Climbing Guides

Petzl vs Black Diamond -Brand Comparisons

In this article, we are going to compare two brands that specialize in high-quality climbing gear – the French company Petzl and the American company Black Diamond. Climbers across the globe have been putting their lives at the mercy of both Black Diamond and Petzl products for years, and both companies have become trustworthy names for safety equipment within the climbing community.

We are going to be looking at our favorite Petzl harnesses, Black Diamond Harnesses, Petzl and Black Diamond helmets, and comparing the features of each product for both the young and the old. In a glorious safety showdown, this is Black Diamond vs Petzl.

What You Should Know Before Buying

History of Petzl

Created by a cave explorer called Fernand Petzl in 1975, the brand Petzl has developed and refined over the last 45 years to create specialist products in the fields of climbing, caving, and safety solutions for rescue teams and people who work at heights. The company was formed when the first headquarters were opened in Crolles, France.

Before the brand was formed, Fernand Petzl, along with a fellow caver called Pierre Chevalier, created the first nylon safety rope in 1943. This soon became the standard for almost all vertical safety methods, and also led to Petzl completing the first 1000m cave descent in 1950. In 1968, he also created the first rope ascenders.

Perhaps their most notable product is the self-braking belay device called the Grigri. First produced in 1990, this device has become a go-to product for climbers, both beginners, and professionals, due to its simple and intuitive functioning, and high versatility of possible operations.

Material and Design

Petzl has their own lab dedicated to testing vertical safety products. All of their products undergo rigorous testing to ensure that you can rely on them when you need to most. Because Petzl is not just a sports company, but also a producer of safety equipment for working at heights and rescue teams, their products tend to be very versatile and adaptable to be able to be used in multiple situations.

Petzl uses Frame Construction Technology to help to distribute weight and pressure evenly around their harnesses. Their helmets are made of a hard ABS shell and EPS foam to ensure a lightweight yet sturdy design. Often their products, such as helmets, are designed to be worn with other accessories, such as ear protection and goggles without causing irritation.

Petzl Vs Black Diamond – Brand Comparisons

1. Petzl CORAX

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The CORAX is an adjustable and versatile harness. It takes advantage of Petzl’s Frame Technology to evenly distribute the weight between the waistband and leg loops. Furthermore, the pressure points of the harness have been lined with a soft fabric to increase comfort when using for elongated periods.

The harness has multiple adjustment points, meaning that while taking a little time, it can be perfectly calibrated to whoever is wearing it. It is designed to be easily adjusted to fit any body shape comfortably.

2. Petzl Selena Harness

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Petzl Selena Harness is a stylish and versatile harness specifically designed around a women’s physique. This means that the waistband has been contoured to fit the curvature of the lower back, a longer rise fits better on a female waist, and all the measurements have been adjusted to fit those of female climbers. The front of the waist belt has also been reduced in size to ensure greater mobility potential in your upper legs.

The harness is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, with enough equipment loops to carry enough equipment for a standard multi-pitch route.

3. Petzl Vertex

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

While not specifically a climbing helmet, the Petzl Vertex protects the user from the front, side and back by maintaining a low profile, but not so low that you cannot see. It is designed for working at heights and can be integrated with ear protection, eye protection, headlamps, and a whole range of accessories. The six-point textile suspension cage can be adjusted to fit any head, and the modular design allows for specific customization.

What is particularly unique about this helmet, at least in comparison to the other helmets in this article, is the integrated ventilation system. Sliders attached to the helmet can open or close the air vents, which provides the user with a greater range of airflow options while adding only a little weight to the product.

4. Petzl Boreo and Borea

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Boreo and Borea helmets, for men and women respectively, are designed to be durable and versatile. The hybrid construction allows the product to be both low profile and to cover a large surface area for ultimate simultaneous visibility and protection. It has multiple points for adjusting the suspension cage to help fit the product perfectly to your head.

The helmet has a hard ABS shell and EPS foam creating a rigid, yet lightweight protective device. There are clips to attach headlamps to for when you are climbing after the sun has gone down.

History of Black Diamond

While the Black Diamond company was founded in 1989, its origins date back to the 1950s when a climber called Yvon Chouinard was hand-forging climbing pitons and selling them from the trunk of his car in Yosemite Valley. Yvon’s products built up a sturdy reputation, enough to start a company called Chouinard Equipment, however, he filed for Bankruptcy in early 1989. Some former company employees purchased the remaining assets, and, later that year, Black Diamond was born.

Since then, the company has expanded and founded Black Diamond Europe, originally based in Switzerland but currently in Austria. They are best known for their climbing safety products as well as skiing and avalanche safety equipment, but also produce backpacks, lighting products, and trekking poles.

Material and Design

Before Black Diamond safety products are made commercially available, they undergo a range of different tests in the Black Diamond Quality Control laboratory. This can sometimes take years, as they work hard to guarantee that the products can be relied on.

Black Diamond creates innovative designs to maximize the comfort and safety of their products. Black Diamond harnesses are created using Dual Core Construction, made using two bands of webbing split around the waist belt, to reduce excess pressure when in use for extended periods. Black Diamond helmets are created with EPS foam for rigid yet lightweight protection.

The company also focuses on minimalistic design, reducing the number of features so that quality and simplicity can take a leading role. This is particularly effective with their harnesses, ensuring the user is never confused and using intelligent TrackFit design to reduce and tidy up any loose straps.

5. Black Diamond Momentum Harness

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Black Diamond Momentum Harness is the company’s most popular all-around harness. It is designed to be effective across multiple situations, both indoor and outdoor, and for standard multi-pitch and sport routes. The harness comes with TrakFit leg loops and Dual Core Construction webbing, which together spread the pressure evenly throughout the product. There are four sturdy pressure-molded gear loops to ensure there are enough places to store all the gear you could need during a day of multi-pitch climbing.

The harness comes equipped with a pre-threaded Speed Adjust WaistBelt Buckle, which reduces the time you spend adjusting difficult features. The front loop is colored differently from the rest of the product around it, making it quickly and easily identified which minimizes the risk of clipping equipment unsafely into a different part of the harness.

6. Black Diamond Solution Harness

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

Specialized for sports climbing athletes, the Solution Harness is a simple and lightweight product with minimal adjustments required to use. The legs are non-adjustable, yet the triple low-profile webbing allows excellent weight distribution when in use, and maximizes comfort. This gives the user a lot less to think about, allowing them to focus better on their sports climbing project.

The product is extremely lightweight, weighing less than 350g before loading with equipment. Like the Black Diamond Momentum harness, there are also four pressure-molded gear loops for your gear.

A full demonstration of the product can be found on the Black Diamond YouTube page:

Mens Solution Harness

7. Black Diamond Half Dome

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

Named after the iconic granite feature in Yosemite Valley, the Black Diamond Half Dome helmet is a redesigned classic from the company. It features a low profile suspension system that is easily tightened and loosened with a single hand while being worn, a comfortable and intuitively adjustable chin strap, and several points for attaching headlamps.

It is available for both men and women, in a variety of vibrant colors and sizes.

8. Black Diamond Vector

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

The Black Diamond Vector helmet is a versatile, lightweight, protective shell for your head. Designed to completely minimize weight, increase ventilation, and provide enough features, the Vector is perfect for sports climbing or for those who are worried about lugging additional weight up the wall while not compromising their safety.

The Vector features several points for securely clipping a headlight for those long evening sessions at the project. If worn correctly, it should feel like it is barely there at all.

Both brands have built up a sturdy reputation for creating safe and reliable equipment that can be trusted in most alpine and climbing situations when used correctly. While Petzl tends to make products that offer the user more options, Black Diamond opts for intuitive and simple design, focusing on simplifying the fundamental aspects of both their harnesses and helmets. We would, therefore, generally gravitate towards Petzl for versatility, and towards Black Diamond for streamlined and simple to use gear.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from a link you click on the site that lead to a qualifying purchase. It will not cost you anything additional, but it does help us in supporting this site to keep creating great content for you. All our recommendations and reviews included in the site are purely unbiased.