Breaking in new rope

A lot has been written and said about ways to break in new rope. Unfortunately, some of the methods suggested are mainly ways to prematurely age new rope, as they damage the fibres and may compromise the rope structure and strength.

Of course, your new ropes will become softer very quickly, but before you opt for that kind of quick solution, you may want to think and decide if it’s worth it. When you pass the rope through a carabiner, twist it on itself a few times and heavily pull on the ends back and forth, you submit the rope to a lot of stress.

The size of the carabiner makes the rope bend over a sharp angle, a sure way to cause damage a new rope without realizing how much deterioration is caused.

New ropes will soften naturally with use and proper preparation and maintenance. If that natural process isn’t quick enough to your taste, you can:

  1. wash the rope with a small amount of detergent and dry it under moderate and constant tension

  2. then oil/wax it by hand, slowly and carefully.

When the yarn used is of good quality, it will suffice in most cases.

Sometimes your rope feels too stiff, particularly when it’s tightly laid. Such rope may be softened either by using it until it reaches a more flexible state, or by applying the washing and finishing steps mentioned above. Medium-laid rope made with good quality yarn usually doesn’t require much to feel soft, flexible and responsive.