Climbing harnesses are used by sport climbing hobbyists when they are doing extreme sports, and by laborers who are required to wear harnesses for climbing high places as part of their work to guarantee their safety. Next to safety, comfort is the next priority of the climbers when choosing the right climbing harness.
There are specific harnesses preferred by climbers depending on the type of climbing they are into. Sport climbers usually pick a minimalistic harness where with sewn-on gear loops. Big wall climbers preferably use a padded leg loop and waist belt. Alpine climbers usually choose lightweight type harnesses, commonly with detachable leg loops.
The following are the best climbing harnesses option for people of all ages seeking the thrill of climbing great heights.
Best Climbing Shoes
High-quality Material for Beginners
A beginner climber can be confident in climbing with this harness. Its sturdy, high-quality double-back metal buckles and strengthened stitching will give an assurance of safety to the climber. Made from polyester material which made this harness strong but flexible at the same time.
The structure and the materials of the harness are designed to be comfortable. Because of the traditional buckles, the weight pressure of the climber is equally distributed. The waist belt and leg loops are finished with cushioning and breathable mesh that will provide the comfort and safety of the climber.
No Age Limit
This climbing harness limits no age. A harness that is a one-size-fits-all type. It can accommodate waist sizes starting from 20 inches up to 53 inches. Leg loops start at 15 to 30 inches. It is light but can support up to 300 kilograms of weight. The breaking strength is up to 25KN.
This harness can be used in any type of climbing such as rock climbing, skiing, mountaineering, winter climbing, camping, outdoor training, and hiking. Workers can also utilize this harness for construction, fire rescue, welding, tree climbing, roofing, and aloft work.
- Wide-range of uses
- Best to use by any age of climbers
- Gear loop does not hold heavy equipment
Made for Female Climbers
The Black Diamond Primrose is the most preferred harness by female climbers. What’s best about this harness is that there’s no need to waste time fiddling with fitting the waist belt and leg loops.
This harness is designed with pre-threaded speed to adjust buckles to avoid errors when fastening; bullhorn-shaped waistbelt built using Dual Core Construction, to keep the climber comfortable even while being at a hanging belay; trakFIT adjustment for effortless customization of the leg loops; 4 gear loops that are held out for the climber to easily clip and unclip gears; and four pressure-molded gear loops and haul loop to give the harness user many carrying options.
Beginner climbers will be inspired to keep climbing because this harness is ultra-comfortable. It has the best snug fit and can be comfortably worn for a long time without pinching and chafing.
- Adjustable and super comfortable
- Best snug-fit
- Great starter harness
- Only has one adjustment strap for the waist
Climb Comfortably for a Long Period of Time
The Eleven Guns adjustable thickness climbing harness is made from high-quality, strong polyester material. This harness can be used for lots of climbing for a period of time. It does not easily wear out, it has durable stitching, and it can bear heavy loads while maintaining its flexibility.
The harness’s thickness makes it comfortable and fit. The wide waist ring help supports the climber’s lower back. It does not loosen even when moving about while being suspended. The gear loops are strong and handy.
Equipped with Adjustable Buckles
This half-body harness has adjustable leg loops and a waist belt. Compared to other harnesses, this product has 3 adjustable buckles. This feature makes the harness suitable for rock climbing, mountaineering, fire rescue, caving, and high-level working.
- Durable, enforced with strong stitching
- 3 adjustable buckles on the waist belt and leg loops
- Harness tag labels are in another language
- The supported weight indicated on the tag is different from the product description
The NewDoar harness is composed of quick-dry polyester textile, lined with breathable mesh, and padded with cotton. The polyester fabric is strengthened with tie-in point and stitching to ensure the longevity of usage.
Thicker Frame Construction
The waist belt and leg loop are designed to be comfortably worn even in warm temperatures. Ergonomic safety harness design, with cotton padding and thicker frame construction for best pressure and weight distribution that will keep the climbers comfortable when climbing.
One of the best features of this harness is the broadness and thickness of the waist belt and leg loop with double straps. Also equipped with 2 metal waist and leg loops adjustable buckles for single movement security adjustment.
Can Carry More Tools
Attached on the right side of this rock climbing harness is the gear loop. There are 2 tool rings to carry more tools such as a chalk bag, climbing rope, belay device, grappling hook, rappelling gear, and tree climbing gear which made it best to be used by mountaineers, indoor and outdoor climbers, fire rescuers, rappelers, arborist, and tree climbers.
- Reinforced tie-in point and stitching
- Comfortable padding
- Quick-drying polyester textile and breathable mesh
- No recognizable safety standard certificate
One of the best functions of whole-body harnesses is their ability to take some of the load from the waist belt and redistribute the weight to the shoulder area making it comfortable to wear. There are 2 adjustable slots at the rear of the waist belt and the straps are connected to the ventral attachment point.
High-quality, Strong Materials
Harnesses on the market are usually made from polyester webbing. This climbing harness is no different when it comes to its built and materials. The harness have also tie-in points and stitching and its metal components are formed using forged steel, anodized on the outside.
The belay loop on the front center is made from a strong stainless steel alloy. This kind of built ensures the safety and comfortability of the harnesses.
The frame construction of this climbing harness guarantees the ability to hold and distribute weight accordingly. The waist belt is wider and furnished with double back buckles for effortless adjustments; leg loops adjustable to the desired fit especially when one is wearing thick layers of clothing.
Made for High Altitude Operations
The gear loop is movable to avoid being an obstruction when wearing a pack. Both the waist and leg loops have double straps for comfortable climbing.
This harness is widely used for high-altitude operations and activities such as rock climbing, mountain climbing, trad climbing, ice climbing, tree climbing, and crayoning.
- Ability to redistribute load from waist to shoulder
- Strong built
- Flexible gear loop
- Not Petzl quality as advertised
Ideal for Sports Climbing
The Petzl Sama is a durable rock climbing harness with elastic leg loops which made it ideal for sports climbing. This harness has fixed leg loops. But since it’s elasticized, the climbers will still have the freedom to move around. Comfortable for climbing and belaying.
Quick to Adjust
With its ENDOFRAME Technology, this harness is designed to provide optimal weight distribution around the waist and legs. The waist belt is easy and quick to adjust because of its double backlight buckle. Tie-in points are rope friction-resistant as its made of high-tenacity polyethylene.
- Lightweight, best to be used by beginners
- ENDOFRAME technology
- Fixed leg loops - cannot be adjusted
For a heavy-duty harness, the Black Diamond big gun is lightweight. This harness is wide and well-padded ensuring comfort even when hanging for a long period. Built with thermo-formed foam bull horn waist belt with trad buckle. Equipped with 2 color-coded belay loops and 12KN-rated haul loops.
- The second belay loop comes in handy in connecting rappelling rig
- Worth the price
- Inaccurate with the sizing chart
Best for Other Climbing Disciplines
When it comes to the best climbing harnesses, the Petzl brand always comes up. The Petzl Sitta is the best climbing harness for mountaineering and rock climbing but it can also be widely used for other climbing disciplines such as ice climbing, alpine climbing, sport climbing, and even single pitch trad climbing.
The Petzl Sitta harness is designed to provide optimal weight distribution with the feature they call Wireframe Technology; where the waist belt and leg loops are constructed with spectra strands.
Strong Gear Loops
Even though this harness is thin and lightweight, it is equipped with strong gear loops, and waist and leg loops just like any other heavy-duty harnesses on the market. Also positioned in the first gear loop are ice clipper slots that may take up space but it comes in handy as well.
The price of this harness is high compared to other lightweight harnesses.
- Lightweight but with strong gear loops, waist, and leg loops
- Comes with ice clipper slots for ice climbing
- Can be used in different climbing disciplines
- Too thin and light for multi-pitch climbing
Wider Safety Belt
This product is a mountaineering harness. If you’re a beginner, this harness is certified for a climber like you. This is easy to wear and operate and can be used by all ages. Built with a traditional buckle, wider safety waist belt, comfortable cushioning, and strengthened stitching for safety and comfort.
Equipped with a durable bearing loop, strong webbings, and connections to bear your weight and ensure safety.
- Not certified for indoor climbing
How to Choose the Best Climbing Harnesses
Familiarize with the Parts
The best climbing harness should be composed of the best functioning parts based on the type of climbing you are into. There are different loops attached to the harness with each own purpose.
Most harnesses have 4 gear loops. But there are harnesses that enable customization for attaching more gear loops. This loop is used to carry equipment such as cams and quickdraws.
A haul loop is made of a stitched webbing located at the back of the harness. It is used to attach a haul line or a second rope. It is not meant to be used to support the load. Therefore, the haul loop should not be used to hold your weight when doing abseiling.
A belay loop is a loop that bears the load. It is the strongest point in the harness. Carabiners are attached to this loop.
For someone who wears thick layers of clothing, a harness with adjustable leg loops is the right one for you. Fixed leg loops will not be able to adapt to different leg sizes. Since the leg loops are wrapped around the climber’s leg, the comfort and accurate size should be considered when choosing your harness.
This part of the harness should be comfortable. Outdoor sports brands usually design this part with padding, breathable mesh, and quick-drying textile. All the loops are attached and connected to the waist belt.
Classifications of Climbing Harnesses to Use
All harnesses are not the same. The built and features may differ depending on the kind of climbing you’re going to do. The best climbing harness is a harness that can help you execute your climbing goals. Here are the kinds of climbing activities and the appropriate harnesses for each style.
Sport / Gym Harnesses
Compared to other harnesses, these are thin and lightweight. Depending on the equipment you will carry, you may opt to have 2 to 4 gear loops on this harness that are classically made from nylon or plastic tubing.
Trad or traditional harness usually consists of 4 or more gear loops, a haul loop for extra rope, thick padding for comfort, and extra lumbar padding for back support. Leg loops are adjustable. New trad harness models are lighter but still not as light compared to a sport harness.
This harness is exposed to frigid weather conditions. It is designed to have thinner padding for weight reduction and to avoid too much moisture absorption while on an icy mountain. The adjustable leg loops will allow you to fit over the thick layers of winter clothing. Equipped with 4 or more gear loops to hold your winter gears and ice clipper slots, and a haul loop.
Big Wall Harnesses
For a big wall with multi-pitch climbing, this harness is built with abundant padding to reduce pressure during hanging belays. It has sturdy gear loops intended to hold a lot of gears, and a strong loop in the back for attaching a haul line.
Materials and Built
Harnesses from Petzl and Black Diamond usually use patented technology on their harnesses to augment its features for comfort and safety. Other brands use standardized high quality on their products. Commonly, a harness is composed of polyester textile, padding, adjustment straps, buckles, and loops.
The padding ensures comfort on the waist and legs of the climber. Padded harnesses are usually the best to use especially when hanging belays. However, the thick padding contributes to the weight of the harness. A sport climbing harness has thin padding and narrow webbing to maintain its lightweight. Winter harnesses have traditionally minimal padding on the waist and no padding on the leg loops because of the cushioning of the winter attire.
Not all harnesses feature waist strap adjustment and adjustable leg loops. These straps are used to fit a large range of sizes, equipped with buckle and webbing.
Frame, Fabric, and Stitching
Putting a harness together requires strong materials to get the best quality. Harnesses are combined built of several, layered materials. Raw materials for constructing harnesses are colorful fabrics, webbing, thread, cords, and metal pieces.
Based on the featured harnesses, these are the usual qualities Thick padding should have breathable mesh for comfort. Tie-in point and stitching strengthen the harnesses, while the webbing and stitches connect the harnesses together.
Product testing goes through 2 stages. The first stage would be testing the raw materials before constructing the actual harness. The suppliers submit test results of product testing. Once the results have been verified, harness production will begin.
Once the harness has been produced, it will go through strength and comfort testing. Harnesses are absolutely designed to withstand the allocated load. Correct usage and storage is a must to make the best of your harness.
The best harness for you will also be based on your ability next to your preference. If you’re a beginner, the best choice would be a harness for a beginner climb. Usually, light and comfortable harness is suggested.
An advanced or expert climber would already have a preferred harness depending on the kind of climbing they are into. Based on product reviews, the Petzl and Black Diamond are usually preferred. But since the price of these brands is higher than other brands, some experienced climbers still explore the quality, capability, and comfort of different brands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a rock climbing harness for tree climbing?
Technically, yes. if you currently own a harness for rock climbing and will only temporarily use it for going up the trees, you may use your existing harness. However, there may be features on the harness that may not meet your needs such as sided rings and the comfort of the thick paddings of a tree saddle.
So, if you’re working with trees frequently, it is best if you purchase a harness that will satisfy the requirement.
How long does a harness last?
A harness had a good run if it lasted three years given that it was properly used and stored. The life expectancy of a harness could be cut shorter depending on the frequency of usage and the conditions of the way were being used. If the harness has been kept away for 10 years, you should retire it even when it was stored properly.
Can you machine wash a harness?
Before washing the harness with a machine, you should hand wash it first. If machine washing, set it to a gentle cycle, and do not use heavy cleaning detergents such as bleach and degreaser. It’s always best to check the labels, instructions, and tags for washing instructions.
Can you fall out of the harness?
If you properly put on and fit the harness, you will not fall out of it. To ensure that you’re correctly strapped in, pull down on the harness when you’re adjusting the waist strap to check that it is impossible to pull it over your hip.
Whether for business or pleasure, using a harness when doing a climb can save your life. To fully enjoy your work or hobby of climbing, always consider the durability, comfort, safety, price, and appropriation of the harness you will purchase and use. For beginners, an economical harness might be the best option.
As you progress in your ability to climb, explore other brands that you will be comfortable climbing with. Just remember the most important thing in working and playing at a high altitude is your safety.