9 Best Climbing Harnesses in 2020 – Ultimate Buying Guide
If you love climbing, then you know how important it is to have the right gear. While free climbing a rock face may look cool, the fact is that you want to be more safe than sorry. That’s why it’s important that you use ropes and harnesses to protect yourself against a fall.
Climbing harnesses come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s imperative that you find one that fits your needs. Some are designed for use in the gym on a rock wall, while others are for the real thing.
We’ll be showing you some of the best climbing harnesses out there, as well as show you the difference between the various styles and what you should look out for to ensure that you’re getting one suited to your needs.
Table of Contents
- 9 Best Climbing Harness - Comparisons
- 9 Best Climbing Harnesses in 2020 - Reviews
- 1. Arc'teryx AR-395a harness Men's
- 2. Black Diamond Chaos Harness
- 3. PETZL Corax Climbing Harness
- 4. PETZL - SAMA, Rock Climbing Harness
- 5. Metolius Safe Tech All Around Harness
- 6. EDELRID - Orion Climbing Harness
- 7. Fusion Climb Rebounder Padded Half Body Bungee-Trampoline Harness
- 8. Hunter Safety System Hybrid Flex Harness
- 9. Wild Country Flare Climbing Harness - Women's
- How to Choose the Best Climbing Harness
- Final Verdict
9 Best Climbing Harness - Comparisons
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9 Best Climbing Harnesses in 2020 - Reviews
Kicking off our list is the AR-395a from Arcteryx. This company is well-known for making high-quality outdoor gear, and this harness is one of the best that you can find.
Technically speaking, this would qualify as a trad model, but because it’s coming from Arcteryx, you can also classify it as an ice harness as well. The material for the straps is both durable and lightweight.
It comes with “warp strength technology,” which means that it should hold up no matter how you twist and turn as you climb. The harness is also double-weaved to make it more rugged and dependable outdoors.
Best of all, the edges of the waist and leg loops are rounder and softer so that they don’t cut into your skin. They also have padding to give you a bit of extra comfort while doing your climb. This harness comes with four reversible gear loops and a rear haul loop for your convenience.
- Warp Strength technology
- Ideal weight dispersal
- Double weave material for better holding
- Softer edges along the waist for comfort
- Leg loops are adjustable
- Four reversible polyurethane gear loops
- Rear haul loop included
- Some users may find the leg loops uncomfortable
- Ideal for casual climbing only
Next, we have another trad model harness. What makes the Chaos a great choice is that it is specially designed to give you as much comfort as possible.
Using 3D printing techniques, the straps are molded to fit the contours of your body as well as distribute your weight as evenly as possible.
The gear loops on this harness are also remarkable as they are encased in an abrasion-resistant shell so that they won’t tear off or get damaged after repeated use. You get four of them with the front two being slightly larger so that you can accommodate all of your equipment.
Best of all, this harness has fast and easy adjustment buckles that allow you to get in and out quickly. Also, the whole thing weighs less than thirteen ounces, making it an ideal choice for most outings.
- Durable and lightweight construction
- Four pressure-molded gear loops for better holding
- Ideal weight distribution
- Loops are covered in an abrasion-resistant shell
- Each one comes with 3D molded interior
- Kinetic core molded waist loop for comfort
- Fast and easy adjustment
- Weighs less than thirteen ounces
- Material doesn’t breathe very well
- Some users may find that some of the loops pinch at times
Next, we have what could be classified as a mountaineering harness. The Petzl Corax is both super lightweight and adjustable, meaning that you have full control over your leg loops.
If you ever need to answer nature’s call while climbing the mountain, then you will love that fact.
The Corax is amazing because of the proprietary UNIVERSO belay system, which is compatible with all ropes. That means that you can use this harness almost anywhere, whether you’re practicing in the gym or scaling your next mountain. Best of all, it includes a carabiner and sliding connection piece for your convenience.
The waist strap is thin and padded for extra comfort, and the sides are rounded, so they don’t dig into your sides. You also get four gear loops and a haul loop in the back.
- Durable and lightweight construction
- Material is breathable yet robust
- Compatible with all ropes
- Proprietary UNIVERSO belay system
- Includes carabiner and sliding connection piece
- Thick padding for extra comfort
- Quick and easy adjustments
- Parts may tangle easily during transport
- Leg loops do not have padding across the outer thigh, which can be uncomfortable in some situations
- Some sizes may feel bigger than they should
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While the Corax above is designed to be light and adjustable, the Sama is built to be as durable and dependable as possible. You get some of the best craftsmanship and material with this harness, which makes it ideal for any environment.
The only downside is that the thick padding does not allow for excellent airflow, so watch out for that.
The Sama comes with a proprietary EndoFrame system which is built to distribute weight as evenly as possible. It also has high-quality stitching to help reduce rubbing and chafing while climbing. With this harness, you get four gear loops, Dyneema tie-in points to reduce friction on your belay loop, and detachable leg loops for better adjustment.
- Durable EndoFrame construction
- Each loop comes with doubled straps
- Ideal weight distribution and comfort
- Stitching is designed to limit chafing and hard points
- Light buckle allows for easy adjustment
- Four equipment loops included
- Dyneema tie-in points to reduce friction
- Detachable leg loop straps
- Leg straps run a bit small on some sizes
- Fitting the harness can take a bit of guesswork to get right
Next, we have another trad harness that is built for strength and reliability. You will notice that this model has thick diamond-shaped fabric, which is specifically designed to hold firm under almost any condition.
The only major downside with this unit is that you don’t get a lot of padding, so some users may find it a tad uncomfortable.
What’s nice about this harness, though, is that it is designed to work with anyone, regardless of size or gender. It comes with a proprietary rise 3D system to help you adjust and distribute weight evenly, and an ergonomic shape means that you don’t have to worry about pinching or pain.
- Durable diamond-pattern fabric
- Reinforced tie-in point for extra ruggedness
- Two rappel loops included
- Adjustable rise 3D system for better distribution
- Ergonomic shape for better comfort
- Works for men and women alike
- Lightweight design
- Material can chafe if placed against skin
- Harness can get uncomfortable during long climbs
- Adjusting the straps can be difficult at times
Here we have another 3D printed harness. The benefit of using such construction methods is that you can mold and shape the design to be as comfortable and rugged as possible.
With that in mind, the Orion is one of the best trad harnesses you can find because it comes with thick pads, vented straps for better airflow, and it contours to your body.
Overall, if you want something that will feel great as you climb, regardless of the weather, then the Orion is a fantastic choice. In addition to the excellent material, you get four symmetrically placed gear loops and an abrasion protector on the tie-in point for extra strength. Best of all, you can get in and out of this harness quickly and with minimal effort, meaning that it’s perfect for the gym or the mountain.
- Durable and lightweight 3D printed material
- Vented to give you a better airflow
- Soft and comfortable loops
- Shaped to contour with your body Includes four symmetrically placed gear loops
- Comes with two attachment options
- Quick and easy adjustment on the fly
- Abrasion protector on the tie-in point for stability
- Some users may feel a bit of pinching around the crotch area
- Some sizes may be hard to get a good fit
Next, we have a sports harness that is designed for indoor use only. While you could use it out on the rock face, we don’t recommend it as the material is not that comfortable for long climbs and it doesn’t come with all of the accessories you need.
Nonetheless, if you want something quick and easy that will help you out on the rock wall, this is a great choice.
The Fusion is built with durable and flexible materials that conform to the shape of your body. It also has high-strength buckles to keep you secure as you go, and two gear loops for any extra accessories. Overall, this harness is ideal for bungees and trampolines.
- Durable and flexible construction
- Molds to the shape of your body
- Fully padded for extra comfort
- High-strength buckles for safety
- Two tool loops for your convenience
- Quick and easy adjustment
- High-tensile strength straps
- Ideal for bungee trampolines
- Sizing can be difficult for some users
- Top of leg loops are not padded
- Not ideal for some climbing environments
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So far, we’ve seen models that are built for climbing. However, this next unit is not made for that purpose. Instead, the Hunter Safety System is designed as a protection for you if you sit and hunt from a tree hide.
Whether you have a platform or not, scoping out your target means that you can accidentally shift and tumble down to the ground below. If that happens, then this harness will catch you and ensure that you don’t break your bones on the hard ground.
This system is a full-body harness, with a chest piece and two leg straps to keep you from getting cut in half at the waist. Having a chest harness is ideal because it will distribute the weight more evenly if you fall, and it gives you more pockets and loops in which to put your gear. This harness comes with six pockets and two loops, one of which is designed for your binoculars.
Overall, this is a great piece of safety equipment to have if you spend time in a tree. If you want to take it out climbing, however, we don’t recommend it as it will be too bulky and heavy for that purpose.
- Durable and lightweight full-body harness
- Shock absorbing tether and waist buckle distribute weight evenly
- Two tool straps and six pockets included
- Camouflage design for hunting
- Padded throughout for better comfort
- Quick and easy adjustment
- Thick diamond-pattern straps
- Some attachments are not as strong as others
- Can feel tight after a long session
- Leg straps are not padded
- Ideal for hunting, not necessarily climbing
While most climbing harnesses are unisex, some are made specifically for a man or a woman.
In this case, the Wild Country Flare Harness is made for the fairer sex, and as a result, it is smaller and has more comfort around the legs and waist.
What makes this harness unique is that it comes with proprietary Load Spread Technology to distribute your weight more evenly. Because women usually have wider hips, this is important so that you don’t experience pinching or pressure as you climb.
This particular model is ideal for sports climbing or the gym because it doesn’t include a haul loop, but there are four gear loops, so you can use it on the mountain if you want. Best of all, this harness is super lightweight, so it won’t be too bulky.
- Durable and lightweight construction
- Thick padding for extra comfort
- Load Spread Technology for more even distribution
- Four gear loops for your convenience
- Rounded edges for a better fit
- Quick and easy adjustment
- Light and fit design
- Tailored to fit a women’s physique
- Ziplock buckle waist for durability
- Contoured belt shape
- Tops of the leg straps are not padded
- Thin waist strap may pinch
- Limited sizes available
How to Choose the Best Climbing Harness
As you have seen, there are a lot of different types of harnesses from which you can choose. If you’re still new to climbing, don’t worry, we’ll help you figure out the right one that will both be safe and comfortable.
Before you can choose the best harness for yourself, you first have to understand what kind of climbing you’ll be doing. If you are doing all of your vertical work in the gym in a controlled environment, then you won’t need a harness that has extra gear loops or can withstand extreme weather.
Conversely, you don’t want to try and scale a mountain face with a gym harness either, so let’s look at the difference between these various styles.
This kind of harness is designed to be as lightweight and maneuverable as possible. There are usually only two gear loops on this model because you don’t need a ton of accessories when doing a quick climb.
Other features of a sports harness include a lighter belay loop, automatic buckles for quick in and out, and minimal leg adjustments. The goal is to keep you secure without requiring a lot of extra weight or customization.
These harnesses can be used in a lot of different situations, so they have much more to offer than a sports model.
Typically speaking, these harnesses have extra padding for longer climbs, more gear loops (usually four) to hold more accessories, and adjustable leg straps so that you can fix any problems on the fly. Trad harnesses will also usually have a haul loop to carry a second rope as well. The goal of this harness is to be lightweight and comfortable, while still giving you all of the amenities you need for an intense climb.
Usually, these harnesses are similar to trad models, although they are meant to withstand colder temperatures. They also have a haul loop, multiple gear loops, and extra padding to stay comfortable as you go. The biggest change between these and trad harnesses is that they come with thicker material and components that won’t freeze up as you climb.
These models are designed for all-weather climbing and can be used for a wide variety of environments. The goal of a mountaineering (alpine) harness is to be lightweight and comfortable, as well as work with a pack.
One of the more notable features of these units is that they come with fully adjustable leg straps to allow you to take them off if need be (when nature calls). Also, they are usually thinner to allow for more clothing or a pack, and they may have a lighter belay loop or require that you thread your rope through the waist.
When talking about climbing harnesses, they are mostly designed to keep you stable as you ascend or descend a rock face. Hunting harnesses, however, are made to protect you in case you fall out of a tree hide. The goal of a hunting harness is to catch you so that you don’t have a hard landing on the ground.
Typically speaking, these models are camouflaged and have a full body design so that if you do fall you won’t get cut in half by the waist belt. These are also heavier and have more accessory pockets so that you can stay organized while in the hide.
One important thing to remember is that a hunting harness is not designed for rock climbing, so don’t use it for that purpose.
Once you have determined the right kind of climbing harness for your needs, then it’s imperative that you find one that is the most comfortable. Even if you’re planning to climb for short periods, you don’t want to get something that is tight and unmanageable.
To test the comfort level of a harness, you have to try it on and see how it feels in action. Walking around and climbing are two different things, and they will put pressure on various parts of your body. That means that if it feels comfortable while walking, it could be painful while climbing, and vice versa.
If you’re planning to buy one over the internet, we recommend that you first check it out at a climbing and outdoor store so you can test it first. Ultimately, you don’t want the first time you try it out to be when you’re ready to scale the mountain (or the rock wall)
Although size is an integral part of your overall comfort level, it’s important that you understand that you will need to get one that can fit both your waist and your legs. For some climbers, this could mean that you have to get a size up regarding either section. For example, if your legs are big and burly, then you might have to get a bigger model and then tighten it more around the waist.
Usually, the biggest problem that people have with harnesses is that they don’t fit right in all areas, so this will be something that you have to address when you try out any new models. To prepare yourself ahead of time, measure your waist dimensions as well as the widest part of your leg so that you know exactly how big it has to be.
Also, be sure that you plan for some extra room to accommodate thick clothing if you intend on climbing outdoors.
Because these harnesses have different styles and purposes, it’s impossible to pick one that is better than the rest. However, we’re going to narrow it down to two different models that will work for the gym or the mountain. With that in mind, our top pick would have to be Edelrid Orion Climbing Harness and Arc'teryx AR-395a harness Men's.
Both of these have the strength and versatility to work both indoors and out. While they don’t have the full capability of a mountaineering harness, they should get the job done well regardless.
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