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What Are The Best Ropes For Camping?

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Hey campers, picking out the best gear for your next camping trip can be overwhelming. There are so many options for everything. A question we see a lot is about the best rope for camping. To save you time we want to go over the only 2 types of rope that you need to bring camping, how much you should need, and why. We hope we can make this choice much easier for you.

One quick note about picking out rope for camping; always get reflective rope if possible. You may not always need reflective rope but even when you don’t need it it will work just as well as non-reflective rope. To save space and money, bring reflective rope instead of both kinds. You won’t ever regret using a reflective rope.

AI generated image of campers setting up a tent using paracord

TLDR; The Only Two Ropes You Need For Camping

Key Takeaways:

550 Pound Paracord

The first type of rope that you will want with you is a reflective 550lb paracord. Paracord rope is a top choice for camping because it’s tough, lightweight, and easy to use. It is easy to pick the right paracord because its strength is almost always included in the name. For general use, we recommend the 550lb rated paracord. It’s great for most camping uses like tent guy lines and clotheslines.

You won’t be using the paracord for heavy-duty tasks so 550lb is more than enough. Remember that the recommended load of rope is 20% of its maximum. This means you shouldn’t be putting more than 110 lbs. on the paracord under normal circumstances. Still, this is more than enough for most uses around camp. The 550 is also one of the most popular strengths so you won’t have any trouble finding it wherever you shop. If you shop on Amazon we have linked our recommendation below.

product image from Amazon

WEREWOLVES Reflective 550&176 lb Paracord - Nylon, Rope Roller,7&3 Strand Utility Parachute Cord for Camping Tent, Outdoor Packaging

Braided Polyester Rope

We prefer polyester over nylon for use at camp and find the 3/8 size to be the perfect strength and thickness. This is the workhorse rope that you will pull out for the big jobs. If you need to hang a bear canister, tie down a load, or do any of the other heavy-duty jobs around camp. It’s affordable, durable, easy to work with, and very strong. If taken care of these ropes can last 5 years or longer.

We like polyester rope over nylon because it stretches less. As a rule of thumb polyester rope stretches about half as much as nylon. The downside to polyester is that it doesn’t absorb shock well, so keep that in mind. Our recommendation for a good polyester rope is below. If you want to geek out you should see this reference on polyester rope strength.

product image from Amazon

FUNSUEI 3/8 Inch x 100 Feet Braid Polyester Rope, Heavy Duty Braided Polyester Rigging Rope for Camping, Climbing, Hanging Swings and Tents, Tree Work, Adventure, 2200 lbs. Loading Capacity

The Importance of Having the Right Rope for Camping

When you go camping, it’s important to have the right rope. This is not just a luxury, but an essential piece of equipment that every camper should have. The quality and selection of your camping ropes may affect your camping experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced outdoors enthusiast or a beginner camper.

First, camping ropes are crucial for safety reasons. You will need them to set up shelters, secure tents, and many other little uses to keep your campsite neat and safe. Choosing the correct rope is important. It can prevent accidents, secure your gear, and keep your campsite stable in bad weather.

Furthermore, camping ropes are multifunctional tools that you can use for various tasks. Ropes are useful for many camping needs, like hanging food to keep it safe from bears and creating clotheslines for drying wet clothes. Having the right ropes gives you confidence to handle any camping challenge, from tying down equipment to making repairs.

When choosing ropes for camping, it’s important to think about strength, durability, UV resistance, and stretch. By choosing ropes that meet these criteria, you can ensure that your camping experience is not only safe but also enjoyable. Investing in good camping ropes is a smart choice. They will improve your outdoor experiences and make you feel more secure on your trips.

AI generated image of campers setting up a tent using paracord

Synthetic vs. Natural Ropes for Camping

When it comes to selecting the right ropes for camping, it’s important to consider whether to choose synthetic or natural ropes. Many camping enthusiasts prefer reliable and high-performing synthetic ropes like nylon and polyester.

One of the key benefits of synthetic ropes is their resistance to the elements. Synthetic ropes withstand UV rays, moisture, and extreme temperatures better than natural ropes. Natural ropes such as sisal or manila, are prone to mildew, rot, and deterioration when not cared for. This makes natural ropes less suitable for long-term outdoor use.

Good synthetic ropes are easier to maintain than natural ropes. You can clean them with just soap and water, and they don’t need special treatments or conditioning. Natural ropes may need more care and treatment to maintain their condition. At the least, you will need to ensure that your natural ropes are never stored wet or they will mildew.

Overall, when considering everything above, synthetic ropes are our top choice for camping. They are perfect for outdoor adventures because they can resist the elements, are durable, and require low maintenance. Whether you’re setting up tents, securing tarps, or tying up a boat, synthetic ropes will work great.

Synthetic Rope Options: Nylon vs Polyester vs Polypropylene Rope

There are a lot of options for rope and one of the main factors for picking the right one is the material. Nylon, polyester, and polypropylene are three of the most common materials for rope. They are all synthetic ropes but have different properties.

Nylon is strong and durable. It can stretch and absorb shock, making it useful for certain applications. It’s also resistant to abrasion and UV light. Its downside is that it can stretch about 20% of its length. This makes it a poor choice for situations where tension needs to stay constant.

Polyester is a solid all-around rope material and is very similar to nylon in performance. The main difference is that polyester resists stretching. This makes it ideal for situations where you need the rope to maintain its tension. We find that polyester rope is slightly better for camping than nylon because of this.

Polypropylene rope is lightweight, doesn’t stretch much, and it’s resistant to water, chemicals, mold, and decomposition. It’s a great option for activities that need flotation, like boating and mooring. The downside is that polypropylene is not as UV-resistant as nylon. Some polypropylene rope is treated to be more UV resistant, but they still don’t hold up in the sun as well as nylon or polyester.

Natural Rope Options

We understand the desire to choose natural products when possible. So even though we prefer synthetic rope materials, there are several good natural options. Sisal fiber and manila (also known as abaca or hemp) rope are two of the best-known and most available. Of those two manila rope is our favorite and is a very good rope for camping. We don’t recommend sisal rope because it breaks down quickly and often forms kinks after use.

The primary downside to natural rope materials is their tendency to mildew, or even rot if they aren’t maintained. Of course, if you properly maintain your rope it will give you years of solid use. The maintenance of natural ropes is outside the scope of this article. If you are looking for natural rope maintenance this video will get you started.

AI generated image of campers setting up a tent using paracord

Braided vs. Twisted Ropes

When choosing ropes, think about whether you prefer them braided or twisted. Each construction method offers its own set of advantages and considerations. Understanding the tradeoffs is important if you want to make the right decision.

The Advantages of Braided Ropes

Braided ropes are known for their superior strength, flexibility, and durability. The braiding process involves intertwining multiple strands of rope, creating a structure that can handle heavy loads and withstand harsh outdoor conditions. The smooth texture of braided ropes also allows for easier handling and knot tying, making them a popular choice for camping enthusiasts.

Furthermore, braided ropes offer enhanced performance and longevity compared to twisted ropes. They are less prone to abrasion and fraying, ensuring a longer lifespan for your camping gear. Whether you need a rope for securing tents, hanging bear bags, or setting up tarps, a braided rope will provide the reliability and strength required for your outdoor adventures.

The Considerations of Twisted Ropes

Twisted ropes tend to be less expensive than braided ropes. If you are going to be splicing the rope twisted is much easier to work with. They are constructed by twisting individual strands together, resulting in a rope with more stretch and a coarser texture. Twisted ropes aren’t as strong and wear out faster than braided ropes but they are still suitable for most camping tasks. If all you are doing is hanging clotheslines and tying down tarps it’s perfectly fine to save some money on a twisted rope.

The choice between braided and twisted ropes really depends on your individual needs and preferences. Both types of ropes have their own advantages, so assess your camping needs before making a decision. Choosing the right rope for camping is important for safety and enjoyment. You can pick a strong braided rope or an affordable twisted rope. As long as you understand their strengths and weaknesses both will do fine.

AI generated image of campers setting up a tent using paracord

Determining the Amount of Rope Needed for Camping

When preparing for a camping trip, it’s important to determine the amount of rope you’ll need to ensure you have enough for various tasks. The specific amount of rope required will depend on the activities you plan to undertake during your outdoor adventure. Here are some general guidelines to help you estimate the amount of rope needed for different camping tasks:

  1. Tarp setups: For securing tarps, you’ll typically need around 10 feet of rope for each tie-off point. This allows for adjustments and ensures a secure and tight setup.
  2. Hanging bear bags or food barrels: To keep your food safe from bears and other wildlife, it’s recommended to bring approximately 100 feet of rope. This length will provide enough rope to hang the bag or barrel high off the ground.
  3. Drying clothes: If you plan to hang clothes to dry, 10-15 feet of rope should be sufficient. This will give you enough length to create a clothesline between trees or other sturdy supports.
  4. Tent guy lines: Tent guy lines are used to secure the corners of your tent and provide stability. It’s advisable to bring a total of 20 feet of rope for all the corners, allowing for easy setup and adjustment.

Know Your Knots

My father was an Eagle Scout who served in the U.S. Navy so my whole childhood was a crash course in knots and ropework. If you didn’t have that opportunity you will want to pick up a book to learn the necessary knots. I haven’t read it but the book The Little Book of Incredibly Useful Knots is considered a great guide. I would recommend grabbing a copy before you go camping.

product image from Amazon

The Useful Knots Book: How to Tie the 25+ Most Practical Rope Knots (Escape, Evasion, and Survival) The Useful Knots Book is a no-nonsense knot guide on how to tie the 25+ most practical rope knots. It comes with easy to follow instructions, pictures, and tips on when to best use each knot.


As you can see there is a lot that goes into picking the best rope to take camping but I hope that we have made the choice easier for you. Whether you are just looking for a good tent rope or hanging a hundred pounds of food, the two options we suggested will handle the job. If you found this guide helpful please let us know in the comments below. Also, if you are a new camper you might find our beginners camping guide helpful. Thanks for reading and have a great time camping!


Q: Why is having the right rope important for camping?

A: The right rope is essential for various tasks such as setting up tarps, securing tents, hanging bear bags, and more. It can enhance your overall camping experience and solve problems in the outdoors.

Q: What types of ropes are recommended for camping?

A: The two most popular types of ropes for camping are paracord and polyester ropes. Paracord is lightweight and durable, while polyester ropes are strong and resistant to stretching.

Q: Are camping ropes resistant to UV rays?

A: Yes, most camping ropes are made of nylon or polyester, which have excellent UV ratings and are suitable for outdoor use. It is advisable to avoid ropes made of cotton, jute, or polypropylene, as they are not as durable and can be easily damaged by the sun.

Q: Do camping ropes stretch?

A: While many ropes have some degree of stretch, it's important to choose ropes that have minimal stretch for camping purposes. "Static" ropes, which do not stretch significantly under pressure, are ideal for most camping uses.

Q: What is the difference between braided and twisted ropes?

A: Braided ropes are stronger, more flexible, and have a smoother texture compared to twisted ropes. They are recommended for outdoor use as they offer better performance and longevity.

Q: How much rope do I need for camping?

A: The amount of rope you will need for camping depends on the specific tasks you plan to accomplish. It is recommended to bring approximately 10 feet of paracord for every tie-off point for tarp setups, around 100 feet of rope for hanging bear bags, 10-15 feet of rope for drying clothes, and 20 feet of rope for tent guy lines.

Q: What are the recommended camping ropes?

A: Based on our research and recommendations, we have found two highly-rated camping ropes: a reflective 550lb paracord for tent guy lines and clotheslines, and a 3/8-inch braided polyester rope for heavy-duty tasks like hanging bear bags.

Q: Are synthetic or natural ropes better for camping?

A: Synthetic ropes like nylon and polyester are recommended for camping due to their resistance to the elements, better performance characteristics, and ease of maintenance. Natural ropes tend to mildew and rot if not properly cared for, making them less suitable for camping.

Q: What should I know about knot tying and rope maintenance for camping?

A: It is advisable to learn basic knot tying techniques and proper rope maintenance to ensure the longevity and safety of your camping ropes. A reliable knot-tying guide or book can be a valuable resource for learning and practicing different knots.

Q: What is the best rope for camping in bad weather?

A: Both polyester and nylon perform well in bad weather as they are easy to use, strong, and water resistant.

Q: Are braided ropes stronger than twisted ropes?

A: Braided rope is about 10 percent stronger than a twisted rope of the same material and size.

Q: What is the difference between static and dynamic rope?

A: The terms static and dynamic refer to the amount that a rope will stretch under load. Dynamic ropes have more stretch and are used for activities like rock climbing to absorb impact better. Static ropes have minimal stretch and are better for securing loads or rappelling.

Q: What is the strongest type of rope?

A: The strongest rope is made from HMPE/Dyneema and is stronger than steel but still light enough to float.

Q: Which is stronger, nylon or polypropylene rope?

A: Polypropylene rope is stronger than nylon rope of the same thickness.

Q: What is the difference between a solid braid and a diamond braid rope?

A: A solid braid rope is made by braiding the fibers together in a continuous spiral pattern with no spaces between the strands. A diamond braid rope is made by braiding the fibers in a diamond pattern, creating spaces between the strands. The diamond braid rope is more flexible and more shock-absorbant than a solid braid rope.

Q: What is the worst kind of rope for camping?

A: Polyethylene rope is hands-down the worst rope for any use. It doesn't hold knots and forms kinks after being put under strain. We recommend avoiding it if at all possible.

By Summer and Bill

Photo of Summer and Bill

Summer and Bill are the dynamic duo behind, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to explore the great outdoors. With a combined lifetime of experience traveling and adventuring across America, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. From hiking to camping, kayaking to travel, Summer and Bill are passionate about helping others discover the beauty of the natural world.