Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: light, comfortable, DoubleBack buckle
Cons: rear gear loops small and hard to reach, haul loop not full strength
Best Uses: trad climbing, big wall climbing, sport climbing, multi-pitch climbing
Petzl's updated version of the popular Selena harness weighs the same as the previous version, but now fits better and has a more comfortable, more padded waist belt. It is less breathable but more suited to hanging in. Some other features have been made more easy to use, such as the detachable leg loops, but we feel that the rear gear loops are still too small and hard to reach. One of only 2 women's harnesses that we reviewed that accommodates ice clippers, this non-adjustable version would be an excellent choice for a female mixed climber. A mountaineer or ice climber might prefer the version of this harness with adjustable leg loops, the Petzl Luna because it fits more easily over multiple layers of clothing. If you want a super light harness for sport climbing, we recommend the Black Diamond Siren. A better choice for gear climbing is the Mammut Ophira, which has larger and easy to reach gear loops.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
In the updated version of the Selena, gone is the meshy, see-through, breathable waist belt and perforated foam leg loops. In its place is a new technology called Endoframe technology, which works to distribute weight evenly when hanging in the harness. This seems to mimic the technology Arc'teryx uses on their sleek and lightweight harnesses, but the Petzl version is more padded. The belt is now wider on the sides for comfort when hanging, and narrower in the front and back where extra bulk becomes uncomfortable.
In the previous version of the Selena, our female testers' main complaint was that the non-adjustable leg loops were too small, especially in comparison to the size of the waist belt. Often a woman who fit into a small waist size needed the leg loops from the medium, forcing these women to buy the Luna, with the adjustable legs. The new version of the Selena has adjusted these measurements slightly, and the fit is improved.
In addition, the distance between the waist belt and leg loops has increased, and the curve of the waist belt has been accentuated. All of these adjustments make the harness more comfortable and more suited to a woman's figure than the previous version of the Selena.
The Petzl Selena works well for many types of climbing. Unlike almost all the other harnesses in this review (with the exception of the Luna), this harness can be used ice climbing because of its specific loops to attach an ice clipper. This features adds versatility to the harness, and allows it to be used in different seasons. However, we do not love the Selena on gear climbs or multi-pitch climbs because of the small, hard to reach rear gear loops. This harness feels like you only have 2 gear loops because the back loops are almost unusable, greatly limiting your gear carrying capacity.
Ease of Use
Petzl was one of the first companies (if not the first) to use a feature we love, a self-locking buckle they call it DoubleBack. For a while, Petzl harnesses stood out because they had it. Now almost all harness manufacturers use the self-locking buckle. This makes it easy to get the harness on and off, and makes it impossible to forget to double back your harness, providing added safety. We like Petzl's version of this buckle better than Black Diamond's, which feels like it slips and loosens a little. Petzl's DoubleBack does not.
This harness has the easiest to detach leg loops, much improved from the previous detachment system. This makes the harness more pleasant to use on a full day of climbing or on longer climbs with multiple pitches.
Our main complaint about this harness is the gear loops. They are positioned too far back, making them difficult to reach. The small rear loops are especially hard to access. One female tester described how she ran a climb out 35 at the end because she thought she was out of gear, only to discover another cam on her rear loop when she reached the top. There is a slot for an ice tool clipper, which separates the front gear loop and the rear loops somewhat, pushing the rear loop even further back. However, we like this feature, and feel that even the front loops are too far back. All the loops should be pushed more forward for better access.
At 12.8 ounces, this harness does not stand out for being particularly lightweight, but falls in the middle on the weight scale. It weighs almost exactly the same as the previous design of this harness, so the new belt construction has neither shed nor added pounds.
The Selena is best suited to sport and gym climbing, styles that don't require a lot of gear. The The Luna, with the adjustable legs, works best for ice climbing or mountaineering since the leg loops can more easily accommodate thicker clothing and two layers of pants.
The Selena is a mid-range priced harness at $65. It is much less expensive than the Arc'teryx AR-385a, but more expensive than the Mammut Ophira or our Best Buy Winner, the Black Diamond Primrose.
The men's version of this harness is the Petzl Sama, and the same harness with adjustable leg loops is the Petzl Luna.
— McKenzie Long
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Most recent review: August 16, 2013
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