Rock climbing is an engaging sports activity. Not only does it give you an opportunity to bond with nature but also to get physically fit and compete with others as you navigate up, down, and across different types of rock formations. But throughout this process, you need rock climbing gear that will give you better accessibility and enhance your safety by minimizing the risk of injuries. This climbing equipment is known as the harness.
Top 8 Best Rock Climbing Harness for Beginners
As a beginner, rock climbing can be a challenging task. That’s why it’s important that you choose beginner-friendly harnesses. To ensure that you choose effective equipment that offers value for money, here is a review of the best rock climbing harness for beginners.
Petzl’s Corax ranks as one of the best rock climbing harness for beginners. It’s flexible, durable, and adjustable. Any beginner would definitely prioritize comfort because harnesses can really be uncomfortable even when they are adjusted. Well, Petzl Corax scores higher in this category.
The product is designed with a waistbelt that features two double-back buckles. So, you can conveniently adjust and center this harness. The best thing about the Double-Back buckles is that they allow you to carry out adjustments while ensuring that you maintain the right configuration.
Combining the flexibility of the double-back with the padded waistband makes this harness a great pick for a newbie who wants a comfortable experience. I find these features highly beneficial for larger rock climbers.
Besides that, Petzl Corax also has adjustable leg loops. You will love them since they make it easy to adjust the harness to suit different types of clothing and body types.
Generally, I find its design quite interesting. It allows user weight to be perfectly distributed between the leg loops and the waistbelt. This way, you don’t have to feel uncomfortable due to unequal weight distribution since the pressure points are also seamlessly lined with the harness’s soft fabric.
Flexibility and reliability are two features that you can’t ignore. This is one of the best user-friendly harnesses that allow you to quickly get through rock climbing phases without trouble. First, there are two front equipment loops as well as two flexible and high-capacity equipment loops located at the back. They allow you to carry the necessities without interfering with the functionality of your backpack.
This harness comes in two sizes and therefore you can easily pick one that suits your needs. Generally, you will love it since it also comes with a rear center accessory loop that’s compatible with Caritool’s Evo.
Aquila has been built to perform and as a beginner, you will enjoy every aspect of using it. Its rock-climbing features make it comfortable and easy to use while navigating through different rocky terrains. It should be also noted that Petzl has used the latest technology to design Aquila, making it possible to accommodate larger individuals.
While its lightweight feature makes it ideal for those newbies who are still figuring out rock climbing, it’s still durable. Its FuseFrame technology is effective in significantly reducing the pressure points and ensuring that your weight is well distributed. For extra comfort, it has a wider waist belt in addition to thicker leg loops that add all-around user comfort.
Regardless of your size, these leg loops are highly adjustable. However, you need to be extra careful especially when you are navigating a rough and higher terrain since the buckles sometimes loosen on their own. But you don’t have to worry about your safety since four gear loops.
The rear two loops help to add an extra level of comfort while the two front loops provide quick access, enhanced and firm support.
Petzl Aquila is definitely an improvement from its predecessors. It’s comfortable and easy to use. Besides that, it’s highly versatile making it ideal for use in different setups. While the leg loop buckles may sometimes end up loosening on their own, this mainly happens to promote comfort. It’s not a safety issue.
3.Wild Country Mission
What makes Mission’s Wild Country outstanding is that its loads of space. It’s comfortable to use and any beginner will enjoy it. It’s designed to feel comfortable around the waist area as well as the leg bands. Even with all these great features, this harness is still affordable.
If you are keen on trying different compatibility features, you can never go wrong with this rock climbing gear that consists of 5 different gear loops. This includes the haul loop that’s ideal for pulling another rope. There are also accessory ropes that are versatile and this means that they can “grow” with you as you continue to grow as a rock climber.
Wild Country Mission harness is made with 12 mm and 16mm lightweight webbing. Overall, I find this feature in addition to the well-designed leg loops and padded waist great in ensuring that the wearer is comfortable. But if you have a smaller leg size, you might find the medium-sized loops slightly bigger but loops don’t need to be extremely tight.
The buckles add to the climbing gear’s versatility. It’s impossible for the leg and waist straps to fold due to pressure and this makes them ideal for use in a hanging position. The climbing gear’s loops are well-placed as well. You don’t need to reach very far in order to get the back draws.
Regardless of the environment that you are in, the Dura weave fabric used to make Wild Country is highly breathable. So, if you are on your rock climbing adventures even in Joshua tree’s desert, you will enjoy the cooling effect. This is a finer, accommodating, and easy-to-use harness that ranks amongst the best rock climbing harness for beginners.
Petzl is a beloved sports brand and that’s why it has some of the best rock climbing harness for beginners. They have gone ahead and created a masterpiece with their Sama harness. It’s an attractive gear that has a denim-like style pattern in addition to a grey color. So, if you are trying to get adventurous and start rock climbing, then this beautiful harness may just encourage you to go ahead with your new mission.
Wearing it feels comfortable and secure. It almost feels like you just have a safety cushion around you with a flexible waistband and firm leg loops with an elastic design.
With its EndoFrame design, your weight will be well-distributed across all angles, thereby minimizing your chances of experiencing pressure points.
This climbing gear comes with 2-rigid front loops that provide quick and easy draw clipping as well as unclipping. In addition to that, there are 2 flexible rear-equipment loops that allow you to quickly bring up the gear to the front area.
If you buy Sama sports, you are guaranteed long-lasting durability. This is one of the few harnesses that can effectively serve you as a beginner in your climbing journey until you become an experienced climber. It’s made with tough materials including polyester, nylon, aluminum, and polyurethane.
5.Mammut Ophir 4 Slide
Mammut one of the most versatile harness brands and its Ophir 4 Slide is one of the best for rock climbing. It performs very well in different weather conditions, whether it’s a steaming hot summer or a deep-freezing winter.
For effectiveness, Ophir 4 Slide incorporates the latest Split-Webbing technology which helps to effectively distribute the wearer’s weight. This helps to reduce the pressure points and increase the rate of overall ventilation. The technology also helps to eliminate any need for extra padding that may interfere with your overall movements.
Ophir 3 Slide is lightweight and comfortable. It’s an all-around performer that helps you to scale different rock peaks and navigate through different routes. The leg and waist loops are designed with slide-bloc buckles. This helps to allow for easier adjustments while ensuring that you maintain the right double-back configuration.
This harness also implements a high level of security. For instance, it has a patented reinforcement located at the tie-in point that helps to significantly reduce the chances of abrasion. In case there is an abrasion that can result in critical damage, then the harness’s webbing-belay loop will indicate red.
Overall, this harness is durable and totally adjustable. Its high level of security, sturdy gear loops, and versatility are some of the design features that make it ideal for use by beginners.
6.Misty Mountain Intrepid Harness
Just like its name suggests, Misty Mountain can safely take you over through different terrains. It’s lightweight and highly flexible. These features blend to form a harness that’s easy to use by beginners interested in rock climbing.
The Intrepid harness has everything that you need. For instance, its adjustable buckles are quick and easier to use. This makes the process of sizing the leg loops straightforward. On the other hand, there is a high level of comfort that’s facilitated by the padded waist area. You will find the contoured waist belt in addition to the tapered leg loops comfortable for your single-pitch rock climbing adventures.
Intrepid harness also guarantees long-lasting service. Well, it’s made with a durable nylon shell alongside one-inch aluminum adjust buckles. While these materials are lightweight, they are tough and can withstand rock abrasions.
This is a top-rated harness that’s great for beginners. It features design elements that enhance user comfort and flexibility. The all-around harness caters to the different needs of climbers, whether you are a serious mountaineer or a budding traditional climber. It just has elements with a bit of everything that a climber would basically need.
Its design is majorly focused on comfort and adjustability. So, if you are going to use then you can easily alter the leg loops and adjust the waist area. This makes it possible for the harness to easily accommodate different types of layering systems. For maximum user comfort, the harness is designed with a 3D padding mesh that overlaps the upper side of the waist belt.
In case you choose Edelrid Jay, you are guaranteed value for money. Well, this is because it’s made with bluesign-certified materials that are safe and durable. The strong gear loops in addition to the textile abrasion protector combine to offer long-lasting service life. Furthermore, the slide block buckles also offer wearers a comfortable fit with an enhanced level of security.
Edelrid Jayne seems to be the female version of Edelrid Jay. It’s designed with almost similar features to Jay, but there are distinct alterations in its sizing as well as structural design that make it ideal for beginners.
If you love bright colors, then this adjustable harness is something that you should consider. The climbing gear is bright with highly noticeable colors. The eye-catching combination of greens and blues makes the harness easily stand out in different settings.
Buts its fit, as well as comfort, are some of the features that make it ideal for use by inexpression rock-climbing enthusiasts. You will particularly love the movable padding plus the gear loops at the harness’s hips that allow you to remain centered at all angles.
Your level of comfort is also enhanced by the 3D mesh paddings that usually overlap the harness’s upper edge of its ergonomic waistbelt.
The security of this harness is promoted by the four powerful gear loops with two attachment points. Besides that, this item is made with polyester and Dyneema, a textile combination that helps to enhance the service life of the harness by minimizing the chances of abrasion.
Basic Components of a Harnesses
From the review above, you have come across terms or phrases such as leg loops, waist belts, and buckle, etc. Well, these are some of the basic components that all climbing harnesses have.
- Waist belt: This is the thick webbing or slab that wraps around the waist area. The waist belt of a harness is usually padded to provide extra comfort.
- Leg loops: there are two padded loops with webbings designed to encase the upper section of your things. They usually have an adjustable diameter and you can loosen or tighten the webbings that normally run through the harness’s buckles. Leg loops have to work in conjunction with the waist belt in order to uniformly distribute your pelvis’s weight and the weight between your legs.
- Belay loop: it’s a strong and rigid webbing loop that’s designed to attach to the harness’s leg loops up to the waist belt area. A belay loop is an important component of the climbing harness since you need to attach the locking carabiner to the belay loop when you are rappelling or belaying. This loop helps to add to the safety of the harness and can effectively withstand different intensities of energetic forces during the rock climbing process.
- Tie-in Loop: it’s another strong loop that is designed with a rigid webbing and connected to the front of the waist belt. The tie-in loop helps to enhance the security of the harness as it helps to promote the effectiveness of the buckle in handling your weight. This loop is also effective in distributing your weight.
- Buckle: generally, a harness usually has one or two buckles. A buckle is normally attached to the front area of the waist belt. If the harness has one buckle, then it has to be effectively threaded to match the length of the webbing on the harness’s waist belt. Besides that, it has to be doubled-back to itself to create a secure knot. This helps to ensure that the buckle doesn’t get easily undone while in use, especially if you are heavy.
- Gear loop: it’s a soft loop that’s usually attached to the harness’s waist belt. A gear loop is designed to keep track of your climbing gear. This normally includes aspects such as cams, nuts, and quickdraws. This helps to facilitate the easier carrying of your equipment while you make climbs. Generally, harnesses usually come with 2 or 4 gear loops.
- Elastic straps: they are also known as the rise straps since they help to raise the existing distance between the waistbelt and the leg loops. Rise straps are usually connected with thin elastic or webbing straps that can be sometimes be removed from the waistbelt, creating a drop-seat type of harness.
What to Look For When Choosing Your First Rock Climbing Harness
From the wide range of harness brands available on the market, you might probably want to consider cheap equipment. But cheap isn’t always the best. You need a harness that offers value for money. You might also be attracted but elements such as color. While color is important for your taste preferences, it still isn’t the most ideal way of ensuring that you choose high-quality equipment.
For beginners who are interested in rock climbing, how can you choose the best product? Well, there are several decent harness elements that you should consider and they include:
The best harness should be able to perfectly fit your body size. Remember that during your adventures, the harness will be dealing with a lot of forces to ensure that you remain secure. So, the correct harness is the one that effectively suits your body and you should feel comfortable while wearing it.
Understand that we all have different body shapes. This is in relation to the fat deposits, the bone structure, as well as the waist-to-thigh ratio. All these individual features affect how you should choose a harness. That’s why the same harness may not be suitable for people with the same bodyweight since they have different fat-to-bone ratios and height differences. So, before you make purchases, you should try to fit in the climbing harness.
The Waist Loop
The waist loop includes the buckles and how tight they are. If you are going to use the harness, the waist belt needs to firmly but comfortably fit just over the top part of your hips. This position is important because it will ensure that you are securely held by the harness. So, you won’t be in a position to slip out of it and face upside down.
The buckle of the harness should be flexible but also capable of getting pulled on tightly enough for a secure fit. Besides that, it should allow you to comfortably breathe and you should be able to push it down, depending on your needs.
Generally, the perfect waist loop should provide room for flexibility. The buckle should be able to be tightened or loosened by a few inches if necessary. However, it shouldn’t be too spacious to fit the buckle since this would mean that the harness is too big for you.
Note: depending on the brand or model, a harness can have one or two buckles. But you can always tie the waist buckles so that they sit on the left or right side, depending on your personal preferences.
The Flexibility of the Leg Loops
How stretchy or adjustable are the harness’s leg loops? You need to understand that there are two main design features of leg loops- they are either fixed or adjustable.
Fixed leg loops are only available in one size. However, they also come with small elastic bands in place of the buckles in order to provide a snug fit. However, you need to be sure of your thigh’s size in order to buy such harnesses.
On the other hand, adjustable leg loops have a stretchy design that gives room for adjustment. But you will find that most of these harnesses are normally made with metal buckles for easier adjustment. So, they are usually heavier than their fixed counterparts.
But what’s the best alternative between the two? There isn’t an outright answer for this since these two types of leg loops have debatable features. So, what you choose depends on what you prefer.
In case you are going to change your clothes during your adventurous climbing sessions, then you should consider a harness with adjustable leg loops. However, be prepared to handle slightly more weight. On the other hand, if you are going to finish your climb wearing the same type of clothes, then fixed leg loops would be the most ideal.
If we were to make the choice for you, then we would recommend the adjustable leg loops. This is because you are going to use the harness several times. During this period, your weight can slightly fluctuate leading to a change in the size of your legs or thighs. Besides that, you will definitely change your attire from time to time. Adjustable loops give you the convenience that you need
As a beginner, there are lots of things that you need to constantly try until you find what works for you. A good harness should come with some form of gear compatibility. This is in relation to what it allows you to carry. During the first phases, it may not be possible to go out with all the essential gears attached to the necessary loops. However, it’s just great to have that option because this will allow you to have more technical or longer climbs.
Of course, you need climbing equipment that offers value for money. Like we stated above, cheap isn’t always good. On the other hand, expensive doesn’t always mean high-quality. To determine the value, consider the harness’s features against its price and using that information, determine if it’s a worthy investment.
What is the Safest Rock Climbing Harness to Choose?
All the above-reviewed harnesses are safe. They have been designed following the stipulated safety protocol and all have been rated to be safe for use by the UIAA.
We can confidently say that all brands have the same measure of safety and so no one product model is considered to be inherently safer than the other.
Just understand that the materials used as well as structural design are the features that make them different since they are made by different brands. That’s why they deal with wear and tear differently. There are some brands that effectively deal with wear and tear by using durable and highly resistant material.
Meanwhile, there are some brands that design their harnesses with wear indicators. So, in case the harness is worn out, then the wear indicator will showcase a red thread underneath the main material. This means that it’s now time you consider replacing your harness.
For your own safety, always remember to use the belay loop when you want to use the harness for belaying. When you want to tie in the harness, then use the tie-in points. For safety reasons, always buy your harness from reputable brands only.
The Bottom Line
There are various components that make a good harness. from the leg loops to the waist belt, all these features make it possible to climb rocks and do other activities that involve the use of ropes accessibility and safety purposes.
If you are an adventure junkie, Petzl and Edelrid are some of the brands that have the best rock climbing harness products that are beginner-friendly. They come in different sizes, design features, and price tags. For effectiveness, do your own research and pick a product that fits your needs and budget.