How to choose a climbing harness?
A climbing harness is an essential piece of climbing equipment, so choosing the right one is important. Most climbing harnesses have the same basic parts: a padded waist belt with locking buckles, two leg loops, a tie-in or belay loop, and gear loops at the sides. Some harnesses are versatile enough for all types of climbing, while others are made specifically for particular types of climbing. The type of climbing you do will determine which harness is best.
What kind of harness do I need for rock climbing?
It’s important to note that other types of safety harnesses, e.g. construction work or tree climbing harnesses are not suitable for climbing. Climbers should have their own climbing-specific harness.
What types of harness are there?
- For gym climbing and sport climbing, look for a lightweight, comfortable, but stripped-down harness. You only need a couple of gear loops and fixed leg loops will be fine.
- For rock climbing or trad climbing, look for a lightweight, comfortable harness that will let you carry more gear, so with four gear loops or more. Thicker padding will give you increased comfort when hanging or belaying for longer periods. Adjustable leg loops that let you add or remove layers is a good idea.
- For ice climbing, look for a harness with slots to attach ice clippers for ice screws.
What is important in a climbing harness?
Climbing harnesses are tested and certified according to specific CE and UIAA safety standards. The three most important parts are: waist belt buckle belay loop tie in-points on the waist and leg loops Always make sure that your waist buckle is doubled back correctly, and that you only tie in and belay through the tie in points or belay loop.
How should a climbing harness fit?
The waistbelt should sit securely above your hips and not move excessively. You should not be able to waistbelt down over your hips. It’s important that your harness does not dig in too much at any point. Try on a few different models and remember that you can only really tell if a harness will be comfortable by hanging in it.
How do you pick the right harness size?
Consider your waist size and follow the sizing chart. A well-fitted harness should be able to adjust to go larger or smaller, so you can also wear extra layers if needed. You should be able to place a flat hand between your leg and the leg loop.
Is there a difference between a men’s and women’s climbing harness?
Some climbing harnesses are made specifically for women. They offer a women-specific fit that might include a shaped waistbelt, and women-specific leg rise and leg-to-waist ratio.
How long does a climbing harness last?
The lifespan of a harness depends on a number of factors, such as frequency of use, weather exposure and storage conditions. Retire your harness immediately if it shows signs of excessive wear, i.e. frayed yarns at the belay loop or structural webbing. Exposure to the sun can degrade materials in a harness. Even if your harness shows no visible damage, we recommend that you retire it if it is more than seven years old. A harness that has never been used has a maximum lifespan of ten years.