Webbing is a fabric woven as a flat strip or tube of varying width and fibers often used in place of rope. The name webbing comes from the meshed material frequently used in its construction, which resembles a web. It is a versatile component used in climbing, slacklining, furniture manufacturing, automobile safety, auto racing, towing, parachuting, military apparel, and many other fields. Modern webbing is often made from exceptionally high-strength material, such as Dyneema, Nylon, Polyester, and Kevlar. Webbing is both light and strong, with breaking strengths readily available in excess of 10,000 lb (44.4 kN)
In rock climbing, nylon webbing is used in slings, runners, harnesses, anchor extensions, etriers (ladders) and quickdraws. The most popular webbing is one inch but it is available in two and three inch widths which in earlier days were often used in lieu of climbing harnesses. Wrapped around the waste several times, they were less bulky and more comfortable than the old school method of tying the rope around the waste. More elaborate configurations would include leg loops, which were essential to hold a climber who had fallen or otherwise found themselves dangling. If left supported only by rope or webbing wrapped around the waste, breathing would be constricted and many climbers died as a result of the lack of support which did not constrict the diagphram.
Narrower webbing is frequently looped through chockstones which are typically metal in shapes such as hexagonal, square, tubular, T, etc., and which are jammed into cracks as safety anchors. In other cases, webbing is looped over rock outcroppings. Unlike tubular rope, webbing is less likely to inch its way off the rock. Note that webbing construction is either utterly flat or flat-tubular; the latter tends to handle better but knots are more likely to jam.
The most popular knots in webbing are the water knot and the grapevine knot. The latter is stronger, but uses more webbing for the knot. It is customary to leave a couple inches extending from the knot, and in many cases climbers tape the ends down onto the main loops. Webbing is also less expensive than rope of similar size particularly kernmantle rope which requires elaborate and expensive manufacturing. Unlike rope, which has manufacturers seeking brand identification and customer loyalty, webbing manufacture is typically generic. Climbing shops sell it off of a spool on a per yard or per foot basis. It is cut with a hot wire as is nylon rope, which prevents fraying and unravelling. However, when webbing does fray and unravel, the result is less disastrous than with rope, which is another albeit minimal advantage. Webbing suffers the drawback of less elasticity than perlon rope, and it may be more difficult to handle with gloves or mittens on.