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Petzl Macchu Review

A fantastic option for almost any kid looking for a comfortable, and fully capable harness
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Dual waist belt buckles, largest gear loops, high quality
Cons:  Heaviest
Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Adam Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 24, 2020
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 10
  • Hanging Comfort - 40% 7
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 20% 9
  • Features - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 20% 9

Our Verdict

All of the sit harnesses we tested resembled their adult versions in some way or another, but with the Petzl Macchu, the similarities are uncanny. It shares the same construction in the waist belt and leg loops, which do an excellent job of distributing the weight, upping the comfort. Similarly, the dual double-backed buckles on the waist belt make getting a good centered fit a piece of cake, which is nice for keeping the gear loops readily accessible. If it had another set of gear loops, it would be almost indistinguishable from the adult version. This is a great option for a wide range of kid climbers making it out Top Pick for Versatility.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

In our testing, the Petzl Macchu stood out as a heavy hitter. The comfortable, soft straps made for a harness that was comfortable both for hanging in, scrambling around the base of the wall, or even for wearing while hiking to the climbs. With a full set of great features, it holds its own with adult harnesses in many ways.

Performance Comparison


Spending the day at Trashcan Rock in JTree is perfect for a casual day out with the kids.
Spending the day at Trashcan Rock in JTree is perfect for a casual day out with the kids.

Hanging Comfort


After repeated hang testing, we reluctantly gave this harness a slightly lower score than the other sit harnesses, but that's not to say this harness isn't comfy.


It's actually quite the contrary, but not all harnesses can be the most comfortable. While it is the lowest scoring of the sit harnesses in this metric, it's undeniably comfortable for everything except the longest of hangdog sessions or hauling around lots of gear.

We were pretty pleased with the hanging comfort of the Macchu.
We were pretty pleased with the hanging comfort of the Macchu.

The waist belt has wider panels on the sides to help offer support where it's needed most, and while it and the leg loops aren't the most well-cushioned, they successfully spread the weight pretty well, making for an overall comfortable seat. The elastic risers are adjustable and do a good job of keeping the leg loops in position so that when the rope gets weighted, everything is sitting right where it's supposed to.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


One perk of having thin padding is that the harness has a softer, more minimalistic, feel and even though, at 12 ounces, it's the heaviest of the sit harnesses in our test, our testers found this to be the most comfortable harness for wearing around the base and walking between routes or even on a short approach in a pinch.


The softer structure only becomes a drawback when it's loaded down heavy with gear. A harness that has a more rigid waistbelt will carry the weight better but keep in mind that it would come at the expense of standing comfort and mobility.

The Macchu has a soft wicking layer against the body and an airy layer of foam to allow air to escape, keeping everything cool and dry. Keeper straps help contain loose webbing ends so they stay tidy and out of the way.

Waiting for her sister to finish her turn.
Waiting for her sister to finish her turn.

Features


The Macchu has possibly the best combination of features of all the sit harnesses we tested which is part of what earned it our Top Pick for Versatility award.


The double-backed sliding buckles have quite a bit of friction, making it a challenge for kids to use without feeding the webbing through from the back first. Otherwise, this harness nails it. The adjustable buckle for the elastic risers works well and is nice to have for when nature calls. You can also clip a chalk bag to the riser buckle strap, which is high enough to hold the chalk bag in a decent spot - though we still recommend a webbing belt for the chalk bag.

The pair of gear loops are huge and can easily hold all the gear kids generally need, short of leading or following long gear-intensive pitches. They stand off the harness well, and due to the dual adjust waist buckles, sit squarely on the hips where they are easy to access.

A good set of gear loops is important for easily accessing or stashing gear on the go.
A good set of gear loops is important for easily accessing or stashing gear on the go.

Color-coded tie in points and belay loops help facilitate a quick visual once-over safety inspection. This harness would work really well for beginners but also is a great choice for advanced climbers who will be progressing in the sport.

Versatility


This is the most versatile sit harnesses available for kids. It can adjust quite small and can even be used in conjunction with the Petzl Body chest-harness for the youngest kids who need a higher tie in point to keep them from becoming inverted when lowering. While this harness works great for the little ones, it is also a great harness for the older, more advanced, kid crushers.


The dual waist-belt buckles and adjustable leg loops give a lot of expansion room for growth, and the two good-sized gear loops can hold plenty of gear, assuring the harness has room for racking draws, cams, or even a small stuffed toy for the littles. All the versatility this harness offers led us to award this harness our Top Pick for Versatility.

Dual buckle keep things centered and the gear loops were the best available.
Dual buckle keep things centered and the gear loops were the best available.

From top rope heroes to rope gun wizards, this harness will not disappoint. The comfortable fit and perfect set of functional features work well for almost everyone. Had it been slightly more comfortable to hang in, it might have even been awarded our Editors' Choice. It works well for both small kids and youth until they are ready to move into adult-sized harnesses.

Value


With all of its features and comfort, this harness has a great value. It also has the highest-quality appearance, due to it being constructed in a similar way to their adult harnesses. The abrasion-resistant material used holds up better than the other four sit harnesses in our test; there were no loose stitches, and the design simply inspires confidence.

Conclusion


Petzl knows how to make a great harness and this mini version of their adult harness checks all the boxes. Comfort should always be a major consideration, and this is comfortable both on and off the wall. It features just about everything an aspiring kid crusher could need, including a large color-coded belay loop and tie in points, and one of the largest available pair of rigid gear loops available in a youth harness. If you are looking for a kids harness that can do just about anything the child will ask of it, the Petzl Macchu should make the shortlist.

Our kid tester topping out another Jtree Groove.
Our kid tester topping out another Jtree Groove.

Adam Paashaus