/ SHOW REPORT: OutDoor 2019 - New Climbing Gear
Something I've been wondering for a long time: why aren't double adjustment buckles harnesses more popular? It seems like double buckles are only a thing on entry-level or rental harnesses.
I'm yet to find a harness with only one adjustment buckle that will fit me snug enough and without one of the gear loops ending up quite far back, rendering it unusable.
I'm currently trying the Edelrid Jay, which does only have one buckle, but also has a floating waist band, so you can have the harness properly aligned. It seems like such a simple solution, yet I'm only aware of two harnesses that have this feature (the Jay and the DMM Renegade).
I can't believe that I'm the only one with this issue, so why isn't something done about it, instead of focusing on 'leopard print' and 100 grams harnesses (seriously, who needs those?)
> Something I've been wondering for a long time: why aren't double adjustment buckles harnesses more popular? It seems like double buckles are only a thing on entry-level or rental harnesses.
Well to counter that, I really dislike harnesses with two waist buckles. It seems one more than necessary to me. For a well fitting harness the gear loops should be correctly positioned anyway without a second buckle being needed. Having said that, I can see that if you use one harness for all your climbing, then you might want more adjustability when winer/alpine climbing to sunny sport. However virtually every company offers harnesses like this, I think they just didn't show them off at the Munich show.
I currently have 5 harnesses - so definitely not averse to having more than one (that being said, I only have 5 because they never work as well as you thought they would when you briefly tried them in the shop)
Fit is problematic for me as I have big thighs, but a relatively small waist: for example, I have a Petzl Calidris in size 1 which is perfect for my waist, but the leg loops are way too tight, even when fully extended. If I went for a size 2, then leg loops would be fine, but the waist would be too large. I also don't want to go too large on the waist size because they then slide down when you rack up. So it's a trade-off between leg loop size and waist size. With all single buckle harnesses (apart the Jay, but that's because of the floating waist band) I have tried where both the waist and the leg loops fit me okay, one of the gear loops is pushed back - which is why having two buckles is essential for me as it allows the gear loops to be centered.
I was actually climbing with someone last Saturday whose harness was exactly the same - one of the gear loops was too far back, but he hadn't even noticed (and he was much slimmer than me). I reckon that this is actually a way more common issue, but people don't notice because they don't actually need all the gear loops (how many trad climbers are there compared to indoor-only climbers?)
Yes, pretty much every company has a 2-buckle harness, but they are mostly entry-level models which are not the most comfortable (and, as a big, heavy dude, I need a properly padded harness, especially on hanging belays). The only high-end, two buckle harness I have found was the Calidris, which does not fit my legs.
> With all single buckle harnesses (apart the Jay, but that's because of the floating waist band) I have tried where both the waist and the leg loops fit me okay, one of the gear loops is pushed back - which is why having two buckles is essential for me as it allows the gear loops to be centered.
If the gear loops aren't symmetrically centred then I would say that the waist loop is too small for you. If that means the leg loops are tight then adjustable leg loops for me would be what I would go for.
> Yes, pretty much every company has a 2-buckle harness, but they are mostly entry-level models which are not the most comfortable (and, as a big, heavy dude, I need a properly padded harness, especially on hanging belays). The only high-end, two buckle harness I have found was the Calidris, which does not fit my legs.
I don't think this is right.
Edelweiss Placebo - http://www.edelweiss-ropes.com/placebo2.html
Grivel Apollo - https://grivel.com/collections/harnesses/products/apollo
Ocun Quattro - http://www.ocun.com/en/products/harnesses/quattro.html
Edelrid Duke - https://www.edelrid.de/en/sports/sit-harnesses/duke.html
BD Momentum DS - https://eu.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_GB/climbing-harnesses/momentum-ds-BD6510652_cfg.html#cgid=harnesses&start=16
Climbing Technology Wall and Ascent - https://www.climbingtechnology.com/en/outdoor-en/harnesses/wall
Mammut Ophir 4 Slide - https://www.mammut.com/uk/en/p/2020-00841-00148/ophir-4-slide/
Also probably worth a look at this where we covered a couple of those - https://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/climbing/harnesses/lightweight_sport_climbing_harnesses-11798
Out of your list, I have the Grivel Apollo and the BD Momentum DS: they're both okay to sit in, but rather rubbish for hanging belays. The Momentum DS also slides down a lot when you rack up.
Edelweiss Placebo, Edelrid Duke and Ocun Quattro don't seem to be available in the UK, and I'm not going to keep buying harnesses over the internet without trying them on first (I already have five that I'm unhappy with!!!)
I'll look into the Climbing Technology and Mammut ones, cheers.
Another double buckle that's commonly stocked in the UK and hasn't been mentioned yet is the Wild Country Syncro.
> Another double buckle that's commonly stocked in the UK and hasn't been mentioned yet is the Wild Country Syncro.
I did look for the Wild Country one but their web site seems to have stopped covering harnesses. There are good though.
> Another double buckle that's commonly stocked in the UK and hasn't been mentioned yet is the Wild Country Syncro.
Actually, I do have a Syncro as well.
It is, without any exaggeration, the worst harness I have ever worn. The padding is an absolute joke, so at hanging belays you're basically hanging onto an 1" wide piece of webbing which digs into your hips every which way - just agony!
The gear loops are also terrible - I thought 7 loops would be great, but in reality they are all quite small and overlapping, so you can't even use the entire loop for your gear. It's easier to rack up with the 4 loops on the Jay than the 7 on the Syncro.
I wouldn't climb in another Syncro if you paid me.
I have big legs too, and get by very well in a Petzl Hirundo single buckle lightweight sport harness. It is comfortable enough for most things, including long winter days. As suggested, get a single buckle waistbelt that fits, and adjustable leg loops, and try a few on.
> - you need a harness that fits, then they're comfortable. I own a BD momentum, it doesn't fit, ergo it isn't comfortable. Amount of padding is barely relevant compared to the shape.
All of my harnesses fit me as they should. They are all comfortable to wear all day and sit in them. The problem arises on hanging belays where, because you're leaning back, you put all your weight on the back of your waist belt.
On the Syncro, for example, once you've used it for a couple of months and the padding starts to lose its firmness, you're only hanging on a thin piece of webbing protruding through the padding.
Of course that the amount of padding and how well the padding/webbing distributes the load are important in this case. If it wasn't, big wall harnesses wouldn't have so much padding. Exception are Arcteryx harnesses, which don't have a lot of padding, but the way they weave the webbing distributes the load evenly across the harness. Unfortunately, I have tried them in every size that I could actually get on (M through to XL) and on none of them could I get the gear loops to be centered.
I have had one harness which was very comfy on hanging belays, the Petzl Adjama, but again, I couldn't get the gear loops to be centered no matter which size I tried.
You can make the case for single buckle harnesses all you want - unless you happen to be smack in the middle of the size range (which I'm guessing is the case for you and Alan), you'll have issues with them either being too big and sliding off you or one of the gear loops being too far back.
I bought a Climbing Tech Ascent some time ago and it's good for everything - also extremely good value as I paid 50€
The Wall looks like a newer slightly lighter equivalent
On the subject of harnesses, can I make a plea for manufacturers to return to using double back buckles on fully adjustable harnesses. In winter in particular, it is very useful to be able to put on a harness without having to dance around one legged. Modern harnesses with their nanny state buckles make this difficult.
I know of one climber who lost their life, falling from a ledge, tripping over their harness whilst putting it on.
If I can be trusted to tie a knot, surely, I can be trusted to double back a piece of webbing.
Not if Will Gadd is anything to go by. He recently called double-back buckles “old fashioned” in a Facebook post. He didn’t recognise the buckle on a BD Couloir.
Many of the 'zip' buckles can be fully undone, it's just normally more convenient to leave them done up
I remember failing to put my harness on when I was starting out in winter climbing because we started going up the route and never found somewhere safe to gear up, just stupid beginner stuff and ended up soloing it. But just putting your harness on early is the solution.
Ski touring I've somehow got into the habit of putting it on at the car before stepping into your bindings, if its a day when we are going on to a glacier. I guess that's just copying more experienced friends I ski with.
I believe we have had this discussion before and my views have not changed.
Yes some zip lock buckles can be fully undone but they are almost impossible to re thread with cold or gloved hands.
Putting your harness on early, yes this is the ideal but I live in the real world where this doesn't always happen.
The "safety feature" of modern harnesses adds a rather serious unforeseen risk.
If nothing else, it is quicker, more comfortable and more convenient to Don a fully undone harness whilst wearing boots, over trousers etc. (provided you can do it back up again).
I think you're all massively missing the point with all this harness chitterchatter. Grivel LEOPARD PRINT HARNESSES. Get out the skintight leggings and a bandana and it's on like donkey kong. Nothing else matters.
> Putting your harness on early, yes this is the ideal but I live in the real world where this doesn't always happen.
You can say that about almost every safety consideration though - when do you get an ice axe out, when do you get crampons on, helmet etc etc. More and more winter climbers seem to be using light fixed leg loop harnesses anyway, as the fashion spreads down from the elite, perhaps just putting harnesses on earlier will become more normal.
I would much rather be safe than cool.
I'm not convinced you are safe thrashing around trying to sort out a double back buckle in 'non ideal' situations. How is a double back buckle any easier ?
Asteclaru - I had the same issue as you describe - 'fit' with the Momentum was fine, but for hangers, lots of sitting it just wasn't comfortable. The lightweight, unpadded Petzl is - I am guessing it is something subtle in the rise between the leg loops and waist belt meaning the momentum lifts up my back.
I am a far from a normal shape for harnesses
> I think you're all massively missing the point with all this harness chitterchatter. Grivel LEOPARD PRINT HARNESSES.
Correct. There's going to be queues at the shops when those bad boys come out.
I have the same issue with a narrow waist and large cycler's thighs.
I use a Ocun Twist Tech because it also has a floating waistband, so it sits centered when cinched all the way tight. It also has lots of padding so it is a more comfortable and less lightweight harness.
You lot are probably too young to remember but Wild Country did harnesses in the 90s in really jazzy webbing patterns that must have been far more about looking good than working well. I think one was called the Gun Fighter or Gun Slinger or something like that. Not quite as extreme as these ones, but still pretty funky.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll see how the Jay does first (I haven't climbed any multi-pitch routes with it yet, but hopefully will do next weekend), but that Ocun looks like it would work well.
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