Rappel Fast & Safe: Best Climbing Harness Of 2019

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Best Overall
Black Diamond Momentum Harness, Medium, Graphite
X XBEN Climbing Harness Professional Mountaineering Rock Climbing Harness,Rappelling Safety Harness - Work Safety Belt (Black 2)
Best Budget
Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness, Protect Waist Safety Harness, Wider Half Body Harness for Mountaineering/Fire Rescuing/Rock Climbing/Rappelling/Tree Climbing
PETZL - MACCHU, Adjustable Seat Harness for Children, Coral
Black Diamond Momentum Full Body Harness - Kid's Octane/Slate One Size
HWT’s Score
9.1
8.8
8.4
8.1
7.9
MSRP
from $53.75
$54.89
$18.99
from $49.95
$69.95
Material
Synthetic
Nylon and polyester
Polyester
Synthetic
Synthetic
Waist Size
24″ – 39″ In different sizes
31.49″ – 47″
20″ to 53″
24″ – 39″ in different sizes
Fits children of almost any size
Number Of Gear Loops
4
2
1
4
Warranty
Contact manufacturer
Contact manufacturer
12 months
Contact manufacturer
Contact manufacturer
Best Overall
Black Diamond Momentum Harness, Medium, Graphite
HWT’s Score
9.1
MSRP
from $53.75
Material
Synthetic
Waist Size
24″ – 39″ In different sizes
Number Of Gear Loops
4
Warranty
Contact manufacturer
More Information
X XBEN Climbing Harness Professional Mountaineering Rock Climbing Harness,Rappelling Safety Harness - Work Safety Belt (Black 2)
HWT’s Score
8.8
MSRP
$54.89
Material
Nylon and polyester
Waist Size
31.49″ – 47″
Number Of Gear Loops
2
Warranty
Contact manufacturer
More Information
Best Budget
Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness, Protect Waist Safety Harness, Wider Half Body Harness for Mountaineering/Fire Rescuing/Rock Climbing/Rappelling/Tree Climbing
HWT’s Score
8.4
MSRP
$18.99
Material
Polyester
Waist Size
20″ to 53″
Number Of Gear Loops
1
Warranty
12 months
More Information
PETZL - MACCHU, Adjustable Seat Harness for Children, Coral
HWT’s Score
8.1
MSRP
from $49.95
Material
Synthetic
Waist Size
24″ – 39″ in different sizes
Number Of Gear Loops
4
Warranty
Contact manufacturer
More Information
Black Diamond Momentum Full Body Harness - Kid's Octane/Slate One Size
HWT’s Score
7.9
MSRP
$69.95
Material
Synthetic
Waist Size
Fits children of almost any size
Number Of Gear Loops
Warranty
Contact manufacturer
More Information

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best climbing harness reviews and features to try and narrow it down to just one.

Whether you’re climbing a mountain or making your way up a rock wall, you’ll want a harness that can take anything you can throw at it.

In a hurry? Check out our reviews for a quick comparison between all the top climbing harnesses on the market.

Our Reviews Of The Best Climbing Harness

#1

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

BEST OVERALL

The Black Diamond Momentum Harness is a harness designed for many different types of climbing.

Whether you’re an indoor climber or want to adventure outdoors, this is a great harness for anyone from beginner to expert.

With four gear loops, and a minimal design, you’re bound to get exactly what you need.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Bullhorn-shaped waist belt built using Dual Core Construction trakFIT adjustment for easy leg loop customization

BUYING ADVICE

  • This harness provides a wide variety of sizes with a tried and true amazon rating with over 75% five-star reviews

BENEFITS

  • Pre-threaded Speed Adjust waist belt buckle to quickly put it on or take it off

DRAWBACKS

  • Some reviewers complain that the harness leg straps are too narrow and cut into the legs of the climber. This however is a matter of preference

specs

  • Size: XS - XL
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Waist Size: 24" - 39" in different sizes
  • Warranty: Information N/A, contact manufacturer
  • Number of gear loops: 4
#2

Xben Climbing Harness

Xben Climbing Harness

The Xben Climbing Harness is designed to be a comfortable climbing harness. With a system that puts most of the weight on your leg straps, when you’re hanging from the ropes, it will feel just like you’re sitting comfortably on a chair.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Aluminum alloy tie in points for a very secure harness

BUYING ADVICE

  • This premium quality harness is designed to take anything you throw at it. This harness would serve you well no matter what you're using it for

BENEFITS

  • Wide waist belt made of a breathable material, meaning a more comfortable climb

DRAWBACKS

  • Only comes with two gear loops, plenty for a beginner climber, but may not be enough for experienced outdoor climbers who want to carry a lot of gear with them

specs

  • Size: One size fits all
  • Material: Nylon and polyester
  • Waist Size: 31.49" - 47"
  • Warranty: Information N/A, contact manufacturer
  • Number of gear loops: 2
#3

Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness

This lightweight climbing harness is simple and secure. Designed to hold your weight at a single point, the Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness is our choice for the best rappelling harness on this list.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • This harness has only one tie in point, which can make the tying in easier, but also can mean that your weight might not be evenly distributed

BUYING ADVICE

  • This is a great entry level harness, its cheap price tag and simple construction makes it great for beginners or hobbyists

BENEFITS

  • Low price tag, coming in at just under $20, this harness beats out the competition for cheapest harness on this list

DRAWBACKS

  • The cheaper version of this harness doesn't have any padded straps, just the basic nylon straps. This means that it may not be as comfortable as a more premium harness

specs

  • Size: One size fits all
  • Material: Polyester
  • Waist Size: 20" to 53"
  • Warranty: 12 month warranty
  • Number of gear loops: 1
#4

PETZL – MACCHU

BEST FOR KIDS

Petzl Macchu Children's Harness

Young climbers need special equipment because they’re too small for regular harnesses to fit them, they’d just slip right out.

That’s where the Petzl Macchu children’s harness comes in as the best climbing harness for beginners.

A simple design, and hearty construction makes this a great harness for any child under 88 lbs.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • This harness has only one tie in point, which can make the tying in easier, but also can mean that your weight might not be evenly distributed

BUYING ADVICE

  • This is a great entry level harness, its cheap price tag and simple construction makes it great for beginners or hobbyists

BENEFITS

  • Pre-threaded Speed Adjust waist belt buckle to quickly put it on or take it off

DRAWBACKS

  • Some reviewers complain that the harness leg straps are too narrow and cut into the legs of the climber. This however is a matter of preference

specs

  • Size: XS - XL
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Waist Size: 24" - 39" in different sizes
  • Warranty: Information N/A, contact manufacturer
  • Number of gear loops: 4
#5

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

BEST FULL-METAL

Black Diamond Full Body Kids’ Harness

In general, kids under eight years of age have a very high center of gravity. 

That means that when climbing, it’s a very real possibility that they might turn head over heels and end up hanging upside down. 

The best kids climbing harness has shoulder straps and extra high tie in points to keep the child from falling upside down.

EXTRA FEATURES

  • Easily adjustable shoulder straps mean that the child gets a comfortable fit every time

BUYING ADVICE

  • For younger children, you need to take extra precautions. Their tiny bodies are top heavy and a normal climbing harness that wraps just around the waist

BENEFITS

  • High tie-in point keeps kids upright. This harness also has comfortable shoulder straps to keep the kids safe

DRAWBACKS

  • The leg straps are not adjustable, although reviewers have reported no troubles with this fact

specs

  • Size: One size fits most children
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Waist Size: Fits children of almost any size
  • Warranty: Information N/A, contact manufacturer
  • Number of gear loops: 0

Introduction To The Climbing Harness

Couple Wearing Climbing Harness

A climbing harness is a must when climbing up very tall rock walls, and it’s even more of a must if you’re climbing outdoors with all the inherent dangers that come along with that.

Knowing all the ins and outs of how climbing harnesses work and what their limits are can make you a more confident climber, and can help those around you that maybe aren’t as well informed as you are.

How much weight can a climbing harness hold

When choosing a harness, you’ll want to consider what it will be doing. 

For most climbers, especially novice climbers, a harnesses main purpose will be twofold. 

Firstly, it will catch you when you fall, so you’ll want to make sure that it can handle the great forces applied during a fall. 

Secondly, you’ll want it to be able to hold your weight for as long as you need it to, and you’ll want it to not be too uncomfortable as you’re hanging and resting for you next climb.

Any climbing harness you purchase is required to hold a specific amount of weight. 

The tie-in points, where you tie the rope that holds you up to, are required to withstand 12-14 kilonewtons of force. 

That means that any given harness will be built to withstand 2,700 – 3,100 pounds of force. Far more than a human body can create when falling short distances.

The only times when anyone might be in danger of overloading the harness around their waist, is if you fell for more than a few seconds. 

But as it is, your rope will most likely catch you before you’ve had enough time to gather a dangerous amount of speed. 

On top of that, if you’re being betrayed by someone on the ground. The kinetic force applied will be lessened by their being lifted off the ground.

How tight should a climbing harness be?

When you’re on the face of a cliff, and the only thing protecting you from a deadly fall is a rope and your harness, you’ll want to make sure that your harness isn’t going to slip off

At the same time, you don’t want it to be terribly uncomfortable. You’ll want to strike a balance between too tight and too loose.

The more you climb, the better you’ll understand what tension your harness needs to be at. 

But as a general rule, a climbing harness should be tight enough that you can slide a couple fingers between your waistband and your waist, but not much more. 

It should be comfortable while standing and walking around, and especially while climbing, and it should not constrict your movement in any way.

A harness that is too loose will ride up and be uncomfortable when you’re hanging from your rope, so be sure to test our your harness tightness by hanging from a rope a few times to see how it feels.

The leg straps are a bit of a different story. You don’t want these slipping around while your climbing and especially while you’re hanging, so you’ll want them nice and snug around your legs. 

In the past, many harnesses had adjustable leg straps to accommodate many different leg shapes. 

Some modern harnesses have gotten rid of the adjustable leg straps, in favor of a more permanent size with a little bit of elastic give.

This is one important reason to try on and try out your harness before you buy it, if you have a chance to.

How long should a climbing harness last?

Your specific harness should come with a manual that dictates proper care and maintenance of it. 

Things like how best to wash it, dry it, store it etc. 

It should also inform you of how long your harness should be expected to last, but as a general rule, a climbing harness should last through about three years of use.

This estimate is exactly that, an estimate. Climbing harness manufacturers can have no idea what strains we put on our harnesses, or how often we put those strains on them. 

If you are an avid climber and experience some falls that might damage the harness, you may want to retire it before three years.

If however you don’t use the harness much at all, then it will likely last longer. Some manufacturers suggest that a harness stored properly should still be retired after about 10 years.

A climbing harness should be immediately retired if there are any damaged parts. 

That includes any rips or tears in the webbing, any damaged buckles, singed or trimmed webbing, or if the harness has been bleached by the sun or chemicals. 

If you suspect a harness might not be totally safe, it’s probably a good idea to get a new one. You don’t want to take any risks with such a vital piece of equipment.

When a harness needs to be retired, it’s recommended that it be destroyed so that no one can use it in the future, thinking it’s functional.

How to teach your kid to climbing harness?

Abseiling Instructor

Climbing is something that is programmed deep inside of us. 

As children we often find ourselves climbing all over things that we’re not meant to, and our parents tell us very politely to “Get down.”

Introducing your child to rock climbing, whether that be in the gym, or out in nature, is a good outlet for all that energy your child feels. 

But there are a few things to keep in mind when introducing your child to climbing gym etiquette, and how the harnesses work themselves.

The first thing to consider is that a child under the age of eight is going to be more top heavy than us adults. 

Therefore it is a very real possibility that if the child loses control, they could end up hanging upside down, which would not be a pleasant experience.

It’s for this reason precisely that there are child specific harnesses that strap over the shoulders as well as around the legs and waist. 

A child’s full body harness has the tie in points over the chest so that as the child is hanging there’s no way for them to fall upside down.

When instructing your child on how a climbing harness works, you’ll want to show them a few steps that they’ll need to take everytime they’re putting on their harness. 

Going through this kind of checklist every time ensures that the harness is securely fastened every time.

They should have an adult help them put their harness on, or at the very least have an adult who knows how climbing harnesses work. 

If you’re new to climbing yourself, here are a few simple steps to follow when putting on a harness.

  • First, inspect the harness for any twists or tangles. A twisted harness can be terribly uncomfortable, and can increase the wear on the harness, making it wear out faster.
  • You’ll begin by putting your legs through the leg loops. Slide the leg loops up to your upper thigh and tighten them if needed.
  • Next, tighten and secure the waist loop until it’s snug but not so tight that it bites into your skin. You’ll want to be able to slide a couple fingers in between the waist strap and your waist itself.
  • On a normal harness there will only be those three loops, two loops for the legs, and one for the waist. But on a child’s full body harness, there will be an extra pair of straps for the child’s shoulders.
  • For a child’s full body harness, pull each strap over its respective shoulder, making sure not to cross them or have any twists in the straps. Tighten these shoulder straps until they’re snug to the child’s body standing up straight.

How to securely rappel with the climbing harness?

In order to safely rappel with a climbing harness, you’ll want to follow any of the instructions above. 

Ensuring that the harness is in good condition, not worn or frayed or damaged in any way. 

Again, if you’re at all unsure about your climbing harness, best practice is to retire it by destroying it so that no one else can use this damaged harness, and purchasing a new one.

You’ll want to tie in correctly, ensuring that any ropes and carabiners are passed through the two main loops: the leg loop and the waist loop.

Lastly, to safely and securely rappel with a climbing harness you need an added piece of equipment: A belay device. 

A belay device is a small metal contraption through which you pass the rope you’ll be rappelling down. 

You control your descent by controlling how fast the rope passes through the belay device.

When rappelling, there are two ways to tie in: you can tie in directly to the tie in points on your harness, or add an extender. 

Essentially a set of strength tested loops interconnected with one another that you can fasted to your harnesses tie in points, then attach the belay device to the extender. 

One reason to do this would be that it can make it simpler to have the belay device further away from the body, to keep the ropes nice and tidy. 

I say it is not mandatory, you can rappel perfectly well with everything tied directly to your harnesses tie in points.

Attach your belay device to your chosen tie in points. Hold both ropes parallel and bend them to form a bight, and pass them through the openings in the belay device. 

On the inside of the belay device, clip your carabiner through the loops formed by the ropes, being sure to also clip the carabiner through the belay device sturdy cable.

You can then choose to tie a friction hitch as a back up if you’d like. This can be done by making a loop of rope out of a rope of a smaller diameter than the main line. 

Wrap this loop of rope neatly around the main line below the belay device three or four times. 

Then, using a different carabiner than the one used for the belay device, attach it through the loops on both end of your friction hitch.

If your friction hitch works properly, you should be able to slide it easily up and down the main line, but if you put your whole weight on the line, it should bite into the main line and stop your descent.

As you descend, with one hand, guide your friction hitch down the line with one hand, below the belay device, and with the other hand, keep hold of the main line above the belay device. 

Keep your feet shoulder width apart, and rest your weight into the harness. 

This is easier said than done, but holding back your weight from the harness can make the rappelling process much more dangerous. 

Sit back comfortably and trust that the ropes and harness can hold your weight, and take your time going down, there’s no rush.

Conclusion

Climbing harnesses come in many different shapes and sizes, and the choice of which one best suits you should not be taken lightly. 

A good harness will fit you snug but not bite into your flesh, it will be comfortable while you stand and while you hang from the ropes. 

We suggest testing out any climbing harness before you buy by putting it on and hanging from it to see how comfortable it is.

However if you do not have that luxury, you’ll need to know a few things. 

Know how wide the waist straps are as well as the leg straps and be sure that your legs and waist can fit inside them; and also know what you’ll be using it for. 

Most climbing harnesses come with specialized equipment like extra gear loops for longer outdoor treks.

We hope that this buying guide has made the decision of what is the best climbing harness to buy a bit easier. Happy climbing.