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Best Rock Climbing Harness

Are you looking for the best rock climbing harness for you? This buying guide and review of our top five best rock climbing harness may be what you need. This article teaches you harness basics and highlights some of the best climbing harnesses in the market.

Seasoned rock climbers will agree with this statement: Rock climbing harnesses have come a long way.

Technological advancements mean that you can now get breathable mesh waist belt liners, padding, reinforced leg hoops, gear loops, along with other features. These changes indicate that you can now get more secure and comfortable harnesses than ever before.

Picking the right harness can be a challenge because we all have different body shapes. In this guide, we highlight its essential features. We will also share with you our top five best rock climbing harness, complete with an editor’s choice harness.

Buying guide

Before you go climbing

Inspect all your equipment, including the harness. It will involve taking safety training,

There are some features you should look out for when purchasing a safety harness

Waist belt and Leg Loops

There are two main elements to a harness: waist belt and leg loops

Waist belt

A comfortable fit should leave some room to fit a few fingers at most. If it is loose, it’ll ride up as you climb. When it’s too tight, you feel constricted in when standing or walking around. The belt should be just above the hip bones, and you shouldn’t be able to pull it down over your hips. For those with narrow hips, a full body harness is better.

Every waist belt comes with gear loops where you store your chalk bag, carabiners, quick draws and other equipment. They attached with a double backed strap that secures them. A well-fitted waist belt ensures that the belay and gear loops are centered, with both loops equidistant.

Leg loops

Depending on the brand, you can get a harness with adjustable leg loops. Some, however, do not offer this option. What you choose is a matter of preference- one-size-fits-all is just as good. If you’re starting out and don’t want to make a lot of personal adjustments that may affect your climb, the latter option works best.

On cold days where you have to wear thick pants, an adjustable strap would be better. You get to adjust them to relieve pressure on the legs. While this looks like an added advantage, the leg straps on the other type of harness stretch. Manufacturers have usually taken into account the size of the person and the clothes they’d wear.

The leg loops, when properly fitted, should both not slide down or hinder your movement.

Material

There are varying types of elements used by manufacturers today. Some of them have breathable mesh material, which means you get less back sweat. The disadvantage of it is that it contains less padding compared to its counterpart. When you fall, the harness won’t be comfortable against your back as compared to one with more stuffing.

Harnesses with more padding tend to be cheaper than breathable ones. Beginners are advised to take this option because they’ll likely fall more and the extra padding will provide them with much-needed comfort.

Comfort

A good harness allows you to walk around comfortably with no rubbing or significant restriction. The buckles should not dig in when seated. When it comes to comfort, the things to consider most is the resting period. It is when you’re hanging away from the rock wall for an extended period.

During your rest, a good harness will ensure that your legs do not go numb. When that happens, it means that circulation has been cut off, and you don’t want this before resuming your climb. To prevent this, try on the harness and hang for a few minutes to see if it’s comfortable for you.

Pricing

We tend to think that the more expensive something is, the better it is. It is not necessarily the case with rock climbing harnesses. Before the product gets released into the market, the manufacturers have to certify that they are safe. Therefore, low-end gear from well-established cannot be considered less reliable than a high-end brand.

The expensive brands tend to have extra non-safety features, which drive up the price. Whatever you go for is a matter of personal preference. Just make sure it’s a well-known, reputable brand.

Note: While tempting, do not get a second-hand harness. That is because you don’t know what type of care the previous owner gave it. It could likely prove fatal if you happen to overlook a problem with it.

Purchase location

When it comes to purchasing a harness, you have two options: an outdoor store or an online store.

At a physical store, prices tend to be higher than if you were to order the equipment online. It does, however, have its benefits, especially if there is knowledgeable staff to help you out. You can try different harnesses to find out which one is the most comfortable for rock climbing. The salespeople will also be able to explain and advise you on what to go for depending on what features matter to you.

When buying online, you have to rely on buying guides such as this one for more information. If pricing is a concern, it is the better purchase point, though it depends on the shipping costs.

What you do however need to be careful about is who you get your equipment. Take time to research the company and see what others have to say about them. Examples of reputable brands are Petzl, Black Diamond, Mammut, Edelrid, DMM, Arc’Teryx and Wild Country.

With an online store, you have to wait for shipping. For a physical store, you’re able to buy a harness and use it the same day. If you want the best of both options, you can first try different harnesses at a physical store. When you’ve selected your preferred brand, look for the exact one online. This approach can pose a moral dilemma to some, so it’s really up to you.

Harness care

Keep your harness from chemicals and direct sunlight. Before storing, confirm that it is dry and after that store at room temperature in a dark place. Should it get dirty, use a wild multipurpose detergent or rope cleaners available in the market. Do not put it out in the sun after, but instead place it in a warm room and give it time to dry completely.

 

Top 5 reviews

RankingBrand NameOne size fits all Rating
1Black Diamond Primrose Women’s HarnessYes4.7
2Black Diamond Momentum HarnessYes4.7
3Petzl Kids’ Macchu Climbing HarnessNo 4.5
4Black Diamond Vario Speed HarnessYes 4.4
5Oumers Safe Seat BeltsNo 4.3

 

Black Diamond Primrose Women’s Harness

This harness comes with a pre-threaded waist belt buckle with Speed Adjust. It is bull-horn shaped and built using Dual Core construction with an emphasis on comfort when hanging. Black Diamond has used their trakFit adjustment design which allows for better leg loop customization.

There is an adjustable rear elastic riser, along with four gear loops that have been pressure molded into the waist belt and a haul loops. It is specially designed for female climbers for all styles of climbing. Women spend less time adjusting the leg loops and waist belt with Primrose.

Pros

  • It is tailored toward women as they have a different body structure from men
  • It can apply for any climbing
  • You can adjust both the leg loops and waist belt

Cons

  • It is only suitable for women

 

View price on Amazon

 

Black Diamond Momentum Harness

With this harness, you get maximum comfort when at a hanging belay. It is primarily due to the Dual Core Construction used by Black Diamond for their bullhorn-shaped waist belts. You also get stable balance when hanging. The CLPE foam insert is encased within a durable, abrasion-resistant nylon for flexible performance

The waist belt buckle is pre-threaded Speed Adjust, making it easy to use. You also have their trakFit leg loops for easy adjustments. It comes with four gear loops and a haul loop. The former is pressure molded into the gear for maximum protection. It is suitable for multiple climbing disciplines.

Pros

  • It has adjustable leg and loops
  • Used for different types of climbing activities
  • It is flexible and can fit anyone

Cons

  • The waist belt doesn’t contain breathable fabric

 

View price on Amazon

 

Petzl Kids’ Macchu Climbing Harness

This brand uses Endoframe Technology construction which guarantees superb weight distribution that gives children optimal comfort. Both the waist belt and leg loops have double straps. The waist belt is wider on the side to account for different sized children.

For maximum protection, the harness contains two double back buckles. They offer precise centering for a perfect fit. The connection loop is colored for that quick visual check of the belayer’s connection point when you’re hanging during rest. The leg loops also adjust to suit the child and come with detachable elastics. The front has two rigid equipment loops and rear buckle where you can attach a chalk bag.

This rock climbing harness can be used by the child for some years as it adjusts to suit the growth difference.

Pros

  • Specifically tailored for children
  • It can use used for some years until the child outgrows it
  • It has double-strapped waist belt and leg loops
  • It has a colored connection loop

Cons

  • It has two gear loops
  • You have to attach the chalk bag to the rear buckle.

 

View price on Amazon

 

Black Diamond Vario Speed Harness

This material used to make this harness is nylon. It is a simple one-size-fits-all design that can fit both children and adults without causing a headache when making adjustments.

The waist belt has a large quick-adjust pre-threaded buckle that doesn’t require double backing. The leg loops also adjust quite as fast. The recommended use of this harness is the gym, but it is also sturdy enough for rock climbing and guide schools.

Pros

  • It’s a one-size-fits-all design
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor climbing
  • The buckle doesn’t require double backing to fit securely

Cons

  • Not a suitable fit for younger children

 

View price on Amazon

 

Oumers Safe Seat Belts

This harness is made from polyester and reinforced with tie-in point and stitching. The waist belt and leg loop have a breathable mesh liner. This breathable fabric means that your back doesn’t sweat during a climb. The waist belt has two double-back buckles that adjust for a pleasant and secure fit all at once.

It is suitable for rock and gym climbing, mountaineering, fire rescue, caving and working on high levels of a building.

 

Pros

  • It is multipurpose
  • It has two double-back buckles
  • The waist belt has a breathable mesh liner

Cons

  • It doesn’t contain padding

 

View price on Amazon

 

Comparison Table

BrandBlack Diamond Primrose Women’s HarnessBlack Diamond Momentum HarnessPetzl Kids’ Macchu Climbing HarnessBlack Diamond Vario Speed HarnessOumers Safe Seat Belts
Waist size (cm)All-aroundAll-around54-6458-10761-122
Leg size (cm)All-aroundAll-around34-4443-7141- 80
PurchaseBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy Now

 

Final verdict

Considering all the factors that make a good harness, our best pick is the Black Diamond Momentum Harness. The company, Black Diamond, is a reputable company. They specifically specialize in climbing, mountain and skiing gear, and have the technology to back it. Their TrakFit leg hoops technology has a pending patent, an induction the company takes their equipment advancements seriously. Another factor we considered was that one size fits all.

We are by no means saying this is the best equipment on the market, and we’re just letting you know what we prefer. All the harnesses on our list are guaranteed to keep you safe and comfortable during a climb. That said, all the best when selecting the best rock climbing harness for you!

Top Five Best Rock Climbing Helmets

Are you looking for a light and durable helmet for rock climbing? This buying guide and review of our top five best rock climbing helmets maybe just what you need to make an informed purchase. The buying guide highlights the qualities of a good one while the review points you to available options.

No one likes bulky helmets. If you’re into rock climbing, during the intensive climb, it making you hot and sweaty only adds to the fatigue. Before heading out to buy a helmet, check out our buying guide and top recommendations. In the end, we’ll share with you our preferred rock climbing helmet and why you should consider purchasing it.

Buying guide

Why helmets are important

Rock climbing is a dangerous sport but there are some safety measures you can take to minimize the risk of serious injury. For the most part, your actions are what dictate your safety. Among other measures, wearing a helmet is crucial. Some of the reasons include:

  • In sports, construction and other cases, helmets have been proven to save lives and prevent head injuries.
  • The risk of not wearing a helmet outweighs the benefits even if you’re particularly not a fan of them.
  • Some rocks might come loose and hit you at a high velocity that could cause severe head injuries.
  • Nowadays, because of technological advancements, helmets are lighter and are better ventilated. They also do more than protect you from falling rocks, but also during a fall.
  • In case your leg catches on the rope and flips you upside down, your head has protection when you inevitably hit the wall,
  • It is far cheaper than medical treatment and surgeries you may have to endure after a head injury.

When it comes to purchasing a helmet, there are some factors to consider.

Type of form: Expanded Polystyrene vs. Expanded Polypropylene

There are two foam types that you will come across. They are Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Expanded Polypropylene (EPP).

EPS is shock-absorbing foam used in helmets for many years now. The material is sturdy and works quite well in absorbing impact. When this happens, the structure of the foam crushes and fractures. That is problematic because it can only protect you from one blow. In case of a second one, it won’t be of much use. Some helmets have delicate EPS and have to be mindful not to roughly throw them on the ground because they get damaged easily

EPP, on the other hand, absorbs impact without shattering. It consists of the same material as car bumpers. The sturdy nature of it is what makes it the preferred material when looking for a helmet. The challenge, however, is that they tend to be more expensive as they are not readily available as their EPS counterpart.

Safety tip: When you see cracks on the inside of your helmet, it is time for a replacement.

Hard shell vs. Climbing Helmet Type

Shell foam, hard shell or Hybrid helmet

Shell foam is lightweight and made of either polypropylene or polystyrene. These are similar to bicycle helmets. They also come with a thin layer of polycarbonate that protects against minor bumps. These offer better ventilation and comfort because they are lightweight. The downside is that they are fragile and tend to be costly.

A hard shell helmet is typically made with ABS plastic and has a thin foam liner. The shell pairs with a strap suspension system that stops the force of an impact to your head. It is similar to what you see construction workers wear. They are durable and cheap. Hard shell is excellent as one-size-fits-all but is cumbersome and not well ventilated.

Hybrid Helmets have an ABS plastic shell paired with EPS or EPP form. This technological blend offers a perfect balance between weight and durability as well as pricing.

Weight

For many years, rock climbers would opt out of using helmets because of their weight and how uncomfortable they were. A good weight for helmets is 13 ounces. Some models weigh as little as 5.1 ounces. You want a light one especially if you’re embarking on a day-long rock climbing session. They are more comfortable and do not shift around when you turn your neck, something that often happens with heavier models.

Rule of thumb: With EPS helmets, the lighter they are, the more fragile they are. If you are getting this model, it is advisable to go for the heavier ones.

Ventilation

Ventilation has its advantages and disadvantages. For the most part, rock climbers are happy that they can purchase helmets that won’t make their heads get hot and sweaty. However, more ventilation means less coverage. Though somewhat unlikely, a small piece of rock could hit your head. When looking for a helmet, find one that balance both ventilation and coverage. Ideally, it should have adjustable ventilation in case you’re out on a cold day.

Comfort and Size
Ultimately, your rock climbing helmet needs to be comfortable. You don’t want to be fidgeting in the middle of a climb. If it’s a bother, you’re likely to take it off and put yourself at risk. The comfort of a helmet is dependent on the shape of your head. Take time to find one that suits your skulls size and shape.
If you can, try it on before purchase. Companies, however, do factor in different shapes when coming up with the final design, so it’s unlikely you’ll get one that doesn’t suit you if you order it online.

Get a helmet that fits perfectly on your head. If it’s pressing against your head, get a larger size. To find out if it’s too big, nod or moves around. If it moves back and forth, you can adjust the straps for better fitting. Should that not work, a smaller size is best. To find out the circumference of your head, measure the largest part of the head. It is about an inch above the eyebrows

When picking a helmet, look for one with an adjustable central fit system to give you a better fit despite the size of your head.

Rating table

Using the guide above, here is a look at our top picks of best rock climbing helmets

RankingBrand NameWeightRating
1Petzl Vertex Vent 2 Helmet1.3 pounds4.7
2OUTAD Multi-Sport Helmets 13.7 ounces4.6
3 Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet11.5 ounces 4.5
4Mammut Skywalker 2 Climbing Helmet13.4 ounces 4.4
5Petzl Multi-Purpose Helmet13.6 ounces 4.3

 

Petzl Vertex Vent 2 Helmet

The outer shell of this helmet deforms upon impact and absorbs the shock. This ability is due to the polycarbonate and high-strength polyester used for the shell form. The six-point textile suspension on the inside conforms incredibly well to any head shape. It also eliminates painful pressure points that you would have after wearing a helmet all day. If you’re used to lighter helmets, it might take a while to get used to the Petzl Vertex.

The chin strap is secure, minimizing the risk of you losing the helmet when falling. A Center Fit system allows you to adjust the headband until it centers on the head. This gear has proper ventilation. You can use the slide shutters over the vent holes to ventilate as needed. You can do this when you’re wearing the helmet.

The helmet is made to accommodate accessories such as hearing protection, headlamps, and protective visor/shields.

Pros

  • It is a hard shell helmet
  • It is comfortable to wear
  • There are vent holes you can adjust to meet your ventilation requirements
  • The design allows for accessories

Cons

  • It is bit on the heavy side for helmets
  • It is more expensive than other brands

 

View price on Amazon

 

OUTAD Multi-Sport Helmets

This gear is for children. It consists of ABS EPS foam lined with soft cotton, making it both sturdy and durable. You are guaranteed that it will absorb impact and protect your head during a fall or from rocks. It is lightweight, so it will not cause additional pressure on a child’s head.

The vents around the helmet allow for wind to blow through, keeping cool on a typical hot sweaty day. During cold days, the child is advised to wear an extra layer of fabric under the helmet. An adjustable strap is fitted on the helmet and suits both boys and girls. It comes in three different sizes, small, medium and large. It comes in various colors that a child would be excited about wearing every time.

You can use it for other outdoor activities such as skating, cycling, hiking or roller skating.

Pros

  • Tailored for children
  • It comes in varying sizes to account for a more extensive age bracket
  • The helmet comes in multiple colors suitable for boys and girls
  • A child can wear it for numerous outdoor activities, not just rock climbing

Cons

  • It could be lighter, especially given it’s for children
  • Not ideal for a cold day

 

View price on Amazon

 

Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

Made of molded EPS foam, this hybrid design helmet comes with an adjustable suspension system. You can, therefore, fine-tune the adjustments for a super comfortable fit. It also has among the most secure headlamp clips in the market.

Of all the Black Diamond brand helmets, this is the most durable, which makes it ideal for rock climbing. You can get this helmet in two sizes. This particular design has improved fit and weight, shaving off about 1.4 ounces off the original gear.

Pros

  • It is a hybrid design
  • It has an adjustable suspension system for precise adjustments
  • Among the most secure headlamp clips available today
  • Available in two sizes

Cons

  • It’s not very well ventilated

 

View price on Amazon

 

Mammut Skywalker 2 Climbing Helmet

The helmet contains tough EPS foam and a hard plastic shell. It comes with a convenient thumb wheel that allows you to make quick adjustments for a precise fit. You can make these changes with one hand. It is especially important if you’re in the middle of a climb and had made the adjustments too tight and you want to relieve some pressure

It has several openings that provide you with proper ventilation during an ascent. You won’t, however, be please in a cold breeze blows in the middle of a climb. There is a headlamp clip integrated into the design. An adjustable chin strap gives you better fitting.

Pros

  • It is a hard shell helmet, which makes it durable
  • It has plenty of ventilation
  • You can make adjustments to the helmet using one hand

Cons

  • Not ideal for a cold day

 

View price on Amazon

 

Petzl – ELIOS Helmet

The Petzl ELIOS is a multi-purpose helmet, making it preferable if you do a lot of outdoor sports. These sports include cannoning, mountaineering, and caving. It is light in weight, and the shell is of ABS plastic.

The buckle adjustments are on the sides away from the chin, giving you a more comfortable fit. You can adjust the headband while the helmet is still on. Heads of a large circumference might find this to be a tight fit. Sliding ventilation shutters give you a chance to open and close depending on weather conditions.

Pros

  • You can use it for more than rock climbing
  • It has a hard shell
  • Adjusts to different head shapes
  • You can regulate the ventilation as per need

Cons

  • It has a smaller fit

 

View price on Amazon

 

Comparison table

BrandPetzl Vertex Vent 2 HelmetOUTAD Multi-Sport HelmetsBlack Diamond Half Dome HelmetMammut Skywalker 2 Climbing HelmetPetzl Multi-Purpose Helmet
Size (cm) 53-6350-54, 54-58, 58-6048 – 57, 55 – 61.553-6148-56
TypeHard shellHard shellHybridHard shellHard shell
PurchaseBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy Now

 

We have a winner

When it comes to climbing helmets, the editor’s choice is Petzl Vertex Vent 2 Helmet. We selected it because it is a hard shell helmet meaning it is durable. Though it is on the heavier side, it is still a comfortable enough weight. It is an indication that it is better at withstanding trauma than another helmet on the list. You also get the advantage of adjustable ventilation, and you can add accessories that you wish to have. Though pricey, given what you get, we think it’s worth it. What would your pick be and why?