Rope colours and why we choose them

There are many reasons to choose a rope colour, here are some of them:

  1. Price

Price, yes price is king and the cheapest rope out of a range of colours is white.

White is the bases for all ropes and from there it is treated to be colourful. That gives white rope an advantage and this advantage is not only the price but also strength. Because it isn’t treated white rope tend to be just a bit stronger too.

Most contractors, who buy 10’s of km’s at a time, buy only white rope as they know ropes are consumables and with that savings are up to 20%, that can be a lot of money if you buy a lot of rope.

  • Camouflage

We all love our tactical looking gear, and most of it is in black but to be realistic in an urban environment black rope sticks out like a sore thumb. Clearly there is a different reason why to choose black ropes but that point will come later. In an urban environment grey would make a lot more sense or even blue with more and more buildings getting glass facades.

The entertainment rigging industry do choose black ropes for up in their trusses for obvious reasons.

So when it comes down to camouflage think first about your environment before you make a choice.

  • Identification

I have said this before “rig for success”. So, this is the reason why some training companies choose two different ropes.

This means with rope that if you choose two different colours for your set of rope access ropes you eliminate the change that the trainee candidate becomes confused. So a lot of training companies choose two colours to help their trainees but also because it is pretty.

Fire department and/or rope rescue teams might choose a certain colour to identify the length of rope or what system the ropes belong too.

It should be obvious that this also relates to the colour bag the ropes go into. Colours can be very handy that way.

  • Pretty

A lot of ropes are sold because of their looks, we see this with rock climbing ropes and a lot of arborist ropes have often a multi coloured pattern. So with that in mind we do see companies buy coloured ropes to match their look, their branding and I agree it can look smashing!

  • Dirt

Dirt or better-said lack of seeing dirt. Black ropes are often chosen because they keep their fresh look longer and it is true, white ropes or even other coloured ropes fairly quickly become dirty looking and if your not using your rope often and therefore they last a lot longer a black rope might be a wise investment. Still they do get as dirty as any other rope so maintenance is just as much a must as with any other rope.

  • No choice

If you need a rope fast colour is always secondary and you might end up with a rope that isn’t the colour you prefer. It is what it is so prep well ahead as ropes aren’t stock as much as you think.

Sometimes you need a specialty rope, like a high strength or heat resistant rope and when you do your limited in the colour as most specialty fibers can’t be coloured, like Dyneema it only comes in white, although the first colours with the dyneema are available, you can see it isn’t a 100% coverage and still rubs off fairly easy.

All of these “reasons” is why we choose the colours or don’t have a choice in colour of the rope we use. It is good to know some of the reasons so you can be better prepared when buying  a new rope.