The Trango Junior - Kids is a great all around beginner harness for children 25-80 pounds. Its design is a bit dated, and it has very few features that make it stand out; however, the construction is exactly what you would expect a basic beginner full body harness to be. It's fully adjustable, as it has flat nylon webbing and buckles; it also has nice, padded leg loops to help keep the little ones comfortable while hangdogging their proj, or while the auto belay slowly brings "junior" back to terra firma.
Trango Junior Review
Cons: Old double back style buckles, dated design
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Junior accomplishes the tasks it's asked to do, and it does them well. If performance is based on keeping things simple so the kids can concentrate on the birthday party wall at the gym or that 5.5 at the local crag grandpa put up with his trusty cowbells, then this harness will work well.
At first glance, we were skeptical that the harness would be comfortable to hang in. Sure, it has leg padding, but the padding looks bulky and stiff. In reality, the padding is both soft and supportive and has an open mesh design to keep it breathing well.
The only comfort related complaint is the fact that depending on where the buckles fall based on your kid's size, they can irritate the shoulder blades a bit.
The bulky looking leg padding does a good job of padding the legs while hanging. We were sure wearing it around the gym, or the base of the crag would surely be a different story; or is it? Our testers found that this was a much more comfortable harness to hang out in than the Edelrid Fraggle. The harness features an elastic strap on the upper back to keep the shoulders straps up, but we wish it did a better job because the shoulder straps still tend to slip down.
The Junior is a pretty basic harness. The features that it does have tend to highlight its adjustability and comfort. The adjustable, padded leg loops are a nice touch since many basic full body kids harnesses are just flat webbing. A couple of websites list this harness as having gear loops; this isn't true.
Sure there are straps in that general area, but they aren't designed to clip things to (though that's not to say you couldn't.) If gear loops are something you think is important, we would recommend the Petzl Ouistiti full body harness or the Petzl Macchu with the optional Petzl Body chest harness to help top heavy kids or those with undeveloped hips from becoming inverted.
The greatest feature is that the buckles are located on the back of the harness. We know kids like to mess with things, and safety buckles on a life-saving device such as this should not be fiddled with. We don't love the fact that the buckles are the old manual double back style, but they did add the DANGER label to alert parents that the buckles need to be "finished".
Because this harness features rear buckle placement, it means most likely this will be a harness the adults will have to fit onto their kids. Once the buckles are adjusted, the kids should have no trouble slipping in and out of the harness on their own.
Webbing based full body harnesses generally are fully adjustable. Trango claims it will fit all kids from 25 to 80 pounds, so no exception here.
Since this is a harness that will be able to be used on all sizes of kids, it makes a great candidate for families with multiple kids, camps, or gym rentals. This may not be the harness for kids pursuing more advanced styles of climbing (i.e., lead, or outdoor following, etc.).
While this harness can accommodate kids up to 80 pounds, its primary user is the youngest of casual kid climbers. It will keep those hipless or top-heavy top-roping toddlers in securely and won't let them become inverted.
At the list price of $54.95, we think this is a good deal on a great all-around beginner harness! It's not high tech, nor is it flashy, but it gets the job done. Other full body harnesses we tested are more expensive, and some don't even have padded leg loops.
The Trango Junior makes an excellent option for a first harness. Super versatile sizing and good comfort make it a safe, easy bet for the little ones or those with special needs. You can throw this on your youngest daughter or her older brother, and as long as they are under the 80-pound max weight, it will provide a good, comfortable experience. If the kid is a bit older and has the capability of getting a good fit on the waist and can keep themselves upright when they hang, a seat harness will be a better choice.
— Adam Paashaus