Finn III vs. Finn II
Edelrid debuted the Finn III since our testing period. This updated harness has slightly larger and stronger gear loops, with Edelrid making the claim that if you accidentally tie into a gear loop, it won't rip off. Compare the Finn III (first photo) to the Finn II we tested (second photo)
We're linking to the more readily available Finn III, but be aware that the review to follow tells our experience with the Finn II.
Hands-On Review of the Finn II
The field of kids sit harnesses has gotten pretty competitive. In some ways, this harness stacks up well against the others, while other features of this harness fall short. Overall, the Finn II holds its own and would be an excellent choice for many climbing styles.
Workin' her way to the anchor in Jtree.
When we first put the sit harnesses side by side to asses the differences in construction and features, we wrongly assumed that this would be one of the least comfortable options. We know what happens when we assume. The rigid leg loops, which are no more than stiff padded sleeves for the single piece of structural webbing, actually spread the forces well. A unique "double back" design for the elastic risers is built right in the waist belt fabric and is easy to adjust to make sure that when kids sit back into the harness, their leg loops are sitting right where they need to be for a comfortable seat.
Learning new skills at Quail Springs.
Standing Comfort and Mobility
While the rigid waist belt and leg loops worked well for supporting the weight of a climber, they did feel a bit cumbersome and clunky. By no means would we go as far as to say that the harness is uncomfortable, but it is always noticeable while others like the Petzl Macchu are so comfy that they seem to fade into the background after a few minutes.
This homeschooled kid is a bookworm. Is that John Long or Little House...
This harness offers a great variety of basic usable features. The buckles glide smoothly, making it easy for kids to use. Even though the waist belt only has one buckle, the harness centers well and situates the two gear loops square on the hips. The said, gear loops are the smallest in the test group and can only accommodate up to six carabiners each before things get too tight.
Small gear loops limit what will fit. Gonna have to pass on the longest pitches if they are leading or cleaning.
It has elastic risers to keep the leg loops in place, and while they technically work fine, they seem cheap and less "finished". The leg loops are no more than a stiff sleeve for the webbing, and the overall construction feels less engineered than the others. However, it's fully functional and won't hold most climbers back from advancing through to their first leads.
Whether you are looking for a harness for a growing kid to use casually at the climbing gym or they are learning to lead outside, this harness has the features and comfort needed to do so. The size range left a little to be desired, but all in all, fit pretty well on a decent range of kids. If the climber intends to start leading or following long pitches, they may consider looking into a more advanced harness like the Mammut Ophir or the Petzl Macchu.
Parents who want to be slightly more hands-off will love that the kids can use this harness by themselves. Of course a final safety check should always happen before anyone leaves the ground, but this harness saves the hassle of having to help the kid every time they get in and out of it. It can accommodate comfortable top roping as well as holding gear for a lead for following multi-pitch routes - as long as the pitches aren't super long.
With all of the sit harnesses retailing for the same $50, it makes evaluating value more about personal preference. For example, does this harness tick all the boxes of a harness you need? If hanging comfort and ease of operation are the top priorities, then this may hold the most value to you. If more advanced climbing is in the cards, a more technical harness like the Petzl Macchu may hold more value. In general, however, we wouldn't hesitate recommending this harness to others.
The Finn II has some design quirks. We didn't like the way the padded panels didn't stay behind the straps, but it didn't negatively affect comfort.
With all the similar options available for kids sit harnesses, there are a couple of nice things that set this harness apart from the crowd. For one, the buckles slide and release super smoothly for use by even the smallest hands. And two, for hanging it is one of the two most comfortable available. However, a couple of things keep it from being a top performer. The craftsmanship doesn't meet the same standard as the others, and its stiff padding leaves kids wishing for a softer feel.
While not our favorite, the Finn II will work for most kids just fine.