How to make a climbing cargo net

Updated May 10, 2017

The climbing cargo net evokes heroic images of soldiers and marines embarking from troop transport ships during World War II. Modern soldiers continue to climb cargo nets when running obstacle courses. Climbing a cargo net can improve the strength of all the pulling muscles of the body, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, biceps, abdominal muscles and even the gripping muscles of the forearms. It also works the cardiovascular system as you climb. Making your own climbing cargo net can provide a wonderful addition to your home gym workouts.

Construct an anchor board frame of 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) timber. Build the frame 30 cm (1 foot) larger in dimension than you desire for the finished cargo net.

Attach steel 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) in diameter to the inside of the frame at intervals of 30 cm (12 inches) all the way around the frame.

Attach one strand of 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) diameter synthetic climbing rope to each of the eye-bolts across the top of the frame with an overhand knot. Cut these strands half again as long as the finished net.

Attach one strand of your 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) rope to each of the eye-bolts along the left side of your frame. Secure these together by using an overhand knot for each strand.

Measure and mark the horizontal rope at 30 cm (1 foot) intervals. Tie an overhand knot around the first mark with the first vertical rope on the left. Immediately tie an overhand knot in the horizontal rope around the knot you've tied around the horizontal rope.

Repeat step five across the top horizontal rope. Repeat the steps for each of the following vertical and horizontal ropes.

Upon completion of the cargo net, remove it from the frame by untying each of the knots from the eye-bolts and laying the cargo net out flat on the floor. Roll the net tightly until you are ready to hang it for use.

Build a permanent frame for your cargo net from welded steel pipe at least 7.5 cm (3 inches) in diameter. Drill holes along the inside of the pipe frame and secure eye-bolts to the frame. Attach your cargo net to the permanent frame by teaching the ends of each strand of the rope to its respective eye-bolt on the frame. Secure the rope ends to the eye-bolts with an overhand knot secured with a half-hitch to prevent it from sliding loose under the pressure of dynamic weight loads.


You may consider not securing the bottom edge of the net to the permanent frame. This will make climbing the net more difficult, thus increasing the workout value.


Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen. Climbing a cargo net can result in serious injuries if you fall. Please exercise caution when including this exercise into your routine.

Things You'll Need

  • 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) diameter synthetic climbing rope
  • Anchor board frame with steel eye-bolts
  • Sharp knife
  • 7.5 cm (3 inch) diameter steel pipe
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About the Author

A classical Rennaissance man since serving in the U.S. Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment, Ragnar Danneskjold has worked as a ranch cowboy, a Department of Defense contractor, a strength and conditioning coach, a martial arts instructor, a freelance writer and a horse trainer.