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Flat Webbing vs Tubular Webbing

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Mike, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Mike

    Mike epic blarneys

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    Problems with this anchor today in Portal Canyon:
    1. It is flat webbing. Flat webbing is not for climbing purposes. It is much less abrasion resistant, and is not measured in Kilonewtons (the measurement of force used to test climbing equipment).
    2. Second reason should be.....obvious.
    P1040014.JPG


    I've had new folks come up to me with huge chunks of this stuff from REI. "The salesperson told me its just as strong"....No this crap is for backpacks.

    Thoughts?
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  2. skunkteeth

    skunkteeth

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    I have always used tubular but remember the stuff at REI had a breaking strength of at least 4,000 pounds but also said not for climbing. I am guessing there is no batch testing? Maybe people see the load rating and think it is ok?
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  3. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    Tubular also holds knots much better. Flat webbing certainly has its applications, but for DIY stuff that involves knots: tubular.
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  4. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Very Scary Stuff!!!
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  5. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    X2!
    The multitude of manufacturers of 'unknown origin' for tubular webbing is scary enough-
    but flat-weaves are way worse- there are lots of variations that yield a wide variety of breaking strengths from quality to junk that are hard
    to tell apart.
    Flat weave webbing does not belong in a canyon.
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  6. AW~

    AW~

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    "It is much less abrasion resistant"...how much less? You look this up and get back to me with your negative number.
    " is not measured in Kilonewtons " - it is possible to convert lbf to KN? anyways....http://www.cmcrescue.com/one-inch-webbing-anchors-minimum-breaking-strength/

    Thoughts:
    "11/16" Tubular Webbing Lighter and less-bulky than 1" tubular webbing, but still good for a myriad of uses. Strong enough for most anchors in canyons, though it will wear out faster, so please do not use in trade route canyons. An excellent choice for backcountry canyons where weight really counts, and where you might have to carry quite a bit.
    Strength: 3500 lbs"
    &
    "1" Tubular Webbing @ 50 cents a foot
    Strong 1" tubular webbing for a myriad of uses - the mainstay for rigging anchors in canyons, especially in trade-route canyons, or for high-wear things like deadmen and cairn anchors. We usually carry about 40 feet, just in case. More in long canyons with more anchors.Use 56" for a tied, over-the-shoulder sling. Use 20 feet for a tied-leg-loop tied harness rig.
    Strength: 4200 lbs"


    Flat?
    1 inch flat - 4200 strength 20 cents a foot
    1 inch flat super - 6100 strength 36 cents a foot
    2 inch(polyester) super - 14,000 strength 50 cents a foot


    I have and use flat webbing(have tubular as well) so I usually can tell the difference between the real deal and fakes(which are thinner). But lets say it was a fake....that doesnt mean its useless. If it were 2500 strength, that just means twice as much to be used. Granted, Im saying this for informations sake, and wouldnt suggest a beginner start with flat webbing....but there is some wrong info being presented here.





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  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    2 inch(polyester) super - 14,000 strength 50 cents a foot

    I have a bunch of this stuff. Maybe a few hundred feet. Does anyone have an idea of what I should do with it? Does anyone want some (free)?

    I packed out maybe 15 lbs of the stuff while exploring the rim of Crystal Springs Canyon. It was at the top of a 420' high alcove that someone used to rappel directly into Lake Powell, but whoever it was left it all behind.

    It's the same width as a seatbelt in a car, but I don't know what the best use for it would be. I have it in my garage.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  8. AW~

    AW~

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    Yes, anything less than 1 inch FLAT Spider Silk MKII doesnt belong in a canyon. Thats 66.7KN ...or 15,000lbf.
  9. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    ALL of the webbing pictured is one inch wide nylon flat weave.
    Guess the breaking strengths....

    flat webbing.
  10. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    These are some samples of webbing we use for manufacturing.
    The bottom three are easy to reject as 'not strong enough for a canyon' due to the material being noticeably thinner.
    But the top four, ranging in (theoretical) strength from 6,000 lbs to 3,000 lbs, are VERY difficult to tell apart.
    AW- some alert or experienced people like yourself may be handy at discriminating between similar flat weaves
    but the average Joe or Jane probably will not be very good at this.
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  11. AW~

    AW~

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    A cutting test to me is what proves what....but there are reputable flat webbing dealers. Either type has unscrupulous people who can imposterize solid webbing. And using old webbing on an anchor carries risks. I guess I have to backtrack a little and say that even though I can compare the photo webbing to the one I have, even my own webbing from a previous trip left behind has to be inspected/cut.

    Some canyoneers just replace whatever is there. Dave Black mentions that as well mainly because of sand damage in slots.
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  12. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    AW-
    Cutting test?
  13. AW~

    AW~

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    No science here, but the tougher it is to cut, the stronger it is IMO. In the photo, I see some tails that can be trimmed:). A good piece of flat webbing will not be cut easily...in fact thats a disadvantage to using super heavy webbing is that people prefer machetes and fixed blades to cut lengths.
    For tubular, its easier to cut....but still once you get to the stitching in the middle, any hand strength shouldnt go anywhere. Even partially cut webbing should still hold. I cut the rigging below and not only did it cut easily...it was filled with cotton or whatever fluff.

    P8290346.JPG
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  14. Mike

    Mike epic blarneys

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    Numbers? Don't have any. Don't need any either. When the product description says "not for climbing" (http://www.rei.com/product/857933/tapecraft-1-nylon-flat-webbing) why would push it to save some change?

    If different types of flat webbing are hard to tell apart as Rapterman stated, all I'm doing is screwing the next person who will have to replace the unknown anchor. I believe your ideas on "fake" webbing and "just using twice as much" are ridiculous and unsafe.

    I would hope our day in Fall Creek years ago, would have made you more cautious with anchor situations. I know you are a passionate person when it comes to Socal canyons. Would prefer you to stick around.

    My non-scientific observations of flat webbing in the field is that its crusty and hard edged, as opposed to supple like tubular is. The anchor pictured above was slung around some very sharp limestone. Which is more likely to cut?

    Thanks for the discussion folks, as its what I'd hoped for. Any insight on quality control testing for the flat webbing with high tensile strength?
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  15. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    I believe one of the reasons that we are told by manufacturers and distributors that flat webbing is not to be used for climbing is that the assumption is that it will be knotted.

    Plenty of manufactured goods for climbing are made from flat webbing. But it has to be stitched properly and its use is very specific, often involving hardware.

    Not that the tape craft stuff from REI is flat out dangerous, it's just that it's not as well suited to the same applications as climbspec or milspec tubular. I can tell you from experience though that there ARE applications where flat webbing is much better suited to specific tasks and is much stronger in that application.

    In the world of climbing and canyoneering, when it comes to safety, people are very dogmatic and tend to live by edicts and wrote platitudes without actually knowing the principles behind them. I hear them every time I'm at a crag or when I encounter other groups in canyons - people doing and preaching things simply because "that's what you do" but are completely clueless as to the principle behind the rule.
    I believe this kind of behavior can actually create dangerous situations, but that's a whole other topic.

    Moral of the story, don't tie flat webbing in knots. For canyoneering anchors, stick to mil or climb spec tubular as the gold standard. It's universally identifiable and familiar to 99% of the community, minus the gumbies.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015
  16. AW~

    AW~

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    That trip I went cheap and used Bluewater climb-spec 1 inch for new rigging. I did learn from that incident about inspecting old webbing, no matter what. In fact on a recent outing I cut a Bluewater climb-spec, very likely less than 1 year old in place, with ease:). I didnt replace it with anything because it was a downclimb....that was double-bolted.

    REI...I would just slap a sticker across the entire store.."not for climbing/canyoneering"....but thats me. But I aint going for REI being the standard for flat webbing. That is the ridiculous part.
  17. AW~

    AW~

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    Nope...CMC claims "We’ve been using our one-inch flat web in our rescue classes for several years and it’s proven to be an excellent performer. While not all flat webs will hold knots securely, the CMC Rescue Flat Webbing has been specifically selected for the suppleness necessary to allow knots to be set securely. Flat web also tends to be easier to untie after a heavy load than the softer tubular web. While the flat web is bulkier than the tubular, it does provide a significantly higher strength."...6000lbs strength at 1 inch mil-spec. Theres more reference by companies like this, thats about it. Maybe a book or 2 on high angle rescue repeating the same sentiment. Could not find one recent saying tubular was stronger. Hmm....

    Have any insight on Bluewater climb-spec? Oh wait, there is no such thing as "climb-spec". Its just a marketing term by Bluewater....from 1985. There was a forum where someone supposedly asked Bluewater about it, but was told it was 'proprietary'. Upon testing, vs flat webbing 20 years ago, it was 6% (dont all rush out and buy at once with that news)stronger....but wait, it was pointed out that it had more material so of course it was stronger. But that would be "ridiculous and unsafe" just to use extra material to boost up strength?
  18. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    The CMC stuff I believe is a derivative of mil spec 4088-T25. I have samples of it from various mills. It's pretty soft but noticeably thicker.

    Type 18 is also a popular flat webbing but is usually sewn or used by slackliners with line lockers.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
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  19. Bootboy

    Bootboy Atwood Gear

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    @AW~ Id be curious to know where you've seen 11/16" webbing rated at 3500lbs. Most of it ranges from 2500-3000. The higher rating being harder to find, the stuff from sterling being one and is what I use for anchors and my sandtrap runners.
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  20. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    The Bluewater 'climbspec' weave was new to the climbing world when they introduced it back when.
    Because it is a very good product it has become popular (now referred to as 'tech- weave' by some mills) and variations/copies of the weave
    are now produced in the USA and Europe and used for lots of climbing related stuff.
    But Bluewater 'climbspec' produced by their mill under strict quality control is exclusive to to Bluewater and designated by the three contrasting tracer threads in the center of the web.
    The advantage of a 'branded webbing' like Bluewater's is that you know EXACTLY what you are getting and that the company has a long and excellent track record for testing and quality control (the owner is a caver and climber from wayyyyyy back).
    Ditto for CMC rescue- if they are promoting their particular flat weave for rescue apps, they have tested the heck out of it in their lab and in the field.
    My point in chiming in on this discussion is simply to point out that there are a zillion variations on flat weaves that are hard to tell apart which makes them a poor choice for the canyons.
    So far, the one inch tubular weaves we have tested, including un-branded, uncertified ones have still exhibited very good tensile strengths.
    For now, this makes one inch tubular the 'best we have got' for canyoneers as a community.
    I fear the day that some creepy/greedy people copy one inch mil-spec or climb-spec weaves in 'junk' fiber (polypropylene or the like).
    Then we may really have a problem deciding what web to keep or cut in the canyon.
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