Nylon tubular webbing in 1 inch width is rated at 4000 lbs of strength. The 9/16th width is rated at 2000 lbs.
The working strength is approximately 1/4th to 1/5th of the maximum strength, or roughly a 4-5X safety factor.
For hiking purposes, where webbing use is primarily at a low-angle (i.e. not a straight down free dangle) the working load is small as a hiker supports most of his weight on their feet, not on the webbing.
Webbing life is hard to determine. Strict climbing standards says to replace it after a hard fall or after three to five years.
For hiking purposes, retire the webbing if it shows any of the following effects.
- excessive wear such as cuts, nick, abrasions
- fuzzy surface – indicates broken fibers
- faded areas – indicates excessive exposure to UV
- stiff or hard areas – indicates deterioration
- stretches when tied to an anchor and pulled hard
If webbing is kept clean, away from prolonged exposure to UV or sun, it should last for many years.
Care of the webbing means washing it in cold water if it is dirty, dry it away from heat and store it in a bag. Drying it for several hours in the sun should not affect its strength significantly.
The webbing used on the Koko Crater hike probably dates from the mid 1980s.
Jim Yuen, July 2009
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