While it may be one of the most dangerous aspects of climbing, rappelling is also a whole lot of fun. But since it’s so dangerous, you need to make sure you have the right equipment. One of the best things you can add to your arsenal is a rappelling ring. What is a rappelling ring?
A rappelling ring is a simple metal ring that is used in rappelling to build an anchor that removes the threat of fraying the rope. The forged ring is one of the most accessible, affordable, and simple tools you can have in your kit for climbing and rappelling.
Let’s go into more detail on the rappelling ring, how it is used, and how to find the best one for you.
A rappel ring sometimes referred to as an “O-ring” are metal rings that have a wide range of applications and should be an essential addition to your rappelling gear. But they are most commonly used for climbing, canyoneering, and as the name suggests, rappelling.
These rings are generally used to build anchors when rappelling. They are also used because they can reduce the wear on your ropes, providing a whole new level of safety.
In combination with webbing, it is a cheaper and lighter option than the alternative anchor that includes a locking carabiner. A ring usually is half the weight of a locking carabiner and 1/4 the cost, which makes it an ideal alternative.
They aren’t designed to be used as belay devices. However, there have been many cases where these will work for belays in case of emergency.
Here are some examples of a rappelling ring use:
How Do You Use One?
If this is your first time using a rappelling ring, we always recommend going with someone with experience. We will provide directions below, but there is no substitute for first-hand instruction.
When you’re using a rap ring for rappelling, they’re best used as contact points for the rope. By doing this, you won’t have to tie it into any tubular webbing of some sort, which can do a lot of damage to the rope.
While using it, you have to make sure that the rope can easily slide over the anchor point up until you reach the end of your rappel.
Here is a quick checklist for using a rappelling ring:
- Tie yourself into an anchor point, or secure yourself in some way before going near the edge.
- Wrap the webbing around the natural anchor, threading it through a rap ring. Two are always better, but one will do in lower trafficked canyons.
- Tie off the webbing so that if one strand were to give out, the whole system wouldn’t fail.
- Thread the rope through the rappel ring and lower the end down to the ground.
- Tie into the rope, set up your rappel backup, and go!
Again, we recommend that you go with someone that has experience using a rappelling ring until you are comfortable using one.
How To Choose A Rappelling Ring
There has to be a lot of thought put into buying a rap ring mainly because a faulty one or a low-quality one has the potential to cause unwanted accidents.
To help you choose the best rappelling ring for you, here are a couple of things you need to look out for.
First, you’re going to want to take a look at the material. After all, this will dictate a lot of the ring’s durability.
So you should choose one made of durable and high-quality materials.
The strongest rings and the most durable ones are usually the ones made out of stainless steel.
However, there are also aluminum rings available that can do the job just as well. The reason these aluminum rings work just as well is that companies have developed aluminum alloys that are just as tough as stainless steel.
Another thing you will want to look at is how the ring is made. You should avoid any rings that have been welded since this creates a weak point. But we will dive into this more in the next section.
Pick a solid rappelling ring over hollow ones; they are sturdier and will last longer.
We typically go with a strength level of 20kN at minimum, but prefer 25kN.
Other things you have to check out are the colors of the rings. This isn’t that important, but it would be nice having a set of rings that fit your tastes.
Aside from that, brighter colors will be more noticeable, so it will be harder to forget them and leave them behind.
That being said, these rings are generally inexpensive, so it won’t be too hard to leave them back after a climb.
Best Rappelling Rings
There are a lot of good rappelling rings on the market, but the GM Climbing 25kN Rappel Rings are the ones that we would recommend over all of the others.
GM Climbing has built a reputation of high quality and reliable climbing and rappelling gear. These rings are no exception!
The rings are seamlessly forged from aluminum to make them lightweight and with no weak points.
They have a rating of 25kN and a breaking point of 5600 pounds. So they are extremely strong!
The GM Climbing 25kN Rappel Rings have an 11.5mm thickness, which makes them very smooth for the rope.
And are suitable for not just rappelling, but also climbing all types of objects and canyoneering.
How Can You Tell If A Used One Is Safe?
In the past, rappelling rings got a lousy reputation since they were made of rolled aluminum and welded at the connecting end. This created a weak point with those rings.
This design has been improved, and the rings are much stronger now.
But there are times you might find yourself using an older ring. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you would have to make sure to carefully inspect it to make sure it will still do the job right.
The first thing you’ll have to look out for are any grooves in the metal. These are caused by rope contact and happens to most, if not all, rappelling rings. If there are a couple of grooves on the ring, make sure to flip it, so the rope comes in contact with the smoother side.
Another vital thing to check is the shape of the ring and whether they have welds or gaps. Rap rings aren’t supposed to have any gaps or welds, so if you see one, we would recommend replacing the rappelling ring.
If the ring is oval, it would be best not to use it as these rings have lost a lot of their integrity.
To be extra safe, you can always test the rings in safer environments and practicing safe and low rappels. But if you have any doubts about the ring, we always recommend replacing it.
Rappelling rings are so affordable that it’s better to replace it and stay safe while you’re on the side of the mountain.
Rappelling Ring Summary
So there you have it, all you need to know about rap rings. These rings are sturdy, inexpensive, and practical tools that are designed to be replaced from time to time.
They can make your rappelling experience both easier to set up and make it safer for both you and your rope.
So if you’ve been looking for ways to take your outdoor adventures to the next level, then a rappelling ring would be a great way to do just that.