The impressive set of features come together to make a great fully functional harness that will surely please any serious kid crusher!!! We used this harness for everything, from basic gym top roping to following long trad pitches and extended hanging belay sessions. This harness didn't pose any shortcomings.
Nearing the chains at the Prophecy Wall in Utah.
This harness was just barely edged out as the most comfortable for hanging in, by the Black Diamond Momentum and the Edelrid Finn but that doesn't mean this isn't a super comfortable harness.
Both the waist belt, as well as the leg loops, have a split webbing design to help disperse the weight and the perforated foam padding in between to keep things cool and airy. The rise was high enough to keep kids from being pitched backward when lowering or hanging. After a couple of weeks of steady climbing, this became a favorite by our testers, and unsurprisingly a couple of arguments ensued over who got to use it.
The Ophir is comfortable for hanging. Here's a tester lowering off a Joshua Tree groove.
Standing Comfort and Mobility
Not only is this a comfortable harness for hanging in, but it is also quite comfortable for general wearing use. We spent day after day for weeks going to all types of crags all through the southeast and southwestern desert. Visiting new areas usually involves a lot of downtime for the kids; much of that time, the kids would have to occupy themselves, all the while wearing different harnesses.
While one tester was hanging in a harness up on the wall working through some hard moves, another was sitting in the dirt working on school work (#roadschooling), looking for a cave in the talus or a Hueco to climb into. The Ophir was one of the more comfortable harnesses in these scenarios. The leg and waist padding is rigid enough to disperse weight when hanging but soft enough to be comfortable around the base as well. We loaded up the gear loops with heavy cams and draws when cleaning long pitches, and the harness still sat well on the hips. It remained comfortable for hanging at the belay while sorting gear and preparing for a lower.
The Ophir has all the features one would ever need in a kid's harness. Each feature seems to have been designed with real-world use in mind.
The slide-bloc auto-locking buckles, used on the waist belt and both of the leg loops are some of the few "easy" sliding buckles that kid fingers had no problem adjusting. The webbing strap ends have a plastic reinforcement to keep the buckles from unthreading, adding to the safety and security of the harness. Having dual adjusting waist buckles is nice, which allows the harness to be adjusted equally on both sides, keeping the waist belt sitting square on the hips.
The dual adjust buckles help to keep the harness square on the hips, regardless of waist size.
On that same note, the gear loops also end up being located in accessible locations in contrast to the ill-fitting Black Diamond Momentum, with its single waist adjustment that gets offset for almost all sized kids. The said gear loops are also large (only a smidge smaller than on the super versatile Petzl Macchu) and stand off the hips well, allowing for smooth clipping.
Two large gear loops can accommodate tons of gear.
A lot of new climbers will clip their chalk bag to a gear loop or haul loop. This is rarely a good place for it since it rides too low, almost out of reach or off to one side. We usually recommend using a belt, so it rides higher; however, the chalk bag clip point on the back of the harness is high enough to position the chalk bag in a good location. Dual webbing construction in the leg loops and waist belt spread the forces well and have breathable perforated foam panels that add more breathability than expected. Rear elastic risers have an easy-to-use adjustment buckle that does a good job of keeping the leg loops in place.
Showing off the perforated mesh panels, adjustable elastic risers and chalk bag clip point.
Mammut added extra abrasion protection at tie-in loops, and the belay ring has an internal red wear indicator that, after years of use, will alert the user that it's time for retirement.
Abrasion resistant tie in points and wear indicator in the belay loop are a couple added safety features.
We awarded the Petzl Macchu with Top Pick for Versatility, but this harness also shares the same high score in this metric. The fully adjustable buckles on both the waist and leg loops fit a wide range of kids. Whether they are just entering the sport and are top roping at the gym or they are starting to lead outdoor sport, this harness has everything they need in a comfortable, easy-to-use package.
The two gear loops are large; combined, they will hold up to 18 draws, so budding sport climbers won't be restricted by space for racking gear, and the belay loop is large and easy to belay from.
Good gear loops make it easy to clip and unclip gear.
This harness is a great all around/sport harness. It works great for general use, but it comes into its own when supporting a kid who is exploring his or her possibilities within climbing. It makes a great harness for kids hangdogging their latest top rope project or leading their hardest redpoint to date.
The price compared to the function and performance of this harness give it a great value. It does everything the others do, and much more in many cases. It's around the same price as the other sit harnesses in the test, many of which have some significant shortcomings, but it is hard to find an area in which this harness suffers or performs poorly. The Black Diamond Momentum for instance, while may have a slightly more comfortable standing comfort rating, has issues with fit due to the single waist belt buckle (that tends to put the harness off-center). The Petzl Macchu, while it has a great design for all kinds of climbing, doesn't have the comfort that this one does.
On first impression, the Ophir didn't blow us away. It seemed basic and like nothing special, but after digging in a little, we started to appreciate everything it offers. It has tons of useful features that make it the best overall sit harness in our test, perfect for any kid regardless of how experienced they are or what their goals may be. Not only does it have features that the climber can appreciate, but it also has safety features that give peace of mind to the adults in the room (or canyon, or valley, or creek).
Slabbin' up some sandstone at Snow Canyon State Park, Utah.