Full disclosure: I was provided with a full set of linen hemp ropes from Esinem for the purposes of review. No other expectations were…um…expected, and Bruce expressly asked me to be very honest about my experience with it. This is a pre-review, because I was asked to give the “real” review on the Ropecast.
It’s funny how the older I get the smaller millimeters become. When I first pulled out the rope that Esinem shipped to me I thought “Damn…6mm isn’t what it used to be.” I’ve had that thought about lots of rope, and I had to go to the site to check: this was not 6mm, this was 5mm! If you’re used to the slightly thicker stuff (6-8mm) then it might take some getting used to, or even an extra wrap or two to give the same support and comfort to the bottom.
The second thing I did was the same thing that most natural rope aficionados do when they get new rope: I picked up a bunch, pressed it to my face, and inhaled. Yes! See, the reason I’d been inordinately excited about getting the linen was because my first set of linen rope -acquired many years ago from Maui Kink – had been a favorite because it smelled not like kerosene, not like grass, not like hay, but like books. And this rope did, too. Naiia was pretty thrilled by it as well.
I am not sure what the treatment process was for the hemp, but the color was an off-white (leaning towards gray, not cream) in color, and it was stiff. Really stiff, and I was pretty sure I’d need to work it out a lot to loosen it up. The ends were knotted, not whipped, which proved to be one of the only two complaints I have about the rope – at one point during a tie I found that a knot had come undone and the strands had separated 2-3 inches down. Yes, I was able to re-tie it – and yes, I could have re-tied it before I started using it. If you get your own, I suggest you do that – or maybe even put in a Wall Knot or something fancy.
Annoying, but not a fault of the rope itself. The only other complaint I had is also something that’s easily fixed: Esinem cuts the rope to the “traditional” 8m lengths, but I found that for the people I tied the ropes seemed shorter. I’ll be honest – I tend to follow Ojipan dictum that the correct length of rope to use is the length of rope in your hand, but ties that usually took me two lengths took three, and ties that took three took four – with lots of excess to “decorate”. I suspect that with a little communication you could get ropes cut to a more custom length, and that problem would be fixed.
On the site Esinem says that this requires very little treatment and “holds knots well” – both of which I can corroborate. After 2-3 ties the rope softened up and was just as much a pleasure to use as I’d hoped. It is heavier than jute, but for me that was a good thing – it meant that the rope would also last longer, and also just made it feel that much more secure during suspensions.
If I had it to do over again, I would have gotten 9m lengths with wall knots at the ends, and I confess that I do prefer the thicker linen rope to the 5mm. But this rope is a solid alternative to jute or woven hemp, and gives some nice clean lines and solid grip to ties. It’s not gonna be cheap – before shipping it’s about $17 US for a length – but it’s also going to last you a long time.
How about you? Any other linen rope users out there? What is your opinion?
Coming soon: a review of a totally different kind of rope, hand-woven to my custom specs by M0co!