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Petzl Corax Review


Climbing Harness

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Best Buy Award
  • Currently 4.0/5
Overall avg rating 4.0 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: July 4, 2016
Price:   $65 List | $60 online  —  Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Easy to get a great fit, versatile, comfortable, inexpensive
Cons:  Heavy, lots of buckles, less mobility
Manufacturer:   Petzl

Overview

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.

RELATED: Our complete review of climbing harness - men's

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Jeremy Bauman
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday

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?

Performance Comparison


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The Corax is a great all around harness. The double buckles ensure that you'll get a good fit around your waist every time.

Standing Comfort


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.

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A tester belaying in the Ouray Ice Park. This harness was pretty comfortable for standing. It would have scored slightly higher if it was a tad lighter and more flexible.

Hanging Comfort


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.

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We hung and bounced in these harnesses side by side to compare comfort. Here, Jeremy puts the Corax through its tests.

Discipline-Specific Features


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. This harness also has an unrated haul loop at the rear (for stowing things like approach shoes) during a multi-pitch climb. 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.

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The tie-in points stick out more than most harnesses. This is a really nice feature that makes threading the rope a little bit easier.

Mobility


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.

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The Corax is a great harness no matter what kind of "rock" you're slaying and won't completely break the bank. If you loan your harness to friends often, there's a good chance this harness will fit them too thanks to its great adjustability.

Versatility


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.

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The two ice clipper slots make this a true all-arounder. It's suited for ice, rock, or alpine.

Adjustability


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.

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Confused about what size harness to get? We compiled sizing information for the seven harnesses we reviewed to help you get a perfect fit. As far as centering your gear loops, you'll want to be at the smaller size of the range for BD, Petzl, and Metolius. Shoot for the middle of the range for Mammut and Arc'teryx.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Other Versions


Petzl Sama
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  • Cost - $65
  • Weight - 13.1 oz
  • Works for nearly every style of climbing
  • No adjustable leg loops

Petzl Adjama
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  • Cost - $75
  • Weight - 14.8 oz
  • The adjustable leg loop version of the Sama
  • Comfortable, highly breathable and very adjustable

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Some sport climbers will prefer harnesses with gear loops further forward.

Conclusion


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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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 4, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

67% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (2)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 25%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Apr 21, 2015 - 12:54am
Spider Savage · Climber · The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Best harness I've every owned (40 years climbing). Loved it so much I bought a 2nd one because it was on close out at Sport Chalet and I feared it was being discontinued.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 4, 2016 - 05:02pm
TheRealClimber · München
I have a feeling the Petzl Corax is overrated at Outdoor Gearlab, especially in comparison to its perhaps closest competitor, the Black Diamond Momentum DS. I have tested both harnesses extensively, and know a friend who owns the Corax. In the following, I compare the two harnesses and say why I'd almost always recommend the Black Diamond Momentum DS (in short, it is comfort, comfort, comfort and then weight, pack size, and style).

First, and foremost: Comfort. The Momentum DS wins by a big lead. In my first abseil with the Corax, I thought I am almost going to faint. After adjusting the leg loops and "ordering things", the pain was less severe, but the harness still far from Momentum DS-comfy. The problem (at least for men) is the way the legs loops are tailored, which have a quite rigid rim that cuts into your crutch area. My friend, having owned the Petzl for 2 years, confirms this problem. Women might not care so much. Apart from this aspect, the foam used for the BD is a bit softer and less stiff than that of the Corax, making it all-around more comfortable.

Then there is the weight factor. The Petzl comes in at a whopping 500 grams for size 1, the smallest size. In comparison, the Momentum weighs almost 100 grams less than that in its largest size. OK, many people interested in these harnesses shouldn't or won't notice or care about the difference (and rightly so), but why go for the heavier version if there's a light-weight alternative at the same price level? The Momentum has a smaller pack size, too (by about a fifth, similar to the weight difference, I would say).

The review says the Momentum DS has no haul loop. That is wrong, I have it in front of me, there is one (at least in the 2016 version). Moreover, some reviews on the Internet claim the buckels to unfasten the BD are hard to operate, especially with climbing fingers. I tend to agree, it takes a while to learn it, but the Petzl Corax has the exact same fastening system and problem. On the other hand, this mechanism is way safer than what many old harnesses used to have, so that's a price I am gladly willing to pay. My only other criticism with the BD Momentum DS is that it is difficult to see whether rope passes through the lower tie-in point, because everything is black down there (making it grey would have helped here).

Last but not least, style and build quality. I personally don't care so much, but the BD Momentum DS just looks exciting and cool with its combination of black and red cloth parts and ruby colored buckels. By contrast, the Petzl looks slightly boring. Regarding build quality, both seem to be on-par and there are no known recalls to date.

In my opinion, there are three minor points (with counter arguments for each of them) that might speak for the Petzl: Its gear loops are wider, thus allowing you to carry more gear. At the same time, the sideways placement of the gear loops on the Black Diamond allows you to comfortably wear a (bigger) backpack while still being able to access all of your gear. The Petzl has two ice clipper slots which the Momentum does not have, which is a nice touch. Well, unless you are a regular ice climber (in which case I wouldn't buy either of the two harnesses), you can make do without them. The third one would be that size 2 in the Petzl is so gigantic, even a mammoth could wear it. I literally know nobody who does not fit in size 1 (the small!) in the Petzl, myself included (who has 61cm thighs and room to spare!). This is also a downside of course, as smaller people would be able to safe some weight by stepping down a size, or might not safely fit the Petzl at all.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 23, 2015 - 03:48am
Fred · Hiker · Brittany, France
My first harness ever owned. Excellent product.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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