/ Where are the good harnesses?
I'm sure I don't need to tell you of the risk of making a harness :)
But I agree with you... no one harness has it all. So what I did was take a BD momentum and add some extra gear loops and ice clipper slots. I now have a harness that is light, adjustable, reasonably comfortable (as much as it would be without ending up like a heavy big wall harness) and can hold more than enough gear for big multi pitch trad climbs with out being cluttered.
I think modifying is easier and safer than starting from scratch.
I recently got a Wild Country Summit and I'm pleased with it so far. 5 gear loops plus ice screw clippers, adjustable leg loops and double buckle on the waist to keep the tie-in loop central. Not the lightest around, but still lighter than my old one!
Thing is, I'm sure that you used to be able to get a decent all round harness? Everything seems to be either over designed or just a little too simple. I don't really want lots of different harnesses. I suppose belay comfort is number one priority, but then just a few loops as well. I don't need ice screw clips ;)
DMM Viper 2?
What do you consider shortcomings in the various harnesses you've looked at?
Yeah there are certainly many harnesses that are too simple... and most not even useful for mountaineering as they can't be taken on or off over crampons.
In what way would you consider modern harnesses over-designed though?
Trouble is if belay comfort (hanging belay I assume?) is the number one priority, then you end up with a big wall harness like the Big Gun (which I admit looks sexy and I have lusted over, but apparently way too restrictive and heavy for trad). Plenty of gear loops there too! But all that comes at a price.
You could sew on some extra padding (or even velcro it on so its removable) which should be straight forward. Then making gear loops out of 5mm cord and heat formed plastic tubing is a doddle. Just need to avoid sewing into the main webbing.
What about this? Ok, so it's got four gear loops,but four is "about five", to use your words, is decent, comfortable and adjustable? I think BD harnesses are superior. Or try to find one of their Blizzard harnesses, I saw some in Decathlon not so long ago.
the Petzl Hirundos weighs in at 300g only, mostly mesh so not sweaty. Enough gear loops for trad, comfy for working sports climbs. As worn by Ste Mac on some significant ascents, and the big man JD at the Boardroom the other week.
Fixed leg loops lower the weight and up simplify things.
Seconded on the DMM Viper 2. If I was to design everything I was after in a harness, it would look like this!
I just picked up a petzl adjama. pretty comfy, 4 gear loops plus ice clipper slots, and not too heavy
A curious priority, Iīd go for one that keeps me off the ground personally! The Big Gun mentioned below is as comfortable as it gets without going for a full-on wall harness and is anyway the only one available in Europe so far as I know,
Arc'Teryx R320A, and connect the rear loops with some tape inside rubber tubing to make the 5th loop.
Adjustable, light, comfy, ice clippers and 5 gearloops (plus a haul-loop).
If you can neglect adjustable leg loops, R300, or R275LT are also options...
The DMM ones tend to dump all my gear on my lap from the front loops. I mentioned this to them in an e-mail once and they basically agreed. The arcteryx ones are just silly expensive, especially when I've heard some people say they dig in a bit and the gear loops have snapped. I do like the black diamond ones, but their range seems to have changed a bit over the years and they don't really do an all rounder at the moment. I don't want a big wall harness either. Just something I can sit in a hanging belay for an hour, with enough loops to carry a gogarth rack, but 'performance' enough to not be massive. maybe it's me being to picky after all :)
'Ryx is expensive, I give you that. But when it is on sale, it's really good.
A cheapo option (which I got to replace my R300) would be Ocun Ego.
Create the 5th loop as with 'Ryx.
Also something akin to 'Ryx R300, but cheaper is Skylotec Pure. http://www.skylotec-sports.com/gurte/pure I was going to get one, but got such a bargain on the Ocun I could not resist.
At least in Germany, Skylotec seems to be about the same price as Petzl or BD (thus cheaper than 'Ryx).
The new renegade from DMM has attempted to address the crotchal gear dump of the previous model, by changing the forward gear loops' position :
Haven't actually tried one yet, but maybe somebody can shed light on if it works?
TobyA test-drove the new Renegade. Review here...
I don't think the wholesale move to 'ziplock' style buckles helps either, as almost every harness I've tried in the last 18 months seems to end up with long straps flapping around.
It only has 7 gear loops. The wild country Synchro had 9, and having them in two tiers meant that 6 of them were visible and accessible on lead. It's demise is a disaster for scared climbers.
'It's demise is a disaster for scared climbers.'
But I bet there has been a boost in Bandolier sales!
Yeah, I know. I've so far managed to avoid zip lock harnesses, but I'd be limiting myself even further if took these out of the equation.
The actual review is at http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.fi/2013/10/dmm-renegade-harness-review.html including photos of the bit I managed to break! Good harness though despite having to DIY the fix.
Andi, don't you have a sponsor and a moral responsibility to pretend you think their harness is the best one ever? ;) The new Edelrid ones are worth a look if comfort is a major issue - this one http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=5779 is one of the most comfy I've ever tried BUT I miss having five racks on it too.
For some reason I've always thought the BD Focus looks great for an all round cragging harness http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en/climbing-harnesses/focus-harness-BD651057_cfg.html?dwvar_BD65105... Beefy, five racks etc. A reasonable price too, but I've not tried one so it might feel weird on for all I know.
Arcteryx for comfort - 4 gear loops though
This really, although I haven't climbed for a good while due to other commitments, I have an Arcteryx R320 which is brilliant and would recommend in the fact it ticked many boxes for me.
Other harnesses that I use or used were the Black Diamond Bod (newer one) which is a good all round harness and I had two of! Particulary liked it for winter.
A Wild Country Syncro harness that in all fairness I just didn't like the gear loops on for summer climbing and still have like new in a case under the stairs!
A petzl one I can't remember the name of but had two gear loops and was pretty much aimed at sport climbing.
Try the ladies sport harness, they are sometimes cheaper if it is last years model in a sale, the gear loops take about 14 runners each and the leg loops have enough slack with my tree trunks to allow winter and summer use. Comfiest and simplest harness I,ve had, I just need a better bodge of a clipper slot. I,m not a fan of adjustable leg loops anymore and just buy a harness that fits instead, the amount of space needed for winter trousers is minimal anyway and you get rid of the pain in the arse buckle.
im using a arcteryx b360 i think the number is..
6 gear loops and the widest waist belt and leg loops of all the arcteryx harnesses,comfy and well made.
Iím in the same boat so I currently have 2 harnesses a Wild Country Syncro with 7 gear loops that I mainly use for Trad and a Black Diamond Momentum AL that is mainly used for Sport, both of which are good but for me neither is perfect.
I like the Syncro because it is comfortable when belaying for longer periods and has lots of gear loops and because of the configuration of the gear loops I can get away with only putting a small amount of gear on the front set of loops which tends to stop all the gear ending up in my lap every time I make a move.
What I donít like is the Zip lock floating front which no matter what I do seems creep of the course of a days climbing and because Iím quite small I struggle to get the harness totally snug unless Iím wearing a couple of layers so It does tend to move around me waist if I have to hold anyone when bringing up a second (I have the smallest size). Then we have the Leg loops (also Ziplock) which again (particularly when abbing with a prusick) tend to creep open a little and itís quite heavy.
The BD on the other hand is a thread back harness which I find more secure and very comfortable as I can get the harness really snug. The leg loops have an elasticised adjustment which seems to work very well when climbing and itís pretty light weight. What I donít like is that it only has 4 gear loops and the configuration means if I load the 1st 2 loops up then all the gear ends up in my lap and I also miss not having a back loop to keep my belay items out of the way.
Hence why I tend to use the syncro for Trad and the BD for sport.
If I had a hardware sponsor, I'd have a few different harnesses on the go ;)
As I don't, I need one which will cover all bases.
I think this thread, and from what I've heard from people I've spoke to, is that there is a bit of a short fall in the harness market. Definitely some good advice here though!
I rate the BD Chaos as a good all rounder. I preferred the old version of the Arc'teryx R300 that I had before as it had bigger gear loops. I would have got another one except when they updated the design they changed the sizing and the size that fits my waist is too small for my legs.
I don't understand the five gear loop obsession. Every harness I have ever owned has only has 4 and as long as they aren't too small I don't see why you need more. Though I do use Yosemite Racking if I am carrying a double set of cams. http://www.planetfear.com/articles/Yosemite_Racking_283.html
If you've got skinny legs the Arc'teryx R300 would be my top choice. The BD Chaos is quite good, but I'd prefer the gear loops to be slightly bigger.
The Petzl Sama also looks worth considering and is good value. The leg loops look more durable than those on the Hirondus - I wore mine out in an alpine summer.
Have you checked out the Petzl Calidris? Wider waist band and leg loops for comfort. Not sure about the weight, but I've never understood the recent tendency for lightness in an inherently light item of gear. Its much comfier than my normal trad harness (Black Diamond something or other) which would never do an hour at a hanging belay (given my weight), without cutting the blood supply off to my legs.
It's not essential at all, but I do find four gets a bit cluttered. I like to use my fifth one for bits and bobs and sticht plate and stuff.
There seems to be a few people suggesting the arcteryx ones, have people used these and found they've lasted? I've heard mixed reviews from friends regarding their durability.
Ladies has larger legs and is usually cheaper.
Recently bought an Edelrid Moe - I like it a lot. No leg buckles, four BIG gear loops, reinforced tie-in loop - quite light - and only £40 from Go Outdoors: http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/edelrid-moe-fixed-leg-harness-p194559
ive still got the one we did t.o.a.s. in.reckon it will be ok still
Well, Ryx isthin so will wearing out. I've used my r300 for two summer season (but not in anger). And I'll get most likely 2 more seasons or one summer and one winter. So not that bad.
I had my Arc'teryx one for two and a half years. I go climbing several times a week and it lasted pretty well.
Towards the end of it's life the leg loop elastic was a bit over stretched. I retired it because the loop that attaches the leg loop elastic to the the harness ripped out. The main body of the harness was still in good nick. Worth every penny in my view.
By contrast the BD chaos that I currently have is look pretty shagged after a year of hard use.
One of the things I particularly like about the Arc harnesses is their low bulk. A DMM Renegade, by comparison, takes up far more space in a rucksack.
Now that DMM have sorted the gear loop problems on their harnesses I would get one of them, if they made a fixed leg loop model. I really don't see the advantage of adjustable leg loops.
Misty mountain does sound good, but no UK dealer so a bit of a risk. Although it might be worth taking when I need a new harness.
I've got a Misty Mountain Cadillac, by far the best harness I've owned.
Yeah, those misty mountain ones look the part, there are a few on their webpage which look just the ticket, but it's a shame you can't try them on in the UK.
I took the risk. On the Cadillac there's loads of adjustability, more than the sizing says. I'm about a 31 and a medium fits fine. Plenty of room either way.
Why exactly? They look fine but what's so special about them?
Gucci... as in not available here, hence you'll look more *core* and whotnot... ;)
I haven't read all the replies so not sure if it has been mentioned already but i struggle to find harness that go small enough round the waist while have big enough leg loops for big legs.
Look for womens harnesses, they generally have a narrower hip/waist and bigger thighs.
Me too. I found the oft mentioned Renegade fit the bill as it seemed to have long tapes on the belts
Misty will make to order,send them your size requirements and they will sort it out. And, still lots of ajdustment for clothing etc.
The gear loops line up well if you have the harness cinched up rather than fully 'expanded', lots of ajdustment either way though.
I can hang 20 draws, 15 cams and 4 sets of nuts off the cadillac without anything overlapping too, bonus. And its still comfy rather than trying to roll off as a lot of other harness feel once fully racked....
Pretty much for the reasons listed by tommack.
I have a renegade and never got on with it.
Iv also tried at wild country with 7 gear loops, they don't work as well for spreading the gear out.
I have been looking for a fixed leg harness with 5 gear loops and minimum 2 ice clippers for ages but it can not be found. this would be a perfect all rounder for me. I have settled for a petzl hiroundus and sewn a extra loop at the back myself.
I used to think the same but after having the elastic on 2 arc harnesses stretch i now like the idea of adjustable leg loops,although on my old arc vapor harness the elastic never stretched.
I am amazed to hear people liking fixed leg loops! Am I the only person that gets to pitch 2 and decides I want waterproof trousers on cos I am cold, or wants to take them off cos I have warmed up?! I don't want to remove my harness to do this, but happy to undo on leg loop at a time to do it. Horses for courses and all that!
the size that fits my waist is too small for my legs.
I got round this the last time i bought a fixed loop arc harness by buying the womens version,medium in womens was same as small mens but bigger leg loops(never noticed any difference in rise),but another reason to buy an adjustable leg loop version.
I agree that getting a decent harness is pretty difficult these days. They seem to be made more for the look than for how well they work. I particularly found it difficult to get a harness with a high enough rise, as I am quite tall.
I did contact a few companies to see if I could get one custom made, but had no joy, and in the end just had to compromise and now have a harness that is dragged down at the front, where the rise is not enough.
I found it particularly hard to get a harness with no leg loop buckles - there were hardly any around - it must be a fashion thing, as there used to be plenty!
If I ever find a decent harness, I will be tempted to buy a couple at the same time!
The buckles give me huge bruises on my upper thighs (I bruise very easily). My waterproof trousers have full zips, so I would be able to put them on or off without removing my harness, but have never felt the need to do so.
When I started climbing there was a choice of the Troll Whillans or the Troll Mark 5. That was it.
There's literally hundreds of harness's available now and most of them are very good.
I can appreciate that. I started with a horrendous troll harness which was almost impossible to thread through as an eight year old. I still have it, and it is a real fiddle!
The thing is, and the reason I started the thread, is how many people I've spoken to who aren't that satisfied. It seems that the manufacturers have floated around perfection...
Isn't it more the case that most harnesses are basically fine, and there's now so much choice people tend to get a bit more fixated on finding one that's 'just right' rather than putting up with perceived shortcomings as might have been the case when there were only a few on the market?
Since I think no-one else has mentioned it yet, how about the Petzl Corax? Very adjustable and pretty comfy (only four gear loops, though, I think)
Tend to agree. Having reviewed a number of harnesses now and owning more over a couple of decades, you tend to find most are OK. Of course some are better for certain things and definitely everyone developes their favourite features or designs (I really like 7 loops on the Renegade!), but you can learn to live with most modern harnesses and they aren't make-or-break gear like well fitting shoes are I reckon. But of course if you've got to drop 60 quid plus on one, you're gonna want the best one for your requirements.
Give it a few years and it'll be impossible to buy a harness with proper buckles, it's hard enough now, the vast majority have the zippy speed undo things.
Same with climbing shoes. The majority seem to have velcro rather than proper laces.
Maybe I'm getting old.
Re the adjustable leg loop thing. The weight saving? 50 grams? Pah.
As far as I can see the massive advantage with adjustable leg loops is making it easier to get a harness to fit properly.
Nevermind putting it on while wearing skis or dressing/undressing/taking a dump mid pitch.
Metolius Safe Tech harnesses have an adjustable rise.
Have you had one come undone on you? I've had zip look buckle harnesses since I got a Petzl Guru in 1995 and never had a problem with any of them!
I'm not saying the current crop of harnesses are no good, but just maybe they don't quite hit the market. If you look at ropes, there's one for every discipline, but you can still get a standard 9mm (ish) for a half rope and 10.5 (ish) for a single rope. It just seems difficult to get the equivalent in harnesses: normal buckles on waist and legs, reasonable comfort, reasonably light and enough loops for more than your average grit route.
I've not had first hand experience of one coming undone, but there was perhaps one case of a leg loop coming undone resulting in an accident on a person who had attached a prussik back up to their leg loop that I heard of.
Ah! I forgot this was UKC
*zippy speedlock speed undo/do up/adjust things, for when I absolutely need to get my harness on 30 seconds faster than my friends and feel the need to tighten it up/loosen it off/adjust it at ease whenever I like during/before/after a pitch.
What was the reason that DMM made the "pro"? It can't have just been for the Luddites like me ;)
As a slight tangent I still have a Petzl Guru that's at least 5 years older than yours that has (4) proper buckles. And only 4 gear loops (plus one home made loop).
Best harness I've owned, still fits but needed replacing. The only thing I could find that came anywhere close was the Renegade - apart from the gear loops which are gash.
Thanks - unfortunately, the harnesses with the adjustable rise also have leg loop buckles, which bruise me quite badly. They have one harness without leg loop buckles, but this one also doesn't have the adjustable rise.
Well you called the old style ones "proper" buckles - what makes the ones that most of us have used (and in many cases liked) 'un-proper'? Genuinely interested as I had a really nice Wild Country harness for years except for I hated the faff with the old fashioned buckle.
Start looking for the use of the word "pro" as a suffix to model names and you find it in brilliant places. My fave is a toilet roll dispenser, because clearly until using that bog roll holder we were all complete amateurs at wiping our arses. Perhaps sticking "pro" on something appeals to a certain type? ;)
I have more faff with ziplock than doubling back. I have to undo it to get it over my hips, so I have to rethread the zip lock each time. More hassle than old style! I can't get a bigger harness a the waist belt is at its tightest possible on my waist, just doesn't fit over my hips!! There should be the range available as we are all different shapes. The option is not there for me!
Yeah, agree that many of the ziplock buckles are actually a real fiddle to undo fully. Not the best if you want to put the harness on while wearing skis for example.
I'll make no comment about your toilet humour :D
Story I remember was that the pro had normal/old fashioned buckles because guides (or instructors?) had requested a version of the renegade without ziplock buckles.
I've not used a harness with ziplock buckles, I just have an unqualified distrust and like to keep things simple.
Ironically (as cuppatea has already said) the Renegade Pro was actually one of the few model names where the suffix 'pro' was accurate - it was designed in request of guides (i.e. professionals working and being paid for services) who wanted buckles that would not loosen over the course of an entire day.
Yeah I've heard the stories, but I've worn the two versions of the of the 'amateur' Renegade now on plenty of full day climbs and the zip lock buckles don't loosen. Maybe people who charge money have particularly wriggly thigh muscles of something?
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