A selection of the latest trad/all rounder harnesses for 2011. Top-of-the-range harness technology such as Arc'teryx's 'Warp Strength Technology' and Black Diamond's 'Kinetic Core Construction' are explained, and there's something for everyone in here to suit budgets from £120 to £50.
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Arc'teryx R-320a RRP £120
It's expensive, but Arc'teryx claim this is the most comfortable fully-adjustable all round rock harness available. Arc'teryx introduced WST technology in 2008, and for 2011 they've upped the stakes even further: altering the weight, shape and width of the harnesses to make them even more comfortable, supple and superlight.
What is WST? Most harnesses have webbing that wraps all the way around to the buckle and padding to add comfort. Arc'teryx eliminated the need for padding by making the webbing itself wider and more comfortable. How? They remove the weft fibres from a set length in the middle of a strip of webbing, leaving only the warp fibres behind. Warp fibres represent the strength in the webbing and weft fibres give the webbing structure. Then they spread out the warp fibres, which retains the webbing strength, laminate them to give the webbing structure and wrap them in a durable face fabric. More in this UKC News Item: VIDEO: Arc'teryx 2011 Harness Designs.
More info: on the Arc'teryx website.
DMM Renegade RRP £65
A comfortable all-round adjustable harness featuring seven gear loops, a padded but ergonomic waist belt that allows freedom of movement and comfort when belaying. The belay loop is rated to a hefty 25kN.
It features a nifty floating waistbelt so that you can centre the gear loops. The Renegade can come with either Slide Lock buckles (Renegade) or with Threadback buckles (Renegade Pro).
Small: 435g: Waist 64-79cm / Leg 45-58cm
Regular: 450g: Waist 75-91cm / Legs 50-63cm
Large: 480g: Waist 87-104cm / Leg 55-70cm
More info: on the DMM website.
Black Diamond Chaos RRP £89.99
Optimised for long days on route, the Black Diamond Chaos harness is a premier all-day trad climbing harness. The bullhorn-shaped waistbelt features BD's 'Kinetic Core Construction'.
What's that? Multiple thin strands of 'Vectran' (liquid polymer fibres) spread across the harness and sandwiched between taffeta and lightweight foam creates low bulk strength; an added breathable padded lumbar insert provides top-notch comfort on hanging belays and multi-pitch routes. The abrasion-resistant shell material holds up to nasty offwidths and grinder layaways and a Speed Adjust buckle allows easy on/offs. Four pressure-moulded gear loops and a 12 kN-rated haul loop ensure everything you need for a big climb can be properly organised.
More info: on the Black Diamond website.
Wild Country Elite Ziplock RRP £74
Cool, clean and modern, the Elites are Wild Country's most fully featured, stylish and comfortable harnesses to date, designed with no compromises for the multi-discipline climber. With strong visuals and clean lines these harnesses ooze quality, backed up with the confidence of a host of great features. With 'Comfort Mesh' and Ziplock buckles making adjustment a 'cinch'.
More info: Wild Country Harnesses.
Petzl Adjama RRP £70
Designed to perform across summer rock, winter ice and year-round mountaineering, the Adjama is an all-rounder. The Frame Construction waistbelt with breathable wicking mesh provides maximum support and comfort, while adjustable leg loops help when using skis or crampons.
More info: on the Petzl website.
CAMP Jasper CR3 RRP £59.99
The CAMP Jasper CR3 is a popular harness due to its combination of comfort and versatility. Another all-rounder, it features a sliding waist system that allows the padding and tie-in points to be perfectly centered. The new contoured cut provides great support during extended hanging sessions and climbers will appreciate the stiff, webbing reinforced gear loops that keep gear close to body on the back and at the ready near the front.
More info: on the Allcord website.
Edelrid Jay RRP £51.95
One of the most affordable harnesses of the bunch, the Jay is a quality bit of kit nonetheless. Suitable for trad and general all-round use, the Jay features a number of innovations including a special membrane construction to enhance durability and a unique load distributing sewing technique.
For more info: www.edelrid.de / 01539 733842
Mammut Ophir Harnesses RRP £50-£65
And finally, the new range of adjustable harnesses in Mammut's Ophir line is now in the shops. They're all built using Mammut's two-part webbing construction to ensure maximum comfort, breathability and freedom of movement, and are available at extremely competitive prices.
More info: on the Mammut website.
Gear News and Outdoor Industry News at UKC and UKH presents climbing, walking and mountaineering equipment and stories that will be of interest to UKClimbing.com's readers. They are not gear reviews and are provided by companies that advertise with UKClimbing Limited. Please feel free to comment about the stories and products on the associated thread.