The Rack: All - Around Harnesses
Most climbers eventually start viewing themselves as all-arounders; they clip bolts, plug in gear, climb the occasional multi-pitch route and train on plastic. These folks need a comfortable and reasonably light harness with enough gear loops for a trad rack. Some adjustment in the leg-loops is also useful for accommodating extra layers in cooler weather.
With these requirements in mind, here are some top choices for all-around harness for this season.
The new Adjama features a number of updates for greater comfort, improved fit and increased function. Petzl has changed the waist belt shape and construction for extra support and less risk of chafing. A new single pull buckle on the waist and legs is smoother and easier-to-use without compromising safety. The four gear loops have also been re-worked with the front loops being rigid for easy gear access while the rear loops are more flexible to avoid pressure points when wearing a pack. This is an excellent update of a classic harness.
This plushly-padded entry-level harness is versatile enough for almost any climbing situation. Four gear loops provide space draws and natural pro and the smooth Speed Adjust buckles on the waist belt and leg loops offer plenty of adjustment and security. Black Diamond uses a sculpted waist belt shape for even more comfort during long belays or extended dogging sessions.
The R320a showcases ArcTeryx's unique Warp Strength Technology construction which allows them to build a very light harness with a surprising level of support. Four gear loops provide plenty of racking options while the self-locking buckles on the waist and legs are secure and easy-adjust. Arc'Teryx uses webbing with wear markers in the belay loop and tie-in points so climbers know when to replace the harness.
The Safe Tech Trad is a top choice for any climber seeking the maximum level of safety. Metolius builds every component for the greatest possible strength while still minimizing weight. The result is that the gear loops, haul tab and tie-in point rope-locater are rated to 10 kN. Even the leg-loop elastics are capable of supporting 6.6 kN. The unique self locking waist buckle requires a bit more effort to use, but is almost immune to accidental loosening. On the leg loops, Metolius uses a special floating buckle which allows for adjustments in rise while eliminating unintended loosening once they are re-threaded. Double belay loops and beefy aluminum leg-loop elastic adjustment-buckles round out the features on this versatile and well constructed harness.
This comfortable and well-made harness is an excellent choice for the all-around climber. Four gear loops and three racking-biner slots offer plenty of room for racking. Mammut's smooth self-locking waist buckle is secure and unobtrusive. The leg loops lack adjustment buckles, but they do have a section of elastic that delivers an adequate size range for most climbing situations. The upside to this leg loop construction is that harness is lighter and arguably less restrictive during hard climbing. Mammut uses indicator webbing for the belay loop and tie-in point so there's no guessing when to replace the harness. For extra durability, a plastic cover protects the leg loop tie-in point from abrasion - very smart.
This well-padded harness is good choice for trad or sport climbing. The binding-loaded waist belt and leg loop construction minimizes weight and bulk without sacrificing safety. Wild Country includes four gear loops for racking and the slick Ziplock simplifies fit adjustments. The Vision Ziplock is a solid option for summer cragging as well as the occasional cool weather adventure.