We’ve always been fans of Edelrid’s ropes (and other products) they’re durable, handle well and the dry treatment is the best we’ve used and it looks like the Swift Eco Dry is going to continue that tradition. Back in 2013 Kev reviewed the Edelrid Swift which at the time was one of a new breed of triple rated ropes appearing on the market. Triple rated ropes meet the UIAA specification for both double and twin rope use as well as use as a single. At 8.9mm this puts them towards the fat end of a typical double rope and the skinny end of a single read Kev’s review here to get his impressions.
In the intervening five years the Swift has become a staple of Edelrid’s line and very popular especially as a double rope for professional users, if you are bringing two clients up ‘guide’ style then each client is effectively on a rope that is rated for single use giving a bit of extra security. With a diameter of 8.9mm, weighing 52g per metre and available in lengths from 30-80metres there should be a version to suit anyones needs.
With the Swift Eco Dry Edelrid have applied their strong environmental ethos to rope manufacturing. There are two main elements to this.
- Firstly the ‘upcycling’ of sheath yarns. You’ll notice that the Swift Eco Dry is multi-coloured, in fact no two ropes will be identical as Edelrid use up end of spool yarns from other rope manufacturing runs to produce the Swift Eco Dry. Don’t worry there are no ‘splices’ involved and all yarns run the complete length oft the rope so there’s no compromise on strength and durability.
- Secondly Edelrid have used a new ‘Dry treatment’ that eliminates the use of PFCs – in fact the Eco Dry is the worlds first rope that doesn’t use PFCs and still meets the UIAA standard for water repellency.
PFCs are a large group of Poly and Per-fluorinated chemicals used extensively in water repellency and stain prevention. In the outdoor market you will commonly come across them used in DWR coatings and in some of the most well know waterproof breathable membranes. The big concern is that these chemicals breakdown very slowly and with a half life of several years can be characterised as persistent. Various studies have made links to deleterious effects of these chemicals in the environment and the human body. As a result many manufacturers are seeking alternatives for use in outdoor apparel and equipment.
The Swift Eco Dry arrived just a few weeks too late to give it a bashing in Scotland and I’ve not got out to the Alps yet so an assessment of its dry treatment will have to wait (I’ll add it to this review later). Meanwhile I’ve used the Swift Eco Dry for sport and trad in the Lakes, Dales and Peak. Apart from the funky multi coloured sheath there is nothing that indicates that the Eco Dry is any different to the standard Swift. In use ithandles fantastically and so far durability is up to Edelrid’s usual excellent standards. One factor that certainly helps with the initial handling of the rope is Edelrid’s use of their 3D lap coil system. Unlike a traditionally coiled rope this method allows you to literally tie in and climb with the rope straight out the packet, no careful uncoiling to avoid kinks. Just to test this we took the Swift Eco Dry to Giggleswick and pulled it straight from the bag as you can see in the video below and it worked perfectly.
Being able to start easily with a twist/kink free rope may be a small thing in some ways but it shows Edelrid’s attention to detail. The Sift Eco Dry is a bit thin for sport use to be honest – fine if you’re not pushing things but certainly not a rope to work your project.
It’s strengths just like the standard Swift are in trad and winter/alpine use. Used as a double you get an extra margin of security and the versatility to use as a single on less technical routes. In winter and the Alps I can see me using it as a single for simplicity and light weight and perhaps pairing it with a tag line or a super light double/twin like the Skimmer we reviewed last year. Bear in mind that you would need to rig the Skimmer as a pull line rather than as a conventional double when abseiling as the differing diameters going through your ab device could have dangerous consequences! So far the Swift Eco Dry has proved equal to the conventional Swift. It seems likely that the Eco Dry treatment will not prove as durable as the original Pro Dry and the crux will be how much less durable it is, something that will probably take a good 12 months to assess so we will update this page accordingly. However a slightly less durable dry treatment will be a worthwhile trade-off for less environmental contamination – Edelrid still provide the traditional treatment so your needs/conscience will be your guide.
- Excellent handling
- Environmentally sound
- 3D Lap coil starts you off kink free
- Tricky to differentiate colours if using two Eco Drys
- Eco Dry treatment likely less durable.
SRP 30m:£130, 40m:£140, 50m:£160, 60m:£180, 70m:£205, 80m:£230
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!