Climbing Harness Reviews

Buckle up with harnesses recommended by Climbing's experienced field testers. Our editors not only review the latest climbing harnesses, they also provide in-depth advice on how to choose the right harness for your favorite style of climbing, from sport climbs to big walls.
  • Gear: 6 Crag Dog Essentials

    Gear: 6 Crag Dog Essentials

    Gear picks for your favorite climbing partner.

  • HPGearGuide15Alpine

    Climbing Gear Guide 2015: Alpine

    Weight, versatility, durability, and weather resistance are of the utmost importance in the high country. Here are 12 products that meet and beat all the requirements.

  • Climbing Gear Guide 2015: Editors' Choice Awards

    Climbing Gear Guide 2015: Editors' Choice Awards

    As editors of a climbing magazine, part of our job description includes traveling to cool climbing areas with the latest and greatest gear and putting it through its paces—all in the name of “testing.” Yeah, we’re pretty lucky. Of course, it’s not all peaches and cream. We eventually have to decide which products are worthy of a mention, and which are better left on the shelf. Every year there are several items that shine brightest, proving themselves to be absolutely must-have pieces of gear. We bestow those top picks with the gear world’s premier prize: Editors’ Choice. This year, we winnowed a field of hundreds of products to select these 15 coolest, best-performing, and most drool-worthy gear picks.

  • HPECTrad

    Gear Guide 2014: Trad Climbing

    From cams to carabiners to shoes, here are 18 of the best new products for plug-and-chuggers.

  • ECSport

    Gear Guide 2014: Sport Climbing

  • Singing-Rock-Guru-Harness-660

    Singing Rock Guru

    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.

  • May-Harness-Review

    Harness the Power: 5 Performance-Minded Picks

    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.

  • Mammut-Togira-Light

    Mammut Togira Light

    “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.”

  • Trango-Liberty

    Trango Liberty Harness

    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.

  • Black-Diamond-Aspect

    Black Diamond Aspect

    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.

  • Bluewater-Flash-Harness

    BlueWater Flash

    “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.

  • Edelrid-Orion

    Edelrid Orion

    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.

  • Get Organized

    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; on trad routes throughout Colorado and found it was a superb alternative to a traditional over-the-shoulder gear sling.

  • Air Traffic Control

    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, through its paces, and it came out no worse for the wear.

  • How-to-Buy-Harness-GG_35380.jpg

    2012 Gear Guide: How to Buy - Harnesses

    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

    2012 Gear Guide: Harnesses

    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.

  • GG-Camp-Air-CR_31377.jpg

    2011 Gear Guide: Harnesses

    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.

  • EC-Singing-Rock-Crux_31219.jpg

    2011 Gear Guide Editors' Choice

    After months of testing on hundreds of routes, we offer up our picks for the most innovative, useful, and just damn good gear of the year. The Singing Rock Crux, Mammut Smart Alpine, Black Diamond Gridlock Screwgate, Petzl Grigri 2, Five Ten Arrowhead, Arc'Teryx Squamish Hoody, Beal Joker 9.1, North Face Verto, and Salewa Rapace GTX all won our high praises and took home the Editors' Choice Award.

  • CampStratos_26228.jpg

    New and Notable: CAMP Stratos - 2010 Gear Guide

    The new CAMP Stratos continues the relentless march towards sleeker and lighter weight harnesses. No surprise: the Italian gear maker has long had a reputation for bantamweight gear — from biners, to ice tools, to helmets — and the Stratos holds to this less-is-more philosophy.


    C.A.M.P. QUARTZ CR3 - 2009 Gear Guide

    Like a Ferrari around your legs and waist, the C.A.M.P. ( Quartz CR3 is svelte, high performing, and highly customizable. New for 2009, C.A.M.P.’s harness is a sport/trad marriage of light — 15.8oz — and right. The right comes from welcome flourishes like a foldoverpadding, slide-through waistbelt; auto-locking fast-pull buckles; full-strength haul loop ... Click here to buy now from

  • Sport Harness Review - No 233 - September 2004

    Sport Harness Review - No 233 - September 2004

    Several years ago, buying a sport-climbing harness, meant kissing comfort goodbye. That isn’t the case today. There’s a bevy of lightweight, comfortable harnesses on the market. This past spring we took 11 of them out and put them through their paces, hanging, falling, and occasionally sending.

  • Wild Country Helix Ziplock - Sport Harness Review

    Wild Country Helix Ziplock - Sport Harness Review

    he Helix is your best bet if you’re looking to mix sport climbing with more all-around fare, thanks to its five gear loops and full-strength haul loop.

  • Trango Fly - Sport Harness Review

    Trango Fly - Sport Harness Review

    “Solid value” is a good phrase to describe the Fly. For a low-end $45 you get a harness that is reasonably comfortable, doesn’t compromise movement, and sports a full-strength haul loop, a rarity in this weight class.

  • Singing Rock Rhythm - Sport Harness Review

    Singing Rock Rhythm - Sport Harness Review

    The Rhythm delivers a lot of utility for its $45 price tag. Adjustable leg loops for the thick-legged crowd, molded gear loops, and a reasonable amount of comfort make this rig the steal of the test.

  • Petzl Sama - Sport Harness Review

    Petzl Sama - Sport Harness Review

    One of two speed-buckle rigs we reviewed, the Sama rivals the Geko for striking a fine balance between comfort and mobility thanks to its ample-for-its-weight padding and contoured fit.

  • Ocun Mescal - Sport Harness Review

    Ocun Mescal - Sport Harness Review

    A comfortable, anatomically shaped swami is the Mescal’s big selling point. The swami sports a trim but substantial profile up front, contours up and over your hip bones and curves down into the small of your back for a cozy, body-hugging fit.

  • Misty Mountain Arête - Sport Harness Review

    Misty Mountain Arête - Sport Harness Review

    Though the Arête was the heaviest harness in the review, that weight is put to good use via the substantial padding in both the swami and the leg loops.

  • Mammut Apollo - Sport Harness Review

    Mammut Apollo - Sport Harness Review

    The Apollo was one of the more comfortable harnesses in the test in which to hang, but it has several flaws that keep it from being a top contender.

  • Edelweiss Alpha - Sport Harness Review

    Edelweiss Alpha - Sport Harness Review

    The lightest harness in the review, the Alpha is also the most daring. In order to save weight, Edelweiss has done away with the standard two tie-in points in favor of a single, albeit beefy, tie-in that rises just above the swami.

  • C.A.M.P. Geko - Sport Harness Review

    C.A.M.P. Geko - Sport Harness Review

    A gecko is a lizard capable of amazingly flexible and gymnastic movement in the vertical realm.

  • BlueWater Icon - Sport Harness Review

    BlueWater Icon - Sport Harness Review

    Slim and trim is the modus operandi for the Icon, which was a favorite for its mobility. That mobility comes at a price, however, as the Icon was only middle of the road in comfort.

  • Arc’teryx Vapor - Sport Harness Review

    Arc’teryx Vapor - Sport Harness Review

    Once the standard in lighweight harnesses, the Vapor needs to be updated, especially in light of its $100 price tag.