The 10 Best Climbing Harnesses of 2021

Find the right harness for the gym, the crag, the big wall, and the ice.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Petzl Sitta Harness at Amazon

"Built for both trad climbing and mountaineering, the Sitta is a well-rounded pick."

Best Value: C.A.M.P. USA Energy CR 3 Harness at Backcountry

"The Energy CR 3 delivers a lot of features without doing serious damage to your wallet."

Best for Women: Mammut Togir 3 Slide at Amazon

"Designed for women, this harness provides optimal comfort and instinctive movement."

Best for Men: Arc’Teryx C-Quence at Arc'teryx

"Warp Strength Technology targets a man’s physique to improve hanging comfort."

Best for Kids: Black Diamond Momentum Harness (Full Body) at REI

"Satisfy both the aspiring rock rat and the anxious parent with this simple harness."

Best for Beginners: Edelrid Jay at Amazon

"The Edelrid Jay harness can keep you company as your first forays on a climbing wall lead you to new and varied adventures."

Best Alpine: Black Diamond Vision at Backcountry

"Weighing only 7.9 ounces, the Vision impresses even the stingiest of alpine climbers."

Best for Winter: Petzl Calidris at Eastern Mountain Sports

"Wider-than-average waist belt and leg loops accommodate bulky winter layers."

Best Integrated: Mammut Realization Shorts 2.0 at Amazon

"The harness for quick jaunts and fast ascents at the local crag or climbing gym."

Best for Sport Climbing: Black Diamond Solution at Backcountry

"A contoured fit marries nicely with your body and provides unencumbered movement."

While all climbing harnesses on the market adhere to strict safety requirements to properly support the climber, not all harnesses are created equal. Some are more streamlined, with fixed-length leg loops and a few gear straps to cut down on weight, ideal for sport and gym outings. Others add adjustable buckles at the legs to accommodate additional layers of clothing and more equipment-carrying options, making them ideal for mountaineering, big wall climbs, and ice climbing. Several harnesses are even engineered to match the physique of men or women. These are the best climbing harnesses for all aspiring rock rats.

Best Overall: Petzl Sitta Harness

Petzl Sitta Harness

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Durable

  • Great gear storage

  • Comes in various sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have adjustable leg buckles

Built to handle the demands of both trad climbing and mountaineering, the Sitta Harness from Petzl is compact, light, and surprisingly comfortable even though it doesn’t have adjustable leg buckles. Built off the brand’s Wireframe construction, the thin-yet-durable waistbelt provides total unencumbered movement. Four equipment loops—two large front loops and two flexible rear loops—help organize your gear for wall or ice climbing.

The harness also features two slots for Petzl's Caritool tool holder and a rear loop trail line to carry belay-station gear. The Sitta's also at home at your local climbing gym, with tie-in points crafted from high-modulus polyethylene that delivers improved resistance to rope friction. Twin elastic straps attach the leg loops to the waist belt with Doubleback Hd buckles anchored to the waist belt. The Sitta comes in three sizes and includes a three-year guarantee.

Best Value: C.A.M.P. USA Energy CR-3 Harness

C.A.M.P. USA Energy CR-3 Harness

Courtesy of REI

What We Like
  • Comes in various sizes

  • Suitable for all types of climbing

  • Has auto-locking buckles

What We Don't Like
  • Not as lightweight as other options

Available in five unisex sizes that range from extra-small to extra-large, the Energy CR 3 from CAMP USA delivers a lot of climbing-centric features without doing serious damage to your wallet. Suitable for all types of climbing, the harness includes thermo-formed padding at the ergonomic waist and legs to embrace the wearer with comfort and assurance, reinforced by auto-locking buckles at both the waist and leg straps.

Four webbing-reinforced gear loops support carrying everything you’d need for a day on the rock or ice, with a haul loop to carry additional rope and other gear. The weight-conscious may desire a lighter setup. At 13.2 ounces (size medium) it’s not exactly heavy, but mountaineering folks and alpinists may yearn for a more streamlined design. But those who are willing to handle a bit more heft for the sake of comfort will be well served by the Energy CR 3.

Best for Women: Mammut Togir 3 Slide

Mammut Togir 3 Slide

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Has adjustable leg loops

  • Avoids rope abrasion

  • Great gear storage

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in one color

The Mammut Togir 3 Side harness was designed with contours and fit at the waist to fit a woman’s physique. Beyond that, it provides the typical features of a Mammut harness like proprietary Split Webbing and lamination technologies to provide optimal comfort and instinctive, unencumbered movement for long adventures on rock faces and in mixed terrain.

Adjustable leg loops let you quickly adapt the fit to match your activity, with Slide Bloc buckles at the leg and waist straps for quick, safe adjustment. Synthetic material on the tie-in loops has been engineered to avoid rope abrasion, and a strong haul loop can handle your most gear-laden vertical expeditions. Four stable gear loops round out the features of the Togir 3 Slide, and four more ice-screw carabiners can also be added when ascending a frozen waterfall is your next challenge. All that said, it may be overkill if you’re focused solely on indoor wall climbing.

The only thing we take umbrage with on this harness? It comes in just one color—pink.

Best for Men: Arc’Teryx C-Quence

Arc'teryx C-Quence Harness - Men's

Courtesy of Arc'teryx

What We Like
  • Great gear storage

  • Lightweight

  • Can use bathroom without removing the harness

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have leg buckles

Warp Strength Technology—a new contoured, tapered swami and leg-loop geometry born from decades of testing—has been used on the C-Quence harness to target a man’s physique. That greatly improves hanging comfort with even weight dispersal and no pressure points.

Designed to encourage efficient movement and protection in serious alpine environments, this harness has four polyurethane gear loops to haul loads of equipment and a 7075 t6 aluminum anodized buckle at the waist. Yet even with all these features, it weighs in at a relatively light 13.1 ounces. No, the C-Quence doesn’t include leg strap buckles. But the refined fit makes them superfluous and would only add weight. Bonus: A stainless steel quick hook on the rear leg elastic lets you hit the bathroom without having to take off your harness.

Best for Kids: Black Diamond Momentum Harness (Full Body)

Black Diamond Momentum Full Body Harness - Kids'

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Full body support

  • Great padding

  • Adjustable fit

What We Don't Like
  • No loops for gear storage

Suitable both for the ambitious rock rat just getting into climbing and the weary parent who knows they’ll be feeling anxiety along with admiration when watching the little ones climb is the Momentum Harness from Black Diamond. The harness offers full-body support, with high tie-in points near the chest to keep the kids upright when hanging. The fit can be easily adjusted to accommodate different kids—or one kid’s perpetual growth spurts.

Padding at the shoulders, lower back, and leg loops amp the comfort. Otherwise, the Momentum keeps things simple—no gear loops, no adjustable leg straps, and no ice clipper spots. This focuses the harness on three core principles: safety, comfort, and a no-nonsense intro to the world of climbing. Note as well that Black Diamond offers a kid’s version of their traditional Momentum harness if the full-body model feels overkill.

Best for Beginners: Edelrid Jay

Edelrid Jay Harness

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Suitable for all types of climbing

  • Has adjustable leg loops

  • Great gear storage

What We Don't Like
  • Limited color options

Suitable for all types of climbing—gym, trad, mountaineering, and even via ferrata—the Edelrid Jay harness can keep you company as your first forays on a climbing wall lead you to new and varied adventures. Adjustable leg loops, as well as a synch-tight waist strap, lets you dial the fit and make quick adjustments, with padding at all touchpoints to improve comfort and discourage hot spots.

The tie-in point is easy to center, and the movable foam waist padding helps center and align the four fixed gear loops. The harness also includes two attachment options for ice screw clips and a chalk bag loop. It even has a small pouch to accommodate an RFID chip akin to those used when exploring the backcountry during the winter, should your novice outings quickly graduate into ice climbing or other alpine adventures.

Best Alpine: Black Diamond Vision

Black Diamond Vision Harness

Courtesy of Black Diamond

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Dries quickly

  • Great gear storage

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have adjustable leg loops

Black Diamond focused on trimming every possible gram in building the Vision harness to provide one of the industry’s lightest models. And they’ve succeeded. The Vision weighs in at a feathery 7.9 ounces—light enough to impress even the stingiest of alpine climbers. This packable, quick-drying shell-less harness includes four pressure-molded gear loops, a fifth rear loop, and four ice clipper slots—enough to carry a full alpine rack. As expected, the leg loops are fixed to help shave off weight, but the speed waist belt buckle allows for quick, simple, and secure adjustments on the fly. Plus, it’s a breeze to put on and take off as the situations demand thanks in part to elastic risers at the leg loops.

Best for Winter: Petzl Calidris

Petzl Calidris Climbing Harness

Courtesy of Eastern Mountain Sports

What We Like
  • Wider waist belt and leg loops

  • Has adjustable leg buckles

  • Prevents hot spots

  • Comes in various sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Modeled to fit larger climbers in all types of climbs, Petzl’s Calidris comes with a wider-than-average waist belt and leg loops, which makes wearing it with bulky winter layers comfortable and safe. Single buckle adjustments at the leg loops and a double buckle at the waist also help dial the perfect fit, whether you’re bundled up to fend off sub-zero temps or just wearing a few layers.

Its Frame Construction tech uses biased webbing to transfer the load and prevent hot spots. Other features include flat webbing reinforcements in the waist and leg loops, a breathable mesh exterior, closed-cell perforated foam padding, and polyester 3D mesh to prevent overheating. And it’s ready to haul all kinds of gear for long days on a wall or when ice climbing. The Calidris features four equipment loops, a wide trail line loop, and slots for two Caritools—Petzl’s harness tool holders that allow you to access tools with one hand. It comes in two sizes—one that accommodates waists measuring 25.5 to 37.4 inches, and another suitable for waists from 32.6 to 43.3 inches.

Best Integrated: Mammut Realization Shorts 2.0

Mammut Realization Shorts 2.0

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Stretchy

  • Breathable

  • Adjustable

  • Great gear storage

What We Don't Like
  • Not recommended for heavy-duty climbs

Designed with famed climber Jakob Schubert, the Mammut Realization Shorts 2.0 combines all the functions of a climbing-friendly pair of shorts with all the practical necessities of a climbing harness, increasing the overall comfort and performance and shaving off the ounces. Crafted from PFC-free materials with just the right amount of stretch, the shorts boast an inner mesh insert and vented openings at the waist to improve breathability.

Slide Bloc buckles allow for quick and easy adjustment, with two gear loops at either side, a concealed fly with a press stud, reinforced borders with Dyneema tape, and a reinforced anchor loop and an additional safety ring. This probably isn’t the harness you’d grab for a multi-day assault, but for quick jaunts—and fast ascents—at the local crag or climbing gym, they truly offer the best of both worlds. Mammut also offers a women-specific version.

Best for Sport Climbing: Black Diamond Solution

Black Diamond Solution Harness

Courtesy of Black Diamond

What We Like
  • Has adjustable risers on leg loops

  • Lightweight

  • Comes in various sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Limited color range

Black Diamond uses its proprietary Fusion Comfort Technology in its Solution harness, which uses three separate strands of low-profile webbing in the fixed leg loops and waist to provide the optimal load dispersion while reducing pressure on sensitive areas at the waist and legs. In short, it’s the harness you want when you are trying to stay focused on your climbing, not what you’re wearing.

The contoured fit marries nicely with your body and provides ample, unencumbered movement. Fixed leg loops come with adjustable—and releasable—elastic risers, with an easy-to-adjust waist speed buckle and four fixed gear loops, yet it only weighs 11 ounces. Sizes range from extra-small to extra-large and come in men- and women-specific versions.

What to Look for When Shopping for Climbing Harnesses

Style

When selecting a climbing harness, first consider what type of climbing you’re planning. Most harnesses will work in many conditions in a pinch, but focusing on how you plan to climb will help narrow things considerably. Sport or gym harnesses are typically lightweight and streamlined, with minimal gear loops and modest leg adjustability. Traditional harnesses boast more ways to carry gear, thicker fabrics, more durable padding, more adjustable buckles, and a haul loop to carry a second rope for multi-pitch projects.

Ice-climbing harnesses up the ante on trad harnesses, with more generous strap configurations to accommodate winter layers as well as more gear loops to carry ice tools. Alpine and mountaineering rigs merge the two, providing the carrying capacity of a trad harness with more streamlined materials and a thinner belay loop to cut down on weight. Brands also make women-, men-, and kid-specific models with waist belts shaped to fit seamlessly with each gender.

Fit

Then, it comes down to fit. Whenever possible, try a few on and see how it feels when hanging from a rope. Be mindful of any hot spots, pinching, or pressure points. Some climbers may be fine with a streamlined design without leg adjustment, while others may want features like adjustable leg straps and rise or additional padding. The overall fit should feel snug but not cut-off-circulation tight, with room to slip a hand underneath the leg straps and three finger-widths of “tail” at the end of each strap (the length of the strap dangling after you’re strapped into the harness itself).

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Nathan Borchelt is an experienced freelance writer, editor, and photographer whose time researching and working in the outdoor industry spans over 15 years. He compiled these recommendations from his own personal experience and extensively researching the best options online.

Was this page helpful?
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
Continue to 9 of 10 below.