Choosing Rappelling Gloves for a Safe Rappel: Top 10 Choices

Choosing Rappelling Gloves for a Safe Rappel: Top 10 Choices

So, what exactly are rappel gloves, and why are they necessary? Rappel gloves are specially designed pieces of equipment that keep your hands safe from rope burn while rappelling. They help you acquire more control over the rope, boosting the rapper's safety.

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Many individuals overlook the need for rappel gloves when going for outdoor adventures, especially if rappelling is only a secondary activity (e.g., descending from a climb). Rappel gloves are, in fact, a vital piece of gear that can make the difference between a safe rappel and a potentially dangerous mishap. Choosing the perfect glove is critical for ensuring that you have all of the necessary equipment for rappelling.

What makes a rappelling glove unique?

Rappel gloves are explicitly created for use while rappelling to provide protection and comfort. There are a few design changes that separate a rappel glove from a regular glove:

  • Double-padded sections— Many rappel gloves contain extra padding in important friction areas like the thumb and palm to prevent the gloves from wearing through.
  • Fingerless designs— Some fingerless gloves leave the first joint exposed to allow for excellent dexterity when making knots and working with rope.
  • Grippy fabric— Most gloves include reinforced cloth with a layer of leather on the inside of the palm to make things easier to grab your rope. This helps you keep control.
  • Lightweight design—Rappel gloves, like other climbing equipment, are as lightweight as possible while maintaining critical safety characteristics.
  • The majority of the extra features introduced to rappel gloves serve a single purpose: to make rappelling safer for you. Businesses make them like Black Diamond and Petzl, which understand the value of climbing gear, and they come with a slew of added features to make your life easier.

    What is the need for Rappelling gloves?

    It is not uncommon for people to undermine the condition of their gloves when they are more focused on looking after other essential equipment like ropes and harnesses. If you too think the same, you must know that the rappelling gloves are as quintessential as other equipment.

    They help enhance the grip and control over the rope leading to a safer rappelling experience. Imagine leaning on a rope, and your entire existence depends on your grip. You indeed wouldn't compromise with 'any' gloves. Thus, rappelling gloves are crucial while climbing and rappelling.

    Rappel gloves include a sticky fabric that helps you regulate your drop speed and prevents your hand from slipping.

    Rappel gloves can also assist in injury prevention and mitigation. Suppose you are wearing non-rappelling gloves; sooner or later, you will feel rope burn in your hands, leading to a loose grip which you can't afford when you are in midair.

    Some gloves offer extra padding in significant locations like the knuckle to protect your hands from sharp pebbles and other things.

    Some people may jeopardize your rappel's safety in certain circumstances. To avoid risks or assist your teammates in an emergency, you may need to descend fast to the bottom of your rope. Rappel gloves are highly useful in this situation since they allow you to descend swiftly. They keep your skin from being rubbed raw by the rope, but they also make it simpler to slow down before hitting the ground.

    Rappelling Glove vs. Other Climbing Gloves: What's the Difference?

    Climbing gloves can come in a variety of styles, including:

    • Belay Gloves: These are similar to rappel gloves in that they cover your hand while giving you more rope control.
    • Crack Climbing Gloves: These are light, durable fabric pieces that one can use instead of tape to protect your hands while crack climbing.
    • All-around gloves: These are made for all-day alpine expeditions that need multiple belays and rappels, often in rapid succession. They're usually more durable and come with additional features like weather protection.

    There are some similarities and differences between rappel gloves and other climbing gloves. Belay gloves, for instance, will have many of the same features as rappel gloves, with one major exception: they are designed to stay on the ground, whereas rappel gloves are intended to be carried with you wherever you go. This means they'll be lighter and contain features that allow you to link them to your climbing gear.

    Climbing gloves, or crack gloves, are significantly more lightweight. They typically only conceal particular parts of your hand, leaving your fingers and thumb exposed. As a result, they will not provide the same level of protection as rappel gloves.

    All-around climbing gloves will work for a rappel, though, like belay gloves, they may have more functionality than you need if you only use them for rappelling.

    When Should I Wear a Rappelling Glove?

    As previously stated, rappel gloves are an essential protective gear that is sometimes overlooked. When it comes to climbing or rappelling, deciding what gear to bring is always a weight vs. gear requirement balance. Whether you should bring gloves depends on the type of vacation you're taking and the possibility that you'll need them.

    If you're going somewhere where you'll be rappelling, you should bring gloves. They're light, packable, and have a lot of safety features. Similarly, if you're planning an extended climbing trip, like a multi-pitch route, attaching a pair of gloves to your harness (rappel, belay, or all-around) is never wrong.

    After a hectic day of climbing, when your hands get sore, you can quickly wear your pair of gloves and give another one to your partner.

    However, if you are going for short climbing, you may not need to take them.

    We talked to a rappelling expert, and they said that they don't use belay or rappel gloves since they know the most one will be doing is a 15-meter fall, especially if they are on belay. They added if they get to the peak and decide their hands are too weary of rappelling correctly, they will ask their companion for some assistance.

    Moreover, they advised others to bring a length of rope and an ATC with them on scrambling and climbing expeditions simply if someone needs to do an emergency rappel.

     Rappel gloves are an excellent way to supplement your backup 'get down safe' gear if you suspect you'll need them, and they're light enough that it's typically a good idea to bring them with you.

    Top 10 Best Rappelling Gloves of 2022

    Here are our top 10 picks for the best Rappelling gloves; click on the respective links to place your order for online prices.

    #1 PETZL CORDEX Plus Rigging Belay/Rap Glove Tan: Top Pick For Rappelling

    The PETZL CORDEX rappelling gloves were voted the best by testers. These gloves provide a unique combination of function and comfort to get the job done every time.

    Goatskin leather reinforcements, notably on the index finger, are included in the PETZL CORDEX gloves for an extra layer of protection. This isn't something you'll find in any other glove model. The gloves' backs are made of synthetic material, making them far more breathable and comfy than other non-synthetic gloves on the marketplace.

    Because of their longevity and performance, these gloves are the Editor's Choice. Furthermore, due to the product's superior structure, these gloves are available at an affordable price.

    #2 Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger: Best Half Finger Glove

    This type is ideal for climbers who want a comfortable glove that is also light. They're ideal for warmer weather and shorter climbs due to the sheer glove material.

    Furthermore, if climbers require more skill than standard full-length leather gloves, these half-finger gloves are suitable for hand protection.

    The Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger glove is a fantastic option for different climbs and warmer temperatures. These gloves are a good choice and a lot less expensive. They do, however, break down more quickly than other testing gloves, so keep that in mind while making final glove decisions.

    #3 Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves: Excellent For Crack Climbing

    The Ocun Crack Glove is the most incredible crack n leather climbing glove since it is well-made and has a long lifespan. These gloves have a thoughtful design, making them sleek, that allows users to spend numerous hours scaling rocks, cliffs, and gaps.

    They're also an excellent alternative to tape gloves because they provide a superior overall fit. However, an order one size larger is recommended due to the tighter fit.

    The wrist portion on this option was likewise tricky, but it was one of the few flaws in the overall design. 

    These gloves are one of the best picks in their category. However, they are a little bit pricier than their counterparts. Though the quality is premium and the product is worth the money.

    #4 Black Diamond Transition Climbing Gloves: Most Durable

    If you cannot find Petzl Cordex gloves, then don't worry. You can go for Black Diamond Transition gloves renowned for their durability.

    Because of their complete coverage and dextrous skills, the Black Diamond Transition is regarded as one of the most fabulous rappelling gloves. This glove is bulkier than the Petzl Cordex glove, yet it still provides consumers with a flexible and breathable option.

    Because these gloves run a little small, it's advised to go up a size for the best fit. These gloves are yet another excellent option.

    #5 Black Diamond Stone Climbing Gloves: Most Comfortable For Climbing

    The Black Diamond Stone gloves are among the best climbing gloves present in the market and are a fantastic fit for an outdoor trip.

    Climbers will appreciate the flexibility of the gloves, even though they are made of leather. Because the gloves are thin, the excess usage may break them rapidly. However, unlike previous models, these gloves do not allow hands to breathe as freely.

    This is owing to the durable leather construction, and as a result, if used for extended periods, it might become brittle. Furthermore, they are known to wear out rapidly, but they are still worth the minimal cost due to their safety and purpose.

    #6 Metolius Full Finger Belay Glove: Best Choice For Belaying

    The Metolius Belay glove option offers optimal shielding for the entire hand and is difficult to beat.

    These full-finger gloves are perfect for activities like crag climbing and shorter expeditions. Even though the Metolius Belay gloves are made of tougher leather and feature tight double stitching, they are still recognized as a few of the finest rappelling gloves and can last for several seasons.

    The Metolius Belay gloves are slightly more expensive, but their high quality is reflected in the price.

    #7 Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger Climbing Gloves: Best Breathable and Light-weight Gloves

    Black Diamond has created yet another outstanding glove product with the Crag Glove. This comfortable climbing glove is one of the lightweight full-finger gloves on the market.

    When rappelling, however, hand protection is critical, and this is where the Crag glove falls short. Although these gloves are light, they are not as sturdy or protective as other options. This product is not advised for long-term usage since it lacks the necessary level of protection.

    On the other hand, these gloves would be an excellent choice for shorter periods. On the other hand, these gloves are true to size and usually fit each hand precisely. For the degree of performance, the Black Diamond Crag Glove is a terrific cheap option. Buyers of these comfortable rappelling gloves will undoubtedly get their money's worth.

    #8 Metolius 3/4 Climbing Glove: Good For Climbing

    The Metolius ¾ Climbing gloves are rated as one of the best climbing gloves that provide excellent hand protection.

    Thanks to their full-leather structure, these gloves provide much-needed protection on any trip. They can, however, be exceedingly stiff the first couple of times, necessitating a brief break-in period.

    They're also made of thick cloth, so they're not ideal for long hikes on hot days. The Metolius Climbing Gloves are a little more expensive than similar gloves.

    #9 Liberty Mountain Rappel Glove: Excellent For Rappelling

    The Liberty Mountain Rappel Gloves is a low-cost, high-quality solution for rappelling. These gloves are an excellent value for money and are ideal for beginners wishing to expand their rappelling equipment.

    It should be observed that these gloves look to be considerably thicker on one of the hands than they are. They appear huge and thick, yet they are medium-sized and semi-flexible.

    They are available in a variety of sizes as well as color options. Depending on the final size and color choice, the Liberty Mountain Rappel Gloves can cost anywhere from $11 to $40.

    #10 Caiman 2984-5 Rappelling & Rope Handling Glove: Best For Rope Handling

    These gloves appear thick at first glance, but they provide sufficient shielding for rappelling and rope handling.

    The Caiman Rappelling and Rope Handling Gloves provide excellent protection while also including reflective components for usage in low-light conditions. The glove's high-wear sections include a goatskin palm and a pig grain reinforcing layer.

    Because of the meshing on the rear of the palms, it is also a breathable glove option. The Caiman gloves are also available in several sizes to accommodate different hand sizes.

    Buying Guide

    Here are a few factors you need to look for before purchasing pairs of gloves for rappelling:

    #1 The material

    Maximum Protection gloves are typically constructed of leather, cloth, or rubber. Fabric gloves will protect you from dirt, chafing, and slivers, but they will not protect you from rough or sharp objects. Rubber gloves are made for working with chemicals or electrical equipment.

    Thus, for extra protection it is advised to go for a double layer mixed or synthetic leather. Unlike natural leather, synthetic leathers are more durable and don't crack up easily.

    #2 Flexibility and dexterity

    Fall protection, finger protection, rope rescue, tower work, and wilderness rescue are all possible with these lightweight leather gloves. These also provide manual dexterity and hand protection, essential for belaying, knot tying, and rigging.

    #3 Maintenance of your rappelling gloves

    The rappelling gloves will be more or less resistant to regular abuse depending on the overall quality and material selection. It's critical to keep them in good condition and thoroughly inspect them before and after each rappelling practice. However, you should pay special attention to cleaning and preserving your gloves.

    Working with leather gloves can be challenging. The leather may have cracks or lose flexibility if exposed to the sun for an extended period.

    When cleaning them, avoid using harsh chemicals, and keep them dry and cool, preferably separate from your other rappelling gear.

    Check for damage symptoms at the pressure points and seams frequently, and wipe them down with a washrag soaked with leather disinfectant and conditioner as needed.


    That's all there is to it. I explain what rappel gloves are in the article above, but I also explain why they're crucial and how you can get your hands on a pair.

    Keep in mind that rappelling is a dangerous sport with possibly fatal consequences. Before embarking on a rappel, always take all essential procedures to protect your safety.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the prices of rappelling gloves?

    It depends on the quality, brand, and type of material, among other factors. The majority of such affordable options cost between $30 and $50.

    Is it possible to rappel using non-rappel glove work?

    One may do rappelling with almost any glove. They may be able to protect your hands against rope burns. Your non-rappel gloves, on the other hand, will quickly wear out. Ropes will not provide you with the optimum control and agility. Rappel gloves provide you with a lot more control when you're rappelling.

    What is the purpose of rappel gloves?

    Get a pair of rappel gloves, as well as other tools, if you're going rappelling. You may bring a rope and a harness, but gloves are not required.

    This is a common mistake many people make. However, you will find it handy in a variety of situations.

    The gloves come in helpful in grabbing the ropes during practice. If you try to grasp the rope with your bare hands, the rope will impose all of the force on your hand. It makes the work more complicated than it already is. When you wear gloves, however, the glove's material absorbs part of the stress. As a result, you will feel at ease in the role.

    Kevin Macey
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