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Depending on your preferred type of climbing, you might prioritize some harness characteristics over others. No matter if it’s comfort, weight, or gear loops we can guide you to choose out the best option for you.
Read on for an overview of the factors to consider when choosing a harness as well as our top 5 picks for the best climbing harness.
Top 5 Best Climbing Harnesses of 2019
We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 climbing harness with their pros and cons. Check them out below!
Best Rock Climbing Harness for Larger Climbers
This harness is ideal for people with waists larger than 35 inches. It is highly adjustable and extra sturdy. The leg loops are adjustable and the D rings give you more options than other standard harnesses.
This reinforced harness comes with a storage bag that will keep your harness dry and safe. The bearing loop is reinforced for extra sturdiness and fits any waist from 24 inches to 48 inches. This is a versatile, affordable harness for caving, indoor climbing and more.
Best Climbing Harness for Beginners
With added lumbar foam padding along the waist and woven mesh, this harness is ultra comfortable. The wider waist belt and leg loops make climbing comfortably a breeze. One con is that the ring in front is made out of fabric and some people prefer a metal ring for durability. Because of it’s comfort level, we’ve awarded it the best climbing harness for beginners.
This harness is ideal for gym use. It has leg loops that are quickly adjusted so you can get on the rocks faster. This harness can fit waists as small as 23 inches and up to 42 inches which makes it a very versatile harness for many body sizes. Even children have been known to use this harness.
A downside is that there is no padding on the leg straps and some reviewers find that thighs get sore after extended hanging. However, others felt no discomfort.
Best Women’s Climbing Harness
This Black Diamond Primrose gives female climbers a time-saving design with this pre-threaded waist buckle and adjustable leg loops. The gear loops are placed out from the harness which makes hooking and unhooking much easier. The haul loop on back is a plus if you need to carry up an extra rope.
Best Climbing Harness Features
There is no one best harness that is going to work for everyone for each sport. Because climbing has so many branches, you’ll first need to consider the type of climbing you will be doing before you start looking at climbing harness reviews.
These climbs generally focus more on athletic ability than adventure. The main thing to make sure when selecting a harness for indoors is that it is comfortable for hanging in and during belaying. Basically, any harness will be suitable and work well for indoor recreational gym climbing.
Trad (traditional) climbing requires a sturdier harness than what you would use when climbing in a gym. For trad, gear that is resistant to abrasion is vital. Comfort is also paramount as you likely will have longer belay periods than at the gym.
Outdoor climbing also means that you want a harness that is lightweight so you can carry it in a backpack. Plus, the more gear loops the better to cart around your gear. Like a perfect compact hammock for when you reach the summit.
Ice climbing harnesses are specifically designed to handle the harsh cold environment. These usually have extra padding on the lumbar region and adjustable leg loops with buckles.
Size and Comfort
Regardless of features, one of the most important things to consider when you are choosing the best climbing harness for yourself is comfort. A harness that fits properly and well is the main contributor to whether it feels comfortable on your body. The most padded harness will not be good if it’s the wrong size for you.
The best way to get fitted is to go to a gear shop and try out various to see what fits best. Here are some other areas where size will be crucial.
You will wear your climbing harness on your hips or at your waist, depending on your body type. Choose whichever feels more comfortable and natural. Women typically wear a harness on the waist. Either way make sure that the waist belt is tightly cinched. You should be able to fit in a couple fingers in between you and the harness but not more.
Too tight and it will hurt to walk around. Too loose and it will ride up when you are hanging.
The belay loop and the other gear loops are centered when the waist belt fits properly.
The leg loops won’t be as tight as the belt around your waist or hips. Yet, leg loops should be snug. Nowadays, leg loops often have an elastic section that allows the leg loops to be fixed and not require buckles. This makes the harness more lightweight.
Be mindful that leg loops sizing will vary from one manufacturer to the other. So you might have a great waist fit but not an ideal leg fit.
On a harness, rise means the distance between the back of each leg loop and the waist belt. This is an important measurement to ensure comfort. If the rise is too short the leg loops will sit too high and you will tip backwards when hanging. On the other hand, if the leg loops are overly low on your legs, the rise is too long and you can hurt your hips when you fall.
Proper harness rise will keep you upright and properly balanced each time you fall as well as when you are hanging. If you feel that it is work to stay upright, that means your harness rise is wrong for your body. The best rock climbing harness will have an adjustable strap that allows you to make adjustments to the rise. That way you get a tailored fit that is just right for you.
Ready to hit the rocks? Stop by Outdoor Nirvana for tips, guides and product reviews so you can get the most out of your adventures.