Outdoors Gear Find the Best Climbing Harnesses for Your Next Trip Find the right harness for the gym, the crag, the big wall, and the ice By Nathan Borchelt Nathan Borchelt LinkedIn American University Nathan Borchelt has been working in the travel industry for more than 15 years as a writer, photographer, editor, and product manager. He covers everything from trail cameras to ski equipment. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 02/17/22 Share Pin Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. 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. 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. Best Overall: Petzl Sitta Harness Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com 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 Courtesy of REI Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Moosejaw.com Buy on 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 Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Moosejaw.com 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. Find the Best Climbing Harnesses for Your Next Trip Best for Men: Arc’Teryx C-Quence Courtesy of Arc'teryx Buy on Arcteryx.com 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) Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on Blackdiamondequipment.com Buy on REI 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 Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com 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 Courtesy of Black Diamond Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Blackdiamondequipment.com Buy on Moosejaw.com 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 Courtesy of Eastern Mountain Sports Buy on Ems.com 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. The 10 Best Winter Jackets of 2022 Best Integrated: Mammut Realization Shorts 2.0 Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com 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 Courtesy of Black Diamond Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Blackdiamondequipment.com Buy on REI 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. Final Verdict If you're seeking a harness that's lightweight, versatile and durable, go for Petzl's Sitta Harness (view at Backcountry). With different sizes and adjustable components, you can ensure the harness fits just right for any of your climbing endeavors. Whether you're climbing treacherous terrain outdoors or an artificial wall, this harness will not disappoint. For all of the features you desire and added comfort at a lower cost, opt for Camp USA's Energy CR3 Harness (view at Moosejaw). It's similarly adaptable and optimal for climbing of any kind. 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). Frequently Asked Questions How should I clean my climbing harness? Your climbing harness is bound to get stained with sweat or caked in dirt. However, it's ultimately up to you to decide how often you'd like to clean it. You should begin by rinsing your climbing harness to remove any dirt. That may be enough on its own. If you find that your harness needs to be washed more thoroughly, hand wash your harness with warm water and a mild dish soap and then allow to air-dry. If need be, you can scrub spots on the harness with a soft-bristle brush. It's best to avoid washing machines or dryers unless stated otherwise by the product's tags or retailer's website. How often should I replace my climbing harness? You should contemplate replacing your climbing harness when you notice changes in fit, damage or have owned the harness for a significant amount of time (considering climb frequency). If you have lost or gained weight, for instance, it's important to buy another harness if it's no longer comfortable or is substantially looser, as that is a safety issue. Of course, if there's visible damage such as a tear in the harness, you should absolutely purchase a new harness so you can climb with confidence, not anxiety. Finally, the age of the harness matters. You should typically use a harness for no more than 10 years. And if you climb intensely on a weekly basis, the number of years before replacing will go down substantially. How should my climbing harness fit? Your harness should be tight around your hips so that it doesn't slip down, but not so snug that you're in pain or experiencing discomfort. Leg loops should feel secure on your thighs, but can be looser to ensure a full range of motion while you're climbing. Some leg loops may be adjustable depending on the type of harness. 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? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 10 below. Continue to 9 of 10 below.