If you do any kind of roped up climbing, you spend a lot of time standing, sitting, hanging and falling in your harness. Finding the best climbing harness you can get is essential for safety, comfort and performance.

Think about the kind of climbing you love – Gym climbing? Sport climbing? Trad climbing? Ice climbing?

For just a waistband and some leg loops, there is a huge amount of variation in climbing harnesses on the market. Gear producers have innovated modern harnesses to be light, comfortable, efficient, and safe. We are here to break down the differences between some of this year’s top all-arounders and help you to pick the best climbing harness to meets your needs.

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QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST CLIMBING HARNESSES

  1. Arcteryx AR 395a
  2. Mammut Realization Shorts
  3. Black Diamond Chaos
  4. Black Diamond Aspect
  5. Petzl Corax
  6. Edelrid Orion
  7. Black Diamond Solution
  8. Petzl Aquila
  9. Mammut Ophir Slide
  10. Black Diamond Momentum

 

 

 

CLIMBING HARNESSES REVIEWS

ARC’TERYX AR 395A

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Sport, trad & ice

WOMEN’S VERSION: Arc’teryx AR 385a 

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable. Fixed equivalent: Arc’teryx FL 365

WEIGHT: 13.9 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + 4 ice clipper slots + rear haul loop

PROS: Lightweight, compact, versatile, very mobile, low profile with widely distributed load

CONS: Expensive, not as comfortable as super padded harnesses, not ideal for extended hanging

 

 

 

MAMMUT REALIZATION SHORTS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Sport

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable

WEIGHT: 19 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 2 gear loops

PROS: Chalk bag clip, fully adjustable, comfortable, unique design, machine washable

CONS: Expensive, only practical for sport climbing, no option of what to wear

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND CHAOS

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Trad climbing, also good for sport

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

LEG LOOPS: Fixed

WEIGHT: 12.6 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + rear haul loop

PROS: Comfortable, light, breathable, and abrasion resistant, Tommy Caldwell’s chosen harness for the Dawn Wall

CONS: Expensive, not as adjustable as other harnesses, no ice clipper slots

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND ASPECT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Ice climbing, also good for sport and trad

WOMEN’S VERSION: Black Diamond Lotus 

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable

WEIGHT: 14.5 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + 4 ice clipper slots + rear haul loop

PROS: Extremely durable, breathable, comfortable with good pressure distribution

CONS: Bulky, somewhat hard to reach back gear loops

 

 

 

PETZL CORAX

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Sport, trad & ice

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable

WEIGHT: 17.3 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + 2 ice clipper slots + rear haul loop

PROS: Comfortable, versatile, and fairly breathable, inexpensive

CONS: Heavy, lots of buckles, reduced mobility

 

 

 

EDELRID ORION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Sport, trad & ice

WOMEN’S VERSION: Edelrid Solaris 

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable

WEIGHT: 14.6 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + 2 ice clipper slots + rear haul loop

PROS: Very comfortable, especially when hanging, easy adjust buckles, lightweight and durable, waist belt on women’s version can taper to female body

CONS: Expensive, haul loop difficult to use

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND SOLUTION

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Sport & trad

WOMEN’S VERSION: Black Diamond Solution 

LEG LOOPS: Fixed

WEIGHT: 11 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + rear haul loop

PROS: Exceptionally comfortable, doesn’t twist when catching falls, low profile with widely distributed load

CONS: No adjustable leg loop equivalent

 

 

 

PETZL AQUILA

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: Sport, trad & ice

WOMEN’S VERSION: N/A

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable

WEIGHT: 12.1

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + 2 ice clipper slots + rear haul loop

PROS: Comfortable, lightweight and very durable, easy to use, contoured gear loops

CONS: Expensive, leg loop buckles may slip over time, haul loop hard to use

 

 

 

MAMMUT OPHIR SLIDE

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: First Harness – sport & trad

WOMEN’S VERSION: Mammut Ophira Slide 

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable. Fixed equivalent: Mammut Ophir 

WEIGHT: 14.8 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + rear haul loop

PROS: Offset gear loops for easier fit, breathable, abrasion resistant features

CONS: Not that comfortable, waist buckle placement difficult for right handed folk

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND MOMENTUM

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

BEST USE: First Harness. Sport, Trad

WOMEN’S VERSION: Black Diamond Primrose 

LEG LOOPS: Adjustable

WEIGHT: 12 oz

GEAR LOOPS: 4 gear loops + rear haul loop

PROS: Inexpensive, great value, increased padding for greater comfort, easy to clip gear loops

CONS: Gear loops hold less gear, poor breathability

 

 

 

COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST CLIMBING HARNESSES

PICTURE
HARNESS
LEG LOOPS
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
HARNESS
LEG LOOPS
WEIGHT
PRICE
RATING
Arcteryx AR 395a
Adjustable
13.9 oz
$$$
5.0
Mammut Realization Shorts
Adjustable
19.0 oz
$$$
5.0
Black Diamond Chaos
Fixed
12.6 oz
$$
4.8
Black Diamond Aspect
Adjustable
14.5 oz
$
4.8
Petzl Corax
Adjustable
17.3 oz
$
4.7
Edelrid Orion
Adjustable
14.6 oz
$$
4.5
Black Diamond Solution
Fixed
11.0 oz
$
4.5
Petzl Aquila
Adjustable
12.1 oz
$$
4.3
Mammut Ophir Slide
Adjustable
14.8 oz
$
4.0
Black Diamond Momentum
Adjustable
12.0 oz
$
4.0

 

 



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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CLIMBING HARNESSES

PURPOSE

Climbing sub-disciplines can help narrow in on the best climbing harness. Gym climbers can choose whatever is comfortable and convenient. Sport climbers need gear loops for quickdraws and enjoy a lightweight model. Trad climbers benefit from bigger gear loops and a padded, comfy fit. Ice climbers need ice clipper slots and adjustable leg loops.

 

SIZING AND COMFORT

A well fit harness is critical to ensuring the harness can perform safely. The waist belt is the most important component and should be sized such that it won’t slide over the hips if the climber flips upside down. Beyond safety, a comfortable harness will improve your quality of life immensely when climbing. It’s worth considering the benefits and trade-offs of extra padding and breathability.

 

LEG LOOPS

It’s important to listen to your body and consider whether you want fixed or adjustable harness leg loops. Many people prefer fixed leg loops as they tend to be less bulky, lighter, and quick to take on and off. The biggest issue with fixed leg loops is that they are not suitable for every body type. If your legs don’t fit comfortably in fixed loops, then adjustable is the way to go! Adjustable loops also enable you to comfortably layer your clothes in a variety of weather conditions.

 

GEAR LOOPS

Gear loops are present on a harness to make your life more convenient! Having four gear loops is essential when climbing outside to ensure there’s enough real estate to hang lots of equipment. Look for larger and sturdier loops if you know you have more gear.

 

WEIGHT

Climbers generally want to feel lightweight so the draw of a lighter harness is self-explanatory. Some people swear by light harnesses to help them send their latest project, or when keeping it light and fast on alpine style routes. Others hardly notice a difference, so weight really comes down to personal preference.

 

MEN’S VS WOMEN’S

There are substantial differences between men’s and women’s harnesses. The distance between the leg loops and the waist belt, known as the rise, is longer on a woman’s harness. This is because women generally have smaller waists and wider hips, and tend to wear their harnesses above their hips. Women have a lower center of gravity and the higher waist belt makes hanging in a harness more comfortable.  In the end the difference between men’s and women’s harnesses has to do with body type – try on both to see which one fits your body best.

 

HARNESS CARE

Your harness is a critical piece of safety equipment. Because you depend on it with no back up, it is imperative that you care for your harness appropriately. Learn the specific care instructions of the model you buy, and follow recommendations for when to replace it. There is no back-up for a failed

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