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Black Diamond Alpine Bod Review

   

Climbing Harness - Men's

  • Currently 2.3/5
Overall avg rating 2.3 of 5 based on 5 reviews. Most recent review: September 9, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $32 - $40 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros:  Simple, time-tested, can be put on easily while wearing crampons.
Cons:  Not comfortable to hang in, relatively expensive compared to Momentum, no belay loop.
Best Uses:  Mountaineering, teaching classes, ski mountaineering.
User Rating:     
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 (2.5 of 5) based on 4 reviews
Recommendations:  50% of reviewers (2/4) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 3, 2010  
Overview
This is the most popular mountaineering harnesses ever made because it is simple, inexpensive, and gets the job done. This is a Black Diamond Bod Harness without the padding on the waist and no belay loop. This makes the Alpine Bod a lighter and faster drying climbing harness, two important factors in the mountains. It does come with gear loops.

Many climbers love the way the harness goes on and off, even when wearing boots with crampons. That said, if you are a going to climb regularly there are lots of other options that are lighter and don't cost much more money. Put this head-to-head against an ultra-light harness like the the Camp Air and you will see how far lightweight harnesses have come. Or, we recommend something like the Black Diamond Momentum Al or Black Diamond Momentum SA. These harnesses are not much heaver and only $10-20 more expensive. For the extra money, you get a super comfortable harness that can be worn in ANY climbing situation, not just mountaineering.

View our complete climbing harness review to see how this compared to others.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Likes
The Black Diamond Alpine Bod fits a wide variety of leg sizes and waist combos. The leg loops are highly adjustable and, more importantly, they are quick to adjust. Mountaineers love this climbing harness because you can put it on very quickly without having to step your boots and crampons through leg loops. If you are teaching a big class of new climbers, this harness is easy to fit to someone quickly. Also, the harness is relatively compact. Climbing gyms love these harnesses because they can be thrown in one bin where they take up relatively little space. Lastly, they are time-tested and bomber. It is hard to wear them out; just about every piece of webbing is beefy. This harness even comes with gear loops and a haul loop that make it suitable for multi-pitch climbs.

Dislikes
The main dislike with this climbing harness is its groin comfort. The leg loops pull into the groin (most leg loops that mostly apply pressure to the legs). This is not a big deal if it is your first time climbing and you are just doing a couple of routes. But if you are going to climb a lot you will want to upgrade quickly to a more comfortable harness.

The Black Diamond Alpine Bod harness is lighter than the regular Bod but is still heavier than most other light harnesses. This is due to the really big buckle and thick webbing. Unlike most harnesses, there is no self-locking buckle, so you need to double back the harness. This makes putting on the harness take longer and is one more safety check you need to make, especially if you are teaching lots of students. Also, it means that if a harness is a little too small and there is not enough extra webbing you need to take off the harness and find a bigger size. This can be annoying if you are teaching a big group. It is a problem solved with other harnesses such as the Black Diamond Momentum DS or Petzl Corax where one size fits more people. This harness does not have a belay loop, which means the webbing near the groin often dangles (this is annoying when walking around a lot). The solution some people use is to clip a carabiner or locking carabiner to connect the waist and leg loop.

Best Application
This harness is designed for mountaineering and glacier travel.

Value
At $38, this is the least expensive harness there is. It is burly and will last forever. If you are just doing a mountaineering route or two, then this will work for you.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: September 9, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (2.5)

50% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 40%  (2)
2 star: 60%  (3)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 4 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Sep 9, 2013 - 07:34am
WDW4 · Climber · Lexington, KY
I have owned this harness for seven years, it was my first. About time to retire it now, and I'm debating replacing it or getting another.
I have used this climbing for sport, mountaineering, and trad climbing.
I like it's simplicity, ease of use, and versatility. I have always found it to be adequately comfortable.
The drawback to the unattached crotch and waist loops is, of course, no belay loop, which is inconvenient at times.
I don't like the fastening system on the elastic butt straps - they come undone for me unless I tie an extra knot. Minor inconvenience.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 6, 2011 - 01:10pm
Gene · Climber
I agree it isn't the best harness on the market, but I give it three stars due to its bomber construction, relative light weight, and gear loops. Its best use is when you have to pack in your gear to do a back country route. It's also a good spare harness to have around when taking out n00bs or others who don't have their own harness. The lack of padding isn't an issue for me since I have my own more than ample supply. The price is hard to beat.

g

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 6, 2011 - 12:57pm
slidingmike · Climber · CA
This has been pretty much completely obsoleted by the Black Diamond Couloir Harness.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 19, 2010 - 12:37pm
nutjob · Climber · Berkeley, CA
An older version of this was my first harness. I'm not old enough to have started in the swami days, but I was content with a no-padding no-gearloops harness and it served me well for a long time. 16+ years later I still leave it in my trunk as a back-up in case I forget my stuff for the gym. I also hook my son into it in the gym.

The key benefit of the original was compactness and lightness and not getting snagged on stuff in a squeeze chimney. With the gear loops, they've given up the key benefits but it's still less comfortable than a padded harness. That's why only 2 stars. Maybe a decent choice for alpine and squeeze chimney stuff if you cut off the gear loops.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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Black Diamond Alpine Bod
Credit: BlackDiamondEquipment.com
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