I Wanna Be A Climber

How to Choose the Best Rock Climbing Harness

best rock climbing harness

Finding the perfect rock climbing harness is essential for ensuring your safety and comfort during your climbing endeavors. As a beginner climber, it’s crucial to grasp the key factors in selecting the right harness. Allow me to present a comprehensive guide to assist you in making the best choice:

What is a Rock Climbing Harness Called?

A rock climbing harness is called a “climbing harness” or “harness.” While this umbrella term doesn’t signify much difference, not all harnesses are created equal! For example, some harnesses are better suited for long multi-pitch climbs outside. At the same time, some cater to ice climbers, and some are better than others for styles like sport climbing.

The two main types of rock climbing harnesses are sit harnesses and full-body. Most seen are sit-harness. Full-body harnesses are usually seen on children or pregnant women. Yes! Many pregnant women climb, and a harness is specifically designed for them!

What to Consider When Choosing a Rock Climbing Harness

There are a few things to consider when choosing a rock climbing harness for the first time, but the most important thing to remember: What you’ll be using your harness for. If you only plan to go single-pitch sport climbing, you don’t need a harness with ice-axe loops, a haul loop, or even a double set of gear loops. Here are some other things to consider when choosing a rock climbing harness:

Safety reigns supreme: Prioritize your safety above all else. Look for harnesses with certifications from esteemed safety standards like the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation) or CE (European Conformity). These certifications guarantee that the harness meets stringent safety requirements.

Optimal fit and comfort: The key to a sublime climbing experience is a harness that fits impeccably and grants unrestricted movement. Experiment with various harnesses until you discover one that fits snugly without causing discomfort or constriction. Some harnesses have adjustable leg loops, while others are fixed. I’ve climbed with both and have found I prefer adjustable leg loops over fixed ones because my waist fits one size while my legs fit another, allowing me to size my waste correctly but still have comfortable and functional leg loops.

Gear loops galore: Gear loops on your harness are valuable allies for clipping and carrying climbing equipment such as carabiners, quickdraws, and cams. Consider the number and placement of gear loops based on your climbing style and the quantity of gear you typically carry. Additionally, if you plan to tackle some big wall climbing (routes that can take days), you’ll want to invest in a harness with a haul loop!

Weight and packability: If you aspire to engage in multi-pitch or alpine climbing, factoring in the weight and packability of your harness becomes paramount. Lightweight and compact harnesses are ideal companions for these activities, effortlessly stowed away in your backpack.

Budget considerations: While it’s prudent to establish a budget for your harness, remember that investing in your safety should take precedence. While wallet-friendly options are available, prioritize quality, durability, and safety features over price alone. Buying the proper gear will save your life and give you peace of mind when climbing.

Try before you commit: Whenever possible, take the opportunity to try on various harnesses before making your final decision. Pay a visit to a local climbing gear shop or climbing gym that offers gear rentals. This hands-on approach lets you assess the fit, comfort, and features firsthand. Moreover, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from knowledgeable staff who can offer valuable advice to help you make an informed choice.

Account for future needs: Although your focus as a beginner may be on indoor climbing or more accessible outdoor routes, it’s wise to consider a harness that can accommodate your future endeavors. Opting for a versatile harness capable of adapting to a range of climbing styles will save you the trouble of purchasing a new one soon after.

Personal preferences matter: Ultimately, selecting a rock climbing harness is a deeply personal choice. Some climbers prioritize lightweight designs, while others prioritize maximum comfort. Consider your preferences and choose a harness that aligns with your needs and priorities.

How Do I Choose a Harness?

When choosing a rock climbing harness, you’ll want to consider what climbing you plan to use it for. For example, will you be top roping only? Do you have long multi-pitch routes in mind? Are you looking for something in between that will serve multiple purposes?

These are the questions to consider before buying your first harness. There are many options when deciding what harness to buy; it can be overwhelming! I’ll give you a great place to start your search below.

Need a Place to Start?

Best Overall: Black Diamond Momentum

When choosing the best overall rock climbing harness, one model that stands out is the Black Diamond Momentum Harness. Here’s why it earns this distinction:

Versatility: The Black Diamond Momentum Harness suits various climbing styles, including sport climbing, trad climbing, and gym climbing. It adapts well to various climbing scenarios, making it a versatile choice for climbers of different skill levels.

Comfort: This harness features a Dual Core Construction, which combines a supportive waistbelt and comfortable leg loops. This design distributes pressure evenly, reducing discomfort and allowing for extended climbing sessions without excessive fatigue.

Adjustability: The Momentum Harness offers ample adjustability with its trakFIT leg loop adjustment system and Speed Adjust waistbelt buckle. These features ensure a personalized and secure fit, accommodating climbers with different body types.

Gear Loops: Equipped with four pressure-molded gear loops, this harness provides ample space for carrying gear. It also includes a rear haul loop for conveniently attaching additional gear like a light pair of tennis shoes, making it suitable for long climbs and multi-pitch routes.

Durability: Constructed with high-quality materials and reinforced stitching, the Momentum Harness is designed to withstand the rigors of climbing. It is built to be durable and long-lasting, making it a worthwhile investment.

Value for Money: The Black Diamond Momentum Harness offers excellent value for its features and performance. It balances affordability and quality, making it accessible to climbers on different budgets.

Overall, the Black Diamond Momentum Harness stands out as a top choice due to its versatility, comfort, adjustability, safety features, durability, and reasonable price. I used the BD Momentum for years and can attest that this harness is great for top roping and sport climbing. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, this harness provides the essential qualities needed for a successful and enjoyable climbing experience.

Best Women’s Harness: Petzl Selena

The Petzl Selena Harness is highly regarded if you’re looking for the best rock climbing harness specifically designed for women. Here are the key reasons why it stands out as a top choice:

Women’s-Specific Design: The Petzl Selena Harness is tailored to fit the female anatomy. It features a contoured waistbelt, rise, and leg loops designed to provide optimal comfort and support for women climbers.

Versatility: This harness suits various climbing styles, including sport climbing, trad climbing, and gym climbing. Its versatile design allows women climbers to tackle a wide array of routes and challenges.

Comfort and Fit: This harness incorporates a waistbelt with a wide, supportive design that distributes pressure evenly, making it a top choice among women climbers.

Adjustability: The Selena Harness has fixed leg loops. Depending on your leg-to-waste size ratio, this could leave you either too loose or too snug of a fit.

Gear Loops: The Selena Harness includes four gear loops for conveniently organizing and accessing climbing gear. It also features a rear haul loop, providing an attachment point for additional equipment required during longer climbs or multi-pitch routes.

Durability: Built with high-quality materials and reinforced stitching, the Selena Harness is designed to withstand the demands of rock climbing. Its durability ensures that it can handle continued use.

Lightweight and Compact: The Selena Harness is constructed using lightweight materials, minimizing the overall weight without compromising durability. Its compact design makes it easy to pack and carry, making it ideal for alpine climbing or multi-pitch routes.

The Petzl Selena Harness is a top contender when finding a rock climbing harness that prioritizes comfort, fit, and performance for women. Its specialized design, durability, versatility, and positive reputation make it an excellent choice for female climbers of all skill levels.

Best Beginner Harness: Petzl Corax

For beginners delving into the thrilling realm of rock climbing, the Petzl Corax Harness stands out as an excellent choice. Here’s why it is regarded as the best rock climbing harness for beginners:

Versatility: The Petzl Corax Harness is well-suited for various climbing styles, making it adaptable to the needs of beginners. This harness can accommodate your progression, whether engaging in indoor climbing, sport climbing, or even venturing into multi-pitch routes.

Comfort and Fit: Comfort is paramount for beginners, and the Corax harness delivers! It features adjustable waist and leg loops, allowing you to achieve a customized fit. Breathable foam padding provides cushioning and minimizes pressure points during climbs.

Adjustability: This harness has adjustable leg loops, enabling quick and secure adjustments to fit multiple body shapes. This feature makes it simple for beginners to fine-tune the fit for optimal comfort and safety.

Gear Loops: As beginners build their climbing gear collection, the Corax Harness proves invaluable. It boasts four gear loops, providing ample space to carry all of your gear.

Durability: Constructed with high-quality materials, the Petzl Corax Harness is built to withstand the demands of regular climbing. Its durability ensures longevity, making it a worthwhile investment for beginners on their climbing journey.

User-Friendly Design: This harness features color-coded waist and leg loops, facilitating easy and intuitive wearing. This thoughtful design element simplifies the process for beginners, reducing confusion and ensuring proper usage.

Value for Money: The Petzl Corax Harness offers excellent value for beginners, providing a blend of affordability and quality. It is a reliable choice that upholds performance and safety.

The Petzl Corax Harness is the best rock climbing harness for beginners due to its versatility, comfort, adjustability, safety features, durability, and value for money. It equips beginners with the essential qualities needed for a safe and enjoyable climbing experience, setting them on the path to progress and explore the exciting world of rock climbing. While I’m no beginner, I currently use the Petzl Corax LT. The difference is there are no adjustable leg loops, making me wish I own the Petzl Corax instead!

In Summary…

By thoroughly considering these factors and conducting in-depth research, you can confidently select a rock climbing harness that meets the essential safety requirements and delivers exceptional comfort and functionality throughout your climbing endeavors. Remember, as you gain experience and refine your skills, your preferences may evolve, so remain open to reassessing and upgrading your gear! Finally, embrace the exciting rock climbing world confidently, prioritizing safety above all else!

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top