January 24, 2022

When to Replace Climbing Harness? (HOW Long It Will Last)

by Roger

Your climbing harness should last a long time if it is from a good brand and cared for it properly.

How long a climbing harness lasts is a complicated question because you must consider many factors to estimate the harness’s life.

It is hard to find a harness with high-quality material that fits you perfectly.

People do not want to leave that harness ever.

There is a piece of bad news for you from Black Diamond.

It is a famous climbing equipment company.

They claim every harness has an expiry.

No matter how perfectly you care for the climbing harness, you can replace it after some time.

Caring for the climbing harness by following the company guidelines will keep it usable till the expiry date.

It is better to avoid old and worn-out harnesses because your life depends on them.


Table of Contents
When to Replace Climbing Harness
When to Replace Climbing Harness?

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Climbing Harness?

Most experts recommend rinsing the harness instead of washing it.

You can consider the material types and dirt sticking on the harness before selecting rinsing or washing.

Companies are using synthetic materials to make harnesses.

These materials do not accumulate dirt.

Most of them have a specialized surface to shed dirt.

If there is a lot of dirt accumulation, you can use warm water to remove it because warm water can penetrate deeper into the fabric surface to remove stubborn dirt.

Placing harnesses in sunlight can damage the fabric of the harness as sunlight has high-intensity radiation.

You can put it in the shade and allow air to dry the moisture.

It will give you a better drying result without damaging effects.

You should ensure parts of the harness do not face severe damage because damaged parts increase the chances of accidents.

Most companies are making harnesses from nylon material.

This material can withstand a lot of stress.

Your climbing harness may not need cleansing because severe damage may force you to replace the climbing harness.

Some do not suggest putting a climbing harness in water for long because water will damage its structure.

Can You Machine Wash a Climbing Harness?

You can look for the caring guidelines before washing climbing harnesses in a washing machine because you cannot do it for all types of harnesses.

Petzl and Black Diamond claim you can wash their climbing harness in the washing machine.

You can follow the guidelines from the company product specification page.

We have collected details of the guidelines from the Petzl company.

  • You can take water at thirty degrees to start the washing process.
  • It is better to get water at a PH value of 7. It is also known as the neutral PH.
  • You cannot use the spin-drying option in the washing machine.
  • You can add an extra protective layer to the harness by putting it in the cloth bag before putting it in the washing machine.
  • It is better to use soaps without harsh agents.
  • Putting bleach in the water during harness washing can damage its fabric.
  • High-pressure water spray can damage the harness fabric also. You should avoid using it.
  • It is better to keep the harness away from the sun and harsh chemicals as they can damage the harness structure.

Putting pressure on wet nylon will damage its fabric structure.

It is better to dry the harness completely before putting pressure on it as it will not affect the harness’s fabric durability.

Most experts do not wash nylon ropes and harnesses in a washing machine because it will damage them.

How Can You Hand Wash a Harness?

Hand washing is a safer way to wash your harness because it has less intensity than machine wash.

You can wash the nylon ropes and harnesses with the hand wash method.

A big bucket will help you in the procedure.

It is better to get a new tub for harness washing because old tubs can contain corrosive substances in trace amounts.

These chemicals can affect the durability of the harness.

You can use these steps to complete the hand washing process.

  • You can start the process by filling a large tub with enough water to submerge the harness. You can put a harness in this water and shake it to allow better water exposure.
  • You can check the product instruction manual to find the care guidelines for the harness. You can check the type of soap allowed for the harness.
  • You should give it some time in the water to allow dirt to escape the harness. You can remove the dirty water and replace it with new clean water.
  • It is better to remove mild soap with more water to prevent fabric damage.
  • You can dry it in the air to ensure high durability.

How to Store a Climbing Harness?

The first step to presenting durability loss is using suitable conditions to store the climbing harness.

Keeping a climbing harness outside till the next climbing session can promote fabric damage.

You need to care for two things when storing a climbing harness.

You cannot put it in the sunlight as UV rays damage the harness.

Moisture is also damaging to the harness.

It is better to put it in a dry and ventilated place.

Keeping harnesses near the corrosive substance increases the chances of accidents.

Protection from molds is another goal for storing harnesses safely.

You can use the same tub you used for washing to store the harness because this tub will help you dry the harness without exposure to harmful substances.

Keeping it at the back of the car is unsuitable because it will expose climbing harnesses to moisture and sunlight.

How Long Does a Climbing Harness Last?

You can use a harness for one to three years if you are using it frequently.

If you are not using it frequently, the harness’s life can increase drastically.

You can expect a harness to last for more than years when you store them without use.

Most experts suggest using the harness no more than ten years after the manufacturing date.

Most manufacturers suggest using harnesses only for one year if you want to use them every other day.

Using it once a week will increase its life to three years.

When someone asks how long do climbing harnesses last, you can tell them it depends on usage.

Using a harness less frequently and storing it the right way will help you increase the harness’s life.

It will also protect the metal hardware from rust.

When to Replace a Climbing Harness?

There are no fixed days or weeks to replace a climbing harness.

A person climbing desert dunes every other day may need to replace the harness earlier than the person using a harness to practice in the climbing gym.

It is due to sunlight exposure.

Sunlight will damage the nylon fabric to make it unsuitable for climbing.

You can also follow guidelines from the manufacturer to know the retiring time of the harness.

Most manufacturers recommend replacing the climbing harness before one year if you use it daily.

Climbers can wait a few years before replacing the harness when using it once a week.

It is better to destroy the harness at retirement as its use may cause accidents.

Inspecting Your Climbing Harness

It is better to inspect your climbing harness before a climbing session because it will help you avoid accidents.

You should replace the harness if there are visible signs of damage.

Black Diamond is a famous company for climbing equipment.

The Black Diamond team suggested looking for signs of webbing and hardware damage.

We compiled a list of these signs.

  • Cracks on the buckles
  • Corrosion of hardware due to rust
  • Color fade on the climbing harness parts
  • Hole in the webbing or a small tear
  • Signs of burned webbing
  • Torn Threads on the webbing

How long does a climbing harness last?

The simple answer to how long a climbing harness last is 1-3 years for harnesses in use and 10 years for harnesses not in use that are properly stored.

According to most manufacturers, a properly stored, a non-used harness should not exceed 10 years in shelf life.

How long do climbing harnesses last even if not used?

If your harness is more than seven years old, even if it has been properly used and stored and shows no visible damage, you should retire it.

You should retire your harness no later than one year after its first use if you are a professional climber such as a mountain guide or if you climb full-time.

A harness’ structural materials can degrade when exposed to the sun and other elements.

What is the average lifespan of a climbing harness?

The average lifespan of a typical climbing harness will vary depending on how it is used.

The average lifespan of a harness that is mainly used for rock climbing can be as short as one year, while the lifespan of an alpine mountaineering harness can be up to 3-5 years.

What are some factors that affect the lifespan of a climbing harness?

Climbing harnesses are designed to last a long time.

However, they often need to be replaced due to wear and tear.

There are some factors that affect the lifespan of a climbing harness.

Factors that affect the lifespan of a climbing harness:

  • The type of material used
  • The type of stitching used
  • The design of the product
  • How often the harness is used
  • How do you store the climbing harness
  • How do you clean and wash the harness

How can you prolong the lifespan of your harness?

What should you do to prolong the lifespan of your harness?

The first step is to make sure that your harness is properly cared for.

The second step is to make sure that you are using it correctly.

And the third step is to be aware of how much use your harness has had and how often you have been using it.

What are the signs that a climbing harness needs to be replaced?

After a certain period of time, the harness can lose its strength and durability because it has been used for too many years.

There are some signs that the harness needs to be replaced.

  • The leg loops are fraying or broken
  • The padding has worn off
  • There is an obvious sign of wear on the harness, such as holes or tears
  • The stitching is coming undone
  • The harness is too loose

When to replace a climbing harness?

Climbing harnesses are not designed to last forever.

If you have a harness that is more than 10 years old, it is time to replace it.

What are the alternatives to a climbing harness?

There are some alternatives that you can use instead of a climbing harness, such as making a harness out of webbing, a chest sling, and other types of ropes and slings.

You can use a rescue harness or a full-body climbing harness.

However, it is best to use a harness that is specially designed for climbing.

How to inspect your climbing harness?

To inspect a climbing harness for damage, perform the following checks

  • What is the condition of the webbing? Is it fraying or ripped?
  • Do the bar-tacks have excessive abrasion?
  • Do any of the buckles appear damaged?
  • Does the webbing appear discolored?
  • Can you see the wear indicator on the belay loop of your harness?

How can I prevent myself from getting injured when using a climbing harness?

Climbing harnesses are designed to be used in a controlled and safe manner.

However, accidents happen, and sometimes the rope can get caught on your leg, or you might fall from a height.

There are certain precautions that you can take to prevent yourself from getting injured while using a climbing harness.

You should always check the carabiner before use, make sure your harness fits you properly, and that it is not too tight or too loose.

Make sure that the tie-in point of the carabiner is not at your waist so as to avoid injury if anything gets caught on it.

Further, you should always wear a helmet that is specifically designed for use with climbing gear.

To avoid injury when using a climbing harness, it’s important that you take the time to learn how to use it properly and wear protective gear correctly.

What are some factors that influence whether or not a climber should replace its climbing harness?

Some of the factors that influence whether or not a climber should replace its climbing harness are listed below.

  • Environment
  • Storage
  • Frequency
  • Signs of tear and wear – the most obvious sign while you are inspecting your climbing harness
  • Intensity. When you climb, you inflict a lot of damage on your harness
  • When In Doubt

How do you care for your climbing harness?

The best way to care for your climbing harness is by using a waterproof storage bag.

This will help keep the harness dry, clean, and free of debris that could cause damage down the road.

Wet or damp harnesses should be allowed to dry out of direct sunlight completely before use.

Store your harness in a dry area far from chemicals and corrosive materials such as acid, gasoline, and damp or moldy areas.

Do climbing harnesses fail?

We are unaware of any confirmed incidents where a harness has failed when used correctly.

However, there have been numerous cases of buckles coming undone from improper threading, people falling from too loose harnesses, and harnesses being destroyed because of improper tie-in points.

How to clean a climbing harness?

Climbing harnesses are not designed to be cleaned in a washing machine.

They require different cleaning methods that often include using soap and water, using a brush, or even using a vacuum cleaner.

The first step is to take off the harness and lay it out flat on a clean surface.

If you have access to a vacuum cleaner, then use it to remove the dirt from the inside of the harness.

If you don’t have access to one, then use your hand or brush to remove the dirt from the inside of your climbing gear.

There are also chemical cleaners that can be used on climbing gear, such as soap and water mixed with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

Can you machine wash a climbing harness?

No, you can not machine wash a climbing harness.

The harness is made of different materials and needs to be washed by hand.

Machine washing a climbing harness is not recommended because the harness will get damaged.

How to store a climbing harness?

A climbing harness can be stored in a variety of ways.

The most common way is to roll the harness into a ball and keep it in a stuff sack.

It can also be hung up on the wall or kept in a closet.

However, there are some more unique ways to store climbing harnesses that you might want to consider as well.

One way is to hang them from a tree branch using carabiners and then wrap the excess cord around the branch.

This will keep them from getting tangled with other items and will make it easier for you to find them when you need them again.

How to retire your harness?

Check with a textile recycler to see if the harness can be recycled if you cannot find an alternative use for it.

Otherwise, it should be thrown out.

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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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