From one ultra-slim tester to a wider-hipped lady climber, this fully adjustable rig fit several body types and shapes with complete comfort. Plus, it comes in six sizes from XS to XXL. We took the Guru to Rocky Mountain National Park for some long alpine routes and then to Shelf Road, Colorado, and Ten Sleep, Wyoming, for sport climbing sessions, and the Guru was just as good for hanging belays as it was for catching long whippers.
Climbing Harness Reviews
All harnesses do the same things—keep you from hitting the deck and tote gear—but how they do it can be staggeringly different. Some are mega-plush, built for hours of hanging, while others are slim and trim for sending projects. Then there are those designed with special features for ice climbing or mountaineering. You’ll probably have your harness for years—you won’t replace it as often as a rope or rock shoe—which makes it all the more important to choose the right rig.
“Hands down, the Togira is the best harness I’ve tested out of the 15 or so I’ve donned in the last three years,” said one Climbing editor and frequent tester. “It’s also the first women’sspecific harness that actually won unanimous praise from lady testers, because the waist belt and leg loops stayed high in just the right places.”
A day in the alpine can bring a little bit of everything: hiking, rock, snow, choss, hanging belays, and multiple rappels. “After my first eight hours in this harness, I was sold,” said one tester after a late summer scramble-snow-rock ascent of Rocky Mountain National Park’s Longs Peak.
Trying to get your gear room under control? Try a single harness that does it all. The Aspect is comfortable enough for working a route or belaying at a hanging station, light enough (14 oz.) for fairly serious sending, and tricked out for ice and alpine routes. “The waistbelt fit without pinching, even when I was hangdogging on my first mixed routes,” reported one tester after a winter trip to Utah’s Provo Canyon.
“I wore the Flash more than any other harness this past fall. It’s a great all-purpose, burly harness,” said one tester. Its standout attribute is comfort, with half-inch-thick perforated foam generously padding the waist and leg loops. Our main testers—two tall, skinny dudes—found the two buckles on the waistbelt extremely helpful for dialing in fit.
Light weight plus comfort is a tricky balance, but Edelrid got it right with the Orion. “Without a doubt, the most comfortable harness for the weight I’ve worn this year,” said one tester. At only 15.2 ounces, Edelrid’s cleverly designed waistbelt and leg loops mimic the shape of a real waist and legs, and the loops split off into five skinnier belts to distribute weight evenly.
Perhaps the worst part about trad climbing is tripping over that $1,500 glorified weight belt slung over your shoulder. We tested the Hummingbird Hover gear sling/pack system ($59.95; hummingbirdmountaingear.com) on trad routes throughout Colorado and found it was a superb alternative to a traditional over-the-shoulder gear sling.
During four-plus months of use, from the limestone tufas of Spain to the urethane of the gym, we put the Black Diamond Flight harness ($69.95, blackdiamondequipment.com) through its paces, and it came out no worse for the wear.
Like much of your climbing gear, harnesses not only have to provide critical protection, but also must offer adequate comfort for hanging out on whatever kinds of climb you like to do. From Cadillac big-wall rigs to ultra-trim sport-climbing models, here’s what you should look for in terms of features, padding, and fit. Three basic harness types are on the market today: low-profile, bare-bones mountaineering models; lightweight, fixed-leg models, typically made for sport climbing; and fully adjustable, padded models for trad climbing or big walls.
Black Diamond Flight - 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.
Your climbing rope is your lifeline, but your harness needs to provide just as much confidence as that thin cord when you’re 70 feet off the ground. So beefier is better, right? Not necessarily. To determine just how minimalist you could go and still feel confident and comfortable in a harness, we abused various ultralights in the gym, on many sport and trad pitches, and even on some ice. Featherweights are fantastic for when those ounces count—extra padding is stripped away, replaced with lightweight foam or mesh, and buckles and straps are slimmed down, leaving these rigs at 12 ounces or less.