Whether you’re training to compete, or for general fitness and preparedness, adding the rope climb to your arsenal of abilities is key. Though this may seem obvious, what’s not so obvious is the type of rope to invest in (material wise) - Sisal Climbing Rope or Manila Climbing Rope?
We’ve compared and tested each type of rope in several different environments and put together our thoughts on why you may want one over the other.
Manila is a type of plant fiber obtained from the leaves of the abacá in the philippines. Manila Ropes are water resistant, durable, flexible, and the ones you can find here have a 16,000 lb breaking strength. The material is fairly coarse so you’ll have improved grip climbing up, however because of this it can also tend to tear up the hands a bit more than its Sisal counterpart.
Because of it’s resistance to water, and it’s higher breaking point if you plan on using your rope outside and leaving it to withstand the elements, Manila is without a doubt what you should go with.
Sisal is also a plant fiber, obtained from Agave plants. For centuries it has been made into twine and rope to be used in indoor or dry climates and is praised for its resistance to becoming weak from sunlight damage.
Much like manila, it is durable and flexible however it’s overall breaking strength is about 80% of its Manila counterpart at roughly 12,000 lbs. With that said, you’d be hard pressed to find a way to produce 12,000 lbs of tension on a rope in a gym setting and so for all intensive purposes, Sisal is a great (and cheaper), alternative to manila ropes.
The biggest issue with Sisal Ropes is that they retain water, so it’s not advised to use or store them outside where they could possibly get wet.