First Look Gear Review
Street Price: Varies from $131 - $175 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros: Super light, breathable, quick to adjust, works well as a free climbing harness.
Cons: Edges cut into your sides when hauling massive loads, expensive.
Best Uses: Big wall climbing, aid climbing, all-around trad climbing.
This is by far the lightest and most streamlined of all the big wall harnesses we tested. In fact, it is so light that I use this harness a lot trad climbing and gym climbing. If you want a harness for long multi-pitch routes with the occasional big wall, this is the harness to get. And considering I hate hauling loads, and generally spend less than two nights on a wall, this is the wall harness I reach for most often. If you are hauling massive loads, or hanging around in your harness for many days, go with the Metolius Waldo that has beefier and cozier padding. The best value is still the Petzl Calidris, which is half the cost of the B360a.
At 12.7 ounces, it is almost half the weight of the next lightest big wall harness we tested and three times lighter than the heaviest harness, the Yates Shield Harness. It is also by far the most compact; it compacts into the size of King Cobra can. Most big wall harnesses feel like you are putting on an industrial rigging harness, not so with the B360a.
The harness has a generous waist belt and leg loops so there is plenty of support. However, there is no getting around the fact the edge of the material is thin. The edges are not big, fuzzy and rounded like most other big wall harnesses. So when you are hauling that 180-pound load, you feel the edges of the harness in your sides much more than a harness like the Waldo.
This one of the most breathable big wall harness we tested, along with the Calidris. It has a wide waist belt with perforated foam and mesh that ventilates well. This comes in handy on those 90+ degree Valley or Zion days.
This and the Calidris are the only wall harness we have tested to have self-locking buckles. It is easy and fast to adjust. But unlike many big wall harnesses that have two buckles at the waist, this only has one. We like that. Simple is better. It has buckles on the rear which make it easy to drop into the relief position.
We really like that you can entirely remove the leg loops to sleep at night. Thank you Arc'teryx! Removing the leg loops also turns this into a deluxe swami belt for that easy Alpine rock route where you want to go fast and light. More and more big wall harness designs won't let you remove the leg loops, which means you either have to sleep with the entire harness on or remove it and sleep with the rope tied around your waist (or bring some webbing to make a swami belt).
The Arc'teryx gear loops are really easy to clip and keep the gear from bunching up at the low point. Unfortunately they are not rated to be that strong. That is a bummer because I love to be able to confidently clip the portaledge to the side of the harness when setting up the bivy or descending the East Ledges. There are three gear loops on each side. I generally don't like gear loops that overlap each other, because your gear gets all clustered. But you can always cut off a gear loop or just remove the plastic by following the video on their product page. The haul loop is a nice low-profile size. It is the only haul loop on a wall harness that is not rated to full strength. At first, this bummed me out. But now I are asking myself, "How strong does a haul loop really need to be?" After all, you are just trailing a haul line. And this is the most low profile haul loop, which makes the harness better in tight chimneys. Jury is still out.
— Chris McNamara
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: March 5, 2013
Where's the Best Price?
*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Related Gear Reviews
Recent Best-in-Class Reviews