Black Diamond Momentum - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Comfortable, easy to clip rigid gear loops, great value, adjustable leg loop system is light and easy
Cons: Waistbelt doesn't have the best ventilation
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Momentum is made with BD's Dual Core construction. They use two bands of webbing on the outside of the 3.5-inch waistbelt, with a foam insert in the center for padding and comfort. The legs have a trakFIT adjustment system, which uses a sliding adjuster to change the size of the leg loop, as opposed to a buckle system. According to Black Diamond, this gives you the "adjustability of a buckle but the security of a fixed leg system." It has four rigid, plastic-coated gear loops and a rear haul loop.
With a wide, 3.5 inch waistbelt, the Momentum is one of the most comfortable harnesses to hang around in, but it doesn't have the best breathability.
This waistbelt is softer than some of the more uncomfortable harnesses, but the thick padding doesn't breathe so well. If you plan on climbing in tropical climates, or anywhere warm really, then look for something a little thinner or a harness that has an open-back mesh design. The Momentum is also a little bulky, and you probably won't want to walk around in it. It's not quite as comfortable as our Editors' Choice winner, but overall this harness does a good job of finding the sweet spot between a padded harness that won't make your toes go numb and something that's not too bulky and can be left on all day.
Here is where that extra padding on the Momentum comes in handy — this was one of the most comfortable models to hang in.
This harness manages to be padded and lightweight, which is almost a revelation these days. Manufacturers want to have lighter and lighter products and often do so at the sacrifice of comfort or durability. The Momentum has a lot of padding, and it weighs less than some of the sleekest lightweight harnesses we tested! This is great for anyone who climbs multi-pitch routes or hang dogs a lot, and even for those who have to belay someone who hang dogs a lot.
This harness fits the bill quite nicely for an all-around harness.
The speed-adjust buckle is easy to tighten, and you don't have to worry about doubling back the waistbelt every time you put it on. (An older version of this harness had a traditional, fold-back waist buckle, but that type of buckle seems to have finally bit the dust — all of the harnesses in this review have speed adjust/pre-threaded waistbelt buckles.)
The gear loops are encased in hard plastic, leaving them rigid and standing out from the side of the harness. This makes them very easy to clip gear to and unclip gear from, though they are not as comfortable when wearing your pack and harness at the same time. The gear loops are appropriately positioned for easy reach to the front and back loops. This harness also has a "real" haul loop (and not just a piece of dental floss flimsily stitched on) which is handy if you are trailing a haul line up a multi-pitch route. All told it is comfortable enough for a long day out but not too bulky to sport climb in. Our lead tester has even used the Momentum on multi-day ascents of El Cap!
The Momentum is a great all-around harness that works well in most climbing applications. The comfortable waistbelt and easy to clip rigid gear loops make loading the harness with gear for multi-pitch trad climbs just as easy as racking up for a single pitch sport climb.
It has a sturdy rear haul loop, so you can clip a tag line to it stress-free! Our lead tester has even used the Momentum on multi-day ascents of El Cap — tagging the haul line off of the full-strength haul loop for days! The one feature it lacks is a loop for ice tool holders, so it will not cross-over to winter use.
Black Diamond's trakFIT leg loop system is a unique method of adjusting the size of the loops. Instead of a threaded buckle closure, there is a sliding buckle that tightens or loosens the leg loop, which still has some elastic for stretch and mobility. This system offers more adjustability than a pure elastic system alone, but not as much as a traditional buckle closure.
The plastic slider moves easily around the leg loop to adjust the size quickly and effortlessly. We like that it's so light and that there's not a ton of extra webbing flapping around your legs. However, it only gives you about 2 inches of play, which isn't as much as the 5-7 inches most other adjustable legs loops provide. If you fall within the size range than BD has made the leg loops in, this gives you the ability to wear this harness over various bottoms, from thin leggings at the gym one day to heavier pants outside the next. If your thighs are a little larger, though (relative to your waist size), then you'll want to stick to a harness with fully adjustable legs.
This is one of the best values out there for women's harnesses. It's durable enough to last for years and versatile enough to be used for almost anything, increasing its worth, which is why we've given it our Best Buy Award. To further maximize your dollars, you can buy the package, which includes this harness, a chalk bag and a bag of chalk, and a belay device with a locking carabiner for a reasonable price. This is an excellent buy for someone just getting started in the sport of climbing.
The Momentum harness is a ubiquitous sight at crags and gyms all across the country for a reason. It's affordable and comfortable, which is not always an easy feat for a manufacturer. Although it's deemed an "entry-level" harness, we know many expert climbers who use it for those very reasons as well. While we preferred other models for specific disciplines, the Momentum is a good bet for any climber.
— Jane Jackson & Cam McKenzie Ring