Climbing tape is used by climbers to avoid fatal injuries and to protect their hands. Climbers suffer from scrapes, scratches, split tips or flappers while climbing. The reason is simple. When climbing, one’s hands are often scratched by rocks, branches, walls, and other mediums used.
However, our hands suffer the most while we’re having fun. It is a part of the mount, be it outdoors or indoors. Climbing is a fun sport for many. It’s done recreationally, competitively as well as in emergency or military operations. But most of the times, the ascend to the top takes a toll on our hands.
For this, we need some sort of protective gear to cover our hands. This will help avoid significant damage to the hands. These tapes are the perfect adhesive substances made specifically for such situations. They thus provide the perfect serum to patch our tender skin with.
Why do we need climbing tape?
As discussed above, climbing tapes are used to make sure our hands don’t suffer enough while we climb. Following are the reasons as to why tapes are important:
Protecting your skin is mandatory when it comes to climbing. The main idea is to create a layer of protection such that it prevents the skin from ripping. This is commonly done when your fingers are raw, painful, worn down, and most likely to tear. Extra layers of tape can save you from an injury that might take a few days to heal.
Climbing is something which is supposed to be hard on the hands so you can’t rely on tapes completely. If you try to avoid the pain by taping, you interfere with the process.
Instead of relying on tape to reduce the pain, challenge yourself. Control your hand placement and movement as much as you can when going from one hold to the next. Your hands have to harden up to understand the concepts of climbing. If a hold is particularly sharp or uncomfortable, you should tape your hands. Then you work out the rest of the problem.
When you’re done, remove the tape for a genuine attempt. Your skin will hurt more in the initial stages, but it’s worth it in the long run. It will help you to be focused more. It will also contribute to precision and longevity in your climbing.
However, if you tear your skin up and still want to continue climbing, then make sure to clean your wound. Once done, tape your hands. Otherwise, the blood will stick to it making it completely unsanitary. The adhesive power might also lessen up.
Taping your hands is crucial during crack climbing. This is because you often jam or twist your hands inside the rock cracks to get a grip. Hence, protecting your hand and knuckles is quite essential in this case.
Our fingers comprise of a web of bones, tendons, muscles, and joints. There are two primary flexor tendons in each finger. One flexes the middle phalanx, and the other flexes the fingertips. A system of ligament-like “pulleys” supports these tendons. The pulley holds the tendons close to the finger bones. As a result, it gives them the mechanical advantage needed to flex the fingers.
Pulleys are susceptible to injuries while climbing. Since there are rings in each section of the finger, they take on a lot of weight. This makes them more vulnerable to injuries. According to some climbers, wrapping the injured finger will provide sufficient structural support.
The support will keep the tendon in place. They also believe that this will prevent further injury to the pulley. It’s worth saying that everybody has their own opinion on tape’s effectiveness, but it is advisable to use it.
The Top Five Climbing Tapes You Can Buy Online
There are many climbing tapes available in the market. However, we have narrowed them down to the five best climbing tapes to help you in making the right purchase.
Following are the top five climbing tapes. These are ultimately known for their good cost, excellent adhesiveness, and high quality:
- Metolius climbing tapes
- Muller M tape
- Muller M tape (4 pack)
- Leukotape p
- Evolv magic finger tape
Metolius climbing tape
The Metolius is well known for its premium quality tapes. It’s the perfect tape to wrap your hands with when they feel sore or need some support. Whether you’re suffering from splits, flints, tears or braces, this tape is your go-to option. It works perfectly in such cases and provides ultimate protection.
It is a solid, well-rounded tape. It is nice and sticky as well as durable. A single roll is said to contain 10 meters of 1.5” tape. It is made up of cotton and is white in color. The dimensions extend to 3 by 4 by 6 inches while the shipping weight is merely 3.2 ounces.
- No stretch fabric
- A Might be a little pricier for some.
Mueller Sports M Tape
Muller Athletic Tape is the perfect cloth tape for your injuries. The M Tape is also made for wrapping injuries and adding support to the player’s ankles or wrist. This M Tape can be torn easily to make the perfect width of grip tape. The Muller M Tape is an item that must be present in all gear and coach bags. It’s always safe to pick up a couple of rolls.
It comes with 12.5 yards of tape. It is well-known for its high tensile strength, excellent tackiness, and conformability. It is easy to tear and unwind to the core for great use and support. Also, the rolls are made of hospital grade, 100% cotton black cloth. It comes in various colors.
- High tensile strength
- Easy to wear
- Might not be sticky enough for some.
Muller M tape (4 packs)
This is a high quality trainer’s tape which conforms to all areas of the body. It provides firm support and compression and is ideal for most taping applications. Furthermore, it can also be used on equipment such as baseball bats and hockey sticks. It is easy to tear and unwind this tape.
It comes with 4 rolls in one pack hence saving one lot of money. Each roll is 10 yards long. It is made up of cotton and is medically approved. Aside from hands and skin, it can be used on sports equipment due to its conformity and reliability
- Easy to wear
- Low cost
- Can be utilized for equipment as well
- Might not be adhesive enough for some.
- Leukotape P
Leukotape P is a good strength, rigid tape, with a strong zinc oxide adhesive. It is porous and hand-tear able, yet offers extra strong support for sprains and strains. Ideal for patellofemoral and simply knee taping. It is advised to use this tape in conjunction with the Cover Roll Stretch.
This is the stickiest and rigid tape and offers the best comfort to the user. Its adhesive properties are such that a person using it can feel the stickiness for days. Hence if you have a sweating problem or want an extra sticky tape, then Leukotape is the answer.
As the name suggests, the tape is mostly used for medical purposes. It is ideal for when people come across injuries such as to the knee most of the times.
Leukotape P is a Rayon-backed tape with an aggressive zinc oxide adhesive. It is highly recommended for patellofemoral taping and shoulder taping techniques. It is specified for use with the Cover-Roll Stretch Bandage. Also, it contains latex hence we get a slightly more rigid tape as compared to the ones consisting of cotton. It is recommended to avoid this tape if you’re suffering from latex allergy.
It adheres reliably to the skin and underlying material. Moreover, it adheres securely under strain as well. It has high tensile strength and is best for patellofemoral taping. The product dimensions is around 2 x 2 x 2 inches while its weight goes up to 4.2 ounces.
- Excellent quality
- High tensile strength
- Extra adhesive
- Good for patellofemoral injuries
- Can be a bit expensive for some
- Limits movement
- Stickiness remains for days
Evolv Magic Finger tape
When long sessions start to take their toll, this tape helps to soothe and protect. Its breathable design stays sticky and sealed even when wet. It is completely secure and the adhesive sticks without cutting off the circulation. It is a high quality tape and can be compared to the Metolius tape. It is ideal for rock climbing, bouldering, and indoor climbing.
One of its striking advantages is the fact that as much as it’s sticky, it can be torn off easily too. So now you would no longer have to worry about lingering stickiness. Plus, you won’t require a lot of effort in taking it off.
The tape has a latex rubber construction. This keeps things nice and protected. It also adds just the right amount of additional grip whenever you’re reaching for the next hold. This product is non-sticky, self-sealing, and breathable. It stays sealed even when wet. It is green in color and protects your fingers from rough cracks and crevices. The material is latex hence those allergic to latex should avoid it.
- High quality
- Perfectly adhesive yet breathable
- Might be a bit expensive for some
The Different Kinds of Climbing Tape
Tapes are of various kinds, and it is advisable to know all the uses of all types of tape. This would help you figure out which tape you need to purchase.
Climbing tapes vs. athletic tapes
Climbing tapes and athletic tapes are pretty much the same things. There is not much difference between the two. It depends on what the customer is looking for when buying a product. Or what characteristics you want in the tape for climbing.
Premium athletic tapes outperform climbing tapes because of the high conformability, supple fabric.
If you are looking for 2-dimensional tear ability, you will find them all almost equal. Some tapes have a finish on them to improve tearing. However, there are hardly any tapes with chemical finishes to help enhance durability.
This doesn’t mean you can choose a cheap athletic tape for your climbing adventures. Make sure that it’s highly adhesive and works well with moisture when selecting. Also, note that climbing tapes are mostly made of cotton. There are only a few which comes with zinc oxide or latex. The extra adhesiveness or moisture resistance are not required for sports like football. But where there is climbing involved, you have to make sure that the tape sticks well enough.
Again it depends on the said customer. Typically, most are deeply satisfied with athletic tapes as well. Hence, try out both of them for extra measures and good results.
Most of the tapes made are from 100% pure cotton. Cotton tapes are used by many. These tapes have satisfied users because of their ease, conformity, and slight elasticity. The tapes in which cotton is highly used are the non-medical types like Metolius or Muller. Some of the benefits of cotton made tape are:
- Cotton is soft and easy on the skin
- Cotton is less sticky
- Cotton is more reliable for people with injuries
- Cotton is used in athletic and climbing tapes both
However, there are some for whom cotton doesn’t work as it should, and they stick to some alternative options. So try out a few yourself first and see which one works out for you.
Latex tapes are used in medical tapes like Leukotype or Evolv. Many prefer latex made tapes because of their adhesive power, rigidity, and strength. Some of the features are:
- Latex tapes are rigid
- Latex tapes are stickier to the extent where it lasts for days
- Latex is slightly irritable on the skin. However, it provides the perfect support during a climb
Now latex tapes are used for those searching for a proper grip. It helps you strengthen your grip and makes the mount easier. It eliminates the fear of slipping or injuring yourself by rupturing a pulley or tendons. If you’re concerned about these problems, then a latex tape is something you should go for.
How to choose a good climbing tape?
Despite knowing about the best climbing tapes, many still can’t buy the perfect tape for climbing. They end up choosing the wrong one. As discussed above, everyone has their opinion regarding the effectiveness of the tape. However, there are still a few things which must be kept in mind when choosing a such tape.
Following are some of the features necessary to consider:
While buying a tape, many people usually ignore the width of the tape and just choose one randomly. This is a huge mistake. Make sure you properly check the width. You should have enough knowledge about the width that would be suitable enough for you. Such tapes come in three widths: half an inch, one inch, and one a half inches. Many usually go for the half inch tape because it fits perfectly. Others choose a much wider one depending upon their use.
When crack climbing, one needs to have a wider width tape. Hence they tend to use the one and a half inch ones while others use half an inch for simple climbing. It depends on the user. If he/she wants a broader coverage, he/she should go for tapes of one or one and a half inch. If they need just enough coverage to make them last their ascent then, they should go for a half inch tape.
When buying such tape for climbing, an essential factor to consider is usually the width. However, many prefer to have a good length as well. A standard length is not really defined for tapes, but a tape measuring 30 to 45 feet in length should suffice. As already mentioned, the primary factor to be considered in the size area is the width.
Hence, whatever length you can find will be fine. But safe to say, if you do want to consider it then 30 to 45 feet will be enough.
Tapes with multiple rolls
Climbing tapes can be pretty expensive especially if you’re thinking of buying a single roll. One roll is never enough particularly if you’re going to be using it for your climbing routine. One should always try to buy such a tape which offers two to three rolls in its purchase. In this way, you can save up a good amount of money and get enough tape to last you for some time.
Again, however, if you’re not a frequent climber then buying many rolls can be less fruitful. This is because the quality slowly deteriorates with the time. Hence, buy as much tape as you think you will need.
While purchasing any product, its quality check is imperative. The same applies for tape as well. Of course, you won’t want to waste money on a tape of poor quality with less sticking power. So make sure you examine the tape thoroughly while making a purchase. The brands mentioned above will surely not disappoint in quality.
However, the real work starts with how you use it. Different tapes work differently on every skin. Make sure you go with those that are extremely comfortable on your skin.
Best ways to tape your hands
We have already discussed the climbing tapes, their need, types, and selection. Now how do we tape our hands? Following are some of the methods to help you out:
For climbers, the first thing they need to do is to focus on are their ‘pulleys’ or tendons. So when wrapping the tape, make sure to start with one finger and slowly work your way to the others
The first phalanx connects with your hand between the first and second crease. Wrap the tape around it three to four times. You want the tape to be tight, yet, comfortable.
Then, cross the tape over the joint and wrap it around the second phalanx thrice. Next, bring the tape back down to cross over the joint again, forming an X pattern. Then, wrap it back around the lower phalanx to finish it off.
A tape glove will help you to avoid scratches and painful cuts on the back of your hands and between your fingers. Start at your knuckles, place three to four strips of tape across the back of your hand. Follow that up by bringing a piece of tape from the top of your wrist around the base of your index finger.
This should be tight enough for it to stay in place but not so tight it restricts movement. For the sake of comfort, mostly from here onwards move directly to wrapping the pinky. Then, wrap the tape around the wrist coming back all the way. Make sure this covers the space between two fingers.
Finish up with wrapping around the wrist again. The back of your hand will be adequately covered if done correctly.
Sometimes climbers tend to take risks or want to harden their wrists and hands. Hence, they avoid taping. That isn’t reckless, but it is advisable to tape your hands while climbing.
This particularly applies for crack or rock climbing. In order to prevent your pulleys from facing total damage, you should start taping. Tape your finger halfway up to the main phalanx.
Do a few laps around until you have completely covered the middle joint of the finger. This should go up halfway between the second and third joint. In the end, you should overlap each round of tape by at least 50 percent. After doing so if your fingers continue to bend then the tape is too loose and needs to be done again.
It can be concluded that while climbing, tapes are necessary so as to avoid injuries and fissures. There are different types of climbing tapes. However, depending on the user, one can easily opt for an athletic tape as well.
Either way, to protect your hands you need to tape them up. Hardening your hand or toughening it up is part of the sport but not to the point where it becomes irreparable. So make use of the list above. It’ll help you select the best climbing tape