Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: light, well-ventilated, compact
Cons: uncomfotable to hang in
Best Uses: gym climbing, sport climbing, alpine climbing
Petzl's Hirundos is a lightweight harness is geared for sport climbers who want maximum range of movement. It is also one of favorite harnesses for alpine climbing because it is so light and dries fast. To sum up this harness in one word: skinny. The leg loops, waist belt and belay loop are among the skinniest of all harnesses we tested.
If you are loyal to Petzl harnesses and want either a light sport climbing harness or an alpine harness, you will love this. If you want the absolute lightest harness for alpine routes, the Camp Air is 30 percent lighter and $5 less. If you are looking for a high performance sport climbing harness and can spend another $25, we recommend the Black Diamond Ozone. Or, if you want to save money, the Mad Rock Alpha Harness is more comfortable, lighter and $15 less. If you are considering this harness also look hard at the Petzl Sama, which is $10 less, only a little heavier and much more comfortable and versatile.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This is one of the lighter and more breathable harnesses we tested. It is marketed toward sport climbers but one of our reviewers, Ian Nicholson, uses as it his go-to alpine harness. It is 25 percent lighter than the Black Diamond Alpine Bod and dries fast because it is so well ventilated. It doesn't have adjustable leg loops, but most of our reviews find that feature to be overrated, even for alpine climbing and mountaineering. The Hirundos has all the solid features found on Petzl harnesses: self-locking (DoubleBack) buckle, easy to release elastic on the leg loops and well-ventilated foam.
It is no surprise that the thin waist loops and leg loops are not comfy when hanging around for long periods of time. Also, the gear loops were not the favorite of some testers; they are soft and lie flat against the harness and are positioned far back. However, other testers liked the gear loops just fine. The belay loop is startlingly skinny. It is plenty strong but not likely not have a long lifespan if you use it hard.
This harness is designed for hard sport climbs or redpoints where you want maximum range of movement and little weight or bulk. It also excels at alpine climbing because it is among the lightest and fastest drying.
One tester, Chris Van Leuven, used this on a number of El Capitan ascents. While it is generally not recommended for big walls, CVL found the advantages of such a skinny harness: it is light, gives a big range of movement for free climbing and is comfortable to sleep in because of the soft gear loops. That said, Chris vows to take a more comfortable harness on future big wall routes, a harness with more padding such as the Petzl Sama.
At $75.95 this harness is in the middle of the value range. The Sama is $10 less and has many more uses. The Mad Rock Alpha is $15 less and is arguably better for sport climbing it is lighter and more comfy. On the other hand, the Hirundos is $25 less than Black Diamond's Ozone and $55 less than the Arc'teryx R320.
Video on Petzl's Frame Technology
— Chris McNamara, Chris Van Leuven
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 10, 2012
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