First Look Review

Petzl Simba Review

Petzl Simba Harness
Price:  $60 List | $44.89 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Simple, quick to adjust
Cons:  Not comfortable, mainly just appropriate for toproping, expensive
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Petzl

Our Analysis

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Monday
January 25, 2010

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This is a great harness for 5-10 year old kids in gym climbing or outside toproping. It is simple and has the fastest harness we know of to put on and adjust to the right size, thanks to the self-locking buckles. It works for a wide range of ages and weights (up to 88 pounds). It is intuitive where to tie in and how to adjust. This is handy for large group situations where even non-climbers can figure out the harness pretty fast. Because the tie-in points are relatively high, it keeps the climber upright and makes it hard to flip upside down or to the side. The main disadvantage is that it is not very comfortable; you don't want to hang around in this harness for long. It is more appropriate for beginners who mainly climb in the gym and less appropriate for outdoor climbing because it is not comfortable, has no gear loops, and is more awkward to belay and rappel with. A much better harness for those applications is the Black Diamond Wiz Kid. The Simba is also expensive for what you get; the Wiz Kid is a lot more harness for $15 less.
Chris McNamara


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 5, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (2.3)

50% of 4 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
5 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 40%  (2)
3 star: 20%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 40%  (2)
Climber

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Mar 11, 2010 - 12:34pm
dktem · Climber · CA
I've used these harnesses when my children were young (5 and under) and they have worked well.

Younger children have a higher center-of-gravity than bigger kids and adults. They can easily tip upside-down when hanging from a traditional waist harness. Kids also do not have well-defined hip bones, so a waist harness could more easily pull down unless it is very tight.

For these reasons, the really little ones need to use a full body harness or a chest harness along with a traditional waist harness.

Comparisons between this type of harness and a traditional waist harness should consider the size of the child.

I couldn't say an exact size/weight where kids can "graduate" to a "big kid" harness. But, if you are using a waist harness on a child under 5 or so, be sure to do hang test and see that the kid does not tip backwards. Also do a pull test and see if you can pull the harness down their legs. If there is any doubt, use a full-body harness.

These harnesses are probably not very comfortable, but anyone young enough to need it will probably be distracted by so many other things…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Climber

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   Jan 5, 2014 - 11:57pm
mtngrl · Climber · BC
I totally agree with Tony! How does this harness get such great reviews? The design is horrible! I had it fit perfectly for my 9 year old…. then 25 fit up while crouched on an overhang about to dyne, the shoulder straps slipped off. I dont even know if they were slipping, but if they fit her when she is standing tall, they will fall off if her feet are close to her hands. For the cheaper rental harnesses at the gym this would not be a big deal, as they are a functional sit harness with a high tie in and bonus shoulder straps. This harness is nothing without the shoulder straps. I will be returning this dangerous harness to Petzl asap!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
Person Icon

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   Feb 2, 2012 - 07:09pm
tony wormgoor
Petzl is a trusted brand, but this is NOT a trustworthy harness for your little climber. We are experienced climbers, hikers, and my husband runs a ropes course. We purchased the Simba for our now 6 year old but are NOT satisfied - at all.
The locking mechanism on the shoulder straps slips, making the harness fall off the shoulders. There is too much distance from the top of the shoulders across the chest to where the carabiner clips in. There is too much gap across this area too. There should be an additional chest strap. We think it's an accident waiting to happen and have limited our little guy's climbing until we buy a chest harness and waist harness combo, a more expensive alternative, but worth it. We've evaluated whether it will fit a 8-10 year old, but w/ the shoulder straps slipping, it's like riding in a car w/ a loose seatbelt.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

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   Jan 26, 2010 - 11:09pm
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath · Climber · San Francisco, Ca
I have this harness for my four year old. I like it because he can't flip upside down. Also, the tie in loops are a great handle when I have to pick him up or move him around. It's super adjustable so there is plenty of room to grow. I wouldn't want to do an El Cap route with it, or hang in it very much, but it seems fine for younger kids who do a little cragging here and there.



Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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