Climbing is a sport that originated in the 19th century in Germany and England as an activity derived from mountaineering. It consists of making ascents over walls using the physical and mental strength of the athlete. The upper and lower extremities are used. In the sixties, it had an incredible evolution with the appearance of the climbing walls.
It is considered a risky sport, but it is not entirely like that since it depends on the modality that we carry out. Besides, climbers’ equipment has evolved a lot, to the point that safety is guaranteed, at least in that regard. The harness is one of those tools that make safe practice possible.
Most essential points about climbing harness
- The harness is essential to carry out any climbing practice, except for the so-called “integral only,” in which the climber goes without any type of security.
- Due to their anatomical differences, women, men, or children need to acquire models adapted to their characteristics.
- The climbing harness must comply with safety regulations, the certification of which is usually on the label. We will see it in the purchase criteria and how fundamental it is to hit the right size.
The best climbing harnesses
Climbing harnesses are guaranteed to pass the rigorous tests that the authorities require in terms of safety. Until then, we can be calm. But these certifications do not value other aspects to take into account the quality of the product. So you have to check if they meet other requirements. We are going to know the most exciting harnesses.
- The cheapest climbing harness
- The best climbing harness in terms of value for money
- The best climbing harness for kids
- The lightest climbing harness
- The best high-end climbing harness
The cheapest climbing harness
A cheap and unisex climbing harness. If you are thinking of climbing, don’t forget! It has more than 50% 5-star ratings and is ideal for both beginners and climbing professionals.
It only weighs 526g, and the ends of the straps are reinforced with double stitching. It is made of polyester, nylon, and carbon steel. Besides, it complies with the EN 12277 standard.
The best climbing harness in terms of value for money
Petzl is a specialized brand that offers you this harness available in various colors so you can do mountaineering or climbing, as you prefer. It is of high quality and is available in two sizes for summer and winter activities.
It is equipped with two DoubleBack buckles to easily center the harness. It is CE certified and has a 3-year warranty. Users give it 4.7 out of 5 stars and highlight – its high quality.
The best climbing harness for kids
This harness is approved for people between 45 and 100 kilograms, but its development is designed for young people and children climbing or mountaineering.
The hip belt, with an ergonomic structure, is adaptable. It has a breathable, quick-drying mesh interior. It is a high-quality harness with a 4-buckle adjustment system. It also allows the transport of various accessories, and its rating is 4.6 out of 5 stars.
The lightest climbing harness
We are facing a multipurpose harness that will allow us to practice any type of climbing. It stands out for being very light, comfortable, and resistant. It has a quick buckle that facilitates a precise, fast, and easy adjustment. The foam belt is very comfortable, and the legs are adjustable.
It has four gear loops and adjustable rear elastic handles. It is made of quality materials, and its rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars.
The best high-end climbing harness
It is one of the best climbing harnesses that we can find on the market, high-end! It stands out for its quality, performance, design, comfort, and, of course, safety.
It has four gears that facilitate its placement and a 12 Kilonewton transport ring that allows you to carry relatively heavy objects. It is suitable for climbing or vertical work, but not for extreme mountaineering or ice riding.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About The Climbing Harness
To better understand the characteristics and types of climbing harnesses, we will answer a series of questions that will help us when deciding on some of the various models that the market offers. We will also know how to place the harness or what care it needs so that its maintenance is correct and our safety is not affected.
What is a climbing harness?
The harness is a safety element that is used in climbing, but also in other areas such as caving, mountaineering, rafting ( river descent), kitesurfing (a kite serves as traction to an athlete on a board in the water), or to carry out rescues -mainly by emergency services-.
What are the types of climbing harnesses?
There are several types of harnesses, depending on the modality that we are going to practice. Some can even be used for more than one style, such as the so-called “versatile harness,” which saves us space and is made with the best quality materials. But we are going to focus on this table on the harnesses for each specific modality. They are as follows:
|Criteria||Sports (rock or climbing wall)||Classic and traditional||Big walls||Ice or mixed (rock and ice)||Mountaineering (high mountain)|
|Advantage||They are attached and removed quickly and easily.||To facilitate transport, they take up little space.||They should prioritize comfort when hanging for long hours.||Designed to withstand extreme conditions.||They weigh little and take up minimal space.|
|Comfort||They are light and facilitate freedom of movement.||Its lightness and comfort stand out.||Good padding at the waist and adjustable and folding legs.||They are equipped with special ice screw holders.||The belt is usually narrow and flexible.|
|characteristics||They have buckles only on the belt and the legs are usually elastic.||The back ring is reinforced and has good padding in the lumbar area.||They usually have a double anchor strap for greater security.||The legs are adjustable and the lumbar padding is waterproof.||The legs are adjustable and foldable for changes of clothes.|
|Material holder||They have few gear carriers.||They have 4 or more gear loops.||Resistant gear holder, one reinforced at the rear.||You must have the necessary gear loops.||You should not carry too many gear bags.|
What are the main parts of a climbing harness?
The climbing harness is made up of different parts, all of them of great importance for the climber’s safety and comfort. You have to be aware that their operation is correct and follow the instructions to keep them in good condition. These are the main parts:
- Lumbar belt: It is the central part of the harness, which resists most of the weight and the other peripheral units. It should provide a balance between comfort and lightness.
- Buckles: Their functionality depends on the climbing style. The current ones have a self-locking system.
- Leg loops: They are usually padded and adjusted with an elastic or buckle design, which facilitates clothes changes.
- Ventral ring: It is a ring that passes through the two tie points, making it the most vital area of the set.
- Material carriers: They are used to carry hanging equipment or accessories during climbing. Their number depends on the style that is practiced or the needs of the climber.
- Anchor or tie points: They are two rings that connect to the central ring. The rope is passed through them, and the weight is distributed correctly.
What are the differences between a climbing harness for men or women?
Although some models can be designed for either of the two genders, it is advisable to purchase a product that offers the characteristics that each sex demands. In women’s case, their center of gravity is lower, and they must balance the harness to feel more comfortable and gain safety. We also find that females are generally thinner and place the harnesses on the hips in such a way that we have to assess the distance between the belt and the leg loops. In short, we must look for specific models for each gender, in the same way as children.
How to put on a climbing harness?
Putting on a climbing harness is not a very complicated task. However, it must be carried out with great meticulousness, as our safety and comfort depend on our doing it correctly. These are, in a summarized and simple way, the main steps that must be followed to put on a harness:
- Introduce: the legs in the legs, making sure that they are not crossed and that the ventral ring is in front.
- Position: the belt above the hips, almost at the navel level, to avoid slipping out in case of being head down. Tighten it tightly, leaving a maximum of two fingers of slack.
- Adjust: the legs using an elastic part in case they are not adjustable. The tighter you are, the more comfortable you will feel when hanging, although it will reduce your mobility.
How to maintain and clean a climbing harness?
The first thing is to find out in the instruction book about all the elements that make up the harness model. Before each use, we must check even the smallest detail making sure that each piece works and is kept in good condition since, over time, some elements can wear out and endanger our physical integrity. As for its cleaning, we can soak it in water for two hours using a neutral soap and a brush if the stains resist. Then, we will rinse with water and dry in an airy place, but not directly exposed to the sun. After these operations, you have to make sure that all the elements work correctly.
What are the most recognized brands of climbing harnesses?
The Petzl company is one of the most important international brands. It is a French firm with more than 50 years of experience dedicated to the manufacture of harnesses for sports practices such as climbing and work activities. It has a wide range of products in which quality, safety, and comfort prevail. Another important company in this sector is Italian Climbing Technology, which applies modern development and production techniques to guarantee maximum climber security. Finally, with innovative gearing designs, Black Diamond is the harness manufacturer with the most demand in the market, especially in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Climbing harness purchase criteria
Before buying a climbing harness, we must attend to a series of important criteria for our safety and comfort. For example, the use we want to give it, that is, for which climbing style we are going to use it. We also have to find the correct size, perfect fit, or the most appropriate weight for our needs.
- Leg warmers
- Gear holder
Climbing can be done in various terrains and circumstances. Therefore, we have to find a harness that adapts to the characteristics of the style we want to practice. Let’s not forget the importance of harnesses for safety, which is why they are manufactured to meet different benefits depending on the use to which the climber will expose them.
More comfortable and practical harnesses are used on the artificial walls, while in the sports style, lighter models are usually used that do not hinder the ascent. Traditional climbers have to prioritize the comfort and space they occupy in their transport. As for use on ice, they need unique screw holders and adjustable leg loops.
The size of the climbing harness is essential because our safety depends on it. It should fit perfectly. We have to check that the belt does not slip from the hips when we are upside down. You also have to take into account the physical differences that exist between men, women, and children.
In addition to safety, we need the correct size to provide us with the necessary comfort. Sometimes we will spend many hours with the harness, even hanging in styles like high mountains. On the other hand, we will avoid those scratches or discomfort that small size can cause.
The leg loops are another element that should be taken into account when purchasing a climbing harness, although they do not have the importance of other parts such as the belt, rings, or tie points. The leg loops can be fixed or adjustable. The former is usually the most common, although their elasticity will allow you to use them for all activities.
One of the main advantages of leg warmers and their comfort is that they prevent chafing that can cause discomfort or injury. They also help facilitate the change of clothes, something of great relevance if we take into account the differences in temperature or weather that can occur during an escalation.
The material carriers, which are generally used in outdoor modes, are placed on the climbing harness belt. The usual thing is to carry a minimum of 4 gear racks to have all the equipment that we will need during the ascent, although the number can vary up or down according to each climber’s needs.
Climbing or mountain harnesses must comply with the UNE-EN 12277 safety regulations. To ensure that the chosen product is within the standards required by national and international organizations, you must confirm it by looking at the label. This regulation divides harnesses into four categories:
- Type A: Integral harness. For people who carry a lot of weight, who have a very high point of gravity or poor shape.
- Type B: Integral harness. For users weighing less than 40 kilograms. Usually used by children.
- Type C: Waist harness. You must meet the appropriate characteristics for each style of climbing or mountain sports practice.
- Type D: Chest harness. Common in rope progression activities in which it is necessary to use a belly blocker. They must always be used together with the type C harness.
The climbing harness is a product that is guaranteed by safety regulations. It means that its main function is going to be found in all models on the market, although we have to make sure by reading the label. In any case, you always have to be attentive to security, as well as check the status of your partner before each use.
Therefore, the analysis to find the article that suits us should focus on other aspects such as comfort or the use that we are going to give it. The first point is of great importance, since we will spend several hours with the harnesses, sometimes hanging from a wall. You also have to look at the sizes and if the model is for women, men or children.