Rock climbing harnesses


Choosing the best rock climbing harness to suit your needs is important. A good harness can mean the difference between a pleasant day at the crag and a long, uncomfortable one. When, inevitably, you do take a plummet, a proper harness can also save your life.

So, how do you go about choosing one? First, you need to find one that fits you. (Check manufacturers' sizing charts carefully.) Beyond that, different harness designs have different features. For example, some have adjustable leg loops, more gear loops and the ability to centre the waist belt padding.

To get you started, we've narrowed down the following potential options.

 

Note: If you're buying a harness online, check the product sizing charts carefully. For safety reasons, once you’ve purchased a harness from us online or in-store, it can’t be returned. (This doesn’t affect your right to exchange or refund for faulty goods.)

 

Best Rock Climbing Gym Harness for Beginners

We recommend: Edelrid Jay II climbing harness

Edelrid Jay II climbing harness

Why? This simple, well-constructed climbing harness is a perfect starting point. The straightforward single-buckle waist belt and adjustable leg loops make this harness easy to fit.

To make it comfortable, Edelrid has extended the inner mesh padding over the waist belt’s top edge. This helps reduce uncomfortable pressure points. The leg loops are also anatomically shaped, making the harness comfortable to hang in.

The women's equivalent is the Edelrid Jayne women's climbing harness. And, the affordable Edelrid Moe climbing harness is the fixed leg loop version of the Jay II. We also stock similar models you can try, below.

Also consider: Edelrid Moe climbing harness, Edelrid Zack climbing harness, Edelrid Jayne women's climbing harness, Wild Country Flare women's climbing harness


Best Rock Climbing Harness for Sport Climbing

We recommend: Edelrid Duke II climbing harness

Edelrid Duke II climbing harness

Why? The Edelrid Duke II features a double-buckle waist closure. It also offers adjustable leg loops. These elements allow you to fine-tune the harness fit.

A tight, snug fit in the waist, as well as the leg loops, is what you’re aiming for. And, it’s particularly important if you’re taking lots of whips off hard routes.

On a crazy fall, it’s entirely possible for you to tip upside down. In the event that this happens, to prevent you from falling out of the harness, you need the climbing harness to fit you securely. The extra adjustments on the Edelrid Duke II climbing harness help with that.

To stop the harness from sliding off your body, over your hips, you also need to make sure that the climbing harness waist belt is sitting in the correct position. It should lie half on top of your hip bone, at your true waist (not where teenage boys wear pants).

The final quality to look for in a sport climbing harness is something that is lightweight that enables mobility. Because of the funky moves you might throw out on your latest project – bat hangs, outrageous heel hooks, massive drop-knees – you want to be able to move freely. Most well-designed harnesses should accommodate this.

Also consider: Petzl Corax harness, Edelrid Moe climbing harness, Edelrid Zack climbing harness, Edelrid Jayne women' climbing harness


Best Trad Climbing Harness

We recommend: DMM Renegade climbing harness

DMM Renegade climbing harness

Why? With seven gear loops (yep, seven!), the DMM Renegade climbing harness allows you to comfortably carry all the nuts, cams, extra quickdraws, cordalettes, nut tools and other gear you might take on a long, multi-pitch route. (Most standard climbing harnesses have four gear loops.)

When it comes to racking gear, the DMM Renegade climbing harness features a sliding waist belt, which means that no matter where you sit in the size spectrum, the gear loops will sit symmetrically. That, of course, enables you to distribute the weight of your rack evenly.

Both the Renegade and DMM Puma climbing harness (the women’s equivalent) are built with stiffer foams to support the weight of a traditional rack. Plus, durable Cordura face fabric on both the waist belt and leg loops help this robust harness stand up to rough wear and tear.

Also consider: DMM Puma women's climbing harness


Lightweight Alpine Harness / Mountaineering Harness

We recommend: Rock Empire Superlight harness

Rock Empire Superlight harness

Why? At 146g, the Rock Empire Superlight harness is ideal for alpine endeavours. Walking for long periods – across glaciers and moraines, for example – is suited to this harness. Thanks to super-thin webbing and a lack of rear gear loops, you can wear the Rock Empire Superlight and your alpine pack simultaneously.

However, if you do need to get your harness on or off, it’s no fuss with the Superlight. It has special features – buckles on the leg loops and a classic mono buckle on the waist belt – which lets you strap yourself into the harness. This means you don’t need to awkwardly step into the leg loops while wearing crampons or skis.

Also consider: Rock Empire Lightning harness, Edelrid Huascaran climbing harness


Best Women's Rock Climbing Harness

We recommend: Edelrid Solaris climbing harness

Edelrid Solaris climbing harness

Why? Women, in general, need women’s-specific climbing harnesses. The key design difference is a bigger leg loop to waist ratio. That’s because – generally speaking – women tend to have smaller waists in relation to leg size. Commonly, women also tend to have a longer hip structure, so brands like Edelrid have lengthened the “ride” (that is, the length between a harness belay loop and leg loop). This prevents the ‘wedgie factor’, where the leg loops wedge uncomfortably in the nether regions.

The female anatomy – that is, curved waists – is also taken into consideration when brands like Edelrid design women’s rock climbing harnesses. Waist belts are shaped differently to the men’s. Both the men’s version (Edelrid Orion) and the Edelrid Solaris feature an innovative design. The harness webbing, which is typically one single piece, is split into five strands. This spreads load-bearing over a bigger surface area. The result is unparalleled comfort.

Next-level luxury is built into the women’s version. The five strands of webbing narrow down to two at the adjustment point. Here, having dual webbing straps and dual buckles (instead of one, seen in almost all other harnesses) means you can angle the waist belt to fit your unique hip shape.

Also consider: Petzl Luna women's climbing harness, Edelrid Jayne women's climbing harness, DMM Puma women's climbing harness


Best Climbing Harness for Large Person

We recommend: Rock Empire Spectrum harness

Rock Empire Spectrum harness

Why? The Rock Empire Spectrum is actually a lightweight industrial harness. It’s beefier, chunkier and has more padding than a conventional rock climbing harness. In a slim, skinny harness, for bigger people it’s common to feel like you’re getting cut in half.

Another problem that larger (and also petite) people encounter is a lop-sided harness. Gear loops can lie unevenly if a harness is maxed out at its widest (or narrowest) adjustability. That’s where a harness like the Spectrum comes in handy – it has a buckle on either side of the tie-in point. This means you can keep your gear loops centralised. This added adjustability is also a helpful feature if your weight tends to fluctuate.

Also consider: Petzl Calidris harness


Best Climbing Harness for Kids

We recommend: Edelrid Fraggle II Kids climbing harness, Edelrid Finn II harness

Edelrid Fraggle II Kids climbing harness

Why? Specifically designed for kids, the Edelrid Fraggle II is a full-body harness. This style of harness is required for small children (like toddlers), because their hips aren’t pronounced enough to hold a conventional rock climbing harness. This means that in a regular-style harness, if they fall upside down, there’s a chance the harness could slip over the hips and off. In a full-body harness like the Fraggle II, this shouldn’t happen.

Bigger kids can wear kid-specific harnesses like the Edelrid Finn II harness. This is essentially an adult design, made for a smaller person. The foam padding in the waist belt can be moved left and right, which allows the padding to be centralised, even as your child grows.



What are rock climbing harnesses made of?

Nylon and breathable foams. Foams will soften and mould to your body shape over time. More expensive harnesses have better foam that should last longer.


How long should a rock climbing harness last?

Most manufacturers advise a maximum of 10 years. Even if the harness looks perfect, after 10 years you need to retire it.

If you’ve had your harness for less than 10 years, it needs to pass a visual inspection. Any noticeable cuts or nicks in the webbing are a sign that you need to replace your harness.

Also, if you have a really significant, dramatic fall (a factor 2 fall, for instance), you should replace your harness.

 

See our range of harnesses here.

 

Please note that for safety reasons, once you’ve purchased them, harnesses can’t be returned. (This doesn’t affect your right to exchange or refund for faulty goods). The best way to ensure you make the right harness choice is by visiting our Melbourne shop.