Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $65 | Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros: Easy to get a great fit, versatile, comfortable, inexpensive
Cons: Heavy, lots of buckles, less mobility
Best Uses: Sport, trad, gym climbing, long climbs
From Yosemite big walls to grungy climbing gyms, this harness has what you need to get the job done. For years, the Petzl Corax has been a popular harness for good reason. It is the winner of our Best Buy award because it offers a terrific value for only $65. If you're looking for a harness that can do it all, this is the one for you. It's quite comfy and does everything from ice climbing to long multi-pitch trad routes. Additionally, the dual front buckles make getting a perfect fit super easy, but this bonus comes with a little added weight.
The Corax's gear loops are similar to the Petzl Sama, which costs the same price; however, the Sama is lighter and better for sport or alpine climbing. That said, this is a favorite harness of many serious climbers, so if you're looking for a harness that doesn't break the bank, it's hard to go wrong with this one. Continue reading to see how this harness stacks up against the others in our Men's Climbing Harness review.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Versatility is the name of the game with the Petzl Corax. This is a great all-around harness that will carry you through your next trad lead, gym climb, or long multi-pitch route with ease. And for just $65, what's not to love about our Best Buy winner?
We give this harness a 7/10 for standing comfort. By no means was it uncomfortable to stand in, but it wasn't as comfortable as lighter harnesses like the Arc'teryx AR-395a that seemed to disappear when you put them on. However, the Corax's mesh and perforated foam allows it to be fairly breathable. None of our testers complained about this harness feeling sweaty, buti t would have scored higher in this metric if it was a bit lighter and more flexible.
If you're looking for hanging comfort in an all-around harness, this one is difficult to beat. It uses foam to pad a webbing strap that runs around the circumference of the waist. Dual webbing designs like Petzl's own Endoframe technology may distribute weight more efficiently, but we found the classic design of the Corax plenty comfortable thanks to the generous padding. The Metolius Safe Tech All-Around scored slightly higher because it has even thicker padding, however, the Safe Tech wasn't as comfortable for standing. In the past, we've used the Corax for long bouts of hanging on big walls without much complaint. This harness is prepared to give you all day comfort while tackling long hanging belays or repeated falls on your latest project.
This harness excels at long multi-pitch routes thanks to the comfortable waist belt and gear loops that can accommodate 9-10 bulky sport draws without bunching. One complaint about the front gear loops is that they don't stick out as far as others and it's slightly harder to clip gear to them compared with rigid gear loops like the ones on the Black Diamond Chaos. Also, the rear gear loops are floppy to help accommodate a backpack, but one downside is that they are slightly harder to clip. Because harnesses that are lighter are better suited to alpine climbs that require wearing a pack, some of our testers think that perky rear gear loops would have been a nice touch. Some of us loved the gear loop configuration on this harness. At the end of the day, personal preference is the biggest factor that determines the quality of the Corax's gear loops.
One nice feature Petzl has updated on their new harnesses is that the top tie in point sicks out more than most harnesses. This makes it just that much easier to re-tie in at the top of the climb if you're lowering through chains. Other tie-in points like the one on the Momentum don't stick out and were relatively more difficult to use. If you climb with double or twin ropes, the larger tie-in points will also be a welcome feature.
The harness is pretty soft and moves with you, but it wasn't as mobile as the Petzl Sama, which is lighter and features a more contoured design. That said, we have friends who've owned this harness for years and they climb harder than we do without complaining about any lack of mobility.
This harness is great for almost all of your vertical endeavors. We have used it while climbing sport trad, alpine, big walls, ice, in the gym, and more. Simply put, this harness has pretty much everything you need for any style of climbing. If you want one harness to do it all, this is an excellent pick especially considering the moderately low price point.
While it is very versatile, it isn't necessarily the best at every application. Two ice clipper slots are nice for ice and alpine, but the relatively high weight compared with other harnesses is a setback. Also, the foam used in this harness doesn't pack down very well if you have to throw it in your backpack for the approach. For sport climbing, one minor thing that could be improved would be to position the gear loops a little further forward.
Most harness manufactures make 4-5 harness sizes to cover waist sizes from 24 to 40 inches, the Petzl Corax can cover this range in two sizes thanks to its dual buckles. Each size has 11 inches within its acceptable range. If you love lending your harness to friends, the Corax makes it super easy to get a great fit. Another advantage of the dual buckles is that you will always be able to center the gear loops to the belay loop. If you've ever worn a poor fitting harness with off kilter gear loops, you'll understand how nice of a feature this is.
This harness can and does handle everything. It may not be the best pick for alpine or sport climbing, but if you're looking for one harness to use year round, this one is tough to beat.
Considering its high level of versatility and ability to accommodate a wide range of sizes, this harness is the best value of any in the review and as such is the winner of our Best Buy award. If you buy it and decide its not exactly what you want, it's perfect to keep around as a loaner harness for friends since it has such great adjustability. For $65 this is a fantastic harness at a good price, especially considering you could shell out $160 for other harnesses that are just marginally better.
This harness is popular for a reason. It is comfortable, holds a lot of gear, and is super versatile. The dual buckles ensure that you'll get a good fit, but remember that that adds another buckle to check and a little extra weight. We know guides who have used this harness for years and swear by it. For the price, you'll be hard pressed to find a more versatile and more comfortable harness.
— Jeremy Bauman
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Most recent review: April 21, 2015
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