Nylon is the strongest synthetic material for commonly used DIY ropes. Nylon is best used for absorbing shock loads, such as towing, because it has an elasticity characteristic that will absorb the shock and return the rope very close to its original length after being stretched. Nylon can last several times longer than natural fiber ropes because it is resistant to rotting, oil, and most common chemicals. Nylon does not float and it will absorb water, which causes it to shrink slightly and to lose some of its strength (10-15%). Nylon is ideal for use as bow-to-stern towing, safety lines, tow ropes, tie-downs and anchor lines.

Warning: Do not use for overhead lifting, support of human weight or athletic equipment, Do not exceed safe working load detailed on the package. Shock loads (stress, jerk) can reduce working loads by as much as 33%. Never stand in line with ropes under tension; rope (especially nylon) may recoil or snap back. Knots reduce rope strength by 40%. Replace the rope if there are signs of wear, such as broken fibers.


Rope Selection Guide

Polypropylene Nylon Polyester Cotton Manila/Sisal/Jute Clothesline
Shock Load Ability
Floats or Sinks in Water Floats Sinks Sinks Sinks Sinks Sinks
Melting Point 330°F 480°F 500°F Burns Burns 500°F
Abrasion Resistance
Resistance to Sunlight
Resistance to Rot and Mildew
Resistance to Oil and Gas
Flexing Endurance
Store Wet or Dry Wet or Dry Wet or Dry Wet or Dry Dry Only Dry Only Wet or Dry
Stretch Resistance

Reference Chart

Trade Size Imperial Size
#3 3/32″
#4 1/8″
#4.5 9/64″
#5 5/32″
#6 3/16″
#7 7/32″
#8 1/4″
#10 5/16″
#12 3/8″

Rope Construction Guide

Double Diamond Braid Diamond Braid Twisted Smooth Braid Hollow Core
Spliceable No
Flattens Under Load No Yes No No Yes
Rotates Under Load No No Yes No No
Knot-Holding Ability


Solid Braid = Smooth Braid
Sash Cord = Cotton or Polypropylene Cord
Derby Rope = Solid/Smooth Braid Polypropylene
Double Braid is NOT the same as Diamond Braid
Seine Twine = Diamond Braid Twine
Mason’s Line = Twisted Twine
Maypole = Diamond Braid