2012 Gear Guide: Harnesses
The Black Diamond Flight harness (women’s is the Siren) easily met our requirements for a superb sport climbing rig: lightweight (11 oz.), comfortable, and little fuss. Our testers used this harness from Spain to the Red River Gorge, and praised the clean, auto-doubled-back design on both the waist belt and leg buckles. “It’s a big plus that there’s no extraneous material hanging off like on other adjustable harnesses,” one tester claimed of BD’s trakFIT slide-adjustment system. The elastic and adjustable leg loops worked well for climbers of different sizes; adjustable back riser straps helped customize fit as well. After about five months of steady use, the Flight showed almost no signs of wear. Falling proved comfortable, with a waist belt that distributes pressure across two bands of webbing and a mesh panel, so there are no points of irritation. However, the thin padding was not enough for long belays or hangdogging. Testers’ main grievance was the “mondo” gear loops: They’re stiff and sturdy, but the connected loops made racking clumsy.
You would expect a harness that boasts every possible clip-in point being as strong as the belay loop to be as bulky as an adult diaper made out of ballistic nylon, but the Safe Tech Trad harness (an addition to their successful Safe Tech line), is nearly as svelte as the average all-around harness. It’s an airy 16.5 oz., with smaller and easier-to-use buckles at the waist and legs. Other features include a prethreaded, doubled-back waist buckle, double belay loop, and full-strength haul loops and gear loops. It’s an excellent choice for beginning climbers and those who don’t climb often. While it’s strongly recommended to get proper instruction on tying in and belaying, Metolius’ Safer by Design technology helps reduce the danger of mistakes that can be made by anyone, from beginners to fatigued veterans.
Trango Double Rack
One trick to cruising demanding aid pitches is remembering what gear you’ve got on board and where it’s positioned on the rack. Those new to this memory game, or anyone looking for sound big-wall gear, may rejoice in Trango’s Double Rack gear sling. A padded shoulder harness looks to provide ample comfort and take the sting out of leading with a full rack of iron, while seven gear loops support multiple racking options. And for convenience when swapping leads, two daisy chains allow the Double Rack to be hung neatly from the belay anchor. This gear sling’s versatility is further enhanced by the sneaky fact that it also can serve as a full-strength chest harness, making it the perfect match for a soloist leading with a self-belay device. Adjustable up to 46” chest.