Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $70
Pros: waist belt, features,
Cons: gear loops
Best Uses: sport climbing, trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing, gym climbing
The CAMP Quartz CR is a url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climbing_harness"] Rock Climbing Harness[/url] that has a ton of features; it's a true techie's harness. If you find that this harness is difficult to find at major retailers, consider the Black Diamond Chaos; though more expensive ($125), it does win our Editors' Choice Award. For something more budget friendly, check out the Black Diamond Momentum AL, which wins our Best Buy Award and retails for $46.
There is a special belay loop that keeps the belay biner from cross loading, an extra way to tighten the waist belt, special rounding to the padding and self-locking buckles. This harness has one of the most comfortable waist belts we tested. Overall it is a great all-around harness that is highly adjustable and not too expensive, especially considering all the features.
If those features are important to you, then it is a great harness for the money that will excel in any application. If those features are not important, you might also consider the Black Diamond Momentum SA, which is not quite as comfortable but is $10 less. If you don't want the adjustable leg loops, there is the CAMP Quartz (for some reason it costs $5 extra). Also consider the Petzl Sama that is a little less comfortable but also lighter, more streamlined and a little less expensive. Overall, this harness stood out as one we would eagerly grab for long routes in Yosemite.
View our complete Climbing Harness Review to see how this product compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The waist belt is among the most comfortable we tested if not the most. It has a special rounded top that keeps it from digging into your side and feels nice even with your shirt off. While not totally intuitive (we had to read the manual to figure it out), there is a cool adjustable waist belt. When most harnesses get bigger or smaller around the waist the position of the gear loops on the buckle side changes. But this harness, once you figure it out, allows you to center the harness where you want it. Brilliant.
Another feature we finally figured out after reading the manual was the cool belay device feature where you can slide the belay device into a special slot in the belay loop. This makes it hard to cross load the biner or for pear-shaped biners to flip into an awkward position. It does take a little extra effort to set up the belay device this way and we seldom used this feature. But someone who is extra safety conscious or really wants to make sure their belay device is positioned right will appreciate it.
The adjustment for the rear leg loops was one of the best we tested. It is easy to adjust the leg loops while the harness is on. In comparison, the Black Diamond leg loop attachments on their high end harnesses were in a similar spot but much harder to get on and off. The haul loop is just where we like it: below the harness so that the biner does not press into you in chimneys.
We generally prefer harnesses without adjustable leg loops. However, at least with these adjustable leg loops the extra webbing tucked away cleanly and the buckles were low profile. Ironically, the version without the adjustable leg loops costs $5 more, not less.
The gear loops were not our favorites. They don't have much stiffness, which makes them harder to clip and means that the gear clumps up. It's not a big deal, but we definitely preferred other gear loops.
There is no padding between the waist buckle and your skin so if you climb with your shirt off you will feel the metal buckle. It never irritated our skin, but we noticed it. There is a space between the front and rear gear loops for a special biner for ice climbing. While this is great if you are an ice climber, for rock climbing it pushes the rear gear loop further back than it needs to be.
On a minor note, the leg loops are not as comfortable as the waist belt. They are good, but the waist belt stands out while the legs are just good.
This is an all-around harness designed for everything from the gym to El Cap. It is one of the few non "big wall specific harnesses" we would take on El Capitan. It excels at multi-pitch climbing where you are hanging around a lot.
This is a good value for having adjustable leg loops most such harnesses cost at least $10 more. The Black Diamond Momentum SA and Mad Rock Mars are among the few that cost less but they are not as comfortable.
The Camp Jade CR, the female version, has been discontinued; however, you may want to consider the USA Supernova, $90. The Supernova is a harness that has been designed and built by women. It is a lightweight harness that has been defined as comfortable enough for all types of climbing.
The Camp Air Harness, $80, is one of the lightest and most compact full-featured harnesses we have ever seen. You can actually scrunch it up in your hand and put it in your chalk bag. Not surprisingly, its not that comfy to hang around in for hours. But if you are obsessed with traveling light in the mountains, it is hard to find a lighter harness.
— Chris McNamara, Chris Van Leuven
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Most recent review: September 17, 2014
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