Are you up at midnight, or hours before dawn, prepping for your next adventure? Living life on the edge is a great experience that requires the ultimate in safety gear to keep your body fresh as a daisy for your next journey. When you spend hours climbing and lunging for your next hand or foot hold, you want a harness that fits you perfectly, holds your gear comfortably, and withstands the toughest conditions. Let’s check out what our top picks for climbing harnesses have to offer.
Our Top Choice
Metolius Safe Tech Waldo Harness
From super-light cams to ropes, harnesses, big wall gear, and hang boards, Metolius makes safety a top priority with its sports gear, including the Safe Tech Waldo Harness.
Extra-wide waist band makes it comfortable for days if you’re a big wall climber. Lined with fleece and foam with an elastic drop seat and thick, reliable leg loops.
Double-backed buckles make it slow to adjust.
Big wall harness
15 x 9 x 7, 1.95 lbs
Dual front belay loops
Petzl Corax Climbing Harness
Petzl has gone from spelunking gear to climbing gear since 1975, making equipment that outdoor adventurers can rely on when they’re exploring unique locales.
Fine stitching and comfortable padding make this a great all-around harness. Adjustable leg loops. Diamond hatch stitching to combat torque and falls.
You may want bigger gear loops to take the sharp end of the rope.
12 x 7 x 3, 1.4 lbs
Adjustable leg loops
Arcteryx Women’s Harness
Arcteryx puts its expertise in the Canadian wilderness into its manufacturing designs with a full line of harnesses and extreme sports gear, such as the AR-385a Harness.
Designed to spread pressure and impact across the full breadth of the harness. Comes with a rear haul loop and 4 ice clipper slots.
Leg loops can sometimes dig into your thighs when hanging a while.
Trad, ice climbing
10 x 8 x 3, 1.3 lbs
Reversible gear loops
EdelRid Orion Unisex Harness
EdelRid has been in mountaineering and rope-making since 1863. It brought the kernmantel rope onto the scene in 1953 and continues to innovate with its climbing gear.
Nice snug fit on the leg loops, with elastic for comfort and mesh for breathability. Abrasion protector to avoid chafing your harness while tied in. Great customer reviews.
May be on the higher end of your budget.
Snow and ice climbing
13 x 8 x 6, 1.04 lbs
2 ice screw slots
Black Diamond Couloir Harness
Black Diamond's products are time-tested and safe to use in the world’s most extreme conditions. The Couloir Harness is designed to accompany you on your wild journeys to the far reaches of the globe.
Quick-release leg loops. Extra-lightweight design so it won’t weigh down your body or backpack.
Not designed for long hang-time in harness; meant to be a lightweight ski/alpine harness for safety.
Climbing can be a harrowing affair, so you’ll need a few items to keep you safe among the cliffs and deep gorges. A few items can make all the difference: a chalk bag for those micro holds, a well-fitting climbing helmet for your noggin, and a climbing harness that fits just right.
Are you a speed climber, or a big wall climber? Perhaps you’re a mountaineer. Every climber has different needs, and there are a few factors to consider before buying a harness. Yosemite climbers will benefit from an extra-wide belt for days on the big wall. Ice climbers and mountaineers need climbing ropes and harnesses that are made to handle extreme weather conditions and can accommodate ice gear. These are just a few of the factors we’ll be covering in our article that will help you select the right harness for you.
If you’re going on long treks through the mountains, every ounce in your backpack counts. If you need to lighten your load for multi-day adventures (or perhaps weeks or months in the mountains), then be sure to pick a super-lightweight harness to shave a few ounces from your load.
The price range is not that wide for climbing harnesses. Most harnesses will run you about $100 to $150. The key when making a decision on which climbing harness to buy is primarily comfort. Of course, it also has to suit your climbing style.
If you’re getting gear just for yourself, then splurging a little for some extra padding is probably a good idea. It’s worth spending a few extra bucks on a padded waist belt and leg loops, so that you are as comfortable as possible in sticky situations.
Factors that can affect price are features like harnesses that incorporate mesh fabric for breathability, and extra gear loops. Selecting a harness with a couple of extra gear loops will give you easier access to your hardware, a nice feature when you’re doing multi-pitch climbs.
If you’re buying gear for a large climbing party, price is going to be a factor. Then it may be a good idea to consider a more affordable product that is well-made, but lacks some of the extra features of pricier harnesses. Of course a cheap harness will not have the added comfort and design factors of a top-of-the-line harness, but a light and simple harness may be just what you’re looking for. Add one or two harnesses to your pile of gear with just the basics, such as the Black Diamond Coulier Harness we have featured as our #5 pick. It's a real cost-saver at around $60.
There are a few variable features when it comes to climbing harnesses. Some are geared towards speed climbers who use very little pro, while others are for long multi-pitch routes and big wall climbing. There are also harnesses that offer slots for ice screws if you like to play on the frozen tundra, or dual front belay loops if you wake up in the morning halfway up El Capitan.
Here are some of the important features to look for:
Size and fit
Width of the belt
Padding on the belt and leg loops
Placement and number of gear loops
Adjustability of the leg loops
Color and style options
Weight (for long treks through the mountains)
One last thing to keep in mind… having a place to keep your ice pro if you’re an ice climber or mountaineer is a terrific feature on a harness.
Construction and Design
All climbing harnesses are made of fall-proof webbing and material that can withstand the rigors of numerous months on the crag. When it comes to construction, look for wide waist belts for comfort, especially if you spend a lot of hang time while climbing.
If you’re taking the lead and often find yourself on the sharp end of the rope, having a couple of extra gear loops can be a lifesaver. You may also want to look for extra large gear loops if you pack a lot of pro.
When it comes to the material being used for your climbing harness, some harnesses incorporate mesh fabric to keep you cooler when the sun's rays are upon you. Others have fleece lining for wind-swept balconies and cold crevasses.
Other design features include quick-release leg loops or double-backed leg loops. Your preference will depend on where you are climbing and how much hang time you anticipate. For alpine or himalayan trekking, you may just need your harness for certain terrain that requires safety precautions. If that’s the case, carry a lightweight harness such as the Black Diamond Coulier. It weighs just 7.5 ounces, compared with the 1-2 pounds most other harnesses weigh.
Performance and Ease of Use
Nothing can take the place of your rack if you like to explore dangerous places, but your pro won’t do you much good if you have to be a contortionist to access it. A couple of extra well-placed gear loops can give you an edge while protecting the route, so keep an eye out for those (unless you’re just doing a little top-roping on the weekends once in a blue moon).
If you know you like a specific brand, stick with what you know works for your body type and climbing style. If you’re exploring which brand and style you like best, keep an eye out for features like padding for comfort during hang time. Look for is elastic and mesh fabric components if you know you’re going to take a spill every now and again. These are the basics of what you need to look out for when selecting a climbing harness. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of some of the best harnesses on the market, and pick out the right one for you.
What is the Best Climbing Harness?
From The Gunks, to Yosemite, to the Alps and the Himalayas, climbers are world travelers who often find themselves in harrowing situations. You want your backpack light and streamlined, your harness leg loops comfy, and your gear stitched to perfection. We have taken the time to find the right fit for you and your whole team, with our top picks in climbing harnesses from renowned brands you can trust.
Our Top Choice
Metolius makes excellent climbing harnesses that are safe and comfortable for big wall climbing. They also have smaller sizes on offer, like the Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe - Women’s Harness, offered in X-Small, Small, Medium, or Large.
Metolius Safe Tech Waldo Harness - Comfortable and Safe for Big Wall Climbing - Available in 3 Sizes
Metolius makes top-notch climbing gear, including ropes, backpacks and harnesses. Its passion for the sport is evident in its line of products. From hang boards with lots of climbing holds to strengthen your digits, to trustworthy cams and carabiners, it makes everything you’ll need before you hit the rock wall.
All you have to do is look at the Safe Tech Waldo Harness to see you can hang for hours with its extra-wide waist band and leg loops. Now, we want to believe you can fly up the wall like Spiderman, and we are cheering for you all the way, but you may hit a tricky spot that keeps you flummoxed for way longer than you wanted. In such a spot, the comfort of your harness is vital.
When you’re spending time on a big wall, there’s no substitute for the best in equipment. With the fleece lining and 6 gear loops on the medium and large harnesses, you can reach your pro from any angle and fully enjoy the ride.
It may be better to get this harness a wee-bit tight, as days on a wall with pounds of gear might loosen things up a bit, and it’s best if you’re tight and secured for the action. The diamond pattern weave of this harness includes closed-cell polyethylene foam that is extra durable and comfortable. Keep your belay free from gear clutter with the dual belay loops, and spend the day in comfort with the drop seat rear elastics.
Enjoy this go-to men’s harness from Petzl for climbing fun all year round. If you’re looking for a woman’s option, try Petzl's vibrant turquoise women’s harness called the Petzl Luna.
Petzl Corax Climbing Harness - Men's
Spelunking, anyone? Cave explorations convinced company founder Fernand Petzl to start the Petzl company in the 1970s. After growing its roots in spelunking equipment, Petzl had to satisfy the wanderlust of its growing clientele by expanding into the climbing arena. With practical solutions like headlamps and comfortable climbing gear like its Corax harness to outdoor adventurers, Petzl has become a favorite brand for extreme sports lovers.
Put on your Petzl Corax harness for a weekend at the local climbing gym, or take it on a monster multi-pitch climb.
You get all the features you are looking for in a well-rounded harness, and what’s even better is the price. Making climbing gear more affordable is part of Petzl’s plan, and one of the reasons its harnesses are so popular. They're made to last, and still get the job done without cleaning out your bank account. After all, you still need gas money to get where you’re going, right?
The mesh fabric is great for hot days in the sun and makes this harness breathable and sturdy. Get a tight cinch for a snug fit on the adjustable leg loops and feel confident when you’re lunging for a hold. Hopefully you’ll make it, but even if you don’t, you’ll fall gracefully in a reliable Petzel Corax harness. There are two gear loops in the front and two in the back to accommodate your pro. The front loops are rigid, and the back loops are flexible for reach-around moves.
Arcteryx uses fine craftsmanship to make reliable harnesses that are comfortable and durable. While we have featured the women’s harness, you may also want to check out the Arcteryx FL-365 Men’s Harness.
Arcteryx Women's Climbing Harness - Available in 5 Sizes
Arcteryx aims to take the edge off your climbing forays with the AR-385a harness. It's designed to disperse the pressure away from the edges of your waistbelt, so you won’t be uncomfortable when hanging.
The Canadian wilderness is a great place to visit if you love the outdoors, and a great place to start an outdoor gear company like Arcteryx. This company guarantees the high quality of its gear, and will replace or repair any defects in the materials or workmanship of any of its products.
You can count on the double weave fabric of our featured harness for women for strength and reliability under pressure. There are four reversible gear loops made of polyurethane, and a rear haul loop. You can take your pro on the go all year long, including the winter months, with the four ice clipper slots.
It seems Arcteryx has thought of everything, as it even incorporated an elastic design that makes it possible to go to the bathroom without having to take your harness off. With all the convenient features of this harness, and the well-made and durable design, it is a great choice for serious climbers who want the best.
If you have little ones running around, you need to suit up your second-in-command with a harness for kids, so they can share in the action. Enjoy taking the whole family climbing with the EdelRid Finn II Kids' Climbing Harness, Oasis/Sahara, X-Small.
EdelRid Orion Unisex Climbing Harness - Available in 3 Sizes
EdelRid's heritage in climbing gear goes back to 1863. One of the company’s founders was Julius Edelmann, an avid mountaineer. The other was Carl Ridder, who used his braiding and weaving technology to help create the world-renowned kernmantel rope. EdelRid also helped design early versions of the dynamic climbing rope. It continues to bring all kinds of climbing gear to the market with its innovative approach to design. From ‘biners to belay devices and ropes, EdelRid has your climbing day covered.
The design technology EdelRid uses in the Orion harness transmits loads evenly, and the fit is lightweight yet durable. It's designed to allow air to get through, so you won’t get hot in this harness. The three-dimensional shape is intended to give the owner a super snug fit that hugs the physique. There is still elasticity to the material, and the "give" is quite comfortable, allowing you free rein to make your moves. It looks really cool too, with a dark gray and ice mint design.
Take it to the rock face or a frozen waterfall with plenty of spots to hang your gear. This harness comes with 4 well-placed gear loops and 2 attachments for ice screw clips when the winter moves in. Another little extra is the abrasion protector, so the rope won’t chafe the harness when you’re tied in.
Our featured Black Diamond harness is designed for outdoor adventures that might require an occasional harness for safety. It's lightweight and easy to pack. If you’d like a more serious harness for all-day multi-pitch climbs, check out the Black Diamond Primrose Women's Harness with 4 pressure-molded gear loops.
Black Diamond Couloir Unisex Harness - Available in 2 Colors & 4 Sizes
For rock climbers, skiers, and outdoor adventurers everywhere, Black Diamond turns dreams and ambitions into real-time experiences with every piece of equipment you might need. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity, so be prepared for anything with the right gear for the right circumstance. Black Diamond gear makers are users and adventurers themselves. The company has been in business since the 1950s, so there are many years of experience packed into every piece of gear you buy.
Can’t decide what to pack for your adventure in the mountains? You’re going to need to streamline your choices and keep it as light as possible, so every ounce counts. That’s where the Black Diamond Couloir harness comes in. Stripped down to the basics, it weighs in at 7.5 ounces and safeguards you on moderate glaciers or ski runs where you run the risk of falling into a crevasse.
You can get in and out of this harness quickly, and pack it down to the size of an apple when not in use. This puppy comes with two gear loops, a strong belay loop, and 4 ice clipper slots, plus an ice screw slot in each leg loop to keep your metal separated.
You’re not going anywhere until you have the right harness in hand. It's your friend on the rock face and in the mountains, and you probably rely more on your harness than on any other piece of gear you have. You want a fine fit, and quality manufacturing from brands you can trust. We have done the research for you. Just pick out the harness that suits you best, and hit the road for your next great adventure.
Our Top Choice
Metolius Safe Tech Waldo Harness
Petzl Corax Climbing Harness
Arcteryx Women’s Harness
EdelRid Orion Unisex Harness
Black Diamond Couloir Harness
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