Rock Climbing Gear Guide: Best Harnesses for Men and Women

Climbing on ropes, you’re bound to spend a lot of time in your harness. So, it’s important to get it right and find an option well-suited for your needs. Use this guide to better understand the various types of climbing harnesses and to assist you in your buying process. Recommendations are unbiased, based on personal experience and community reputation. Further, buying links are affiliate links—purchases made from them support our daily content.

Last update: September 7, 2017. Get our climbing newsletter for a weekly dose of awesome content and check out our deals page for today’s best sales.

About rock climbing harnesses

All roped climbing and rappelling requires a harness, which includes gear loops, a belay loop, leg loops, and hard points for tying into. Depending on whether you’re an all-around climber, or focused specifically on the disciplines of sport or trad climbing, a different harness will suit your needs best.

Lightweight harnesses often have less cushion and are better suited for 1 or 2-pitch sport climbs, whereas heavier harnesses generally have more padding that makes them the ideal choice for all-day epics where you may be on the wall for hours on end. Below we’ve listed our top picks for all-around, lightweight/performance, and comfort harnesses.

Top men’s climbing harnesses (scroll down for women’s)

Best all-around: Black Diamond Momentum Speed Adjust (MSRP: $54.95)

Choosing a harness can be hard, especially if you’re a beginner or all-around climber. If that sounds like you, the Momentum Harness by Black Diamond won’t disappoint. This comfortable and versatile harness provides you with four gear loops for ample space to carry your draws or cams, a haul loop, as well as a comfortable waist belt that’ll keep you feeling limber even after a whole day on the rocks.

The trakFit adjustable leg loops make tightening and loosening your harness easy. And for an added bonus in safety, the Momentum’s Speed Adjust waist belt buckle helps to provide quicker adjustments and offers added safety over waist belts that are not pre-threaded.

Bottom line: get the Momentum if you want an excellent all-around harness at an affordable price.

Best lightweight and performance: Petzl Hirundos (MSRP: $99.95)

If you’re on the hunt for a performance harness that’ll keep you protected without weighing you down, then we highly recommend the Petzl Hirundos. With its skinny Fuseframe Technology design, this slim, lightweight harness serves sport and alpine climbers best. Its thermo-formed foam optimizes weight distribution to avoid formation of pressure points, and its DoubleBack HD buckle system makes it easy and quick to adjust.

The Hirundos also features ultra flexible leg loops, four equipment loops, and two tool holder slots to give you plenty of space to hang your ‘draws and gear. Delivering an extensive range of motion, ultralight design, quick-drying material, and ease in waistbelt adjustment, the Hirundos serves as the ideal performance harness.

Bottom line: get the Hirundos if you’re looking sport climbing harness for your hardest send.

Best trad and all-day comfort: Black Diamond Big Gun (MSRP: $119.95)

Made specifically for long, multi-pitch days and big walls, Black Diamond’s Big Gun will deliver much-appreciated comfort when you’re most in need. Featuring seven color-coded gear loops, this harness will help you stay organized even when carrying your heaviest load.

One review expresses:

Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting in a Lazy Boy and forget that I’m at a hanging belay.

Two color-coded belay loops and a full-strength haul loop further round out the full set of features offered by the Big Gun.

Bottom line: get the Big Gun if you’re trad and/or aid climbing and expect long days out on the rocks.

Top women’s climbing harnesses

Best all-around: Black Diamond Primrose Speed Adjust (MSRP: $54.95)

The sister harness to Black Diamond’s Momentum, the Primrose is ideal for newer and all-around climbers. You’ll find all the same awesome features as the Momentum, but with a fit tailored to woman. Features include:

  • Four gear loops for draws or cams
  • Tailored women’s fit
  • Full-strength haul loop
  • Speed Adjust wast belt, which is pre-threaded for safety and makes adjustments a breeze
  • TrakFit adjustable leg loops
  • A very affordable price

Bottom line: get the Primrose if you’re new to the sport or simply want an all-around harness without breaking the bank.

Best lightweight and performance: Petzl Selena (MSRP: $64.95)

Above all, Petzl knows how to make top-performing products specifically for sport climbers. The Selena, a sport harness designed for women, fulfills the company’s reputation: it combines a light weight and streamlined profile to deliver a simple harness for your hardest sends.

Constructed with Endoframe Technology, weight is evenly distributed throughout the harness to avoid pressure points. Elastic leg loops offer freedom of movement without the bulk of additional buckles, and the Selena’s DoubleBack waist loop offers quick speedy adjustments.

Bottom line: get the Selana if you’re seeking a top-performing sport climbing harness.

Best trad and all-day comfort: Misty Mountain Cadillac Women’s (MSRP: $134.95)

When you plan to spend a full day (or more) in your harness, comfort and durability serve as the most sought after features. That’s why Misty Mountain’s Cadillac harness stands as our choice for trad climbing and all-day comfort. This harness provides a lush layer of padding and abrasion resistant material that make it superb for all of the body jamming and hanging belays you might encounter in your days.

Featuring six symmetrical gear loops and a bi-layer waist belt, you’ll be able to stay organized and comfortable, regardless of your rack’s weight. A nylon haul loop and ice clipper loops round out the features to ensure you’re prepared for any climbing endeavor.

Bottom line: get Misty Mountain’s Cadillac harness for trad climbing and all-day adventures.

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