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Best Trad Harness?
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May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Racking up with the new BD Ultralights at the base...
I'm sure this has been posted before but couldn't find one here. I carry my rack on my harness and currently have a metolius safetech with 4 gear loops. I'm looking for a top of the line trad harness with preferably 6-7 gear loops (not necessarily a big wall harness). I don't do any aid climbing but have recently started getting into a lot of multi pitch climbs so comfort is also a necessity with the hanging belays. What are your thoughts?


Daniel Evans
From N Scottsdale, AZ
Joined Mar 26, 2013
103 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: First trip to the Creek
Hey Dan,

I'm searching for the same harness myself.. I haven't found it yet but maybe I can offer some help nonetheless.

2 popular ones are the Misty Mountain Cadillac and the Yates Astroman. I own both.. the Cadillac fits great and feels great, the problem (for me) is that the extra gear loops (there are six total) are placed under the usual ones. So basically you have a normal harness (with relatively small gear loops) with 2 additional ones, one on each side, directly between and beneath the regular 2. I didn't like that set up at all..everything just gets tangled. Maybe I'm not doing it right though, a lot of people recommend the Cadillac.

As for the Yates, I like it a lot and it's my current go to. It's got seven loops, each of which is about the size you'd find on an entry level gym harness. There's one on the front right that's closer to your belay loop and flipped upside down for easy access. I don't particularly care for that feature because it has a tendency to push whatever you put on that loop into your rope and cause some confusion... not a big deal, but in practice I often don't even use it. The other six are great, I usually throw my anchor buildling stuff, water, shoes, and whatnot on the back two and rack on the other 4. I like that a lot versus your standard 4 loop setup because it means when I'm climbing I don't have a water bottle crowding out that runner I'm frantically fumbling for. It comes in speed buckle which I really highly recommend... my first harness had a speed buckle and I took it for granted, it can be a real pain in the ass to adjust sizing on a traditional buckle though. That's mostly a nuisance but if your trying to keep a rain jacket under your harness it can be a little more of a problem..

So why am I still searching? It's not that I don't like the Astroman or that it doesn't work, it's a great harness and I'd recommend it over any other I've used. But I'm hoping one day to find a harness with 5 gear loops: 2 big ones on each side (kinda like Metolius or Wild Country, thicker and longer) and one big one in the back. That way you can still stash all your non-leading stuff in the back, but you have a little more room on the front 4. Maybe that's just 'cause of how I rack, everything breaks up nice into 4 sections. If anyone knows of something along those lines though, lemme know!

Hope that helps a bit,
B.S. Luther
From Yorba Linda, CA
Joined Dec 3, 2009
78 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Day Lily.
For multipitch trad I have been using a wild country (syncro I think) harness that has 7 total loops, a nicely padded and wide waistbelt (great for long time hanging belays), isn't terribly bulky and has been very durable so far. I have been happy with wild countrys harness.

There are plenty of options out there that are great. I think wild countrys trad harnesses are just one of many fine harnesses you won't be disappointed you bought.
The Stoned Master
From Pennsylvania
Joined Dec 5, 2012
4,674 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Top half of Melifluous
Misty Mountain Cadillac Sam Stephens
Joined Jan 20, 2010
848 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
I've been using the BD big gun for a while. I don't really consider it a full big wall harness, more of an all day trad. Chris Mac's review tends to agree there. It has 7 total gear loops, but the two extra ones on the sides i find pretty useless and don't use them. The big thing it has is an extra loop across the back and it's comfy to hang in.

I just picked up the new BD Aspect harness to replace the big gun w/ something lighter. They added a 5th loop to the back on both the aspect and the Focus harnesses this year, which is great, i throw all my misc stuff back there - lockers, belay device, cordolete, nut tool, etc. Keeps it out of the way while i'm climbing. Seems like a good harness so far, not as comfy to hang in as the big gun, but has half the bulk.
Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
955 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Pea...
I liked my Yates Astroman. Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
1,641 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper pitches on Crescent Tower, Bugaboos.
The Misty Mountain Cadillac is a great harness. Misty also makes a harness called the Titan which is a little more bulky and more of a big wall harness. All made in North Carolina, USA! Jonathan Dull
From Boone, NC
Joined Mar 2, 2012
438 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Cams above the arm bar moves on Three Pigs in a Sl...
Another vote for the Misty Mountain Cadillac. I put the main gear on the regular gear loops and my anchor gear on the extra gear loops below the main ones.

I thought about the Synchro which has a similar setup. But I personally wanted double-backed straps; speed buckles in OWs scare me.
Charlie S
From Ogden, UT
Joined Aug 23, 2007
1,476 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Day Lily.
Charlie s wrote: "... But I personally wanted double-backed straps; speed buckles in OWs scare me."

Smart man. I'm not going to ditch my syncro prematurely but I had never thought of that. Its a detail that I'm glad I'm aware of now (I see the potential that a speed buckle could loosen if smashed correctly in a squeeze chimney/offwidth). Thanks man.
The Stoned Master
From Pennsylvania
Joined Dec 5, 2012
4,674 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Rump roast II, pistol whipped, Indian Creek  Photo...
Depends what fits you best. You can't find the best comfy fit FOR YOU here on a forum! For example, many swear by the misty mountain cadillac, but MM kills my back and rib cage. I went out and hung on quite a few, and the BD Big gun is most comfy for me. It has plenty of gear loops. Even though I find the loop layout a little strange, with somewhat overlapping tiers, have gotten used to it. mountainhick
From Black Hawk, CO
Joined Mar 19, 2009
223 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Running it out on easy slab. "No where is tha...
Misty Caddy - Agreed that the NEW locations for the 5th and 6th loops aren't as good as their older model. Didn't know this till I used it though.

Call up Misty. You can CUSTOM order how you want your misty harness (I did my Caddy without adj leg loops - AWESOME).

When I wear out this Caddy I'll get another with "old gear loops" and fixed leg loops.

From TX
Joined Jun 2, 2006
1,381 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan on the Sharks Fin wishing he was on Mt. White...
best trad harness? 1" super tape and water knots. Bomber. You want 6-7 gear loops? done. Oh don't forget to use only "top of the line," super tape for your "top of the line trad harness." Ryan Kempf
From Boulder, CO
Joined Jul 26, 2011
266 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Celebrating on Intersection Rock, JTree.
Another vote for the Cadillac. My new one has the extra gear loops between the upper ones. It's AWESOME. brat
Joined Nov 28, 2007
81 points
May 1, 2013
My next trad harness will be the Wild Country Summit.
It is basically the replacement to the Syncro, plus some great upgrades.

Summit on Wild Country
From Orange County, NY
Joined Oct 23, 2012
3 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Final pitch
Misty Mountain Cadilac - Check the page below, if you want to go lighter than that check out the Bolt. If you want more burly check out the Titan.

This is not just the bias of living in NC now. I've owned a Misty harness for over 10 years and got my first when I lived in NH. The fact Misty is an awesome company with great people and great customer service doesn't hurt either.
joe disciullo
From Charlotte, NC
Joined Sep 23, 2009
126 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.
Those new WC's look great, wishing i held out to try on that summit and the eclipse too. Larry S
From Easton, Pennsylvania
Joined May 28, 2010
955 points
May 1, 2013
Yet another vote for the Misty Mountain Cadillac. Don't think...just buy jstein
From Lander, WY
Joined Feb 10, 2011
5 points
May 1, 2013
One more vote for the Cadillac. I also rack most of my gear on my harness and I don't find the "four up top, two underneath" gear loops an issue at all.

Before the Caddy I had an earlier WC (Helix, with five gear loops) and I liked it very much. If the Misty wasn't available I would consider the Syncro.

One option not yet mentioned is getting a standard four-gear-loop harness and adding a bit of cord/tubing to create that fifth rear gear loop yourself. Just a thought.
Allen Corneau
From Houston, TX
Joined May 6, 2008
91 points
May 1, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible...
Never tried any of the others listed above but my BD momentum is super comfortable and has 4 big gear loops. All the misc anchor stuff/lockers/etc goes on a big locker in the full strength nylon loop in back. Plus it's super cheap, like me.

That WC Summit does look nice though...
Joined Sep 5, 2011
274 points
May 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Euphorie M8
Arc'teryx B360A !!!!! Theriault
From Quebec, Quebec
Joined Apr 13, 2011
321 points
May 2, 2013
Theriault wrote:
Arc'teryx B360A !!!!!

I absolutely agree, & if it didn't cost $175 I would buy one of those instead.
From Orange County, NY
Joined Oct 23, 2012
3 points
May 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: The top of the tufa on Magma
I've been loving the Arcteryx R-300. As long as you make sure that none of the webbing folds they're very comfortable and you don't even know that you're wearing it. Patrick Mulligan
Joined Oct 12, 2011
1,223 points
May 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo Credit: The talented Pete Garceau
I've never owned a misty mountain, but it sounds as though their reputation is well-deserved. That said, if you're put off by the high prices of the Arc'Teryx line up, I've been climbing in a Petzl Corax and have been really happy with it. It's comfortable, pretty basic (which is a plus in my book), and has held up well. Not to mention the fact that it's $65, which is right about where I like to see harness pricing.

In general, you're climbing on gear so four gear loops is a must. Having more loops is nice, but if you're mostly free-climbing, you can often get away with doubling up your cams on 'biners, etc. in order to clear up space. that opens up some less-bulky harness options- finding 6-7 gear loops on a non-bigwall harness might be hard unless you have gear loops added to a free climbing harness. Other than that, see if you can't try on a few in a shop and see what fits best or call misty mountain and shell out a few dollars for something custom! I've never regretted going for custom, small-time, local gear.
Dave Alie
From Golden, CO
Joined Feb 25, 2010
52 points
May 2, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Great quality rock on this one!
wild country syncro or BD big gun Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Joined Nov 4, 2011
206 points
May 2, 2013
Do the Arc'Teryx gear loops stay on in chimneys? Had problems w/ detachable gear loops popping off in the past (not arc'teryx) when moving down a bit from a chimney.

Also, I have a misty mountain, not the cadillac but the similar but less padded finesse, and 4 gear loops instead of 6. It is pretty comfy for hanging belays. My friend had a Arc'teryx R280 which is for sport, but she was not comfortable. People admire my gear loops on the Misty saying they are "big." But, I don't find it to be that big, and the back ones sit kind of far back.
Ana Tine
Joined Dec 7, 2012
48 points
May 2, 2013
the gear loops can pop off the dead birds, ive had it happen

and they are VERY well known for the lower tie in point wearing out quickly ... usually dead bird replaces the harness,but i met someone a few days ago whose harness dead bird wouldnt replace even though it wasnt very worn out everywhere else ...

if you buy a dead bird ... buy it from REI/MEC
Joined Mar 1, 2009
3,068 points

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