September 20, 2022

How to Make a Climbing Harness Out of Webbing?

by Jullie

Should you learn how to make a climbing harness out of webbing?

When you go rappelling or climbing, you will want to use a climbing harness for safety’s sake.

Sure, there are some people who climb without any kind of harnesses or safety gear, but those people are likely action junkies.

Harnesses are true life savers when rock climbing or rappelling.

With that being said, maybe you noticed that your harness is in bad condition right before you go for your climb, maybe Fido chewed it to shreds, or maybe your buddy forgot his harness.

Whatever the case may be, it is a good idea to have a length of webbing with you which can come in handy when you’re in a tight spot.

Webbing can be used to make a makeshift harness that can be safely used a couple of times.

So, how to make a climbing harness out of webbing is what we are here to discuss.

Table of Contents
How to Make a Climbing Harness Out of Webbing
How to Make a Climbing Harness Out of Webbing

What Do You Need to Make a Climbing Harness Out of Webbing?

You have no usable harness, nor none at all, and you are about to go climbing.

Luckily, you can make your own climbing or rappelling harness out of webbing.

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Let’s go over how to do this in an easy and step-by-step manner.

It’s really not that hard to do, but there are several steps involved and you have to follow them closely.

Needless to say, if you don’t follow all of the steps or do something wrong, your life may be at risk.

First, to make a climbing harness out of webbing, you have to buy or procure a 20 to a 22-foot-long piece of nylon webbing.

Make sure that it is made of nylon, as it is the best choice to go with.

Also, make sure it is in good condition because a frayed piece of nylon webbing won’t do any better than a frayed harness.

The first step once you have your nylon webbing is to get one end of it and find a spot that is roughly 5 feet from that end.

The more precise you can be, the better.

Here you want to make a loop just past the 5-foot mark and tie an overhand tight, which should then leave you with a loop about the size of your thigh.

Now, tie a second loop using this same method.

This loop will be for your other leg and thigh.

There should be about 6 inches of webbing between the first and second loop.

Now, try stepping into the loops and pulling them up to your thighs. 

The loops should be quite tight and snug, not so much that they cut off circulation, but more than tight enough so that they stay on the thigh muscle with ease; you need to have a snug fit as your life will depend on it.

This is when you need to make adjustments, making the loops smaller or larger depending on your needs.

Now take the rest of the webbing, while your legs are in the loop, and wrap it around your waist as many times as you can, while leaving a length to tie a knot at the front.

Start this by wrapping it back over your hip bone.

Now, take the short end of the webbing and wrap it around your waist, tying the two ends together using what is called a water knot.

Tighten this water knot so that it is tight and snug around your waist, but not to the point of being painful.

You then want to tuck these ends in so they don’t get in the way of your ascent or descent.

To finish this improvised harness off, you need to take a large locking carabiner and lock it around all of the waist webbing strands.

Do so in the front.

The harness should be tight enough so that you have to bend down at the waist to get the leg loop strand into the carabiner.

To stop the leg loops from dropping down, you can also tie a length of webbing to the rear of a leg loop, then pass it up through the waist strands, and back down to the other leg loop, tying it into position.

Making a climbing harness out of webbing is technically done.

Make sure that you are safe to use your handmade harness out of webbing.

You can check how to tie some of the most popular climbing knots.

3 Types of Harnesses You Can Make Out of Webbing

Learning ways to make a harness out of webbing can save your life in some situations.

People decide to make harnesses from webbing in different situations.

You may need to make a harness from webbing when one friend wants to join you on the climbing journey and does not own a harness.

Some may not like harness made out of webbing as it does not have any padding material to enhance comfort.

It will serve you when you have no other options.

You can start making a harness from webbing when you have more than 9 feet of webbing.

You may need more webbing for an overweight person.

It is also crucial to use one locking carabiner to make the harness.

1. Simple Harness

Simple harness making is one of the best ways to make a harness out of webbing.

You cannot use the harness made with this method to rescue others because a person has to support himself on the simple harness to make it work effectively.

People who cannot support themselves should not use this way to make harnesses.

It is unsuitable for weak and unconscious people.

  • First Step. You can start by tying a water knot to the one end of the webbing. You cannot stabilize the knot without adding extra support. It is possible to do it by putting the free end of the webbing into the knot. You have to follow the knot curves to complete this step. You can check if you have done it correctly by checking the end coming out of the knot. You should see two opposite ends of the webbing coming out of the knot.
  • Second Step. You need to make a strong holding position with the harness by setting two parts of the webbing. You can place one part of the webbing around your back to enhance the grip on your body. Putting webbing above and below the hip will help you stabilize your body in challenging situations.
  • Third Step. It is better to arrange some free time for your hands to allow them to relax. You can do it by pulling one end of the webbing between your legs. It will allow you to arrange support for your body when you cannot use your hands to pull your body.
  • Fourth Step. In the final step, you can use the locking carabiner to fix three stands together. You can attach the carabiner near the middle of your belly where three parts of webbing meet.

2. Swiss Seat

You can use the Swiss Seat harness in emergencies.

It is also perfect when you forget your harness in the car.

The Swiss seat harness is hard to make due to its complicated design.

Some prefer it because it can give your more stability.

Most people do not tie for others because of complicated design.

Most climbers use this method to make harnesses when they want them for themselves.

  • First Step. You need a longer webbing to make this harness. A twenty feet webbing will work in this case. You can make a loop of the size of your thigh five feet from one end of the webbing. You can tie a knot at this location after making the loop to fix its size. You can use a similar procedure to tie a knot a few inches below this area.
  • Second Step. You can wear these loops like socks and adjust them on your thigh. You can ensure the size is perfect when the loops do not move due to pressure. You can do the same process for the other side and give some time to the size adjustment.
  • Third Step. You can snug the longer end of your webbing around your waist to prevent harness failure. You can tie a knot at the end. Leaving room at the end of the webbing will ensure you can tie a knot. You can tie the webbing around the waist with the water knot and ensure there are no wrinkles on the webbing. It is better to keep some space to allow easy breathing.

3. Hasty Harness

You can use the hasty harness-making method when you want to use the harness in emergencies.

It is one of the best ways to make a harness out of webbing because it can help you in a tight spot.

Using this method, you can replace your harness with webbing because it is more stable than the simple harness.

There is only one issue with this harness.

You have to check the knots frequently as they can loosen after some time.

These steps will help you make the perfect hasty harness.

  • First Step. You can start this process by folding webbing into two equal parts. You can enhance the middle mark by biting the webbing between your teeth. The first step will be complete when you tuck a few inches of webbing into the front side of the pant.
  • Second Step. You can take both ends of the webbing and wrap them around the legs. You can pull the webbing between your legs from the front to the backside. You can ensure you have done it right if both ends of webbing wrap around your leg perfectly.
  • Third Step. You can make a loop around your legs by taking the right end of the webbing and tucking it into the right front side of your pants. You can repeat the process for the left side webbing also.
  • Fourth Step. You need to make the middle part of the webbing flat by pulling both ends of the webbing from the top. This step will also tighten the harness around your legs.
  • Fifth Step. You can ensure you completed the fifth step when you have a triangle shape of webbing around your crotch area. It is possible by adjusting the webbing on the hips and upper legs.
  • Sixth Step. You can add extra protection by wrapping webbing around your waist. You can also tie the rope around the waist webbing.
  • Seventh Step. You can complete all steps by attaching the carabiner to the location of the webbing crossing.

Final Thoughts on How to Make a Climbing Harness Out of Webbing

Of course, a store-bought climbing harness is always best, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice.

This climbing harness made of webbing should do the trick for a couple of days and you should definitely learn how to make a climbing harness out of webbing.

You never know when you will need it.

For gaining more topical knowledge about climbing webbing, read our guide on how to choose climbing webbing.

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Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Roger

About the author


Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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