You’ve reached the perfect site if you’re searching for the most outstanding climbing harness. This blog post will discuss what makes a good climbing harness and recommend a few of our favorites. Whether a beginner or an experienced climber, there is a perfect harness for you!

Common Features of Climbing Harnesses

When shopping for a climbing harness, there are several things you should consider. There are numerous varieties of climbing harnesses available. Certain individuals prioritize their level of comfort above anything else. The longevity of the harness is important to other people. Here are some of the most frequent aspects of climbing harnesses to consider before purchasing one.

1. Buckles

The best climbing harnesses have a lot of buckles. It makes it easier to adjust the harness to fit you well. There is usually one buckle on the waistband. But some models also have buckles on the leg loops. The more buckles there are, the easier it is to put on and take off the harness.

2. Gear Loops

Gear loops are an essential feature on many harnesses. The purpose of gear loops is to help you carry your hiking gear. You can use them to carry small things like water bottles, cameras, and small bags. Some extreme hikers also use gear loops to attach the climbing rope. Your harness may have either 4 or 2 gear loops, depending on the size standards.

3. Leg Loops

Leg loops are a common feature on many harnesses. They are two straps that go around your legs and are usually padded for comfort. You may also find buckles on your leg loops, which makes it easier to put on the harness.

4. Haul Loop

There is a small attachment point at the back of the waist belt on many harnesses. It is where you can put a rope to trail behind you when you climb. A rear haul loop is an excellent place to put your trailing rope so it doesn’t get in the way when climbing. It is also not structural, so it shouldn’t be used as your main attachment point to the rock. Finally, a haul loop can also be a great place to attach a small chalk bag.

5. Rear Risers

The majority of harnesses feature rear risers. The rear risers of your harness are a piece of elastic webbing that links the two leg loops to the back of your waist. You can usually adjust the link to help alter the way your harness fits on you. Most times, the rear risers are detachable, which means they can be removed while you are tied at the waist. It can be convenient if you need to take off the harness without taking it off entirely.

6. Belay Loop

A belay loop is a piece of webbing that you use to secure your climbing partner. It needs to be strong because you will rely on it. Ensure the orientation is vertical so you can provide a smooth belay and the belay is directed correctly.

Several models have a unique safety function that alerts you when your harness is beginning to wear out. Typically, a safety marking is incorporated into the belay loop. Once you observe this indicator, it is time to replace your harness.

How to Select the Ideal Climbing Harness for Your Upcoming Adventure

1. Determine the Type of Climbing You Will Be Performing.

Before searching for a climbing harness, you need to ask yourself what type of climbing you will do. It will assist you in determining the features your harness must possess. For example, suppose you are doing rigorous climbing that requires a lot of endurance. In that case, you will need a supportive and comfortable harness.

2. What Are Your Spending Limits?

When shopping for a climbing harness, you will want to consider how much money you want to spend. Because harnesses exist in various sizes and shapes, their prices vary. The best way to find out how much you should be spending is by figuring out what you need your harness to do for you. That way, you can spend less on unnecessary features and more on features that will help you during your climbs.

3. Consider the Style

There are numerous varieties of climbing harnesses available on the market today. The best one for you depends on your style. There are many options if you want something sporty that looks good outdoors. If you prefer a more casual look, there are also plenty of choices. When choosing a climbing harness, figuring out what style fits you best is an excellent place to start.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

1. During Which Season Will You Be Climbing?

The season you will be hiking in does play a role in what type of harness you should purchase. There are different types of harnesses that are designed specifically for different seasons. For example, “all-around” harnesses have good support and breathable foam. It allows you to use them all year round. You may want to shop for closed-cell foam harnesses during the winter months. These types of harnesses do not absorb moisture and do not freeze.

2. Padding

When shopping for a climbing harness, it is important to consider the padding. Padding can be found around the waistline and the leg loops on most harnesses. For some people, padding is essential. That’s why some harnesses have a lot of padding on the waist and the leg loops.

If you are looking for a moderate level of padding, then you can find waistline padding-only harnesses. There are also plenty of harnesses that do not prioritize padding. If that is what you are looking for, then you may want to choose a harness with less mesh comfort and more nylon construction.

3. Adjustability

You will want to consider how adjustable your harness will be. Some harnesses have buckles all the way around. Other harnesses have buckles just on the waist. Knowing how flexible you want your harness to be will help you choose a design and style that fits your needs.

4. Versatility

Regarding versatility, you must examine the types of trekking and climbing you will engage in. Suppose you are doing a lot of climbing involving a lot of movement. In that case, you need a versatile harness to handle the challenge. If your climbing is not as strenuous, then any harness will do.

5. Price Point

Most harnesses are reasonably priced. You usually get what you pay when looking for a good climbing harness. Versatility, comfort, and accessibility are included in more expensive models. The converse is true for harnesses priced at lower price levels.

You must consider your needs to determine which climbing harness is best for you. Find a harness that has the qualities that are most important to you. It will help you figure out how much money you should spend on a harness.

Best Climbing Harness

1. Petzl Sama Climbing Harness

If you are looking for a good climbing harness, the Petzl Sama Climbing Harness is a great option. It is stylish and made from a gray nylon and polyester blend. It makes it perfect for climbers who don’t want a “sporty” look.

This harness is practical and easy to use. It is made of comfortable material. The padded waist belt and leg loops make it easy to move around. People who travel will like the wide waist belt. Climbers who hike with gear will love the equipment loop.

Pros

Leg loops made of elastic keep the harness properly fitted.

Leg loop straps that are elastic and flexible connection allow maximum mobility.

The harness is packaged in a durable carry bag.

Great overall look.

Durable

Trusted brand

Cons

It May not feel comfortable for climbers with larger waists.

2. Petzl Aquila Climbing Harness

This Petzel Aquila Climbing Harness is an excellent choice because a trusted brand backs it. It also has a great look and provides unmatched support. The wide waistbelt makes it easy to adjust, making it perfect for climbers of all sizes.

The best climbing harness around can fit a range of sizes. It is because different people have different body types. Another feature that makes this climbing harness great is that the leg loops easily clip on and off for quick wear. It is convenient if you want to take it off quickly. Plus, the waist and leg loops provide perzine comfort due to the mesh padding.

It is one of the best climbing harnesses because it is easy to pack your gear with you. Four gear pockets make it easy to store your gear. Plus, the abrasion-resistant fabric will ensure that your harness lasts for a long time.

Pros

Great price point

Maximum comfort for extreme climbs

Complete freedom with movement

Durable

Trusted brand

Cons

close None

3. Arc’teryx AR-395a Harness

The Arc’teryx AR-395a Harness is the best hiking and climbing harness, according to many people who enjoy hiking. It has numerous characteristics that make it ideal for various activities.

It is a weather-resistant and windproof climbing harness. It is also insulated, which makes it comfortable to wear. Light fleece is the main material used in its construction, which feels soft against your skin.

This harness is unique because of the way it is built and designed. It has a firm hold on the user and is particularly resistant to wear and tear. Because the fabric does not slide around between the layers, it is pleasant to wear. When you put it on, the high quality will immediately become apparent. This brand offers the best climbing gear available.

Pros

Weather resistant

Lightly insulated

Versatile

Windproof

Durable

Cons

None

4. Black Diamond Vario Speed Harness

The Black Diamond brand is known for making great products. One such product is the Black Diamond Vario Speed Harness. This harness is perfect for hikers who care about speed and agility. It’s versatile because it’s made from nylon, a strong material.

This material is strong and will keep your harness in place, no matter how tough the hike is. The waist belt has a large buckle that makes it easy to clip yourself in. The waist belt is already threaded, so you don’t have to do it twice. Plus, the wide nylon webbing provides extra padding.

Some hikers find that this harness does not have enough padding. It might mean that it is not the most comfortable for you. While some people think it is the best climbing harness, others like it for different reasons- like going to the gym. It might be a good choice if you often go to the gym.

Pros

Great for gym use

Versatile

Great starter climbing harness

Great for use in all weather

Adjustable to fit all sized climbers

Cons

Not an ample amount of cushion is provided

5. Black Diamond Momentum Harness

It is a great climbing harness if you want something easy to get in and out of. The Black Diamond Momentum DS Harness has dual-sided pre-threaded speed adjust buckles on the waist belt and the leg loops. It makes it easy to get in and out of the harness quickly. The waist belt also has a tall padded bullhorn-shaped waste, which will make you feel comfortable when you are wearing it.

The Dual Core Construction design in the waist belt makes this product comfortable and safe to wear when you are out. The adjustable elastic rear risers make it easy to find a good fit and release if needed. You’ll appreciate the four pressure-molded gear Loops when you need to carry all your gear.

These gear loops are perfect for carrying hiking gear on your travels. There are different sizes, and there are only two gear loops in the XXS and S sizes. It is because of size restraints on the weight belt. If you’re looking for a great climbing harness, this is one of the best ones to get your hands on.

Pros

Versatile

Trusted brand

Durable construction

Easy to use and access gear loops

Cons

Close XXS and S sizes only allow for two gear loops.

6. Black Diamond BOD Harness

It is a fantastic location to begin your search for a quality climbing harness. It is a trusted brand that makes high-quality harnesses.

Pros

  • Excellent snow boots
  • Great grip
  • Soft inner lining
  • Good insulation

Cons

  • None

7. Black Diamond Chaos Harness

There are four pressure-molded rear gear loops on this harness. They are great for holding slings, a camera, a small pack or bag, and other small devices. It makes it perfect for traveling on hikes. It is made with a construction that makes it lightweight and can withstand long journeys easily.

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable fit
  • Softly padded for added comfort
  • Premium trad climbing harness
  • Durable
  • plusVersatile

Cons

  • Minimal padding

The Best Climbing Harnesses: Buying Guide

A harness is an integral part of every climber’s equipment. We have found the best climbing harnesses for every type of climber, whether you are just starting in a gym or preparing to climb for a week on El Capitan.

Like running or bicycling, many sporting activities come under the climbing umbrella. Although all of these disciplines require moving upwards on inclined terrain, they are all unique and demand different types of equipment.

Different climbers need different types of harnesses. A harness for a sport climber might not be the best choice for an ice climber or aid climber. And the best harness for a beginner might not meet the needs of a more experienced climber.

7 Best Climbing Harnesses

1. Edelrid Moe

The Moe is a modern, all-around harness that is an excellent value. Whether you are a new climber who is just starting or an experienced climber, you will find many things to like about the Moe.

The Moe has a feature that allows it to fit many body types. The foam padding on the waist loop slides around to fit different people’s bodies.

The Moe comes with slidable webbing and an adjustable buckle to make it fit you. You can also adjust the leg loops slightly. The Four symmetrical gear loops are included with Moe. We used the Moe for traditional climbing and discovered that it worked well for most single- and multi-pitch climbs. Although the waist and leg loops don’t seem to breathe particularly well, the considerable padding kept us relatively comfortable while dangling in the harness.

The Moe left a ring of sweat after I took it off. It is a common problem with foam harnesses because they are more comfortable but lack ventilation. We’ve only been using the Moe for a month or so, but it doesn’t seem to be wearing out, and it seems durable enough to last for a long time. The red wear indicator threads woven into the tie-in loops help determine when to retire the harness.

The Moe is a versatile harness for many activities, like ice climbing.

Specs:

  • 11 and a half ounces (M)
  • The best for general climbing (sport, trad, ice, etc.)
  • Key characteristics include ice clipper slots and Center Fit technology (adjustable belay loop location).

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Customizable fit
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Not very breathable

2. Black Diamond Solution Guide — Men’s & Women’s

The Solution Guide($100) is a more advanced version of Black Diamond’s popular Solution harness. Even though it is called the “Guide” harness, it can be used by anyone. It is durable and has a lot of storage space, making it perfect for trad and multi-pitch climbing.

When carrying a lot of gear, it is essential to wear a harness to hold all your stuff. The Guide harness has lots of space on the front and back for carrying gear. We have found that it can fit almost any rack for free climbing.

The Guide also has a lot of storage space for gear. It has a wide waist belt that will help your back feel better when hanging from a belay or rappelling. The waist belt and leg loops are composed of a lightweight material that allows your skin to breathe.

The waist loop has three flat strips of webbing to help spread the load without needing bulky foam. It makes it more comfortable to hang in for a long time. The Guide harness is designed for trad climbing, made from abrasion-resistant materials that can withstand the abuse of off-width climbing and chimneying. We were glad that the Guide showed no concerning signs of wear after multiple sessions, including sport, trad, and multi-pitch climbing on abrasive granite.

This harness is for rock climbing and is not meant for ice climbing. It is a versatile harness, and it is a reasonable price.

Specs:

  • Size: 14 oz (M)
  • Best for: Traditional climbing Special features: Fifth gear loop for additional gear; “Super Fabric” that resists abrasion

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Lots of gear storage for trad climbing
  • Good value

Cons:

  • Lacks ice clipper slots

3. Misty Mountain Titan Harness

The Titan Harness from Misty Mountain is great for big wall climbing. Unlike most other harnesses, the Titan does not have a lot of padding. It makes it lighter and more portable.

When looking for a big-wall harness, it is essential to find one that is comfortable and supportive. This way, you can sit in it for hours without getting tired. The Titan harness is a good option for long aid routes, route development, and occasional pitches of ice or free climbing.

The Titan is a great big wall harness because it has a lot of cushioning and low back support. The leg loops are also well-padded and adjustable, so you can wear them even when wearing many clothes.

A 500-denier CORDURA nylon shell covers the waist and leg loops. As you ascend on uneven terrain, this will prevent them from getting scratched or damaged. There are also six reinforced gear loops, which give you plenty of space to carry your gear, whether you’re doing aid or free climbing. Additionally, there are dual belay loops, a rated haul loop, and two side slots for ice clippers.

The Titan is a lightweight and strong harness you should not use for free climbing. It is a specialty gear for Grade XI big walls and aid routes.

Specs:

  • 22.4 oz. in weight (M)
  • Best for: Route creation and big wall climbing Features: Dual belay loops, six gear loops, rated carry loop, and replaceable leg loops

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Highly supportive
  • Adjustable

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Not ideal for free climbing

4. Blue Ice Choucas Light

This climbing harness is very light. It weighs only 3.1 ounces in a size medium. The lightweight is the most important thing for this harness.

Rock climbers need strong harnesses that can resist abrasion from the rocks. On the other hand, mountaineers often prefer lightweight options that won’t slow them down as they climb to the summit.

The Choucas Light is not meant for taking a lot of falls. It is more for wearing it or putting it in your pack. The harness can do that if you must rappel quickly or cross a glacier. But don’t plan on hanging in it for very long because it’s not comfortable.

This harness is easy to store away. It can fit into a pocket or daypack. There are two small gear loops and two ice-clipper slots. The leg loops detach, which is helpful when you have skis on.

The Choucas Light is an excellent harness for ski mountaineering. However, some people may also find it useful for ice climbing. This harness is ideal if you like to climb mountains with minimal equipment.

Specs:

  • 3.11 ounces (M)
  • Mountaineering is recommended.
  • Features include two small gear loops, ice clipper holes, and removable leg loops.

Pros:

  • Extremely light
  • Packable

Cons:

  • Uncomfortable for prolonged hanging
  • Minimal gear storage

5. Metolius Safe Tech Trad Harness

The Safe Tech Trad harness is an excellent option for climbers who want to prioritize safety and emergency preparedness. This harness is made with high-strength materials, so it’s solid. It also has a lot of clip-in points, so you can easily attach gear to it.

The Trad is designed to help a climber hang for a long time. It has a wide, padded waist belt and adjustable leg loops. It suggests that it can be used with heavy loads of gear and thick winter clothing.

This traditional foam and webbing harness is outdated compared to other harnesses. It is heavy, difficult to adjust, and overbuilt. However, it is adaptable and has a variety of uses.

Specs:

  • lbs. 16.5 oz (M)
  • Best for: Long belays, huge walls, assistance climbing, traditional climbing
  • Dual belay loops, rated haul loops, and high-strength construction throughout the harness are essential elements.

Pros:

  • Lots of safe places to clip in
  • Comfortable for extended hanging and belaying

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • Overbuilt

6. Petzl Sitta

The Petzl Sitta is a high-end harness popular among alpine and sports climbers. It is more costly than other harnesses but very lightweight and versatile. It makes it great for redpoint burns or moving quickly over alpine terrain.

The Sitta ultralight harness has a split webbing design with minimal foam. Petzl’s Wireframe Technology distributes the load across the waist and leg loops using thin strips of high-strength Spectra.

The Black Diamond Solution Guide and the Sitta offer comfort and durability without the bulk of foam padding. They are ultralight and stripped down to the essentials. The Sitta does not have adjustable leg loops, and the four gear loops are small. This harness is not meant for trad routes, but it can be used for certain types of climbing if you don’t have a lot of gear.

Specs:

  • 9.5 ounces in weight (M)
  • Best for Light alpine missions, project burns, and sport climbing
  • Essential characteristics: Hip-hugging waist loop, split webbing design by Wireframe Technology

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable relative to low weight

Cons:

  • Expensive

7. Grivel Trend Harness

Grivel is a company that makes gear for ice climbing and mountaineering. They have now created a sport climbing harness called the Trend. This harness differs from other climbing gear because it comes in multiple fun and expressive prints.

The Trend is a sport climbing harness that is both fashionable and functional. It weighs just over 10 ounces in medium, making it an excellent choice for ultralight climbers. The Trend has four gear loops, fixed leg loops, and a hip-hugging butterfly-shaped waist loop, making it fully equipped for modern climbers.

The Trend is one of the market’s lightest foam and webbing style harnesses. Grivel could make it even lighter by getting rid of the foam and experimenting with well-ventilated split-webbing construction. The foam on the Trend is relatively thin, so it doesn’t feel too cumbersome. We also like that the foam wraps around the top of the waist, and leg loops provide extra comfort while hanging or belaying.

Specs:

  • 10.4 oz. in weight (M)
  • Ideal for: Gym climbing and sport climbing
  • Essential characteristics: hip-hugging contoured waist loop and eye-catching fabric

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • It May be too flashy for some climbers.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Select a Climbing Harness

When you are looking to buy a climbing harness, you must first understand your needs as a climber. Different applications require different types of harnesses. While any harness built by a respectable manufacturer will keep you safe, a harness that has been carefully picked will give much more than basic safety.

You need to select a harness that is designed for the type of climbing you want to do. For example, you will need a heavily padded harness to aid in climbing or developing routes. However, a less bulky and heavy harness for casual sport climbing will be more appropriate.

Just as a big wall trad climber might need a harness with many gear loops, a ski mountaineer might not need the same type of harness. Our list of recommendations includes different harnesses, and our buyer’s Guide can help you understand their differences.

Entry-Level and All-Around Harnesses

All-around climbing harnesses are the most beginner-friendly. These harnesses are not specialized for one specific type of climbing. Instead, they include features that are useful for multiple styles of climbing.

For beginner climbers, these harnesses are a good tool for exploring different types of climbing. They are comfortable and affordable. The two models we recommend are the Edelrid Moe and the Petzl Sama/Selena.

These models aren’t as lightweight or packed with high-tech features as others, but they’re perfect for top-roping at the gym, learning to lead outside, or venturing up your first multi-pitch route.

Sport Climbing

Sport climbing harnesses are lightweight and low-profile. They are made for people who want to be fast and efficient when they climb. All-around harnesses can also be used for sport climbing. Still, they tend to be bulkier and heavier than most experienced sports climbers prefer.

Because the weight of a harness is essential for this type of climbing, sport climbing harnesses usually have minimal metal buckles and fixed leg loops. In addition, they frequently feature a split webbing structure instead of a single piece of webbing coated in thick foam.

Storage of equipment is not a top priority for sport climbers, so these harnesses usually come with two or four scaled-down gear loops.

High-end sport harnesses are suitable for redpoint burns and projects but are not as versatile as other harnesses. The Petzl Sama and Petzl Sitta are two good examples of high-end sports harnesses.

Trad Climbing

Trad climbers (cams, nuts, etc.) often carry a great deal of gear on their harnesses. In contrast to entry-level and sport climbing harnesses, trad-specific models often feature four huge gear loops.

If you are trad climbing, a type that uses a gear to protect the climber, you will need a durable harness. This type of harness is necessary for activities like crack climbing and chimneying, which are physical types of climbing.

Since multi-pitch routes are prevalent in trad climbing, you’ll need a comfortable model for all-day use. While seated in a hanging belay, you will appreciate having a waist and leg loops that are large and well-padded.

A rear haul loop is a valuable component of a climbing harness. It is a clipboard for items such as water bottles and approach shoes. We propose the Black Diamond Solution Guide and the Metolius Safe Tech Trad as trad climbing harnesses.

Alpine Climbing

Alpine climbing is often done on long routes that take a long time. The climbers must be able to protect themselves well, and the rock quality is not always excellent. An alpine climbing harness is very similar to a trad climbing harness. Still, it has helpful features when traveling on glaciers or climbing ice and mixed routes.

In addition to having at least four large gear loops, alpine harnesses usually have ice-clipper slots. It helps carry ice screws during mountain travel. You will likely face extreme daily temperature variations. So adjustable leg loops can expand to accommodate additional lower body layers when necessary.

Many alpine climbers try to move quickly and carry as little weight as possible. Many alpine harnesses are designed to be streamlined and easy to pack away. Our top two recommendations for alpine harnesses are the Petzl Sitta and the Blue Ice Choucas.

Big Wall Climbing

Big wall climbing harnesses are designed for comfort and to help you store your gear. They also support people who want to take their time climbing a big wall.

Big wall harnesses have more padding and are sturdy than other types of harnesses. They have two belay loops, four large gear loops, and a load-bearing haul loop. It makes them perfect for rock climbing and other activities that require a lot of gear.

Even while these hefty harnesses aren’t perfect for other climbing methods, they’re an absolute must for serious large wall climbing. We propose the Misty Mountain Titan on this list for huge wall climbing.

Mountaineering

Mountaineering harnesses are the lightest type of climbing harness. They are designed for walking and hiking long distances and climbing on snow and ice at low angles. Mountaineering harnesses must be comfortable and easy to put on and take off.

Removable leg loops are a good feature for ski mountaineering. It is because falling is not a safe option in this setting. These harnesses are not padded, so you can fall without hurting yourself.

If you’re looking for a mountaineering harness, you’ll want to go for a minimalist one. It indicates that it has fewer features and costs less. We recommend the Blue Ice Choucas as the best climbing harness on this list.

Parts of a Climbing Harness

The basic parts of a climbing harness are the waist loop, leg loops, belay loop, and gear loops. Every harness on our list has these essential features, no matter which type of climbing it is designed for. Beyond the essentials, some harnesses may also have additional features, such as a haul loop and ice clipper slots.

Waist and Leg Loops

A climbing harness’ waist loop should fit snugly and sit just above the hip bones. The majority of waist loops are adjustable via a system of webbing and buckles. On many harnesses, each leg loop features a similar buckle adjustment method.

Typically, harnesses with fixed leg loops are designed for advanced sport climbing. Before ordering a harness, we recommend trying it on to ensure that the waist and leg loops fit correctly.

Belay Loop

The belay loop is a piece of durable webbing that connects the waist loop to the leg loops. This loop ties you to the rope and the more extensive climbing system while belaying or rappelling.

Lightweight harnesses for sport climbing or mountaineering are designed with thinner belay loops. All-around and trad climbing harnesses have thicker loops for extra durability. Because your belay loop is an essential part of the climbing system, you should check it regularly for wear and tear.

Gear Loops

Every harness will have at least two gear loops where you can conveniently hang items. It includes quickdraws, cams, jackets, water bottles, and other items. The more complex and gear-intensive the climbing, the more gear loops you require.

A harness with less than four gear loops is specialized and not intended for widespread application. Most all-around and beginner harnesses come with four gear loops, which is enough for most purposes.

A fifth gear loop or haul loop may be beneficial for multi-pitch climbing. Numerous large wall harnesses include more than four gear loops because big wall climbing demands so much gear.

Haul Loop

A climbing harness typically has a small attachment point at the back of the harness, known as a haul loop. This function is unnecessary for climbing in the gym or on a single pitch.

Look for a haul loop capable of carrying hefty weights for multi-pitch and big-wall climbing. A haul loop is a helpful place to put an additional layer or water bottle while actively climbing.

Ice Clipper Slots

Harnesses with ice clipper slots are designed for people who climb on ice. They’re used to carry ice screws.

Materials and Construction

As of 2022, climbing harnesses have been designed to be lightweight, comfortable, and strong. Even though new materials and technology are constantly being developed, harnesses continue to improve. There are two main types of harness construction: foam and split webbing.

Foam Harnesses

The foam harness is made of a single piece of high-strength webbing. The webbing helps the harness hold heavy things. The foam makes it soft and comfortable to wear.

A foam harness will help to spread your weight when you fall or hang. This type of harness is comfortable and standard for most entry-level and big-wall harnesses. The Petzl Sama and Selena are good examples of foam harnesses.

However, there are some disadvantages to foam and webbing construction. Foam is an insulator and has poor ventilation. These harnesses might feel hot and sweaty in warm weather. Additionally, foam wears out over time, and the more you climb, the less comfortable it will become. Experienced sport and trad climbers should no longer choose foam harnesses as their best option on the market.

Split Webbing Harnesses

Although foam and webbing harnesses have been the standard for decades, split webbing harnesses are gaining popularity among climbers.

These harnesses have a web-like matrix of high-strength materials—this aids in more even load distribution.

Split webbing harnesses are more comfortable than foam harnesses because they use less padding. They also last longer, and some climbers find them more comfortable.

Split webbing harnesses are more expensive, but they are the future of harness technology. Many of our favorite harnesses use this technology. The Black Diamond Solution Guide and Petzl Sitta are high-quality split webbing harnesses.

Harness Sizing

It’s essential to have a properly fitted climbing harness. The best way to find a proper fit is to try on the harness before you buy it. Every person and every harness is different so it might take some time and some trial and error to find the perfect one for you.

A well-fitted harness should feel snug and rest just above the hips. The harness should be snug without being uncomfortable. You should be able to fit a finger or two between your body and the harness.

The leg loops should fit snugly around your mid-thigh. Having room to move is essential, as tight leg loops can cut off blood circulation. All harnesses include adjustable waist loops, but not all include elastic leg loops.

Adjustable and detachable leg loops are required if you plan to climb in alpine circumstances where you frequently need to change your lower body layers. Leg loops have small elastic straps that connect the waist loop to the back of the thighs. These are often releasable, so it’s easy to take them off when you need to go to the bathroom.

Durability

The lifespan of a harness depends on the type and frequency of climbing. For example, sport climbing often has less contact between the harness and rock, so these types of harnesses can be thinner.

Trad and aid climbing necessitate close physical contact with the rock, and both employ techniques such as off-width and chimneying. Burly materials are used in most trad and aid harnesses. For example, the Black Diamond Solution Guide is made of an abrasion-resistant outer layer.

Ultralight innovations are changing the climbing market. These new, lighter materials often come with a decrease in durability. If you are thinking about buying a super low-profile model, like the Petzl Sitta, be aware that it might not last as long as more robust options.

 When to Retire Your Harness

Just like you need to check a climbing rope for wear and tear, you also need to inspect a harness. Look at the weight-bearing components, especially the tie-in points, belay loop, waist loop, and leg loops. Check for any fraying, fuzziness, or abrasions. Belay loops and tie-in points are typically the first components of a climbing harness to show signs of wear and tear.

If you are unsure if your harness needs to be retired, you can look up the manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance. Generally, we advise being conservative about whether a harness is still safe to use. If you have doubts about the condition of your harness, it might be a good idea to buy a replacement.

Weight

If you’re carrying your harness around, you want it to be lightweight. You will find that this not only makes it easier for you to maneuver around but also enables you to carry out at a more proficient level.

For people starting climbing, weight is not as important as comfort. But for climbers who want to improve, weight is essential, especially for people who climb sports routes.

While lightweight harnesses are excellent for sport climbing and mountaineering, other types of climbs require a heavier harness. Big wall harnesses have more gear loops and are very comfortable, but they also weigh more.

Price

As you shop for a climbing harness, you must consider your budget. Entry-level and all-around harnesses are typically the most affordable, starting at around $60.

Harnesses for mountaineering are usually cheaper than those for sport climbing. It is because they are less fancy and have fewer features. The most expensive harnesses are for sport climbing, costing over $150.

Final Thoughts

Be sure to know the different types of harnesses before you buy one. Each one is designed for different purposes, so it’s important to select the right one for your needs. This way, you’ll be sure to get a harness that will meet your expectations.

Read more: The Best Gear for Your Bug-Out Bag

Frequently Asked Questions About Best Climbing Harness

What Makes a Climbing Harness Good?

Lightweight harnesses for sport climbing or mountaineering have thin belay loops. Harnesses for all-around and trad climbing have thicker loops. Many big wall harnesses, like the Misty Mountain Titan, include two belay loops.

What Is an Alpine Climbing Harness?

Harnesses designed for winter, alpine, and expedition climbing can also be used for rock climbing. However, these harnesses will not be comfortable hanging belays, abseils, and falls.

How Tight Should Climbing Harness Leg Loops Be?

Fixed or adjustable, leg loops on a climbing harness should be snug but not tight. You should be able to slip a hand between the leg loop and your upper thigh. No pressure points or hot spots should exist around the waist or legs.

What Is a Haul Loop on a Harness?

A haul loop is a webbing or cord loop at the back of your harness that you can use to haul yourself up or clip on an extra rope or light equipment.

How Do I Choose a Mountaineering Harness?

A good harness fits snugly above your hipbones and should be comfortable.

What Are Gear Loops on a Harness for?

Gear loops attach your climbing gear to your harness, like nuts, cams, and quickdraws. It facilitates the transport of equipment when climbing. Most harnesses have a two or fifth-gear loop, depending on the weight of the harness.

What Gear Do I Need for Multi-Pitch Climbing?

You will need a climbing rope, climbing shoes, and approach shoes to rappel. Using a double rope technique, you will also need two ropes. Ensure that your footwear is comfy so that you can ascend with ease.

What Harness Does Adam Ondra Use?

The Black Diamond AirNet was designed with help from Adam Ondra to be used in the 2020 Olympics. However, as a result of the way things currently stand with the Olympics, anyone can use it for sports routes and running fitness laps in the gym.

How Do I Know What Size Climbing Harness to Get?

The leg loops should be tight enough that you cannot pull them down with your hand. They should be comfortable but not too tight. You should be able to fit a flat hand between your leg and the harness.

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