by Jullie

December 10, 2020

How to Use a Rappel Ring a Complete Guide

The rappel rings play a critical role in rappelling. As they are not very costly and do not fascinate much, they are usually ignored by outdoor rappelers. Many people treat these mundane pieces of rappelling gear very casually. But there is another angle to look at them.

Wrong rappelling rings can prove very costly; we are not yet saying anything about using them the wrong way. That is why I have compiled this little guide for you to address some of the most critical queries about these humble rappel rings.

Before we go into the details about the type of rappel rings you use or those providing value for money, we can start with their fundamental rules.

What are Rappelling Rings? 

Rappel rings are small rings made of metal. They are commonly attached to a hangar, a tiny metal piece with a 90-degree bend. The hanger has two sides, one attached to the climbing surface while the other is left to provide anchorage to the climber.

Rappel rings are therefore metals that are welded, forged, and turned into ring shapes. They have existed since the debut of mountaineering and climbing activities. And as of now, they are even used in anchoring buildings, climbing, and maintenance. Also, they are applied In caving and rappelling activities.

To fully answer the question of how to use rappel rings, we must acknowledge the fact of different activities in which they play a part. For instance, the use of a rappel in canyoning will vary from hammocking, anchoring buildings, or slacklining. 

What is the Function of a Rappel Ring

You can also call them the rap rings or O-rings. These round metallic rings have a variety of uses. Some of the typical applications of rappel rings are climbing, canyoneering, and of course, rappelling.

People also use them as a belay instrument during an emergency. Mostly, people use these rappel rings to make anchors and protect the rope from wear and tear during rough usage.

Rappelling Rings

Remember that it is vital to replace them regularly. However, it depends on your usage behavior and the kind of stress they are put into for long periods.

Selecting a suitable ring for the right job is one of the most critical factors. That takes us to our next topic of discussion.

How Should We Use Rappel Rings for Rappelling

In the field of rappelling, the rappel rings are used as a touchpoint for the ropes. It implies that you are not supposed to secure the rope to any tube web.

Your job as a climber is to ensure that the string passes through the anchor smoothly before you complete your rappel ride. If you use a tube webbing, it may cut through the rope after some wearing.

That is why you use a rap ring in place of tube webs. It is probably crystal clear by now that you are sure to fall if the anchor fails by any chance.

When you use a rap ring, the rope can slide across its surface without much friction. Of course, the rappel ring wears out with regular use. Please make it a point to inspect your rap rings to check their condition.

Besides, rappel rings consist of several types of material. Some materials wear out much faster. For instance, aluminum rings are slightly cheaper than steel and titanium ones, but they wear out quicker and are not durable.

At this juncture, you may be thinking about what the best rappel rings are. That is why this article will take you to the main point of our discussion next. We have also written guides on simul-rappelling, cave rappelling, and Australian rappel technique.

How to Use a Rappel Ring: a Complete Guide

What Are the Best Rap Rings Available

We have already discussed that some materials are less durable because they are comparatively not that strong. In general, Stainless steel rap rings are the most durable ones. However, aluminum rappel rings are also not that bad.

Nowadays, Some of them now available in the market are exceptionally durable. That is because some famous ring producers are manufacturing the rappel rings by using aluminum alloys.

The alloy technology provides a dual benefit of durability and comparatively lesser weights. The manufacturers can keep the overall weight on the lower side despite promising greater strength.

Moreover, such rappel rings are not high-priced. Hence there are no issues if you leave them behind because there are quite some rappelling scenarios where you cannot retrieve your anchors. That should be okay with you!

1) PROND Aluminum Material Rap Ring

A PROND rap ring is made by putting together a seamless forge. Using this technique, the breaking strength of 23kN is achieved, which is slightly lower than a GM rap ring. 

We have seen that these aluminum rap rings don't break soon enough until they are quite old or undergo extreme stress. The working load of PROND is about 3000 lbs, which is higher than what you may ever need.

You can buy these rappel rings in a pack of five or a single. You can use these rings for various purposes like hammocks, rappel sport, rock climbing, slacklining, and arborist.

I prefer to purchase them in a pack of five to have a couple of spare rings with me always. Also, I often lose them somehow on the way, so it is never a bad idea to keep extra rap rings, just in case.

2) Paliston 25kN Rappel Ring

These are the most multipurpose rap rings from Paliston. You can use these rings for setting up hammocks, climbing steep rocks, and working for arborists. These rappel rings are made of aluminum alloys after heated forging. It implies that these rappel rings have a rating of 25kN.

Moreover, a safe connection point is always ensured by the seamless forging technique. It ensures that you can never mess with these alloy rappel rings' loading direction even if you make a mistake.

If you are very particular about matching colors, these rings come in three attractive color shades: red, black, and blue. Moreover, it is vital to mention here that these are offered in a pack of four, which is more pragmatic, as I mentioned earlier.

3) GM Climbing Rap Rings

GM Climbing rings are one of the best rap rings I have ever come across. They are available online in sets of two or five. Comparatively, they are more expensive, but you will be happy to find that they are highly durable with a breaking strength of 5600 lb and 25kN rating.

These rappel rings are also available in two different sizes. The smaller rap rings measure at 11.5mm, whereas the larger ones come with 12mm dia. These aluminum alloy rings offer excellent durability because of a unique alloy production technology.


Like their other alloy counterparts, these rappel rings can be used for a variety of applications. As usual, you can use them to rappel or build hammocks, climb rocks, or use them for arborist purposes.

Which Type of Rappel Rings Should Be Avoided

It is never recommended to count pennies while purchasing any rappel gear or any equipment. In the case of such outdoor sports, your life depends on the quality of gear.

The same also holds for rappel rings. Never choose aluminum rappel rings that appear to be cheap, small, or hollow. Such rappel rings wear out very quickly. The moment this wearing out process begins, more than half of their strength is lost.

Ensure to opt for proven brands offering a warranty on the rappel rings. There are some situations where you cannot avoid using potentially substandard rings or when you are not sure. You can do the following things to check if these rings feel okay or not.

1. Carefully inspect for any noticeable cracks or weak spots. Ensure to check from inside and outside for such indications.

2. Rap rings mostly fail when they are used in mud or sand. That puts additional friction and damages the ring surface. In such a condition, rappel rings wear out faster than usual. Hence, try to keep your rap rings as well as your ropes clean.

3. Inspect your rappel ring by feeling with your fingers. A metal shave can damage the rope.

4. You can test the rappel ring in a safe environment. For instance, you can apply pressure by practicing a short rappel from a safe height.

5. If you observe any such defect, return the product to seek a replacement or choose something different. Never ignore any flaws howsoever small they may appear.

Rappel Rings

Checklist to Determine a Safe Rappel Ring

1. Always choose the correct size of the rap ring. The stopper knot or the rope block must fit the ring. The rope wedge block into the rap ring can lead to a fall. The knot should adequately fit the rappel ring for full safety.

2. You can inspect the metal for any grooves caused by rope. You may spin the ring the other way so that the same spot does not wear out every time. It is particularly beneficial if you don't want to change the ring for some time.

3. You can inspect the ring's inside for any sharp metal edges. It is required if you connect the rappel ring to the carabiner.

4. There should be no gaps or welds in your rap rings. However, if you notice a weld, scrutinize to ensure that it still holds.

5. Never use a rap ring that has lost its shape and became oval. The oval shape implies that it has been used for a higher load than it could carry, thereby losing its integrity.

Which One Is Better: a Rap Ring or a Quicklink

Both a rap ring and Quicklink have their pros and cons. Both of them primarily do the same work.

Pro Points of Quicklinks:

  • In general, you can find Quicklinks easily in a hardware store. They are readily available in the market. On the other side, rappel rings are considered an official gear for rappelling. To buy them, you might be required to place an online order or visit a specialized store.
  • Quicklinks can be unscrewed and attached to bolts, webs, or chainlinks easily. Hence, they are quite versatile.
  • Quicklinks can be carried around easily. These items can be attached to rope bags or harness loops. However, you may quickly lose or misplace them. You will be required to put them on rope slings or carabiners to ensure that you don't.

Pro Points of Rappel Rings:

  • With everyday use, rappel rings never fail to perform. Hence, they are better equipped than Quicklinks for providing performance and safety.
  • Secondly, after reaching the bottom, you can easily retrieve the rope from a rappel ring because they have relatively large central gaps.
  • Rappel rings can be used with all rope sizes, whereas Quicklinks are usually not wide to accommodate thicker ropes like 11mm and above. It implies that you cannot use Quicklinks with thicker cords.
  • Rings are more durable as compared to Quicklinks. Since the ring shape is round, the rope does not wear the same spot every time. Rap rings are stable and more reliable. That is why they have been chosen as a standard option in my article.
Rappel Ring

Is It Advisable to Rappel with Rapple Rings

Technically speaking, we can use a rappel ring as a belay device, but we don't suggest it. It can endanger your life. However, it can be used for rappelling for sure.

It is relatively straightforward to use it. To put it simply, you can start by tightening the harness. Then slide the rope bight from the rap ring and the carabiner by securing it to your harness. Finally, clip the downward rap ring from the carabiner. Before going over the edge, ensure to test it properly.

It may not appear highly complex, but you know that these items are not created to work as belay equipment. There is a fair amount of risk of failure, which I would never like to assume.

Famous manufacturers like Omega Pacific explicitly mention that you should never try to use these rings for rappelling. However, you can use them in emergencies. But always remember that it is primarily an improvisation.

Rock Climbing Uses

Rap rings can be used in place of Quicklinks for rock climbing. The reasons for it have been explained earlier. The rings do not wear out in the same area with every use. The rappel rings can be found at the anchor ends.

To the extent possible, you should use your gear in place of using the rings left by other climbers. Although it is not compulsory to do so, it is a part of the typical climbing etiquette to express your respect.

If you notice any flaw in the community rings, please inform others as soon as possible. If they show any signs of wearing out, they will mostly be replaced at the earliest.

Using Rap Rings for Rock Climbing

To begin with, you are required to tie yourself to the main anchor with your anchor. Now, connect the rings to the anchor with Quicklinks. Now, you will have two parallel anchors.

To put the gates opposed to one another, clip the quickdraw to the ring. You should thread the rope through the quickdraws to avoid any additional rope wear. In this manner, the string will not be forced to the rock while climbing. While we talk about quickdraws, here is a good guide we write about the best climbing quickdraws.

Next, the figure 8 knot will be required to secure yourself. It is highly recommended to learn all the essential knots by heart before starting any rock climbing session. If you need more information, you can try this guide.

Rappelling Rings FAQs

1) How to use rappelling rings in rock climbing 

Harmonize your rappelling ring together with your own anchor system. The anchor system will be used as an anchorage bit for you. From this point, you should link the rappel rings with the anchorage bit. Use a quick link for this, and there must be double anchoring spots on parallel sides. To GET to this, you will use two rappel rings. 

On each of the rappel rings, clip a quick draw to look in opposite directions. Use your climbing rope to thread into the quickdraws. This will ensure that your rappel ring does not embrace the rocks. As such, the rope won't go through friction or stuck while climbing. You can also reduce friction by setting a rope knot on the side of your choice and rappel down. 

2) How to use rappel rings when canyoneering and rappelling 

In this scenario, you have to cling yourself to an anchorage bit before approaching the edge. Take your webbing and wrap it around the anchor. After that, thread it through the rap ring. One rap ring will suffice for low-traffic canyons. However, you should use two rappel rings in a different scenario. 

Also, it would be best if you tied the webbing in that when one strand collapses, the system remains intact. Then, tie the rope into the rap ring and drop the low end to the climbing surface base. Bind the rope together to form a number 8 shape and proceed to rappel off. 

3) How are rappel rings used in slack-lining? 

When it comes to slacklining or hammocking, you have to find an anchor point on a fixed object. This is the place that you situate the rap ring, rope, or webbing.

By using a carabiner, Link one face of the slackline to the rappel ring. If you lack a carabiner and have two rappel rings, you can devise a way to use the slanted structure to bolt itself in. Despite that, many climbers prefer carabiners. 

Apply the same method on the other face. This time you have to use a rappel ring in opt of clipping to the web directly. That will lengthen the ropes life and abate the potential for cutting through the web. 

4) How to use rappel rings in rappel

Start by securing a harness point. Should you lack one, try out these options. Thread a rope through the rappel ring and into the carabiner on your harness. Remember to tie a stopper knot after threading. Also, clip the lower side of the rappel through the carabiner. Further, you should test it for weight compatibility before climbing on it. You should also check if the ends of the rope are on the ground.

Another option for rap rig rappelling is using the belay device on a carabiner and cling it on a harness. Again, rappelling with a rappel ring is not ideal. Try out rappelling with multiple carabiners. A rappel ring should be used as a belay in emergencies, and it's even safe than using a munter hitch or carabiner itself.

Conclusion

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to using a rappel ring, your surge for knowledge is settled by understanding the type of activity you will indulge in. It sufficed to say the aforementioned is specific on how rappel rings are used in rappelling, canyoneering, and rock climbing. Should you doubt how to use your rappelling ring, consider going through the ways mentioned above.

There are numerous uses of rappel rings. They should be a vital part of any climber's kit. It is imperative to utilize the correct gear for the right job. Ensure to choose the rap rings with the utmost care and pay special attention to their size, strength, and wear status.

It is hoped that this guide was able to address most of your issues regarding rappel rings. If you want to know more or suggest or add to this humble guide, please don't hesitate to contact me.

The rankings on rappellingequipment.com are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

DOWNLOAD

eBook: Rappelling Equipment Guide

 $ 29.99  FREE

Download our Rappel Rapport eBook: a Rappelling Guide for Beginners. It's free.

>