Best Climbing Harnesses: The Top Options of 2017
|Climbing Harness||Retail Price|
|Top Pick: Black Diamond Ozone||$$|
|Best Value & Best for Beginners: Mammut Ophir 3 Slide||$|
|Most Comfortable: Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe||$$$|
|Best for Trad Climbing: Black Diamond Chaos||$$$|
|Best for Ice Climbing: Black Diamond Aspect||$$|
|Best for Kids: Black Diamond Wiz Kid||$|
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of harnesses available for purchase, so we’ve made it easy for you to choose the right one for your needs by listing here only the best climbing harnesses available today. All of these harnesses are suitable for many types of climbing, but we have indicated where each excels in order to help you make your pick.
Table of Contents
- Top Pick: Black Diamond Ozone
- Best Value & Best for Beginners: Mammut Ophir 3 Slide
- Most Comfortable: Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe
- Best for Trad Climbing: Black Diamond Chaos
- Best for Ice Climbing: Black Diamond Aspect
- Best for Kids: Black Diamond Wiz Kid
- How to Choose the Best Climbing Harness for You
Top Pick: Black Diamond Ozone
The Ozone is Black Diamond’s premier sport harness and our pick for the overall best climbing harness. We chose this harness because it is arguably the highest-performing sport and gym harness and can also work for trad routes where you aren’t carrying much gear.
Coming in at only 10.5 oz (300 g), the Ozone is one of the lighter climbing harnesses available today. It is breathable, comfortable, and easily stowed into whatever climbing pack you’re carrying. The Ozone also comes with a Speed Adjust waistbelt that can be easily adjusted.
The lightness and comfort of this harness make it ideal for sport climbing and gym climbing. Indeed, it is the best sport climbing harness on this list. Its four gear loops can easily carry plenty of quickdraws and even a set of cams and nuts should you need them. You can comfortably hang in this harness and won’t even feel the need to take it off while belaying.
The downside to the Ozone? There isn’t a rear haul loop or any ice clipper slots so it isn’t the best for intensive trad or ice climbing. Look at the Black Diamond Chaos if you need a harness for trad climbing or at the Black Diamond Aspect if you need one for ice climbing.
Best Value & Best for Beginners: Mammut Ophir 3 Slide
Searching for a good climbing harness at a good price? Or maybe your first climbing harness? If either of these is you then we recommend the Ophir 3 Slide.
This harness packs an incredible bang for your buck and has earned our title as the best value climbing harness. Yet, despite the low price, the Ophir 3 Slide is still a quality harness. Wearing it doesn’t restrict mobility and it is breathable enough to reduce harness sweat marks. It is decently comfortable and adjusts easily to fit a variety of waist sizes.
The Ophir 3 Slide is also the best beginner climbing harness on the market today because it is well-rounded and suited for many different types of climbing. Its quality build makes it a solid option for sport and gym climbing and the four gear loops and rear haul loop make it good for trad and multi-pitch climbing. It doesn’t have any ice clipper slots, though, so it isn’t ideal for ice climbing (the best ice climbing harness would be the Black Diamond Aspect).
A beginner can easily pick up this harness for a good deal, get belay certified, and start belaying and climbing at their local gym or crag. It is simple to use and comes with all the features a beginner sport climber needs. It can be easy to overthink things when you’re looking for your first climbing harness, so make it easy for yourself and pick up one of these before you go down the rabbit hole of climbing gear.
This is actually my personal harness and I cannot recommend it highly enough to beginner climbers or those looking for a good deal on their next climbing harness. It isn’t the most comfortable harness to hang in, but it gets the job done and doesn’t break the bank. (Also, from personal experience, it is in the price range where your close friends or family members will feel comfortable giving it to you as a gift.)
Most Comfortable: Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe
Let’s face it, climbing harnesses can be uncomfortable. Hangdogging in some harnesses for more than a couple minutes can start to be a literal pain, and falling in them can be an unpleasant experience as well.
Understandably, lots of climbers have comfort as their number one criterion when picking a harness, so, for you, we’ve included our pick of the most comfortable climbing harness, the Safe Tech Deluxe.
The Safe Tech Deluxe is built for two things, comfort and safety, and comes loaded with features to achieve each. For comfort, the harness has thick foam in the waist belt and leg loops and is lined with fleece. Also, the waist belt is purposely made extra wide to give you increased support in your low back. Finally, it adjusts easily in a variety of ways so you can customize the fit to your body.
As for safety, the Safe Tech Deluxe is made to be very durable. It comes with a reinforced tie-in point and two belay loops to make rappelling and multi-pitch belays more efficient. Metolius even went so far as to manufacture every part of the harness possible to withstand a load of 2250 lbf.
All of the comfort and sturdiness of the Safe Tech Deluxe makes it great for anyone looking for a comfortable climbing harness that will last them a long time. As for specific types of climbing, it works especially well for trad climbing and multi-pitch climbing (and even highlining). It is also a solid sport harness, though, at 20 oz (567 g), it isn’t the lightest out there.
Best for Trad Climbing: Black Diamond Chaos
Trad climbing harnesses need to be able to carry the large amounts of gear this style of climbing necessitates. We’ve selected the Black Diamond Chaos as the best trad climbing harness because it racks a lots of gear while also being durable and comfortable enough for extended wear.
Specifically, the Chaos comes with four sturdy gear loops and a rear haul loop. It doesn’t have any ice clipper slots, though. Lastly, it is decently lightweight (12.5 oz or 360 g) which you’ll appreciate when you’re carrying pounds and pounds of nuts and cams.
The Chaos, like most harnesses on this list, isn’t just a one trick pony, though. It works for more than trad climbing. Its high level of comfort makes it good for long, multi-pitch routes and gym climbing, or any situation where you’ll be wearing or hanging in your harness for a while.
Best for Ice Climbing: Black Diamond Aspect
Black Diamond touts the Aspect as a “4-season” harness, and it truly can be. Yet, most climbing harnesses (including most on this list) can be used for a variety of climbing styles.
So, you might be wondering, what makes the Aspect different? Well, while most harnesses on this list can be used for most types of rock climbing, they largely aren’t suited for ice climbing. The Aspect, on the other hand, is.
The Aspect has a few features that make it well-suited to icy terrain. It comes with four ice clipper slots, four gear loops, and a rear haul loop. At 14.5 oz (410 g), it is decently lightweight. What’s more, it comes with a “Speed Adjust” waistbelt and leg loops that you can adjust while wearing climbing gloves.
And, going back to Black Diamond’s original claim, ice climbing is not the only time you need use this harness. It is also good for sport, trad, and gym climbing. The only type of climbing we’d advise against using it for is multi-pitch since the Aspect isn’t the most comfortable climbing harness (that would be the Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe).
Best for Kids: Black Diamond Wiz Kid
You wouldn’t be able to tell that the Wiz Kid is a kids’ climbing harness just by looking at it, and that is exactly what Black Diamond intended. The Wiz Kid is a full-feature kid’s harness, which means it has all the features of an adult harness but simply in a smaller size suitable for children ranging from 35-110 lbs (16-50 kg).
The adult-style of the Wiz Kid is good for kids who want a comfortable gym climbing harness that they can also use when they sport climb outside. Also, many kids have remarked that they prefer the comfort of this climbing harness to a full-body harness.
When it comes to climbing harnesses for kids there aren’t many options to choose from, but the Wiz Kid stands out as the best kids’ climbing harness because of the comfort and features it offers. It comes with two gear loops for hanging quickdraws or carabiners and weighs a mere 8.5 oz (240 g).
How to Choose the Best Climbing Harness for You
Climbing harnesses are most often made to accommodate certain types of climbing (e.g. sport, trad, ice). Each type of climbing requires different amounts and types of gear, and you should therefore pick a harness that has the ability to carry the gear you’ll need for whatever styles of climbing you’ll be doing.
Climbing harnesses for sport climbing are pretty straightforward and only really need two to four standard gear loops. Harnesses for trad climbing need to have lots of gear loops and possibly a rear haul loop. Harnesses for ice climbing should have ice clipper slots. Think about the types of climbing you’ll be doing and then pick the harness that can accommodate the gear you will be carrying.
Comfort & Fit
Whenever you go to the gym or crag you can spend hours in your climbing harness. During that time you will likely belay, hangdog, and maybe even take a fall. Though it’s not absolutely necessary that your climbing harness be comfortable, you’ll be so much happier if it is. Beginners should especially prioritize comfort since they’ll likely be spending some time hanging on their climbing rope as they rest or contemplate their next move.
Fit goes hand-in-hand with comfort, so be sure to determine if you should get a men’s or women’s harness and, then, if the harness will fit you well. Look for one that has the right measurements for your body. If you are uncertain if one will fit your legs, opt for a harness with adjustable leg loops.
Photo Credit: Dave Kennedy, Maria Ly, Black Diamond, Mammut, Metolius