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Comfortable and packable climbing harness suggestions


Original Post
dsauerbrun · · Boulder · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 55

so my BD momentum(size M) is turning 5 pretty soon and I figure that's a pretty good number of years for retirement, especially with all the 20% sales going on.

The momentum isn't the most uncomfortable harness in the world, but I figure I can spend some more money and be comfortable for those long multipitches.

I'm going to be using this harness for sport, trad, and alpine climbing(I'll probably get a separate harness for bigwalling if i even get into it)... I'm not super concerned about weight, but I'd like for it to be packable for my alpine adventures. Another issue I have is that I'm right in between most medium and large sizes; my left gear loop on my momentum is usually in a really awkward spot. So bonus points for harnesses that have dual buckles.

Here are some harnesses that I've tried so far:

1. Arcteryx ar-395a (gear loops were fine on the medium but it was less comfortable than my momentum)
2. Petzl Adjama (medium had awkward gear loop placement, large was just on the cusp of fitting, if I lose a little weight, I'm screwed... it was decently comfortable but I feel like I could do better).
3. Petzl Corax (dual buckles made the fit perfect, I hung in it for 20 minutes and it was great... downside is that it doesn't pack down very well)

Any others people could recommend for my specific desires?

JDMCO · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

I have a Sitta, it packs nice and small. Pretty comfortable too.

dsauerbrun · · Boulder · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 55
JDMCO wrote:I have a Sitta, it packs nice and small. Pretty comfortable too.
most things i've read online is that the sitta is more comfortable than you'd expect(which isn't much since it looks like a piece of webbing)... is it objectively comfortable? Like, how would you rate it in a hanging belay?

After about 10 minutes of hanging in my momentum i start getting pain in my thighs and am itching to start climbing; I'm hoping to find something where I can handle more time in a hanging spot.
TaylorP · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

I tried on a sitta and didn't think it was comfortable at all, partially because the fit was kinda off (my waist is size small but legs aren't adjustable and only fit the medium). I had serious pressure points on my waist that were uncomfortable for hanging longer than 2 minutes. I ended up buying the 395a and its awesome, but you didn't like it. So forget what I think...go try the Sitta!

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

I'd look into the BD Solution if you liked the Momentum- super packable (similar to Arc'Teryx).

For comfort, the crowd seems to agree that the Misty Mountain Cadillac is the best (although I personally didnt care for mine).

For me, I climb in the Edelrid Orion, which is hands down the most comfortable harness on the market- it is not, however, the most packable. If weight/pack size matters, I climb in my Camp Laser- pretty comfy, but unfortunately not made anymore.

Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 80

Take a look at the BD Solution. It's comparable to the (much more expensive) Arc'teryx harnesses. It (Edit: See Gavin's comment below about it using a different tech) is even lighter. I just bought one to replace a Mummut Ophir 3 and it's wayyyy more comfortable. Plus the blue color is bangin'.

Some things to keep in mind:
1) it will fit differently then your Momentum, so size accordingly
2) BD manufactures it so that the gear loops are symmetric when the harness is tightened down as much as possible. So with that in mind you want to err on a larger size as long as it still tightens down safely. *****See Noah's Comment Below. My experience with the gear loops was based solely on the men's medium, women's XS, and women's small versions. I assumed it was the same for the other sizes, but I guess it's not. Apparently on the larger versions the right gear loops are an issue. On the smaller ones I've found it to be the positioning of the left gear loops too far back if the harness isn't cinched down.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

You might take a look at edelrid stuff. I have a more sport harness, The Jay II, but it has been good on long climbs. I try to avoid the full hanging belay but in the semi hanging it has been good. I realllllllly like that the waist belt is unattached from the padding and gear loops so you can slide them around and always have it perfect for getting at your gear. It doesn't have a haul loop though which is a bummer.

Jared · · Los Angeles · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

Metolius builds some great and super comfortable harnesses. I have the "trad" version. They have full strength gear loops and have a super smart way to adjust the distance between the leg loops and the waist, they have a patent on it I believe. It is not a gimmick. The adjustment controls how your weight is balanced between you legs and waist while hanging. The Trad harness is light, flexible, easy to stuff in a pack and easily the most comfortable harness I own. I have Arcteryx and Petzl harness too and this one is my go to for sport and also long days. And Metolius is made in the USA and not super expensive.

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 380

I've had a bunch of Arc'Teryx harnesses. They all pack down pretty well (reason I got them), but I wouldn't call any of them particularly comfortable. It also seems like the racking loops are pretty badly offset on most Arc'Teryx models - perhaps if one were fat enough they'd achieve some kind of symmetry, but I always find the left gear loops pretty annoying to use. For reference I currently have an M270 for ice/mixed, and a R300 for rock. Looking hard at the new DMM Flexform harnesses...

stolo · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 110

I just ordered a BD solution today! Was just over border on bigger size, so went with it, glad to read Alex's comment!

I have the corax now. It's fine... Has clipper slots, is fairly comfortable, and cheap but it's heavy, bulky and does not pack well. Also don't really like the rear gear loops.

Don Ferris · · Eldorado Springs · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 175

I have the camp flash. It packs to the size of a softball, probably smaller. It's comfortable enough for me as long as I'm wearing a shirt. Don't really hang too much. The hanging belays that I have endured in it haven't been a deal breaker.

JDMCO · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0
dsauerbrun wrote: most things i've read online is that the sitta is more comfortable than you'd expect(which isn't much since it looks like a piece of webbing)... is it objectively comfortable? Like, how would you rate it in a hanging belay? After about 10 minutes of hanging in my momentum i start getting pain in my thighs and am itching to start climbing; I'm hoping to find something where I can handle more time in a hanging spot.
I think it depends a lot on the fit, it fits me really well, and I havent had any problems hanging in it, but I will say I havent hung a really long time in it (10+ minutes).

Id definitely try out at the store if you can and see, i think its more comfortable than the momentum I have, as i think it seems to distribute weight around my waist a bit better, after a certain amount of time hanging in the momentum you can feel the foam padding sort of giving way to the piece of webbing. Whereas the sitta uses the little dyneema strings throughout the entire waistband.
Gavin W · · Surrey, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 183
Alexander Stathis wrote:Take a look at the BD Solution. It's comparable to the (much more expensive) Arc'teryx harnesses. It uses the same tech and is even lighter. I just bought one to replace a Mummut Ophir 3 and it's wayyyy more comfortable. Plus the blue color is bangin'. Some things to keep in mind: 1) it will fit differently then your Momentum, so size accordingly 2) BD manufactures it so that the gear loops are symmetric when the harness is tightened down as much as possible. So with that in mind you want to err on a larger size as long as it still tightens down safely.
Just gonna jump in really quick to point out that the BD Solution uses different tech than the Arc'teryx harnesses. The BD harness that uses the same tech is the Chaos.
Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

BD Solution is a great choice if you can stand the gear loops. REI has it so it should be easy to find and try on.

coldfinger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 55

Edelrid Wing!!!!

chris murphy · · Centennial Co · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 20

I would also go with the solution, light packable and a decent price. I had the sitta/sama for a total of 4 weeks due to the rear gear loops not holding more then 2 cams. (size small are a different then the gear loops on anything bigger) I think the gear loops are more then enough to hold a double rack and draws. The solution won gear of the year over every other harness this past year in the same category. In the 20 years I've been climbing its one of the most conformable and packable harnesses ive had spending less then $100 for it. I felt the need to comment on was a medium in the momentum but is a small for an accurate fit with gear loops sitting in the correct orientation. Sama and sitta both small as well with new speed buckels, gear loops did not sit center.

Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105
Alexander Stathis wrote:Take a look at the BD Solution. It's comparable to the (much more expensive) Arc'teryx harnesses. It uses the same tech and is even lighter. I just bought one to replace a Mummut Ophir 3 and it's wayyyy more comfortable. Plus the blue color is bangin'. Some things to keep in mind: 1) it will fit differently then your Momentum, so size accordingly 2) BD manufactures it so that the gear loops are symmetric when the harness is tightened down as much as possible. So with that in mind you want to err on a larger size as long as it still tightens down safely.
That comment about the gear loops is not accurate, at least for sizes L and XL. I wear an XL cinched all the way down and the right front gear loop is waaaaay out in front, to the point of being useless. I tried a size L but it has the same problem on me even though it's nowhere near cinched down. Seems like the only way to center the gear loops on your body is to let the top tie-in point be egregiously off-center.

This is basically the only problem with this otherwise excellent harness, but it's bad enough to render it unusable for trad.
Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 80
Gavin W wrote:Just gonna jump in really quick to point out that the BD Solution uses different tech than the Arc'teryx harnesses. The BD harness that uses the same tech is the Chaos.
Thanks Gavin, you're absolutely right. I was mistaken. I've edited the original post.

Noah Yetter wrote: That comment about the gear loops is not accurate, at least for sizes L and XL. I wear an XL cinched all the way down and the right front gear loop is waaaaay out in front, to the point of being useless. I tried a size L but it has the same problem on me even though it's nowhere near cinched down. Seems like the only way to center the gear loops on your body is to let the top tie-in point be egregiously off-center. This is basically the only problem with this otherwise excellent harness, but it's bad enough to render it unusable for trad.
I've edited my post to include a reference to your comment. I only have experience with the men's M, and women's XS and small. In those cases, the gear loops on the right are okay, but the left ones are rotated too far back unless the harness is the cinched all the way down. I guess I assumed they would have placed the gear loops on the right further back on the larger harnesses, but maybe that's not the case? Anyways, it seems like this is an annoying enough issue for BD to take notice and hopefully make improvements in later models because the price, weight, and comfort of the Solution otherwise can't be beat.

Also, just for further reference, I bought the XS for my girlfriend because the waist was the right size, but the leg loops were too small and tight to be comfortable for her. She's not a bike racer or anything, and her thighs aren't exceptionally large, so that's something to keep in mind. I ended up getting her the small where the leg loops fit nicely but the waist has to be tightened down absolutely to the end.
Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

It's also possible that I'm a weirdo and just prefer my loops further back than normal people...

Alexander Stathis · · Athens, GA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 80
Noah Yetter wrote:It's also possible that I'm a weirdo and just prefer my loops further back than normal people...
Nah, once I read your comment I started looking into it. Here's a picture of someone wearing a men's XL size harness.



You can see how tight the harness is and where the gear loops are. I guess the advice here is to just be aware that the sizing and gear loops can be goofy and to just try the harness on somewhere first to make sure you like it.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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