June 23, 2021

The Best Climbing Harnesses in 18 Categories

by Roger

Table of Contents

There are many physical activities where it is not always essential to have up-to-date, quality equipment. For example, your battered old glove should still let you catch the baseball, and those worn out running shoes might just get through another 100 miles or so.

However, when it comes to climbing, whether that is up rocks, mountains, walls, or buildings, having a harness that is comfortable, and more importantly safe, is absolutely essential. If you are a beginner and you are wondering what is a climbing harness used for, then you have come to the right place.

The climbing harness is a piece of equipment used by climbers to climb or decent mountains, walls, trees. The climbing harness securely distributes the weight of the climber during the practice of outdoor activities and the harness is a must equipment for any climber or rappeller.

If your current climbing harness needs replacing, or want to purchase your first one, our reviews and buying guide to the best climbing harness will help you choose the right one.

List of the Best Climbing Harnesses in 20 Categories

1. Best Climbing Harness for the Value

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

If you prefer simplicity, then the Momentum harness from Black Diamond is surely a candidate in the category of the best climbing harness, with the added benefit of it being made by a manufacturer with a track record of producing quality climbing equipment for over 60 years.

Product Highlights

In your search for a climbing harness, you’ll come across many that have belts, loops, and buckles which make adjusting them seem like a time-consuming effort. That is not the case with the Momentum harness as it is designed to save you time when it comes to adjustments.

It has a ‘Speed Adjust’ waist belt that is not only quicker to adjust but also reduces the chances of any errors in adjustment. In terms of comfort, the inner shell is made from a non-abrasive nylon material so no matter what climbing activity you are participating in, it won’t be ruined by your harness rubbing and causing you pain.

Comfort is further enhanced by the dual-core construction of the Momentum harness. This involves having continuous layers of webbing within the belt and between them a layer of foam which ensures that the belt is supportive and comfortable.

Each leg loop is made from a single band of high-tensile nylon which provides the support you need while at the same time adding another check mark in the comfort column. These "trakFIT" loops have a patent pending for their advanced customization feature.

Other features include an adjustable elastic riser at the back of the harness, four loops for equipment, which is four more than a lot of other climbing harnesses offer, and you can even choose from four different colors which are blue, graphite, verde, and slate.

What we like in particular about Black Diamond Momentum Harness is that being able to adjust quickly and easily means that no matter what climbing activity you are about to partake in, it gets started with the minimum of frustration and fuss.

What we liked:

  • Four gear loops;
  • Very quick and easy to adjust;
  • Advanced leg loop adjustment;
  • Dual-core waist belt construction;
  • Adjustable elastic riser.

What we didn't like:

  • Limited clip space;
  • Not easy to sit down in.

2. Best Full Body Harness

Kissloves Full Body Outdoor Climbing Harness

This full body harness from Kissloves is ideal for all climbing activities and provides wearers plenty of support, comfort, and reassurance that they will be safe and secure while using it. One of the primary desires of any climbing harness is that it is comfortable while being worn. There are several features within this harness that makes this possible.

Product Highlights

The first is the way in which the design of the harness enables the even distribution of pressure so that no one part of your body, such as your waist or legs, feels any more pressure than another. The next feature to help maintain comfort is the padding in the waist belt and leg loops which is breathable and thus reduces the chances of sweat building up if you are climbing in hot weather.

Obviously, safety is paramount for any climbing activity and this Kisslove harness ensures this is achieved. Highly quality stitching is used throughout, and high-strength polyester materials are used in the manufacturing of the other main parts of the harness.

High strength metal buckles not only provide further durability but also allow you to adjust the harness, so you have it fitting you in the securest and most comfortable way. Safety is also enhanced by having double straps throughout the harness, and by the strong metal rings which climbing ropes will be looped through. Talking of loops, you also have two gear loops for securing or clipping on equipment.

What's to Like About the Kissloves Full Body Outdoor Climbing Harness

Using breathable material for the waistband and leg loops adds an additional level of comfort that many harnesses don’t have and will be especially welcome when climbing in the summer months.

What we liked:

  • Frame design ensures even weight distribution;
  • Padded, breathable waistband and leg loops;
  • Durable and secure stitching;
  • Two gear loops;
  • Double straps for waist and legs.

What we didn't like:

  • May not be comfortable for larger users;
  • Carabiner loops too far back.

3. Best Climbing Harness for Beginners

MelkTemn Half Body Climbing Harness

If any younger, smaller or beginner climbers feel some of the more advanced harnesses seem complicated, this simple, but high-quality harness from MelkTemn, is an ideal solution. It’s true that some of the best climbing harnesses do look somewhat complicated with all the buckles, loops and adjustable straps, and may possibly put you off if you are not experienced when it comes to climbing.

Product Highlights

That does not mean that each one is like that, and to prove it, here is a half-body climbing harness which is very easy to use, but that does not mean it is any less safe and secure.

To start with, it has been CE certified which means it has undergone tests to ensure its suitability and safe use as a climbing harness. In terms of how it does so on a practical basis, the first feature is the reinforced bearing loop which any climbing ropes will be attached to.

In addition to this, all the stitching where parts of the harness are joined, has also been reinforced. While safety is the number one priority, comfort is very important too. The design of the harness means that when any user is sitting in it, their weight will be evenly distributed which eliminates any pinch or pressure points, which can at best be annoying, and at worst very painful. 

Other features which aid your comfort are the alloy adjustment buckles and elasticated straps which allow you to get the harness fitting you just right. One final point to draw your attention to is that the price of this climbing harness is significantly less than most others, which will be welcome news if you like getting your money’s worth.

What's to Like About the MelkTemn Half Body Climbing Harness

It is only fair to re-emphasize once more how simple and easy it is to use. There’s no doubt how it is put on and the adjustments can be made simply and quickly.

What we liked:

  • Simple and easy to use;
  • Elasticated straps;
  • Reinforced stitching and bearing loop;
  • Even weight distribution;
  • Excellent value for money;

What we didn't like:

  • Can be difficult to adjust;
  • Maximum comfortable waist size is only 40″.

4. Most Versatile Climbing Harness

Petzl Corax Adjustable Climbing Harness

Our next climbing harness is another which falls into the category of "easy to use" but that does not mean it is only suitable for beginners because experienced users will also find this harness ideal for all sorts of climbing tasks.

Product Highlights

The overall appearance of this harness portrays a product that is tough and durable and that is exactly what this the Corax from Petzl is. The main material that achieves this is the high-strength polyester webbing, which is used for the main belt and the leg loops.

These provide flexibility without compromising whatsoever on its toughness and durability. Often when strength is made a priority in a product which has to be worn, the comfort is compromised to achieve it, however, that is not the case with this harness. 

The belt and leg loops are very flexible, and they are all adjustable so that you can achieve the most comfortable fit possible. Comfort is enhanced further thanks to the breathability of that material and the thick padding within the waist belt which provides cushioning.

The adjustments you can make allow you to center the harness perfectly, so that when it is supporting your weight you do not experience any painful pressure points.

Those adjustments can be made quickly and easily using the two metal buckles on the waistband and you can also adjust the leg loops individually. Should you need to carry equipment or tools when climbing you have plenty of capacity to do so thanks to having no fewer than 4 gear loops.

There are two rigid loops on the front and the two flexible loops on the rear of the harness. You also have 4 color choices, and those are light blue, green, grey and denim blue.

What's to Like About the Petzl Corax Adjustable Best Climbing Harness

With four gear loops, this climbing harness is extremely versatile and practical with many uses including rock climbing, indoor climbing, and jobs which require working at heights.

What we liked:

  • Extra thick padding in waist belt;
  • Can be easily adjusted;
  • Strong, durable materials;
  • Choice of colors;
  • Four equipment loops.

What we didn't like:

  • Lots of buckles make it heavier than some;
  • Leg loops need tightening a lot.

5. Best Climbing Harnesses For Experts

Xben Professional Climbing Harness

Our final review brings us to this climbing harness from Xben, and it is one which those who are taller or have a larger frame will be interested in as it fits those for whom smaller harnesses are too tight.

Product Highlights

We’ll start with the size specifications because they are generous in terms of the waist and leg dimensions, and also in the safe weight limit. That weight limit goes up to a massive 600 lbs. and should be more than enough to safely hold anyone using this harness.

In terms of sizes, the waist strap will accommodate up to 47-inch waists, with the leg loops going up to 29.5 inches. Taking all of these specifications together highlights why larger users should find this harness more accommodating than most.

In terms of being held safely and securely in the harness, those parts which take most of the load are reinforced, and this includes the bungee straps and the stitching, plus the buckles are made from quality alloys. You should also be reassured that the harness meets quality standards thanks to it having CE certification and ISO 9001 certification.

Your comfort level while wearing this harness is achieved by more than one of its features. First, you have the thick padded waistband, whose material is also breathable to reduce sweating while it is being worn.

You also have the means to adjust all the straps so that they are secure, but not too tight. These should allow you to wear the harness for several hours without feeling any discomfort.

What's to Like About the Xben Professional Climbing Harness

The fact that the specifications of this harness mean larger and heavier climbers have a quality harness that will fit them comfortably and safely is highly welcomed.

What we liked:

  • Thick padded waistband;
  • Breathable materials;
  • Reinforced stitching and straps;
  • Suitable for larger users;
  • 2 equipment loops.

What we didn't like:

  • Heavier than most other climbing harnesses;
  • Lots of adjustment needed to make it fit snuggly.

6. Best All-Around Climbing Harness for Cragging

Petzl Adjama + Petzl Luna

Under the category all-around climbing harness for cragging, we have included Petzl Adjama harness for men and Petzl Luna harness for women. Both are comfortable climbing and mountaineering harness with large carrying capacity and adjustable leg loops. Each type is respectively created with the specifics for the female and male body type.

7. Most Comfortable Harness

Petzl Sama Climbing Harness

Under the category most comfortable harness we have included Petzl Sama climbing harness. Comfort for every season! The Petzl Adjama harness is designed for multi-pitch climbing, trad climbing, and technical mountaineering with comfort in mind.

8. Best Lightweight Harness

PETZL SITTA Unisex

Under the category best lightweight harness we have included Petzl Sitta unisex climbing harness. Compact, lightweight, and extremely comfortable, the high-end SITTA harness is designed for intensive use when climbing and mountaineering.

9. Best Climbing Harness with Sustainable Features

EDELRID Jay III + EDELRID Jayne III

Under the category best climbing harness with sustainable features we have included DELRID Jay III for men and EDELRID Jayne III climbing harness specifically designed for women. Textile abrasion protector made of a combination of polyester and Dyneema  for a longer tie-in point service life.

10. Top Performing Trad and Multi-Pitch Climbing Harness

PETZL SITTA Unisex

Under the category top performing trad and multi-pitch climbing harness we have included once again Petzl Sitta unisex climbing harness. Compact, lightweight, and extremely comfortable, the high-end SITTA harness is suitable when going for trad and multi-pitch climbing routes.

11. Best Harness For Indoor/Gym Climbing

Black Diamond airNet Harness

Under the category best harness for indoor/gym climbing we have included Black Diamond airNet Harness. This harness is designed in collaboration with the best climber Adam Ondra. The airNET technology is ultra-breathable for high-end performance.

12. Best Climbing Harness for Lead/Sport Climbing

Black Diamond Zone

Under the category best harness for lead/sport climbing we have included Black Diamond Zone Harness. Black Diamond Zone harness is designed specifically for outdoor sport climbing. Zone's gear loops are long enough to accommodate even the longest sport routes. It is simple, light, and breathable.

13. Best Alpine Climbing Harness

EDELRID Sendero Climbing Harness

Under the category best alpine climbing harness we have included EDELRID Sendero climbing harness. It is a lightweight and comfortable alpine harness with extensive features. The 3-buckle design ensures a comfortable fit. Equipment can be stored in the five gear loops and two attachment points for ice screw clips.

14. Best Ski and Mountaineering Harness

PETZL Altitude Unisex Harness

Under the category best ski and mountaineering harness we have included PETZL Altitude unisex climbing harness. Petzl Altitude Harness is a compact ski and mountaineering touring harness. Thanks to its simple structure, you can put it on while wearing crampons and skis. 

15. Best Harness for Rappelling

Tac-Rescue Specialty Harness

Under the category best harness for rappelling we have included Tac-Rescue Specialty climbing harness. This is a heavy duty full body harness, ideal for rappelling, with inside leg buckle and quick adjuster waist.

16. Best Women’s Climbing Harness

Petzl Luna Climbing Harness

Under the category best women's climbing harness we have included Petzl Luna climbing harness. LUNA harnesses are custom-made to fit a woman's body type. Its adjustable leg loops allow the harness to fit any climber, in any season, whether they are technical mountaineers, traditional climbers, or multi-pitch climbers.

16. Best Men’s Climbing Harness

Black Diamond Momentum

Under the category best men's climbing harness we have included Black Diamond Momentum climbing harness. Engineered for sending in all styles of climbing, the Black Diamond Momentum allows you to save time and eliminate errors when putting on your harness. The buckles provide maximum fit-adjustability.

17. Best Climbing Harness for Kids

PETZL Ouistiti Full Body Harness

Under the category best kid's climbing harness we have included PETZL Ouistiti Full Body climbing harness.

  • For use with children up to 30kg.
  • Double back buckles are out of reach of the child.
  • Comfortable to wear on the ground or suspended.

18. Best Harness for Dogs

RUFFWEAR Strength-Rated Belay Dog Harness

Under the category best harness for dogs we have included RUFFWEAR Strength-Rated Belay Dog Harness. A Ruffwear harness is perfect for taking your dog on adventures in difficult-to-reach outdoor areas, rough terrain, scrambles, hikes, backpacking, or rappelling activities.

Climbing Harness Comparison Table

HarnessPriceCategoryWeightAdjustable Leg LoopsConstruction
Black Diamond Momentum$60All-around10.7 oz.YesFoam
Kissloves Full Body Harness$100Rappelling/rescue14 oz.YesFoam, webbing
MelkTemn Half Body Harness$40Rappelling11 oz.YesFoam, webbing
Petzl Corax$65All-around1 lb. 0.6 ozYesFoam, webbing
Xben Professional Harness$43Rappelling14.6 oz.YesFoam, webbing
Petzl Adjama$80All-around16.22 oz.YesFoam, split webbing
Petzl Sama$70Sport/all-around14.6 oz.NoFoam, split webbing
Petz Sitta$200Sport/alpine9.5 oz.NoSplit webbing
EDELRID Jay III$70All-around14.5 oz.YesFoam
EDELRID Jayne III$70All-around14.1 oz.YesFoam
Black Diamond airNet$160Sport8.3 oz.NoSplit webbing
Black Diamond Zone$75Sport11 oz.NoFoam
EDELRID Sendero$85Alpine/trad11.1 oz.YesFoam, split webbing
PETZL Altitude$90Alpine7 oz.YesFoam, split webbing
Tac-Rescue Specialty Harness$205Rappelling/rescue9.13 oz.YesFoam, webbing
Petzl Luna$80All-around14 oz.YesFoam, split webbing
PETZL Ouistiti$70All-around Kids14.5 oz.NoFoam, webbing

Best Climbing Harness Buyers Guide

Numerous physical activities do not require you to have the latest equipment. For instance, your tattered glove should not stop you from catching the baseball, and those old football shoes should not stop you from playing. 

All the same, when it's time to climb, whether on walls, rocks, buildings, or mountains, having an up-to-date comfortable harness that's safe is vital. If you're a newbie at climbing and don't understand what a harness is and what it's used for, you're in the right place. 

Typically, climbers utilize a harness to ascend or different descent surfaces like trees, walls, and mountains. The purpose of a climbing harness is to evenly disburse the climber's weight when climbing. Again, this is a must-have piece of equipment for rappellers and climbers. 

If you're looking to purchase a new climbing harness, here is a comprehensive buying guide with everything you need to consider before making a purchase.

What are the Types of Climbing Harness?

The type of harness you choose will rely entirely on where you intend to use it. There are eight types of climbing harnesses listed below.

  • Traditional Climbing Harness
  • Winter Climbing Harness
  • Sport Climbing Harness
  • All-round Harness
  • Big Wall Climbing Harness 
  • Alpine Climbing Harness 
  • Rappelling Harness 
  • Mountaineering Harness

1) Traditional Climbing Harness

Normally has strong thick padding, adjustable leg straps, and at least 4 gear loops with some having an additional rope loop. These are used for traditional climbing and for many professions where a sturdy and robust harness is necessary

2) Winter Climbing Harness

Used for alpine and other climbs in winter, these harnesses use a special foam called ‘closed cell’ which does not soak up water, which would otherwise make climbing more difficult when it froze.

3) Sport Climbing Harness

Very lightweight harnesses, and minimalistic, they are used for indoor and gym climbing. Simple non-adjustable leg loops, thin waist belts and 2 or fewer gear loops all help keep them lightweight.

4) All-around Harness 

As the name suggests, the all-around harness is the most flexible beginner-friendly harness, and it will come in handy in almost all your climbing adventures. While these harnesses aren't lightweight, they are an excellent choice for recreational and new climbers, whether you're climbing in the crag or gym.

These harnesses are engineered for comfort and affordability, with padding and various fit modifications for climbers of different sizes. All-around harnesses don't have much to offer; you'll probably get a few gear loops and a back accessory loop. On the other hand, don't expect to utilize add-ons like additional gear loops, ice clipper spaces, and a haul loop.

That said, these harnesses will get the job done, especially when indoor climbing, multi-pitch, and single-pitch climbing. However, you might want to use a different harness once free movement and weight become a priority.

5) Alpine Harness

This harness is similar to the trad-specific climbing harness with huge gear loops, durable material, haul loop, and robust construction for placing belays. What's more, most alpine climbing harnesses clip on flexible leg loops and slots for ice clipping, which offer versatility for mixed and ice routes. All the same, they are not required during the summer, when alpine rock climbing.

Since alpine ascends are characterized by comprehensive approaches, light, and fast movement, most alpine climbing harnesses are highly streamlined. Plus, they have a high-end divided webbing build and have the most lightweight design among harnesses.

6) Big Wall Harness

Big wall climbing harnesses are used for ascending big walls such as the El Cap. They are designed to be over-the-top gear, have light padding, and are incredibly comfortable, thus suitable for use for a long time.

Furthermore, they are suitable for suspending belays, have multiple gear loops for sufficient racking and maximum safety, a haul loop, and a pair of belay loops for extra versatility and protection.

These are not light and fast, like the alpine climbing harnesses, though this is unnecessary for big wall climbing. So, if you intend to spend most of your time climbing on a wall, these will get the job done effectively.

7) Mountaineering Harness 

When mountaineering, you need to avoid falling and hanging at all costs. If you do either at some point, you perhaps have more pressing matters to deal with than your harness's comfort.

A mountaineering harness is supposed to be easier to walk with than climb, and it should be easy to wear and remove, particularly over crampons and boots. Additionally, this is an activity where each ounce counts, which is why you need your harness to be lightweight. Mountaineering harnesses are relatively minimalistic, hence affordable than other harness types.

8) Rappelling Harness

When it comes to a rappelling harness, it is almost similar to other climbing harnesses, though it has several additions. One of the extra but necessary equipment is a Personal Anchor System, linked to the harness by a hitch clipped through both ends of the harness. For more information, read our guide on rappelling harness vs climbing harness and if there are any significant differences.

Climbing Harness Size and Fitting

The two main sizes you need to be concerned with are waist size and leg size and what the maximums are, as specified by the manufacturer. Waist belts and leg loops can be adjusted to fit your own specific sizes. When being worn your harness should feel snug and secure without pinching anywhere.

The Best Climbing Harnesses that Will Never Disappoint You

Climbing Harness Safety

Safety is paramount, given that a climbing harness literally holds your life in its hands, as it holds you. Always check for industry and official certifications such as a ‘CE Certified’ which will identify that the product has passed certain quality tests. Look for features such as reinforced stitching and quality buckles.

Climbing Harness Adjustability

There are normally two adjustments which you can make on climbing harness, and they are the waistband and the leg loops. While adjustment is important for comfort, they also add to the safety aspect by ensuring that the harness is secure.

If you feel pressure on your legs, waist or anywhere else while climbing, you should adjust that specific strap or loop at the next safe opportunity.  Some harnesses will be easier to adjust than others, and there will also be differences in how much adjustment can be made.

Climbing Harness Weight and Comfort

Every harness will have a maximum safe weight and it is a simple matter of you checking this as it relates to your weight, albeit most harness will be suitable for anyone who isn’t seriously overweight.

Comfort will be achieved by first ensuring that the harness is adjusted correctly to your size and weight. thereafter features such thick padded foam waist bands can enhance your level of comfort while climbing.

Materials and Construction 

It's no surprise that the way harnesses are built has evolved. A long time ago, when climbers hardly climbed to the point of injuring themselves, harnesses were more of insurance. The previous designs made of nylon were prevalently not designed for comfort. 

However, as climbing became more popular and multi-pitch terrains started to feature more exciting features and difficulties, climbers began expecting more from their harnesses; hence the necessity for comfort became essential. 

Extra padding was added, along with leg loops and more accommodating belts. Again, in 2021, came are harnesses that can offer comfort and even load disbursement without the additional weight padding comes with. 

Foam 

Most contemporary climbing harnesses are designed using one portion of 1-inch webbing sandwiched between the foam. This design comes in handy in offering support and a smooth catch. What's more, it evenly distributes the load when you're hanging. Foam is typically padded and comfy, making it extremely efficient. 

All the same, it does have a few shortcomings. For one, foam is heavy, which is not suitable for climbers who prefer climbing with light harnesses, and it is not breathable. Meanwhile, manufacturers have come up with a genius way to deal with this; for instance, the Orion Edelrid harness has perforated foam and is characterized by a breathable mesh overtop. 

Other than breathability, the foam will wear out eventually; therefore, if you are frequently climbing, your harness will swiftly exhaust its padding before it even gets old, and you'll need to replace it sooner than expected. 

These shortcomings make harnesses made of foam the perfect choice for beginner climbers or affordable gyms, and it would be best if you didn't use them under any other circumstances. Currently, most foam harnesses integrate divided webbing instead of one-piece webbing, which we have discussed below. 

On the other hand, if you still prefer using harnesses with padding, it would help if you went for a harness with the foam and divided webbing combination. 

Split Webbing 

The first firm to release split webbing is Arc'teryx, a more comfortable and long-lasting option than traditional foam. They pioneered this recent revolution to produce packable and ultra-lightweight harnesses. 

Arc'teryx took one portion of webbing from foam harnesses and divided it width-wise, scattering the strands down and up the leg loops and waist belt to evenly spread the load. This method, referred to as Warp Strength Technology, disregards all pressure points and offers hanging comfort minus the bulk and weight that foam comes with. 

Sometime later, other manufacturers followed suit, including Petzl with the wireframe technology, Mammut with their pertinently tagged Split webbing technology, and Black Diamond with Fusion Comfort Build. These technologies do not stop here; they also sport reliable materials like nylon, Vectran, and Spectra. 

Black Diamond went a step further with their recently launched AirNet technology, with Dynex forming a net-like pattern instead of the standard strands. 

That being said, split webbing formations are incredibly light, more breathable, durable, streamlined, and perhaps more comfortable than foam harnesses. However, all these advantages come with a higher price. 

This is how manufacturers are designing harnesses, climbers love it, so it would be best to go with the flow. All the same, foam and split webbing aren't mutually exclusive since, for example, Black Diamond blends split webbing with a marginal foam layer to produce an inexpensive product that's durable and lightweight. 

Gear Loops 

The are the small rings made of plastic featured along the harness's waist belt. At this point, you'll suspend your equipment like cams when trad climbing and quickdraws when sport climbing, jacket, belay gadget and so much more. 

Usually, the more technical the adventure, the many gear loops required. So, if you're mostly sport and gym climbing, you do not need more than two gear loops for equipment like quickdraws and slings. 

Then again, if you like alpine or trad climbing, four gear loops are enough, though you might want a fifth loop or haul loop for the tag line or climbing shoes. If you like big wall climbing, go for a harness with a minimum of four loops and one rated haulage loop on the rear end. 

Haul Loop 

Not all harnesses feature or require a haul loop, though most climbers find it extremely handy. Generally, a haul loop is situated at the harness rear, between 2 gear loops at the back. It comes in handy in clipping a haul line, your climbing shoes when on a multi-pitch climb, or a second rope. 

So, you might not need a harness with a haul loop if you're not multi-pitch climbing. Most of these loops aren't graded to handle a fall; hence they might not be suitable for clipping yourself to an anchor or rope or even hanging something weighty. The haul loop is usually rated like the 12-Kn loop on the Big Gun harness from Black Diamond for big wall harnesses. 

Belay Loop 

A belay loop is relatively straightforward, as it is an extremely robust webbing formation that links the leg loops and the waist loop. What's more, it is the place where you position your belay gadget for rappelling or belaying. 

If you prefer ice or alpine climbing or lightweight sport, go for a lean belay loop. On the other hand, pick a fat or double belay loop for a big wall or trad climbing. Do not forget to check your belay loop for wear and tear. 

Adjustable vs. Fixed Leg Loops 

One of the trickiest yet most important decisions when choosing the correct harness is choosing between an adjustable and fixed leg loop. Usually, adjustable loops used to be the go-to option, though fixed leg loops have become more popular. 

The upside of choosing fixed loops is minimalism. You do not require readjusting the legs when you wear or remove the harness. Plus, the absence of the buckle, which becomes loose after some time, is appreciated. Fixed designs feature a flexible band as opposed to a buckle, thus leaving you some adjustability. Again, these loops tend to be more lightweight than adjustable loops. 

On the other hand, flexible leg loops give room for customization. Usually, they're simple to adjust over numerous layers and are a more suitable option for climbers with wider leg diameters. All the same, they need more adjustment, are heavier, and can progressively slip with time. 

It would be best for mountaineers to go for the adjustable loop design since it facilitates the harness's entry without lifting your feet. All the same, alpine climbers and mountaineers prefer an alpine-specific harness. 

Leg and Waist Loops 

A climbing harness's waist loop is supposed to fit your waist and sit above your hips comfortably. Most of these loops are adjustable; you can utilize a system of buckles and webbing. Again, most harnesses have the same buckle adjustment mechanism on every leg loop. 

Fixed leg loop harnesses are typically designed for high-end climbing. The leg and waist loops need to fit snugly. Besides, it would help if you tested the harness before making a purchase.

What is the best climbing harness?

Excellent values are the Edelrid Sendero, a perfect all-around harness choice, the Black Diamond Solution, perhaps, our favorite harness for sport climbing, and the Petzl Sama, another excellent all-around harness choice. While the lowest-priced options are good choices for newbie climbers, we think it's worth spending some extra money for one of the best harness choices that will most probably serve beginners very well for many years.

How often should you replace your climbing harness?

The most appropriate time to replace your harness is after 1-3 years, depending on the frequency of its use. Regardless of its use, any rappelling or climbing harness should be replaced after a maximum of 10 years.

Climbers who go climbing once a week or a few times a month could definitely get a few years out of their harness before it is time to replace their climbing harness.

What is the lightest climbing harness?

With its mere 150 grams in a medium-size (5.2 ounces), the lightest climbing harness on the market is Blue Ice Addax.

How do I tie in to a climbing harness?

This is easier to show than explain, so it might be worth looking on YouTube for a video where you can see how it is done.  Nevertheless, here are the steps required:

  1. Hold the end of the rope with one hand and measure out a length equivalent to your arm span.
  2. Make a loop about 3 feet from the end of the rope, and then wrap it back through to form a ‘figure of 8’ knot. This knot should be around 36 inches from the end of the rope.
  3. Pass the rope through the loops at the front of your harness and pull until the knot is 1 inch from the first loop.
  4. Take the end of the rope and follow the figure of eight. Continue until you are at the start of the knot
  5. Pull everything tight, and you should have around 10 inches of rope left.

You can use these 10 inches of rope to tie a further backup fisherman’s knot and to keep the excess rope out of the way. You can check how to tie some of the most popular rappelling and climbing knots.

How do I use a climbing harness?

Climbing harnesses can be used for multiple climbing activities which can either be on a professional basis or for leisure. There are many professions who use them where access is required to high up places.

A couple of examples are those who have to repair guttering and window cleaners who specialize in tall buildings, such as office blocks. Leisure climbing includes rock climbing. ice climbing, and indoor wall climbing to name but three.

Safe use is achieved by putting on the harness and adjusting it so that it fits snuggly and comfortably, ensuring that all buckles and straps are securely fastened. Depending on the type of climbing you are undertaking, you will then use one or more ropes to secure the harness as you either ascend or descend.

How do I put on a climbing harness?

Step into the leg loops and pull the harness up as you would a pair of shorts. Tighten the waist belt by pulling it through until it feels secure and comfortable. Tighten each leg loop by pulling their straps through. 

As with the waist belt they should secure and comfortable. Make any minor adjustments so that you are 100% comfortable. Double check all buckles and straps to ensure they are secure. You should get a climbing partner to check your harness for you too.

What size climbing harness should I use?

There are three specifications which you should check on a climbing harness as it relates to your size. These are:

  • Maximum weight;
  • Waist size;
  • Leg sizes.

Quite simply you should choose a climbing harness which will easily accommodate all three of your own personal measurements.

How do I choose a climbing harness?

There are several factors to consider when choosing. The main one is that the climbing harness meets the necessary quality standards, as remember, your life could depend on it being able to support you.

You will also want to check the specifications in terms of weight and size to make sure it will fit you. Other factors such as comfort features, ease of use, number of gear loops, color choice may also play a part in your decision. Finally, there is the cost of the harness and whether that constitutes good value for money.

Do I need to purchase a climbing harness?

Yes, it would help if you bought a climbing harness. You'll require a sturdy climbing harness. One that makes climbing more enjoyable, efficient, and, very importantly, safe. When trekking out into the hinterland, a properly-built harness is intended to reduce the risks you take. It keeps you anchored to a single location and prevents you from falling or slipping.

When you're at a high altitude or in bad weather, it'll save your life, so it makes absolute sense to buy one irrespective of the goal of your climb because it's a critical piece of equipment that ensures one's ultimate safety. And, given your knowledge of the risks associated with extreme sports, safety must be at the top of the priority list.

You're also getting a safety net to shield you from possible injuries when you buy a climbing harness. It's what you term common sense: you'll enjoy the climb much more if you're secure and comfortable.

What type of climbing harness will suit me the best?

The type of climbing harness that's best for you depends on the kind of sport you are up to. The more options you have, the more difficult it is to decide. The same situation applies to selecting a properly fitting climbing harness that meets all of your gear requirements.

Companies tend to develop climbing harnesses exclusive to one sort of climbing or another, hence why you must think about every last aspect before purchasing one.

Is there a difference between the men’s and women’s climbing harnesses?

There is very little difference between the man and women climbing harnesses. You'd like to believe that sporting goods companies are developing climbing harnesses for both men and women.

Facts are facts, whether the difficulties stem from producing the correct shape and sizing or whether corporations don't care to put in extra effort to build two different harnesses. That being stated, it is not illegal for a man to wear a woman's harness or vice versa. You may get men's harnesses comfier than women's harnesses, and the reverse is true. 

Nothing should prevent you from choosing it if it is a good fit for you. But although women's climbing gear has higher-placed leg loops and men's harnesses are more robust, it all depends on your preference.

Split webbing and foam – what is their use?

There are various uses for both foam and split webbing. Most climbing harnesses incorporate foam to give the climber soft catch and extra comfort when hanging throughout the climb. Also, it aids inappropriately distributing the load, which is very useful if you link a lot of gear to your harness.

The renowned Arc'teryx developed split webbing to produce a foam-free alternative. You broke a webbing piece in half and evenly distributed the strands through the leg loop and waist belt. This novel mechanism allows climbers to move while wearing the harness without freely restricting its thickness and weight.

However, the two methods aren't mutually incompatible, as climbing harnesses with thin foam and split webbing layer are still available. As a result, the climbing gear is lightweight, sturdy, and pleasant.

Will I be safe when wearing a climbing harness?

Yes, wearing a climbing harness will keep you safe. Each piece of climbing equipment you own should have a kilonewton (kN) rating that symbolizes the force it can exert. A 1kN rate piece of equipment can handle roughly 100 kg (200 pounds) of constant weight. As the pressure of the fall increases, the quantity of weight that the kN rating can hold decreases. Because the average rate of climbing equipment is between 4 and 25 kN, there's a 100% guarantee it will secure you.

Furthermore, knowing which sections of the climbing harness are built to endure the highest strain may be more important than knowing the figure. The two characteristics that bear the most pressure are the belay loop and tie-in points, as they tend to attach to those other climbing devices. Besides that, don't depend on the climbing harness's additional functions and climb with caution, mainly if it's the first trip outdoors.

When to retire your harness?

You should discard a climbing harness as quickly as you discover signs of tear and wear on the server; it should be retired! It may not last the manufacturer's recommended seven years, but it has the potential to save one's life.

Climbers rely heavily on their climbing harness, even though many tools in their climbing kit are easy to replace. It must be durable and sturdy, as it will ensure that your investment pays off after a few months. As a result, you should take better care of the gear before it's too late, and your only alternative is to get a new harness. 

Examine your climbing harness for scratchy parts or evidence of tearing after every climb, such as the cloth linked to your belay loop. Do not disregard the company's care instructions, as they were created mainly to prolong the life of the climbing harness.

Because the climbing harness's structure is crucial to its durability, it's critical to pick one that fits all of your needs and doesn't jeopardize any of them. You'll be in a position to reap the pros of a harness for a more extended period this way.

How long do climbing harnesses Last?

The life expectancy of a climbing harness is typically seven years.

Are climbing harnesses comfortable?

A climbing harness is a comfy gear, whether someone is dangling at the crag base or belays several pitches from the ground. People particularly like how the stretchy fitted leg loops offer more mobility without causing any visible movement restrictions.

How tight should a climbing harness be?

When you're dangling from a rope, your harness must be snug enough for it not to slide around or trip up, but not that snug that it's unpleasant. It needs to be snug enough to prevent sliding down the hip but flexible enough to eliminate pressure points or hot areas. 

The leg loops ought to be snug enough that just four fingers, flat, can fit between your leg and the loop, yet loose enough to allow complete movement. Between the waist belt and the waist, you must be capable of fitting your two fingers. Depending on the results of such a test, loosen or tighten your harness.

What is a haul loop on a harness?

A haul loop is often found on the climbing harness for multi-pitch climbing. They're webbing loops usually located at the back of your climbing harness and are used to connect a second rope. Note that loops are not designed to support the weight.

What is a belay loop?

The climbing harness front has a belay loop, a loop of powerful webbing. The belay loop is only utilized for belaying; you should not tie any ropes to it and link belay devices and carabiners to it.

What harness do professional climbers use?

Professional climbers use the Petzl Sama. It is an excellent choice for most types of rock climbing. 

Although there are cheap harnesses on the market, their performance pales compared to the Sama's supreme comfort, and it's still a little less pricey than most options, thus of great value.

Its denim-like design and grey hue make it stand out - just as your forthcoming climbing expedition. Putting on a safety cushion with stretchy leg loops and an adjustable waistband will make you feel very much at ease.

What is the most comfortable climbing harness?

Petzl Sama is by far the most comfortable climbing gear of all time. It only gets much better with Sama with an all-around harness. The previous generation's design was excellent, and Petzl has only enhanced it. The extra weight gives you a lot of comforts. The Sama was among the comfiest climbing harnesses you'd ever worn, and it stayed that way even on long hangs. The style is low-profile and glides nicely, yet is well-padded.

The gear loops were another delight. The loops in front are wide and gradually slanting towards the front. The gear fits well, and there's enough space for a whole rack. Even when carrying equipment, the Sama ranked first in terms of comfort. It even has a large haul loop.

How do I choose a climbing harness?

You should ensure that a good harness must fit tightly above the hip bones and have a pleasant "rise," the space between your waist belt and leg loops. A properly fitted harness will not be able to be dragged down on your hip bones. Leg loops ought to be tight but not too tight, whether adjustable or fixed.

What harness does Adam Ondra use?

Adam Ondra uses the AirNet by Black Diamond. In conjunction with Adam Ondra, the AirNet by Black Diamond was created for him to utilize in the 2020 Olympics. Whereas the Olympics are in jeopardy, the climbing harness is still in use, and climbers use it to project sports courses and perform exercise laps in the gyms.

Conclusion

Now that you know the variables to factor in when choosing the right harness, according to your needs and budget, it's time to go to that store and pick the most suitable one. If you're a trad, alpine, or big-wall climber, there are specific harnesses for these climbing disciplines. 

For maximum comfort and longevity, go for harnesses with the split webbing formation as opposed to those made of foam. All the same, if you're on a budget, a harness with the foam or split webbing and foam blend formation is a good option. Also, consider adjustability depending on the size of your feet and your climbing style. 

Again, when you go online or to your nearest climbing gear shop, you'll find a wide variety of harnesses in different designs and colors to pick from. While color might not be a consideration for some, it's always a good idea to do what you love looking and feeling fabulous.

Best Climbing Harness Final Verdict

Each of the climbing harnesses we have reviewed offer good levels of comfort and safety, so it is difficult to differentiate on them on that even though one or two have specific quirks depending on your size.

We looked at all the features each harness offers, and the best climbing harness to came out on the top is the Black Diamond Momentum Harness. This climbing harness is made from a top manufacturer with a lot of experience in this field and this is evidenced quite clearly by how simple the Momentum is to use.

Adjustments are easy, especially the leg straps and once it is being worn, it is very comfortable in all areas, with the dual-core waist belt construction being particularly impressive.

Other features such as four equipment loops and a choice of four colors, add to the appeal of this climbing harness, which is also very competitively priced for such a brand name.

Our #1 Product Recommendation in the Best Climbing Harness Category

The rankings on rappellingequipment.com are curated to save you time by aggregating the best reviewed products from the most reputable companies. We may receive a commission if you buy something using a link on this page.

About the author 

Roger

Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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