Rappelling Gear – What Equipment Do You Need?

Rappelling Gear

Every year thousands of people decide to take up the hobby of rappelling for a good reason.  It gets you out in nature, it’s good exercise, and it’s a thrilling activity!  Because of this, we are often asked what rappelling gear do you need? 

The type of gear depends on the type of rappelling that you are looking to do.  The basic equipment that you will need for rappelling is a rappelling rope and harness.  Plus leather gloves, sturdy shoes, and a helmet.  Lastly, a good pack that can hold your rappel anchors rappel device and other items that you may need.

There are a lot of brands and options out there for each piece of gear.  So choosing the right items can be difficult.  In the article below, we will go through all of the equipment and provide our recommendations.

Rappelling Harness

Picking the right rappelling harness will be key for your safety and overall comfort while rappelling.  The harness is the key point on your body where the rappelling rope will attach too.  So you want to make sure you get a quality harness

Avoid buying a used harness.  Most harnesses have a life expectancy of 3 years, so they are even much shorter than that if they are used a lot.  So to get your money’s worth and from a safety perspective, it’s better to buy a new one from a reputable manufacturer.

One of the good things about rappelling harnesses is that they can also be used for climbing.  So there is no need to buy two harnesses.

Top Rappelling Harness – Petzl Sama Climbing Harness

The Petzl Sama harness can be found on Amazon and is manufactured by what of the top brands in the climbing and rappelling market.  It’s the bestPetzl Sama Climbing Harness overall harness from a quality, comfort, and value standpoint.

In addition to its high marks in comfort and safety, it also has a few great features, including gear loops on either side and a low profile that allows it to move well.

The only complaint that we have about this harness is that it’s a little heavier than a lot of the others.  Plus, it doesn’t have adjustable leg loops.  If you need adjustable leg loops, you will want to check out the EDELRID Jay III Climbing Harness, which also ranks high on our list.

Rappelling Rope

The rappelling rope is another critical component for rappelling. Some can also be used for climbing.  You will want to make sure that you are using a rappelling rope since they are specifically designed for the tension and conditions of rappelling.

The one challenge with selecting the right rappelling rope is finding the length that you need for your rappel.  Most experienced climbers/rappellers have several lengths of rope.  So they have several options depending on the rappelling that they plan on doing.

Top Rappelling Rope – Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity Climbing Rope

This rappelling rope is the strongest, reliable and good value option.  It is a great option for beginners.  The Sterling Rope Evolution Velocity Climbing Rope comes in several lengths from 35 meters to 80 meters.  

If you are looking for a longer, more heavy-duty options for a more experienced rappeller, you will want to check out the SWAT Heavy Duty Tactical Rappelling Rope by Rothco.

Rappel Device

The rappelling device is the device that connects the rope to your harness that allows you to rappel down the mountain at a controlled pace.  The Black Diamond Big Air XP Package on Amazon is the traditional rappelling device that most beginners learn how to rappelling on.

Rappel Anchors

There are several different ways to anchor each one requires different supplies. So instead of spelling them all out in this article, we will be writing a complete walkthrough shortly.

In the meantime, here is a great video that walks you through the options and what you need for the anchors.

Other Gear

The equipment described above is what you need to actually rappel down the mount, but it’s not all you should have to do it safely.  Below is a list of the rest of the gear you should have when planning a rappelling trip.


Gloves are an overlooked, but key item on your list of rappelling gear.  Rappelling gloves will help prevent you from getting rope burn as you are rappelling down the mountain.

Typically you will want the gloves to be made of leather so they are study.  Our recommendation for gloves would be the PETZL CORDEX Belay/Rap Gloves on Amazon.  They have two layers of leather to protect your palms and the stretchy nylon on the back make them durable and comfortable.


I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve been rappelling or climbing where rappelling equipmentI have been hit in the helmet by a falling rock.  That is why this one is on the must to have list for rappelling.

The Black Diamond Vector Helmet is a great value and reliable helmet that we rank on the top of our list.


With all of this rappelling equipment, you will need a way to carry it.  If you don’t need to do a hike to your rappelling location, any backpack will will do.  But if you have a long hike or climb, you will want a good back like the Osprey Mutant 38 backpack.

This is a very versatile pack that allows you to transport a lot of gear without feeling like it’s a lot since it’s built so well.

Rappelling Gear Summary

There are more items that you will want to have for your rappelling trip like sturdy boots, snacks, water and a few other items.  The list really depends on your trip, the difficulty, lengths and environment.  

We wanted to give you a list of the critical items a few recommended options for each one.

If you found this article helpful, check out the articles below.

Lee G.

I love the outdoors! Everything from hiking, climbing, rappelling, and caving.

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