What kind of rope should I buy?

As a rope educator, I often get the question of where to buy rope. In short, the answer is that it depends. Rope choice is very personal. I’ve used and felt a wide variety of ropes from different makers, and I’ve also spun and processed my own. However, I don’t like to make specific recommendations because one person might not like a rope that someone else loves.

Here’s the general advice that I would give:

  • You have a lot of options. Even for a single material like jute, there are probably hundreds of sources, including countless individual makers who source the raw materials and spin rope themselves. There’s going to be quite a lot of variety among different sources – in terms of yarn choice, how the rope is spun, and processing.
  • There is no single best rope. Much of it comes down to personal preference. If you are new, don’t worry too much about finding the perfect rope, as your preferences will probably change as you gain more experience and learn to tie in different ways.
  • Natural fiber rope, specifically jute or hemp, is best for learning highly technical Japanese-style ties. For simple bedroom bondage, almost any rope will do. In fact, some kinds of ties actually work better with the thicker synthetic ropes you can buy at the hardware store.
  • More expensive does not necessarily mean better. Some experienced rope tops prefer makers that are on the lower end of the price range to the higher priced and/or more aggressively marketed brands. That said, if you have the money to spend and like the feel of something more costly, then go for it.
  • Processing makes a big difference. If you don’t know or care how to process rope, find something that you like the feel of out of the box. If you are willing to learn how to process rope yourself, you can customize your rope more and will have more options.

My recommendation for new people who want to learn Japanese-style rope bondage is to choose the material you think you want to tie with and get two to four ~8m (25-30ft) lengths of 6mm (1/4in) rope from a reasonably priced supplier to play around with. You don’t need much more than that to do the vast majority of things you will want to do. Later on, when you have a better idea of what you want and need a larger kit, you can consider making a more significant purchase.