Consider thick polypropylene rope or, for a good compromise between flexibility, abrasion resistance and strength, nylon double braid rope.
  4. Abrasion Resistance
    Double braid ropes, diamond braid ropes and especially jacketed ropes or ropes using a “kernmantle” or core-and-jacket design, are resistant to fraying and abrasion, making them typically the most durable type of rope. Nylon and Polypropylene ropes have good abrasion resistance in general, and among natural fibers, manilla rope is probably the most abrasion resistant.

Rope FAQs

What is the strongest kind of rope?

For load bearing strength, some of the strongest rope is kevlar rope, followed by multiple-stranded nylon rope. However, for most uses requiring dynamic strength, the most common choice is nylon rope, since it’s a good compromise between cost, weight and strength.

What is the most durable rope?

In terms of outdoor use, nylon rope is typically considered the most durable. It resists damage from UV rays and isn’t prone to rot or mildew like manilla rope or cotton rope.

What are the 6 types of rope?

Rope can be classified by material as well as by types of construction. There are natural fiber ropes, synthetic rope like nylon rope and polypropylene rope, and twisted as well as braided and sheathed rope.

Which is stronger, nylon or polypropylene rope?

Nylon rope is stronger than polypropylene rope, although polypropylene rope loses less of its strength when wet.

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Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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