If climbing is an avid hobby of yours, or one that you’re interested in getting involved, then you know the importance of having a well-fit harness to keep you safe. Your harness is one of the most, if not the most important piece of safety equipment, so making the right purchase is critical.

There is a wide range of harnesses available, for a wide range of climbing types and styles. We’ve worked to compile a list of the best harnesses for a wide variety of climbing situations, but before we get into the specifics of each, let’s walk through the basics of what you need to know about this piece of climbing gear.

What is a climbing harness?

A climbing harness is a piece of safety equipment that allows you to utilize ropes for climbing. It firmly holds a person to an available line or anchor point. Harnesses are necessary equipment for any type of rock climbing, whether indoors or out.

The types of climbing harnesses

There are different types of climbing harnesses, and each is designed with a particular climbing activity in mind. Some Climbing harness types include;

The Traditional or Trad Harnesses:

These harnesses are built to be comfortable and lightweight even after accumulating loads of gear since traditional climbing takes up more gear than you’ll need for sport climbing.

A typical traditional harness has some of the following features;

Best Climbing HarnessA haul loop which is handy for adding another rope

Several gear loops (4 or more) to accommodate the several required pieces of equipment

Leg loops which are adjustable and come with buckles

A thick padding which is both comfortable and durable for when you decide to spend extended time in the harness

A lumbar pad that helps keep the waist and the lower back stable

The Mountaineering or Alpine Harnesses:

These harnesses are built to be versatile no matter the season. They usually come with adjustable leg loops and are lightweight.

A typical mountaineering harness has some of the following features;

The Mountaineering or Alpine HarnessesLeg loops which are fully adjustable accompanied with a waist belt

Fewer gear loops, not more than four (4)

A haul loop handy for adding another rope

Made with a material of thin structure since they can be easily carried and also worn with a pack

May come with a smaller belay loop, so its weight is minimized

Gym or Sports Harnesses:

These harnesses are compact and suited for ultralight use. They can be utilized for both in-house sporting activities in gyms and outdoor climbing activities that don’t dish out tons of abuse.

Gym or Sports HarnessesA typical gym/sports harness has some of the following features;

Either a single automatic or a double-back waist belt buckle for comfortable wearing and pulling off

They come with just two gear loops since required additional equipment is less

The leg loops of a sport/gym harness may or may not come with an adjustment buckle. Most are made of materials that can stretch when they need to. Thus, there is minimal adjustability of the legs.

Mixed or Winter Harnesses:

These types of harnesses are similar to the traditional harnesses, however; they are built with winter in mind and thus provide excellent support for winter climbing.

A typical winter harness has some of the following features:

Mixed or Winter HarnessesThey feature leg loops which are adjustable (auto or manual). They can be fit over winter clothes.

A haul loop handy for adding another rope.

Comes with an extra lumbar padding that helps keep the waist and the lower back stable.

Comes with extra gear loops usually around four (4) or more to accommodate accessories for winter climbing like ice tools, and ice screws amongst others.

Harnesses designed specifically for women and kids

Women harnesses

Women harnessesWomen climbers and enthusiastic youth climbers are not left without a wide selection of high quality harnesses. There are some specifically designed harnesses which are made to suit a lady’s shape specifically. These harnesses come with precise comfort options and apt fitting. Here are some noticeable characteristics of women’s climbing harnesses;

The leg to waist ratio of the harness has a significant reduction

The waist-belt comes shaped

The rise is increased

Kids Harnesses

Kids HarnessesThe kids’ harnesses are distinct but share a close semblance with adult harnesses regarding features. Kids harnesses are built with children in mind thus have smaller design structure to fit a childs frame.

Little kids going on climbing expeditions require full-body harnesses due to their high center of gravity. Full-body harnesses for kids are designed for children who are usually around five years and younger. They are not meant to take on weights more than 40kg (88 lbs).

Let’s take a look at the various components of a climbing harness. These are the different things you want to be aware of when shopping for one of your own.

Climbing Harness Parts

  • Waist Belt: The waist belt seeks to provide a mix of ease of use and comfort. Typically belts come with buckles to adjust them.
  • Leg loops: The leg loops are usually adjustable to allow easy pulling on and removal of the harness; also they are often padded for added comfort. Leg loops are made from varying materials.
  • Buckles: These are important parts of the harness. They usually consist of two metallic pieces which would allow either automatic double back or manual double back. They are necessary for waist belt of harnesses, but leg loops can do without buckles. They are also positioned off center, so there’s no conflict of position with the rope tie-in.
  • Gear loops: These loops are meant to carry all your climbing gear from cameras to quick draws. Gear loops vary depending on the type of harness some have 2 and above the recommended loop most come with is 4. There are specialized belts designed to carry more gear, however. These loops are usually made from either webbing or plastic or a mix of both.
  • Belay loop: The belay loop should be used for attachment purposes as it’s the strongest part of the harness. If you are trying to lock a carabiner while rappelling or belaying then the belay loop is what you should use. These loops are usually made of nylon webbing and are not fit to have anything tied around the belay loop as it would make it wear out quicker than made to be.
  • Haul loop: This loop is used for attaching a haul line or an extra rope. It is made of stitched webbing and is usually found at the back of the harness.

  The Best Climbing Harnesses 

Anyone who’s done any climbing at all knows the importance of a proper harness. The safety of yourself, and those that you climb with should always be top priority, and a great way to ensure that safety is by making sure you have a great harness.

Selecting the right equipment to some might seem like picking a needle out of a haystack and while this is a tough job; we’ve taken out the stress in finding the best climbing harnesses for you. These five (5) climbing harnesses are tried and tested by many reviewers who have put them to good use and happy with how they hold up.

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Key features

Black Diamond Momentum HarnessComes with four (4) well placed pressure-molded gear loops for carrying all the necessary gear

Features an adjustable rear riser which is of elastic build

Packs a haul loop for attaching a second rope

It features a pre-threaded waist belt buckle that uses Speed Adjust technology

Comes with the trakFIT adjustment which is patent-pending and allows for easy customization of leg loop

A dual core constructed Bullhorn-shaped waist belt

The harness comes in different sizes from small to extra large fit for both adults and kids alike.

The Black Diamond Momentum Harness is an adult made harness fit for climbers who prefer not to waste time and money on inferior products. The harness uses the Trakfit technology (which eliminates any use of traditional buckles and the hassles that come with them) and provides a simple yet secure way of adjusting leg loops by using slide adjusters. This slide adjuster offers a quick, secure, easy and convenient fit for climbers. The Trakfit adjustment works by sliding the adjuster through the leg loop webbing to either loosen up or tighten the fit. The Trakfit adjuster is an effective way to change the diameter of the harness automatically while providing a broad range of adjustable areas without misthreading or webbing dangling.

The Black Diamond Momentum Harness is an all-around climbing harness which can be used for most types of climbing activities due to the time-saving design and versatility of the harness. The harness uses dual core construction technology that aims at maximizing comfort and total support. The construction uses a mix of abrasion-resistant nylon, CLPE foam to ensure that the harness performs remarkably. Climbers, therefore, have nothing to fear with the Black Diamond Momentum harness as it’s very sturdily built to ensure you are both comfortable and safe while doing what you love doing – climbing.

Black Diamond Primrose Women’s Harness

Key features

Black Diamond Primrose Women’s HarnessThe Black Diamond Primrose women’s harness has an adjustable rear riser which is of elastic build

This Primrose harness packs four (4) well placed pressure-molded gear loops for carrying all the essential gears

A pre-threaded waist belt buckle that uses Speed Adjust technology is included

The harness has trakFIT adjustment technology which is patent-pending and allows for easy customization of leg loop

Features a Bullhorn-shaped waist belt made with Dual Core Construction.’

There’s a haul loop for attaching a second rope

Different sized harnesses for every woman

The Diamond Primrose women’s harness is a gender specific harness, with special attention paid to the needs of women in relation to fit, comfort and adjustability. This harness is designed to provide a better fit than a unisex rig would, as it is built to contour to a woman’s unique shape. Like the Black Diamond Momentum harness, this Primrose harness packs different impressive features like the patent pending Trakfit technology which adjusts by sliding and does away with buckles for a more comfortable climbing time instead of changing time. The waist region and the leg loops are both adjustable making it easier to fit any task and wearer.

The Primrose women’s harness is built with comfort and versatility in mind. Also, curvy women would appreciate the effort put in to ensure this harness is a perfect fit as both the waist loops and leg loops can be adjusted to fit any shape (select the right size and everything else would fall into place). The materials used in the construction of the black diamond primrose women’s harness are some of the strongest you’d find in any climbing harness. These harnesses can be used for any climbing activity especially for sports (indoor or gym and outdoor sport).

Condor Tactical H-Harness

Key Features

Condor Tactical H-HarnessThe harness features contour shoulders with about three (3) rows of webbing situated on the back

It is compatible with PALS and MOLLE systems

The H-harness has support for Condor battle belts

The Condor Tactical harness utilizes a one-size fit all gear

The harness is made of heavy duty nylon material that weighs about 300g

It is NTOA approved

This Condor harness comes with D-rings and webbing strategically placed in front for quick access to attachments

The harness is lightly padded to maximize comfort and allow air flow through the mesh.

The Condor Tactical H-Harness is a quality climbing harness that comes in one size and fits a vast majority of climbers. The harness weighs about 0.2 pounds and is versatile to use. The H-Harness can be used with any battle belt system to ensure it doesn’t slip. It can be easily mounted using the D-rings of the belt system you plan on mounting on.

The padded harness makes it a comfortable option, erven if you plan on doing a long day of climbing and wearing it for an extended period of time. It also utilizes mesh design to keep airflow constant while you go about climbing with ease.

The condor tactical harness makes it easier for loads to be carried on the shoulder and upper back and takes away the load weight from the hip area thereby increasing your climbing time and carrying limit.

The Condor Tactical H-harness comes in just one size, and while this may be a little inconveniencing for some people, it actually offers a great fit for a vast number of climbers due to the adjustability nature of the harness. The material build of the harness is top-quality nylon fabric which can withstand severe pressure. This harness ensures your waist carriage remains in position and doesn’t get pulled down.

Petzl Corax Harness

Key Features

Petzl Corax HarnessThe Petzl Corax harness is made of high-quality material for sustainability and durability

The material used in the manufacture is built to be compact, lightweight for comfortable use.

It’s versatile and can be used during summer or winter

Comes with 8mm half ropes, 7.5mm twin ropes, 8.9mm single ropes

A UNIVERSO belay system which consists of a Verso belay device, an exclusive sliding connection piece, and an attaché 3D carabiner. This system is compatible with all ropes

Comes in two sizes – one (1) and two (2) which are small and large respectively

The Petzl Corax Harness is a premium climbing harness. The harness is built to last with high-quality materials and still maintains a low profile with its compact and lightweight nature. It’s also very versatile and can be used for just about any climbing activity both indoor (gym and in-house) climbing and outdoor climbing and in both summer and winter seasons.

The two double back buckles on the harness ensure you have a great fit once you put it on. The harness materials are meant to offer you solace concerning comfort while climbing. Its adjustability is also one reason for the harness’ comfort as it is easy to adjust. You can do good to keep yourself safe and free from loose straps by tucking the excess strap ends under the provided elastic loop of the harness. If you are planning to spend long hours in your harness, then the Petzl Corax harness would be a good fit due to the comfort it offers users. It comes with four (4) gear loops which are very sturdy and can be managed easily without hassles. The price point also makes it a worthy consideration for beginner climbers, and those on a budget who still want a great piece of gear.

EDELRID – Fraggle II Children’s Climbing Harness

Key Features

EDELRID – Fraggle II Children’s Climbing HarnessComes in two sizes for a perfect fit for the youngest adventurers and climbers. The XS fits kids weighing up to 88lbs and having torso of width 25-inch and leg loops 19-inches while the XXS fits children weighing up to 88lbs and having a 19-inch torso with 14-inch leg loops.

Made by a trusted brand with over 100 years of sound gears manufacturing

For a sound climb, this harness is made to be comfortable with an ergonomic design accompanied with 3D mesh padding

The fraggle II is built to be used for versatile purposes with a rear attachment point which can be used to provide support while on steep terrain or climbing or to assist a child while skiing

The fraggle II children’s full body climbing harness is built with small adventurers in mind. Comes with a support system that keeps the back region and upper body of the kids safe and well supported

EDELRID Fraggle II children’s climbing harness is built for the adventurous kids. It features a full backing system which ensures that climbing and even skiing isn’t as stressful as it is without the harness. There are protective measures put in place for safety purposes as well. This EDELRID Fraggle full body harness provides a multifunctional harness for children who want to get climbing. It doesn’t matter the terrain or region your children plan on exploring, the Fraggle II comes with an added support to see the expedition is fun-filled and worthwhile. It features and ergonomic design and a mesh padding to keep kids wearing the harness not just protected but very comfortable. It comes in two sizes (XS and XXS) which are sure to fit just about any growing kid weighing up to 88lbs with torso length between 19 to 25-inches. If you plan on having your children become an expedition wiz, then you need to start them young from toddlers to children of 3 years should fit just fine.

On a final note:

Before buying any harness, you want to be able to try it on. We know this isn’t always possible or ideal, and while you will save on your purchase by shopping online, getting a test fit at an outdoors store is a very good idea. Never assume that something would work for you simply because you have similar sized pants. Harness sizing boils down to numbers. From the number of buckles to how long or short the belay loop is (you don’t want to be caught with a shorter loop if you have high hips due to the uncomfortable nature of short belays forcing the leg loops to get higher into your crotch) and even the waist belt’s shape.

Women climbers should also try their best to check out harnesses before purchase and also go for women specific models to ensure they don’t get caught up with a harness which is not tailored to match their shape.

Go for the harness that will serve you best. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get all of the features you need to have a comfortable, easy to use climbing harness. Follow our guide, and you should be able to find the perfect piece of climbing gear to add to your collection, without breaking the bank.