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Black Diamond Primrose SA Review

   
Best Buy Award

Climbing Harness - Women's

  • Currently 3.8/5
Overall avg rating 3.8 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: August 11, 2013
Street Price:   Varies from $43 - $100 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  comfortable, easy to clip rigid gear loops, great value, adjustable leg loop system is light and easy
Cons:  no ice tool holders
Best Uses:  sport climbing, trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing, gym climbing- almost everything!
User Rating:     
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 (3.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
Review by: McKenzie Long ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ August 11, 2013  
Overview
This is the speed adjust buckle version of the popular Black Diamond Primrose AL. If you like adjustable legs loops and self-locking (aka speed adjust) buckles, this is a great value and a great first harness. It is comfortable, has easy to clip rigid gear loops, clever features, and costs $55. You have to spend a good deal more money to get just minor improvements in weight, comfort, or features.

You will probably go many years before buying another harness, and this is a perfect all-around harness that can be used for any kind of climbing. If you want a very style-specific harness, you may want to look at others, such as the Black Diamond Xenos for ice climbing or the Petzl Hirundos for sport climbing. For the ultimate women's sport climbing harness, you can shell out another $15 for the Black Diamond Siren or an extra $50 for the Black Diamond Aura, but in the end the Primrose SA will be more comfortable, more versatile, weighs the same, and comes at a more attractive price. Only the Mammut Ophira and the AL version of this harness are less expensive. You will have to decide if the $15 extra you pay for the Primrose SA is worth it.

View the complete Best Women's Climbing Harness Review to see how this stacked up against the competitors.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Using Black Diamond's redesigned leg loop adjustment system, this harness manages to be surprisingly lightweight and inexpensive for a fully- featured and duly-adjustable harness.

Performance Comparison
Click to enlarge
Climbing in Indian Creek, Utah in the Black Diamond Primrose. The comfortable waist belt and easy to clip gear loops make this harness perfect for trad or sport climbing.
Credit: Ali Feinberg

Comfort
With a wide waist belt, the Primrose SA is comfortable to hang in and load with gear. It uses Black Diamond's weight-reducing Dual Core construction in tandem with an OpenAir insert, which uses two slim bands of webbing on the outer edges of the belt, and then incorporates a foam piece in the center with holes for additional breathability. Topped off with a mesh outer fabric on the center of the belt, the harness is surprisingly breathable for its width. The waist belt does not have any uncomfortable pressure points and fits snugly and securely high on the body.

The gear loops are appropriately positioned for easy reach to the front and back loops, unlike both models of Petzl harnesses, which have frustratingly far away rear gear loops. This allows for comfortable use in all positions encountered while climbing.

Climbing Style
The Primrose is a great all-around harness that works well in any climbing application. The comfortable waist belt and easy to clip rigid gear loops make loading the harness with gear for multi-pitch trad climbs just as easy as racking up for a single pitch sport climb. The one feature it lacks is a loop for ice tool holders, so it will not cross-over to winter use as easily as the Petzl Selena or Petzl Luna.

Ease of Use
Three primary features on this harness make it stand out as an easy to use harness: the speed-adjust buckle, the gear loops, and the adjustable leg loops. Having a pre-threaded speed adjust buckle means that you don't have to worry about doubling back the waist belt every time you put it on. The gear loops are encased in hard plastic, leaving them rigid and standing out from the side of your harness. This makes them very easy to clip gear to and unclip gear from, though they are not as comfortable if wearing a pack and a harness at the same time.

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The BD Primrose SA. Here you can see the lightweight trakFIT adjustable leg loop slider and pressure molded rigid gear loops.
Credit: Ali Feinberg

The newest update to this harness included the addition of the trakFIT leg loop system. Rather than a buckle, this system consists of a plastic slider on the leg loops that moves easily around the leg loop to adjust the size quickly and effortlessly. The slider is small and light, and does not need to be double-backed, so it adds almost no weight or complication to the harness, while allowing it to fit women of all proportions.

Weight
When we weighed in our women's harnesses, we were actually quite surprised: the Primrose SA weighed in the exact same as the Black Diamond Siren, which is supposed to be an ultra-light sport climbing harness. At 11.84 ounces, both are extremely light. However, the Primrose is far more comfortable and versatile with no extra bulk holding you down, and still costs $15 less than the Siren.

Best Application
This is a great all around harness or first harness. It works well in the gym, at sport crags or on multi-pitch climbs. It is a comfortable, easy to wear harness in any application.

Value
This is one of the best values in harnesses with speed adjust leg loops. You only have to pay another $5 over the Black Diamond Primrose AL to get the speed adjust waist buckle, which we find to be worth it for the added convenience and safety. This harness is durable enough to last you years and versatile enough to be used for anything, increasing its worth, which is why we give it our Best Buy Award.

To further maximize your dollars, you can buy the Primrose SA package, with includes this harness, a chalk bag, and a belay device and locking biner, for a total of $100. This is an excellent buy for someone just getting started in the sport of climbing.

Conclusion
This harness was tough competition for our Editor's Choice award. It is inexpensive while still ebing light and fully-featured.

Other Versions
There are many versions of the Momentum/Primrose line including the Black Diamond Momentum, Black Diamond Momentum SA, Black Diamond Momentum AL and the women's version: Black Diamond Primrose AL. The main difference between the Primrose SA and AL is that the SA has a Speed-Adjust buckle, while the AL does not.They all share similar padding and gear loops but use different waist and leg tightening systems. They are vary in cost.

How to Adjust this Harness

McKenzie Long

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 11, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (3.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

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   Mar 6, 2011 - 08:41pm
sierragal93546 · Climber · Mammoth Lakes, CA
This was my first harness. I climb sport, trad, and some multi-pitch. I pretty much love this harness except that the buckles (legs and waist) come loose repeatedly during the day. I'm about 5'3" and 113 lbs. My climbing partner is concerned about my safety and has encouraged me to get a harness with double back buckles, particularly as we are planning a week long trip to Red Rocks for lots of climbing. Don't want to be slipping out of the harness in the middle of a climb.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Black Diamond Primrose SA
Credit: Black Diamond
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Related Best-in-Class Review
The Best Climbing Harness For Women Review

The Best Climbing Harness For Women Review

A review of top women's climbing harnesses for trad, sport, and gym climbing.
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