Arc'teryx ar-395a harness reviews?


Original Post
Andy Matthews · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

It's time for a new harness, trying to decide on purchasing a "one does it all", opposed to a specific harness for each different type of climbing. Anyone have any experience with the AR-395a? Thanks for the feedback!

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 5

BD aspect has been solid all around for me, but the dead birdy looks nice too. outdoorgearlab.com/Climbing...

Matt Stroebel · · Lakewood, OH · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 40

I've climbed in mine for a couple years now. The outdoor gearlab review is spot on. It's definitely the most comfortable harness I've ever worn. They aren't joking when they say you'll forget that you are wearing it. As far as hanging comfort, I don't do any true extended hanging (long hanging belays, bolting a route etc). For hanging for a couple minutes while projecting, cleaning draws, cleaning pro etc, I've always found it more comfortable than my previous harnesses that were padded. I find it works well for ice climbing too, the ice clipper slots are in good spots for me. I'd go for it, I love mine and despite the steep price tag I'll be getting another when this one wears out (so far its been about 2 years and it's not showing any wear).

Ben Stabley · · Portland, OR · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 151

I've been happy with mine, which I got largely for alpine rock and ice (alpine and "cragging"). It's comfortable, low profile, and can pack small. I like the large 5th gear loop on the back for infrequently used things (BD aspect appears to have one as well). The main 4 gear loop stiffeners can be removed for an even lower profile, such as to put a pack hip belt over top.

The only thing I dislike are the keepers for extra strap after tightening the buckles. Most harnesses I've used have an elastic band and sew the strap end backwards and outward facing, so the strap end creates a little "hook" to catch on the elastic loop and keep the extra strap neatly and securely out of the way.

The ar-395a has strap keepers, but they are not stretchy, and the strap ends are sewn backwards and inward facing. Therefore the strap end doesn't even hook the keepers. My extra waist and leg straps often are flopping around. Although it doesn't seem to get in my way, it bugs the OCD part of me.

Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 8,438

Had one for a while now, retired my BD Aspect.
Much smaller when packed and decent sized gear loops when you want to put a double rack on the harness.
I would have preferred the fifth strap to be sewed higher up like the Aspect but since the construction isn't as stiff, it might not have worked.
I'm stuck between a M and a Large so I took the L to have the gear loops centered when snug down with a bit of room to spare for thicker layering when on ice.
Clipper slots are well placed.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438

I agree with what others have said, only personally I find the front clippers too far forward. BD clippers get pushed upward by my leg, I can only rack stubbies there, longer screws stab my thigh. They are placed nicely for clipping your tools in on walk offs/lowers.

I also have a BD aspect, I took one 15 foot fall (with a soft catch) and had slight pain in my lower back. Also hurt my hips on semi-hanging belays. I've taken lots of falls in the dead bird, no pain in the slightest.

PaulMudd · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

I guess i'm going to have to go against the grain and say I have been disappointed in mine. I bought it based on my friends glowing reviews of it, ie. the comfort and lightweight. I mostly due longer trad routes and cragging, no ice climbing (well, not enough to call myself an ice climber) It is light and does pack down small, which is great when you're hiking all your stuff to the route. It may be my specific body but I don't find it very comfortable when hanging around at belays. When loaded with a full rack, the wide waist belt seems to want to fold over on me. I also find the front gear loops, although very large and spacious, are to far forward (size Med). When i'm leading my rack tends to fall in front of my leg, and I find myself always having to "sweep" the gear from out of my crotch to make the next move (if that makes sense). As someone mentioned the straps can get a little unruly but not a huge deal. After this one wears out I will not be getting another one. I found my cheap BD momentum more comfortable, but again, maybe i just have a weird shape or something. Just my experience.

It seems to be made very well and is holding up nice. If it didnt fold over and had the gear loops further back, I'd maybe reconsider.

Matt Stroebel · · Lakewood, OH · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 40

When i'm leading my rack tends to fall in front of my leg, and I find myself always having to "sweep" the gear from out of my crotch to make the next move (if that makes sense). quote>

I haven't needed to try this personally, but you can reverse the direction of the gear loops so that they slope towards the rear instead of forward. The outdoor gear lab link that Matt Carroll posted shows how towards the bottom, might help.

PaulMudd · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0
Matt Stroebel wrote: When i'm leading my rack tends to fall in front of my leg, and I find myself always having to "sweep" the gear from out of my crotch to make the next move (if that makes sense). quote> I haven't needed to try this personally, but you can reverse the direction of the gear loops so that they slope towards the rear instead of forward. The outdoor gear lab link that Matt Carroll posted shows how towards the bottom, might help.
Ah, I never thought about that. So i Just reverse the little plastic thing? good to know! thanks
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
PaulMudd wrote: Ah, I never thought about that. So i Just reverse the little plastic thing? good to know! thanks
Yup slide them down, the loops kind of clip into retainers on the harness, then you can pry them apart and clip back together in reverse.
Andy Matthews · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks for all the feedback! It's greatly appreciated!

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 25

Love mine

Nothing further to add. Get one

Eta: Matt and Paul, reversing the gear loops is huge beta.

Jeremy Bauman · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 650
Andy Matthews wrote:Thanks for all the feedback! It's greatly appreciated!
I was fortunate to be the main reviewer and writer for the the OutdoorGearLab review so I got to spend a good amount of time in the AR-395a. At the end of the review, I ended up taking the older model (can't remember the number off the top of my head!) because it was my size while our tester was a Medium.

After using the ATX harness for over a year since, I am still as in love with it as ever. Super comfortable, super light, and I don't even realize it's there. I love the gear loops as well. I've convinced a couple of buddies to shell out for the 395a and FL 365 and they rave about them as well.

When I get a new harness, you can bet it'll be one of those! As with any harness, I can't stress enough how important it is to actually try on several harnesses back to back. When you buy one online based off a size chart, it's really easy to convince yourself something fits when actually another size or another harness would be much better for your body type!

- Jeremy
mike again · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

I have been very happy with mine.

Super comfortable, very packable, functions just like I want it to. Design is high quality. Really like how it racks and moves. Don't notice it on me.

A few notes:
The plastic bits that give the gear loops their shape come off sometimes. They snap back in, but I wonder how durable that will end up being.
The metal buckle/hook that connects the leg loop elastic steps to the waist belt in the back does not stay connected in my experience - I ended up taping it on.

The sizing is very precise - when they measure 31.5 as the lower limit for M, they mean it exactly, as I lost a few pounds and it started riding a little low with heavier racking.

I would buy another one. And may, in a smaller size.

Doug Lintz · · Kearney, NE · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 915
Ben Stabley wrote:....The ar-395a has strap keepers, but they are not stretchy, and the strap ends are sewn backwards and inward facing. Therefore the strap end doesn't even hook the keepers. My extra waist and leg straps often are flopping around. Although it doesn't seem to get in my way, it bugs the OCD part of me.
This is really my only issue with the AR-395a as well. After passing the waist strap through the keeper loop, I tuck it in between me and the harness. I don't feel it or anything but it's not as clean as I would prefer. Otherwise, this is the best harness I've owned.
Andy Matthews · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks again for all the awesome feedback! I live in the Midwest and can't find anywhere that has one in stock. How do they fit as far as sizing goes? I wear a 34-35 waist but have athletic thighs that are wider than my waist so I was thinking I would need a size large by the sizing chart they offer. Suggestions on how it fits?

Linnaeus · · Idaho Selkirks · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0
Andy Matthews wrote:... I wear a 34-35 waist but have athletic thighs that are wider than my waist so I was thinking I would need a size large by the sizing chart they offer. Suggestions on how it fits?
If you have really big thighs, consider getting the women's version. The only difference b/w the mens and women's harnesses appear to be the leg loops-to-waist ratio. The women's have larger leg loops.
Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 8,438
Linnaeus wrote: If you have really big thighs, consider getting the women's version. The only difference b/w the mens and women's harnesses appear to be the leg loops-to-waist ratio. The women's have larger leg loops.
Women's also have a higher rise so the leg loops will hang too low.
Some stores used to deal with Arc'teryx to swap the leg loops between the harness to custom fit them to their client's needs.
Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
Luc-514 wrote: Women's also have a higher rise so the leg loops will hang too low. Some stores used to deal with Arc'teryx to swap the leg loops between the harness to custom fit them to their client's needs.
I use the womens harness because of my ski touring thighs. I could fit a mens small with summer layers, but the legs weren't enough for ice. Leg loops adjust upwards just fine, you're left with a slight gap between the belay loop and the lower tie in point. With the rope tied in you get a normal angle hanging.

I am a 31" waist and have a 21.5" circumference in the middle of my thigh. Women's medium harness with the waist belt full cinched.
Kevin Kent · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 943

I love mine. I'm a size 31-32 waist and I got a small which I cinch most of the way down.

Andy Matthews · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

More good advice, thanks again for all the feed back!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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