5 Common Types of Outdoor Ropes – What to Choose

climbing rope

Outdoor activities won’t ever be complete without the use of ropes. Whether for hiking, marine adventure, or mere outdoor decoration, ropes have various uses and applications. For the most part, we are well-acquainted with the climbing ropes, which are exactly what they sound. However, did you know that there are different types of outdoor ropes you can use?

In this article, we’ll cover the five common types of ropes used for the outdoors. Read below to learn more and see what to buy in the outdoor store near you for your outdoor adventure.

Climbing ropes

The name speaks for itself—climbing ropes are primarily used for climbing. Modern ones typically have what is known as “kernmantle” design, which means “core” and “jacket.” While the inner core provides strength, the ropes’ jacket creates resistance to abrasion. These ropes are designed to stretch a bit when carrying heavy loads. When climbers fall off, the ropes do the trick and work wonders to keep the climbers hanging, safe, and protected.

Twisted ropes

Also called laid ropes, twisted ropes consist of three strands twisted together, giving them a spiral look. They are made of materials, such as nylon, polypropylene, or polyester, but can also be cotton or other natural fiber. 

You may be familiar with the cheap yellow polypropylene ropes you see in any outdoor stores. They may not be the most durable type, but they have a handful of uses. One main advantage is that these ropes are impervious to water, so they sink in, which are valuable in any rescue operation or water activities.

Parachute cords

Also known as 550 cord, real parachute cords have a military specification requiring a braided nylon sheath with seven to nine interwoven strands of separate cords. They are originally used in the suspension lines of parachutes, hence, the name. 

They have a breaking strength of 550 pounds at a minimum. They work best with their flat counterpart, Duct tape, which is ideal for the wilderness. For a fun fact, this versatile cord was used by astronauts during the 82nd Space Shuttle mission.

Braided ropes

Made by weaving fiber strands, braided ropes consist only of a woven core. They come in various types, such as hollow braided ropes that smash flat like a straw, double-braided ropes made of one braided rope inside the other, and twisted ropes commonly used for anchor lines. Generally, they have the best attributes of strength and abrasion resistance, making them top-notched cords.

Bungee cords

Bungee cords have an elastic band with a nylon, cotton, or polypropylene cover, which usually come with hooks at the end. They are extremely resistant to UV radiation and moisture. Hence, they are ideal for daily uses, sports, and outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, boating, and camping.


There are five common ropes for outdoor use—climbing ropes, twisted ropes, parachute cords, braided ropes, and bungee cords. Each has its own pros and cons, as well as specific uses and purposes. That said, know what you need and invest in the best ropes required for your outdoor adventure.

Do you need various types of ropes for your outdoor activities? Browse our options or get in touch with us today. We are your leading sports and outdoor marketplace in Oklahoma with a wide selection of athletic and adventure products. From hiking boots to hunting equipment to camping gears, we likely have what you need. Shop now!