What to Look For in the Best Beginner Harnesses
When selecting a climbing harness, especially for beginners, there are several key features to consider to ensure safety, comfort, and suitability for the type of climbing you plan to do. Choosing the right climbing harness involves balancing comfort, safety, and the specific requirements of your preferred climbing style. It's always recommended to try on several models with the guidance of experienced climbers or store staff to find the perfect harness for your climbing adventures.
Here's our list of features that we considered in putting together our top climbing harnesses for beginners list:
Comfort and Fit
- Adjustable Leg Loops: Harnesses with adjustable leg loops can accommodate different clothing layers and ensure a snug fit for various body shapes or sizes.
- Waistbelt Padding: A well-padded waistbelt is crucial for comfort during long climbs or while hanging during belays.
- Proper Fit: It's essential that the harness fits snugly around your waist and thighs but is not too tight. Trying on different models to find the best fit for your body is important.
- Number and Size of Gear Loops: For gym and sport climbing, 2 to 4 gear loops are usually enough for carrying quickdraws and other essentials. Trad and multi-pitch climbers might need more gear loops for additional equipment.
- Ice Clipper Slots: For those interested in ice climbing, harnesses with ice clipper slots for attaching ice screws and tools are beneficial.
Durability and Weight
- Material and Construction: Durable materials and solid construction ensure longevity, especially for frequent climbers. Lighter harnesses might be preferred for gym climbing for comfort and ease of movement.
- Ventilation: More expensive harnesses often offer better ventilation and lighter padding, which can be more comfortable for extended wear.
- Haul Loop: A haul loop at the back of the harness is useful for attaching a chalk bag or hauling gear on longer routes.
- Certification: Ensure the harness meets safety standards set by climbing organizations.
- Type of Climbing: The style of climbing you're interested in will influence the type of harness you need. Beginners often start with gym or sport climbing, which requires fewer features.
- Budget: There are harnesses available at various price points. Beginners usually choose a more affordable model that meets their immediate needs.
- Real-World Feedback: Listening to what customers say about harnesses is important because it provides real-world feedback on the product's performance. Reviews can highlight issues or benefits that may not be immediately apparent from product descriptions alone. They offer a collective experience from a diverse group of users, making them an invaluable resource for making an informed decision.
- Personal Insights: Customer reviews can also provide personal insights into the comfort, durability, and overall satisfaction with the harness, helping you to choose a harness that meets your specific needs and expectations.
Our Top 3 Best Climbing Harnesses for Beginners & Intermediate Climbers
The Black Diamond Momentum harness is a top choice for beginners in climbing due to its versatility, comfort, adjustability, and ease of use. It's designed for all-around use, making it suitable for various climbing styles, which is ideal for beginners still exploring the sport. The harness features a bullhorn-shaped waistbelt built using Dual Core Construction™, providing a balance of support and comfort, especially during long climbs or while hanging during belays. The trakFIT™ adjustable leg loops allow for easy customization, accommodating climbers of different sizes and various layers of clothing. The pre-threaded Speed Adjust waistbelt buckle simplifies the process of putting on and securing the harness, a significant advantage for those new to climbing. The harness also comes with four pressure-molded gear loops, providing sufficient space for carrying quickdraws and other essentials needed for gym and sport climbing. Additionally, the Momentum harness is noted for its durability and affordability, offering a good balance between quality and cost, making it an attractive option for beginners who may not want to invest heavily in gear at the outset of their climbing journey.
Key Features of The Black Diamond Momentum Harness:
- All-Around Use: It is described as the most popular choice for all-around use, indicating its versatility for different climbing styles, which is ideal for beginners who are still exploring various aspects of climbing.
- Comfort: The harness features a bullhorn-shaped waistbelt built using Dual Core Construction™, which provides a balance of support and comfort. This construction includes two separate bands of webbing around the outside of the waistbelt, enhancing comfort during long climbs or while hanging during belays.
- Adjustability: With trakFIT™ adjustable leg loops, the harness allows for easy customization, making it suitable for climbers of different sizes and accommodating various layers of clothing. This adjustability is particularly useful for beginners who may need to fine-tune their harness fit as they gain experience.
- Ease of Use: The pre-threaded Speed Adjust waistbelt buckle simplifies the process of putting on and securing the harness, which can be a significant advantage for those new to climbing.
- Gear Loops: It comes with four pressure-molded gear loops, providing sufficient space for carrying quickdraws and other essentials needed for gym and sport climbing, which are common starting points for beginners.
- Durability and Value: The Momentum harness is noted for its durability and affordability, offering a good balance between quality and cost. This makes it an attractive option for beginners who may not want to invest heavily in gear at the outset of their climbing journey.
- Positive Reviews: Customer reviews and expert opinions often highlight the Momentum harness as a comfortable, well-built, and affordable option, suitable for both novices and experienced climbers, further reinforcing its suitability for beginners.
In summary, the Black Diamond Momentum harness is a well-rounded, comfortable, and user-friendly option for beginners, offering the features and adjustability needed to support a new climber's development in the sport.
The Petzl Corax harness is highly regarded as an ideal option for beginner climbers due to its adaptability to a variety of climbing styles, essential for those testing the waters of different climbing disciplines. Its dual buckle waist belt system offers exceptional adjustability, ensuring a snug and secure fit for climbers of all shapes and sizes. The harness is designed with comfort in mind, supporting extended wear which is common for beginners. It also features ample gear loops for convenient gear management, a critical skill for new climbers to develop. The Corax harness is not only durable but also priced accessibly, making it a wise choice for beginners not looking to make a large initial investment. Additionally, its user-friendly design, including features like a single DOUBLEBACK buckle and elasticized leg loops, simplifies the gearing up process, making it a user-friendly harness for those new to climbing.
The Petzl Corax harness is a standout choice for beginners in climbing for a variety of reasons:
- Adaptability for Various Climbing Styles: Its design caters to a range of climbing activities, from indoor gym sessions to outdoor mountaineering, making it a smart pick for novices who are sampling different facets of the sport.
- Exceptional Adjustability: The harness boasts a dual buckle waist belt system, allowing for fine-tuning to achieve a perfect fit. This is especially helpful for those new to climbing who are learning what feels right for their body type and climbing style.
- Comfort Level: The Corax harness is crafted to provide a comfortable experience, with a design that supports extended wear, which is a common scenario for beginners who spend considerable time practicing their skills.
- Ample Gear Storage: It features sizeable gear loops that are rigid for ease of use, an essential aspect for beginners who are still mastering the management of their climbing gear.
- Built to Last: Durability is a key factor in the Corax harness, with robust materials that withstand the rigors of climbing, paired with a price point that's accessible for those just starting out and not ready to invest heavily.
- User-Friendly Design: The harness includes features like a single DOUBLEBACK buckle and elasticized leg loops, which streamline the process of gearing up, a definite plus for those who are new to the sport.
Overall, the Petzl Corax harness is an excellent investment for beginners, offering a blend of versatility, adjustability, and comfort, all while being budget-friendly. Its user-oriented design makes it a suitable companion for a climber's initial forays into the vertical world.
The Mammut 4 Slide harness is a worthy addition to our list of best beginner climbing harnesses due to its user-friendly design, adjustability, comfort, and safety features. The harness is equipped with four Slide-Bloc buckles, allowing for quick and easy adjustments on the hips and legs, accommodating different body sizes and clothing layers. This feature is particularly beneficial for beginners who are still figuring out their preferred fit. The harness also offers good padding for high comfort, making it suitable for extended periods of use. It comes with four large pre-shaped gear loops for easy attachment of climbing gear. A unique safety feature of the Mammut 4 Slide harness is its wear indicator - a red indicator on the belay ring that shines through if the fabric is damaged, alerting the user to potential safety risks. The harness is also noted for its unisex design and availability in two sizes, catering to a wide range of climbers. Lastly, its durability and affordability make it an attractive option for beginners who are looking for quality gear without a significant initial investment.
Here's a breakdown of why it deserves to be included on our list of best beginner harnesses:
- Versatility for Beginners and Experts: The Mammut 4 Slide Harness is designed to cater to both beginners and expert climbers, making it a versatile choice for those starting their climbing journey. Its adaptability ensures that as climbers progress in skill, the harness will continue to meet their needs without requiring an immediate upgrade.
- User-Friendly Adjustability: Equipped with four Slide-Bloc buckles, the harness offers easy, fast, and precise adjustments for both the waist and leg loops. This feature is particularly beneficial for beginners who may need to adjust their harness as they become more familiar with their preferences and requirements. The ability to quickly adapt the harness to different body sizes or clothing layers adds to its appeal.
- Comfort: The harness is noted for its effective cushioning, which contributes to its overall comfort. This is crucial for beginners who may spend extended periods in their harness as they learn and practice. Comfort can significantly impact a climber's experience, especially during longer sessions or when resting in the harness between climbs.
- Safety Features: A unique safety feature of the Mammut 4 Slide Harness is the wear indicator on the belay loop. A red material woven into the tie-in loop becomes visible if the fabric is damaged, alerting the user to potential safety concerns. This feature is particularly important for beginners who may not yet be as adept at inspecting their gear for wear and tear.
- Gear Loops and Haul Loop: The harness includes four large pre-shaped gear loops for easy attachment of climbing gear, which is sufficient for gym and sport climbing that beginners are likely to engage in. Additionally, the presence of a haul loop adds versatility for carrying extra gear or a chalk bag.
The Mammut 4 Slide Harness design accommodates a wide range of body sizes and climbing styles, making it a suitable choice for those new to the sport.
The Difference Between a Beginner's Climbing Harness and an Advanced Climber Harness
The difference between a beginner climbing harness and an advanced climber harness lies primarily in the features and design that cater to the level of experience and the type of climbing being undertaken.
Beginner climbing harnesses often prioritize simplicity, comfort, and versatility. They typically have a comfortable amount of padding, adjustable leg loops, and a sufficient number of gear loops for carrying basic climbing gear. These harnesses are designed to be user-friendly, with features that are easy to understand and adjust, making them ideal for those who are new to climbing and still learning how to manage their equipment.
Advanced climbing harnesses, on the other hand, may have more specialized features tailored to the specific demands of different climbing disciplines such as trad, ice, or big wall climbing. These harnesses might include more gear loops to carry the extensive gear required for trad climbing, adjustable or removable leg loops for versatility, ice clipper slots for ice climbing, and reinforced tie-in points for durability. They may also be designed to be lighter in weight for performance climbing or have extra padding and larger surface areas to distribute force more comfortably during long climbs or hanging belays.
In summary, beginner harnesses are generally more about comfort and ease of use, while advanced harnesses offer specialized features for the specific needs of experienced climbers engaging in more technical and varied climbing activities.