The Best Indoor Climbing Harnesses for 2023
Take your climbing to the next level with this essential piece of climbing gear
If you are like most climbers during this time of year, you’re spending the majority of your free time climbing indoors at the local gym. And while there’s no denying the fun of indoor bouldering, roping up and doing routes provides just as much enjoyment and, thanks to the fact that routes tend to be longer than boulder problems, will do wonders for your overall climbing stamina and fitness.
The only specialized gear you’ll need is a climbing harness (I’m assuming you already own climbing shoes and a chalk bag).
So with that out of the way, let’s look at the best indoor climbing harnesses for 2023.
Black Diamond Solution Harness – $90
Best for climbers wanting a comfortable and sleek harness for indoor and outdoor climbing.
The sleek Solution harness delivers excellent comfort and support while remaining light enough for hard redpoints. Black Diamond employs its Fusion Comfort Technology that incorporates three strands of low-profile webbing in the waist belt and leg loops resulting in exceptional support with very little bulk. A smooth minimalist double-back buckle allows for easy donning and doffing, while four generously sized gear loops can accommodate most cragging racks.
Weight – 330 g
Petzl Hirundos Harness – $130
Best for climbers seeking low weight and comfort when climbing harder routes.
Climbers looking to push their grades will appreciate the Hirundos. This tried-and-true sport climbing harness continues to deliver the comfort, low weight and non-restrictive fit valued by climbers attempting challenging routes. The harness features Petzl’s Fuseframe construction that reduces pressure points while providing solid support. For durability, Petzl specs lightweight TPU overlays on the back of the leg loops and uses a Dynema for the belay loop as well as tie-in points. A silky-smooth aluminum double-back buckle allows for effortless waist adjustment, while the four gear loops provide carrying capacity for large trad-cragging and sport climbing racks.
Weight – 310 g
Petzl Sama Harness – $105
Best for climbers wanting a versatile harness for indoor climbing, cragging and multi-pitch routes.
The Sama is Petlz’s top-of-the-line all-around harness for indoor climbing, cragging and even multi-pitch adventures. Petzl employs its proprietary Endoframe technology in the sculpted waist belt and leg loops for excellent support and comfort when you’re hanging on the rope and working out moves. Petzl adds two easy-clipping rigid gear loops in the front, while the angled and more flexible rear loops channel gear forward for easier access and are less noticeable when wearing a pack. Finally, the addition of Dyneema fabric at the tie-in points ensures excellent protection against rope abrasion in this high-wear area.
Weight – 415 g
Black Diamond Momentum Harness – $70
Best for climbers wanting an affordable harness.
The Momentum harness packs a lot of value at a reasonable price and should appeal to new climbers. Black Diamond specs a Dual Core Construction waistbelt for support and comfort and adds four gear loops for when you venture outside in the spring. The leg loops feature a unique elastic and plastic slider adjustment that provides a wide range of adjustment when compared to traditional elastic-panel leg loops.
Weight – 302 g
Petzl Corax LT Harness – $85
Best for climbers seeking great value for indoor and outdoor climbing.
The relatively new Corax LT delivers similar comfort as Petzl’s upper-tier Sama harness but at a much more affordable price. A comfy and breathable waist belt is mated to comparably comfortable elasticized leg loops that remain snug without restricting movement. The four gear loops are carefully positioned for easy gear access when you go outside, and the polyester-reinforced tie-in points ensure excellent durability. But perhaps the most notable feature is the smoothly operating double-back buckle – a nice change relative to some less expensive harnesses.
Weight – 395 g
Petzl Adjama Harness – $115
Best for climbers wanting a versatile harness that accommodates heavier layers when climbing outside.
Climbers seeking the support and comfort found in the Sama harness but requiring greater adjustability should check out the Adjama. Like the Sama, the Adjama features Endoframe construction for superb support and comfort, Dyneema fabric at the tie-in points for durability and a similarly smooth-operating double-back buckle. The Adjama diverges by having five gear loops as well as adjustable buckles at the legs to accommodate changing physical proportions or when adding extra layers.
Weight – 485 g
Edelrid Jay III Harness – $90
Best for climbers wanting greater waist adjustments without compromising comfort and fit.
A very versatile harness, the Jay III showcases a particularly innovative feature that sets it apart from many other harnesses. Most fitted harnesses have a sweet spot in their waist adjustment range that ensures the padding cradles your body for maximum comfort and support. As the harness waist belt is expanded, the padding tends to shift to one side and no longer hugs your waist as intended. The Jay III overcomes this traditional fitting issue by allowing the padded waist belt to slide over the structural webbing. This ensures that the padding is always optimally positioned regardless of whether the belt is adjusted to fit slender or larger climbers. Other niceties include adjustable leg loops, four gear loops and a reinforced tie-in point for durability.
Weight – 435 g
Here are some common FAQs (and answers) about indoor climbing harnesses:
How should I fit my harness?
A properly fitting harness must fit your waist and legs and have the appropriate rise for your body. Make sure the waist belt snugly sits on your true waist – don’t wear it gun-slinger style on your hips. For the leg loops, look for a snug fit that’s not restrictive when high-stepping or performing other leg-intensive moves. Finally, ensure that the rise is not too long. If it is, the waist belt may ride too high when sitting in the harness, resulting in uncomfortable pressure on your lower rib cage.
Should I get a harness with fixed or adjustable leg loops?
First of all, all fixed leg loops have some range of fit. This is accomplished with the elastic band that can dynamically stretch and contract to fit slightly different leg sizes. This design eliminates the restrictive fit sometimes associated with snuggly fitted adjustable buckle leg loops. Fixed leg loops are also lighter (important if you’re pushing your limits) and allow harness manufacturers to focus on shapes that best fit the body rather than trying to accommodate a buckle system.
On the other hand, adjustable leg loops may be a better choice if you plan on losing or gaining weight or want the option of wearing heavier layers during colder shoulder-season outdoor climbing.
Are more expensive harnesses safer?
Absolutely not. All harnesses must pass the same UIAA standards to be approved for sale. More expensive harnesses will frequently use more sophisticated construction, resulting in less weight and bulk, but they are not safer. When you pay more for a harness, you may also get nicer gear loops and easier-to-operate buckles, but again, these components do not make for a safer harness.