The best type of rappelling equipment is what the climber is comfortable with. Many climbers try out lots of different equipment until they find the ones they are comfortable with. Rappelling requires a different set of gear than climbing does if the person is only rappelling. To just rappel, unlike climbing, there are no special climbing shoes needed, but a sturdy pair of hiking shoes is recommended. Other equipment that is needed are:
- Rope: There is no rappelling without a rope. A sturdy rope set up is needed and will require knowing how to use knots, carabiners and/or webbing in order to set a rope up for rappelling from the top of something.
- Belaying/Rappelling Device: Depending on wether or not the person rappelling is going to have a belayer at the bottom of the route will depend on the type of equipment they will need. A second person is not really needed for rappelling, but it is a good idea to have a partner.
- Harness: A harness is the lifeline of the climb or rappel. A person uses equipment, like a carabiner, to attach to the rope. Harnesses can be fashioned out of rope, or a climber can just buy one from an outdoor shop. Harnesses should be comfortable, especially if the climber is going to be in them for long periods of time.
- Helmet: Helmets are not necessary for rappelling, butt they are a good idea to use. They don't have to be big and bulky, but a helmet is a good to protect the head from any rocks or debris that could fall while they are rappelling.
- Gloves: Also not necessary, but another good equipment idea. Rappelling down a rope can cause rope burn. If a repeller is going too fast and they burn their hands, they can have a difficult time recovering and could possibly fall and get injured. A pair of gloves that have no fingers work the best.
- Knife: Not what one would think to bring rappelling, but it could be a life saver. If lines get tangled or a repeller gets caught in a rope the lines may need to be cut. This is only for serious emergencies and should be used as a last resort. Makes sure to keep the knife sheathed at all times during the descent.
There are many different companies that make all different types of rappelling equipment. A repeller does not have to buy all the gear from one source. Rappelling is a dangerous sport, and the repeller should be comfortable with the equipment they are using. It is also a good idea to have back-up equipment just in case something goes wrong with any of it.
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