Climb Gear Reviews

Best Climbing Harness for Beginners

Starting out on rock climbing can be both a fun and daunting process. When you have gone for a couple of climbing sessions and decided this is the sport for you, the next step is to invest in your 1st pair of rock climbing harness and rock climbing shoes. Should you get something cheap for a beginner harness, or start looking at all the endless features and designs and brands. Well, we can have the best of both worlds. Here’s kicking off a useful guide for beginners to top rope and sport climbing how to select your very first rock climbing harness.

What is the Best Climbing Harness For Beginners?

To decide on the absolute best climbing harness for beginners, we have examined dozens of beginner climbing harnesses and reviews left by real users who bought and used them. Based on what they experienced and shared, we have shortlisted the top 6 climbing harnesses for beginners for you to consider, including their most important features, to help you make an informed decision.

On top of that, to make it easier for you, we have also compiled a list of key/ critical things and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to consider before buying beginner climbing harnesses. You can find it further down in the article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best climbing harness for beginners.

1. Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Number of Gear Loops: 4
Adjustable leg loops: Adjustable
Weight of Harness: 0.65 lbs

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The Black Diamond Momentum is a fully adjustable, budget-friendly, all-around harness suitable for sport climbing, trad climbing, and long multi-pitch routes. The four large gear loops provide ample space for an array of climbing gear, the soft yet lightweight padding makes it suitable to wear for an entire day’s work, and the trakFIT adjusters on the leg loops allow climbers to quickly adjust the legs to fit perfectly without the need for a tradition buckle.

Pros

  • Adjustable legs for perfect fit.
  • Brightly colored front loops quick and easy to identify
  • Pressure molded gear loops that will not loose their shape
  • Well padded for a comfortable full day of climbing

Cons

  • Some female climbers find the fit is not ideal.
  • Hard to find the correct size

2. PETZL Corax Climbing Harness

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Number of Gear Loops: 4
Adjustable leg loops: Adjustable
Weight of Harness: 0.5 lbs

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United States
United Kingdom
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Australia

Through four reinforced buckles, the PETZL Corax can be fitted to clkimbers of any size or shape. The deisgn, though visually traditional, has been refined for maximum comfort and performance with a thick, padded waistband, wide leg loops and soft, fabric inners. The varied gear loops provide plenty of options for storing your entire array of equipment needed to safely send the route.

Pros

  • Four points of adjustment to completely tailor the fit of the harness.
  • Wide and comfortable padded waistband.
  • Four gear loops – two pressure molded and two flexible loops

Cons

  • Leg loops prone to uncomfortable twisting when putting on,
  • Buckles can create unnecessary pressure points when falling

3. Black Diamond Mens Solution Guide Climbing Harness

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Number of Gear Loops: 4
Adjustable leg loops: Non-Adjustable
Weight of Harness: 0.86 lbs

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The Black Diamond Solution has been engineered to reduce all unnecessary features to minimalise weight while still providing enough to cope with trad climbing or multi-pitch routes which require a fair amount of gear. The gear loops are pressure molded to ensure that they retain a shape that allows quick and easy attachment and removal of gear and their duraility. The front loop is intuitively differently colored to help easily distinguish it from the rest of the harness. The leg loops are generously padded to maximise comfort, even when using for a long period of time.

Pros

  • Extremely durable construction.
  • Enough reinforced gear loops for trad climbing and long multi-pitch routes.
  • Comfortable and light enough to be worn all day without problems.

Cons

  • Towards the heavier end of the products on this list.
  • Leg loops are fixed and cannot be adjusted

4. Black Diamond Momentum Harness Package

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)

See it in your local store:

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The Black Diamond Momentum harness is a great entry-level harness that’s affordable and can be purchased in a bundle with high-quality black diamond chalk, a chalk bag, and a belay device. Given that it’s comfortable, light, and easy to adjust, we think this harness does the basics well. While it is not super comfortable to hang in for long periods, isn’t equipped for alpine or ice climbing, and doesn’t have extensive kit carrying capacity, this is a great purchase for a novice sport or gym climber.

Pros

  • Affordable,
  • Can be purchased in a ‘beginners bundle’,
  • Comfortable and lightweight

Cons

  • Not great lumbar support,
  • No ice clipper slots,
  • Smaller than average gear loops

5. Mammut Men Ophir 3 Slide individuell

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Number of Gear Loops: 4
Adjustable leg loops: Adjustable
Weight of Harness: 0.82 lbs

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
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Canada
Australia

The Mammut Ophir is another example of an all-around capable harness from a reputable name in the climbing community. While a little bulkier than other efforts, the modestly priced and lightweight harness provides everything you need from a harness for a long multi-pitch or trad climbing route. There is adequete space to store all of your gear, it is fully adjustable through three traditional buckles, and the breathable material helps to reduce sweat buildup for those long exposed granite slabs.

Pros

  • Surprisingly breathable for a harness.
  • Fully adjustable legs.
  • Four wide gear loops.
  • Synthetic abrasion protection on the tie-in loop

Cons

  • Monochromatic design makes it hard to distinguish features easily. Relatively bulky in comparison to other products on this list

6. PETZL – Mens SAMA Climbing Harness

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Number of Gear Loops: 4
Adjustable leg loops: Non-Adjustable
Weight of Harness: 0.5 lbs

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
European Union
Canada
Australia

The Petzl Sama is a versatile rock climbing harness that won’t break the bank. With its large gear loops and a rated haul loop, the Sama is a good choice for trad cragging, sports climbing and multi-pitching. The high-tech Endoframe technology of the waist belt and leg loops means this harness is super comfortable even when you’re hanging about for long periods! With a variety of different gear loops, both reinforced and not, there is enough space to store all of the gear you need. The thick padding does make the product a little bulkier, however it is comfortable to use and weight is evenly distributed throughout the wasitband and leg loops to make those long falls feel a little softer for both the belayer and climber.It’s not equipped for ice or alpine-style climbing though and has no ice clipper slots. Lastly, the leg loops are also non – adjustable, so you’ll struggle to get it on over your winter layers.

Pros

  • Large carrying capacity,
  • Thick padding across entire harness maximises comfort Fully UIAA certified Very lightweight

Cons

  • Non – adjustable leg loops,
  • Not equipped for ice or alpine climbing
  • Thick and bulky im comparison to other products on this list. Front loop is harder to intuitively spot against the rest of the harness

Verdict

Following all the research, comparisons and information we have gathered about these top climbing harnesses for beginners, we can confidently say that Black Diamond Momentum Harness is the best climbing harness for beginners out in the market.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the PETZL Corax Climbing Harness as an affordable alternative.

Lastly, if you are looking for something with all the best features made with high-quality materials and would like to consider all the premium options out there, we strongly recommend the Black Diamond Mens Solution Guide Climbing Harness.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying Climbing Harnesses For Beginners

Caring For Your Harness

Like all climbing personal protective equipment (PPE), climbing harnesses must be treated with care and protected from damage. Suppliers are legally obliged to include information on how to clean and store your harness on purchase (usually in the form of an information tag). This information can also be accessed on the supplier’s website. Regardless of the brand, some key behaviors remain the same: your harness should always be stored dry, away from direct sunlight, and safe from any chemicals or corrosive agents (e.g. bleach). If your harness comes into contact with seawater, you’ll need to wash it: a gentle spin with NO cleaning agents does the trick. Oh, and NEVER modify your harness in any way!

How To Use And Wear A Climbing Harness

Climbing harnesses should be tightened to fit snugly around the waist (above the hips). The leg loops tend to be left slightly looser around the legs. Make sure the gear loops point downwards and the leg loops are the right way around – I can’t believe how many people I’ve seen wearing upside down or tangled harnesses at my gym! If in doubt – ask another climber for assistance.

When tying in, the rope should be fed through both the attachment points and the belay device should be attached to the belay loop. Remember – the belay loops and tie in points tend to be the only parts of the harness that are rated to withstand force – so make sure you’re tying in and belaying from the right points! Again, a buddy-check with your climbing partner before you set off should be a regular part of your routine.

Key Features Of Your Climbing Harness

It is essential that you know your way around your harness – understanding the different features and what they are (or aren’t!) used for will keep you safe and happy on the wall. Thankfully, rock climbing harnesses tend to follow a standard design.

Any harness on the market will likely comprise of an adjustable waist belt and two leg loops all linked together by an elasticated cord. At the front, connecting the waist and leg loops is a loop of thick cord known as the belay loop. At the top and bottom of the belay loops are two smaller loops of material – these are known as the tie in points. These tie-in points and the belay loop are the parts of the harness that are rated –or built to withstand force. Thus, they are usually the point at which you are attached to the system.

Other features on a rock-climbing harness will vary. Some harnesses will be built to be ultra-lightweight, while some will be heavier and more geared towards comfort and support (ideal for long days in the mountains). Almost all harnesses will have gear loops – for helping you transport your ice climbing axes, screws, belay devices, quickdraws – for ice climbing its best to have at least 2 gear loops.

Trad Climbing Vs Sport Climbing Whats The Difference

The main difference between sports climbing and trad climbing is the placing of protective equipment. On a sports route, you can expect to find secure bolts every couple of meters, into which you can place quick-draws and then follow with the rope. In trad climbing, these bolts are few and far between, if they exist at all, and climbers are expected to place their own protective gear, such as cams and slings, to ensure that they survive the climb.

Questions and Answers About Climbing Harnesses For Beginners

How much weight can a climbing harness hold?

This really depends on the make and model, and the information will be on your supplier’s website. In general, most standard climbing harnesses will safely carry up to 310lbs/140.6kgs. If you’re heavier than that you’re best investing in a full-body harness.

What size harness do I need for climbing?

Suppliers will have information on the waist and leg loop circumferences on their website, so check this against your own measurements. Even so, it’s always a safer option to try a harness on before you buy.

Which is the best climbing harness for big guys?

Harnesses are fully adjustable, and often come in only one or two sizes but with multiple adjustment points to ensure that they fit bodies both large and small. The PETZL Sama is a great example of a fully adjustable harness that fits larger people, although all of the harnesses mentioned in this article are adjustable for multiple body sizes.

How should a climbing harness fit?

Your climbing harness should fit snugly around the waist and legs. A well-fitting waist strap is most important. A good rule of thumb is that you should still be able to fit two fingers under the waist belt when it’s tightened, but NOT a fist.

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