Different Types of Climbing Harnesses

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Safety is paramount when taking part in potentially dangerous outdoor activities. One such event is rock climbing – as rock climbers experience several challenges when they’re up there. So, buying the right safety equipment is essential. One of the critical gear that a rock climber should purchase as part of their equipment kit is a harness.

All harnesses in the market are not the same even though they’re designed to meet specific safety standards. The right safety harness for you depends mostly on how you intend to use it. There are different harnesses designed for various applications and industries, and it’s crucial that you understand these distinctions. 

NameFeatures 
Black Diamond MomentumVery Strong and DurablePRICING
PETZL CORAXHigh QualityPRICING
PETZL VoltigeAdjusting is EasyPRICING
Black Diamond VarioHighly Durable as a Result of Its Aluminum BucklesPRICING
YaeCCC ClimbingComes with CE Certification LabelsPRICING
Fusion Tac-RescueSteel D-rings on Side/Back/FrontPRICING

What is a Climbing Harness?

The climbing harness is a critical piece of equipment which connects the rope to the body of the climber. In the absence of the harness, you could experience difficulty when climbing–even safety may be hampered too.

Another definition puts it like this: climbing harness is an essential equipment used in rock climbing and provides support and security during rock climbing activities.

There is an array of climbing harnesses to choose from. It is necessary to know its parts and features, as well as the type you are looking for when buying a new one. Follow proper care and maintenance to preserve the quality of your climbing harnesses.

Whether you’re starting a new adventure business, or in charge of the gear at an Outdoor Education Centre, the chances are that at some point you’ll have to buy a climbing harnesses. While traditional padded style harnesses are excellent for personal use, thanks to their technological features and comfort, they don’t always fit budget requirements.

Therefore, it is necessary to go for the right harness, especially if you’re purchasing in bulk, and the decision can be a quite confusing with several options now in the market.

Padding

Except for work type and applications, user comfort has become the primary consideration when choosing a best full-body harness. Before now, harnesses were often uncomfortable and rigid, making wearing them a big issue. Today, however, most manufacturers have included padding which eliminates some of the discomfort resulting from web straps into popularly used harness models. Padding brings on comfort and adds a layer of protection in the event of a fall and during the post-fall suspension.

Quick Connect Buckles

Put into consideration how adjustable and accessible the harness should be. The quick connect buckles provides easy and quick options to older styled pass-through buckle, which works similarly to a seatbelt clip—it used to be an industry standard for so many years.  Certain models come with lock and unlock adjustment points, which makes adjustments a piece of cake, while at the same time providing a component that keeps the straps from falling off as soon as they are set to the right length.

Comfort

Out of the most important things to concentrate on when choosing a safety harness is comfort. Others are the certification, safety, the type of work it will be used for. Comfort might not be as essential as safety when you want to choose a safety harness though, but the two often go together. A comfortable climbing harness will likely be worn correctly and snugly, which helps climber to stay safe.

 Weight

It is essential to identify the kind of climbing that will be done using the harness. The person that has employed the harness may engage in prolonged or rigorous climbing, so the weight of the harness becomes a factor in the user’s safety and comfort. To fulfill consumer’s desires, manufacturers are now using seats and padding that are removable and lightweight for when weight may be a priority over comfort. More so, aluminum hardware can take over more substantial steel sections to cut the overall weight of the harness.

Sit Harness

1. Black Diamond Momentum Harness

The harness by Black Diamond is one of the most versatile harnesses in the market. A great beginner harness or a replacement for all the seasoned climbers out there, Black Diamond is all in on quality. This climbing harness is sturdy and made from synthetic materials. Even durability is not left out and can withstand the wear and tear you would expect from rock climbing.

The two-sided, re-threaded speed buckles ensures easy adjustments; the tall padded bullhorn-shaped waist belt brings comfort and stability to a new height, and the adjustable risers give you the opportunity to fit the harness to your choice.

Pros

  • High quality
  • Very strong and durable

Cons

  • It is pricey

2. Petzl CORAX, Versatile and Adjustable Harness

Suitable for winter and summer activities, this harness has a rigid construction. The harness comes with a FRAME technology design which distributes weight between the waist belt and leg loops. This enhances comfort when you wear the harness. 

A climbing harness is an important tool for people who love great heights or in dangerous situations, where a fall could prove deadly or harmful. This harness works perfectly well and connects to cables which prevent you from falling off if you were to slip accidentally.

The harness has four gear loops for attaching equipment—two rigid front loop and two flexible high loops. What this means is that you can organize the equipment you need for a climb with ease. The waist belt features two double back buckles for adjusting the middle of the harness while putting the loops in a good position. You can also adjust leg loops to suit different body types or to adjust when you are wearing different clothing for a better fit. This will give you the safest and most comfortable fit. There are two size options and four colors from which you can choose.

Pros

  • High quality
  • High comfort

 Cons

  • Sizing isn’t reliable
  • Leg loop sizes vary a lot

Chest Harness

3. PETZL Voltige Chest Harness

The Petzl Voltage Chest Harness allows the climber to maintain an upright posture while hanging. It is created to be used in conjunction with a sit harness. It has two DoubleBack adjustment buckles, including rear crossover so the webbing straps can be secured appropriately.

The height tie-in point is adaptable, and a reversible design allows the positioning of the buckle on the shoulder or under the arms. The Voltige from Petzl, known to be an adaptable chest harness, is perfect for support when climbing. It is compact and easy to use. Use it only with a climbing harness.

Overall, an excellent safety feature you can think of, alongside the main harness, however, not a harness to be used alone for climbing—don’t climb only with a chest harness. The reversible design allows the buckles to be placed where you choose (over the shoulders/chest, or under your arms).

Pros

  • It keeps you upright just like all harness (when used correctly) if you fall or if you’re hanging out on the side of a tower or cliff
  • Adjusting is easy (when you’re not wearing it) and well secured when it’s clipped in
  • The abrasion guards perfectly fit at the clip-in points, but it is essential to use smooth, well-rounded carabiners, prolonging useful life
  • It is also reversible, and different from some other options out there

Cons

  • Lacks padding

4. Black Diamond Vario Chest Harness

This chest harness supports the stability of the upper body. You can use it together with a sit harness. It alters your center of gravity from your chest to your hips, thereby preventing your body from turning over.   

This harness is an essential addition for the less pronounced hips climbers. They could slip out of the sit harness in the event of a fall. This is particularly the case with overweight in and very slim individuals. Proper safety measures will have to be in place.

The Vario Chest is durable and lightweight harness from Black Diamond. It provides additional stability when climbing. Designed for indoor and institutional use; the harness features color-coded nylon webbing to make it easier to use. For adjustments, you can use the buckles. The harness must be worn with a sit harness and not used in isolation. A chest harness also helps to stabilize the upper body.

With upright stability in the mix, Vario Chest is your choice—not forgetting durability, lightweight and affordability.  It is perfect for gym and institutional use; it is now modified to accommodate color-coordinated webbing.

The Vario Chest is a lightweight low-profile chest harness which adds a little security in sketchy situations. It provides stability for climbers with heavy rucksacks, climbing juggling fixed lines or those who are rapping with large loads. It comes as a one size fits all type of harness for all adults. It has waist dimension at 23-42 inches and chest dimension around 24-46 inches.

Pros

  • Designed from color-coded wide nylon webbing
  • Highly durable as a result of its aluminum buckles
  • Great comfort from wide, burly webbing
  • Traditional fasteners
  • To be worn alongside a sit harness

Cons

  • Difficult to Put-on
  • Not Easy to Adjust

Full-body Harness

5. YaeCCC Climbing Harness

Here is yet another full-body harness that can be deployed for so many activities especially climbing. As a matter of fact, a large number of people who purchase this harness use it for fire rescue. If you prefer a lot of support, climbing will be very much easier to do.

With a full harness, you’ll be locked in and you feel safer while climbing. However, limiting mobility may not cut it for some people. Considering this type from YaeCCC, they’re great in allowing free range of motion at all times.

The weight of this harness is a little on the heavy side, but nothing that most people can’t deal with. The company also offers half body and upper body models, as well, for people to consider if they wish.

Pros

  • Heavy duty
  • Comes with CE certification labels
  • Inexpensive for full body

Cons

  • Not that comfortable for extended use
  • Durability is not as exceptional as other options

6. Fusion Tac-Rescue Specialty Harness

This harness is well-equipped with six points of connection, including an aluminum D-ring located in the back, which allows for free movement and can be pivoted in a suspended position. The harness’ contour depends on the location of the user’s weight.  It comes with foam padded waist and shoulder—including one two-gear loop in the back and one steel delta quick link. The Webbing is rated at 7,000 lb.

You will feel hard-pressed to get a harness with many attachment points as the Tac-Scape. This harness was manufactured with LE, military, and tactical users in mind but is now made for the public in a custom fashion. It is lighter than it looks and features 5 points of attachment. Also, this harness makes use of 2 Shoulder D rings and has 3D Eva contour pads for the waistline and shoulders!

You can use this harness as a daily recreational on all your rappelling and climbing pitches. It looks great, feels great, and can be adjusted to fit anyone! Pick one up with no hesitation. They’re yours for the taking.

Pros

  • Padded waist and shoulders
  • Steel D-rings on Side/Back/Front
  • Durable 7,000 lb rated nylon webbing
  • Two gear loops, one steel delta quick link

Cons

  • Specialized labor is required in most cases for proper sealing of penetrations

Conclusion

In everything that has been said, know for sure that you can improvise especially if you are on a very tight financial constraint. You can simple use a long loop of webbing—a longer runner. One common design depends on the carabiner, so the harness can come together at your chest. In other designs you’d find the knot attaching to the ends. You’ll get greater support if you use it with a sit harness, including a high tie for a climber to gain stability.

As a climber, you can’t underestimate the importance of your harness—be it a chest, sit or full-body harness. Safety is critical to any outdoor going person, and the chest harness does its bit to keep you safe and secured when need be.

For the adventure climber, you’d want to keep a harness close by. The benefits come in their numbers. In the light of this, you want quality—as safety is critical here—so you’d rather opt for the best among the lot.

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