Reviews You Can Rely On

Black Diamond Solution Guide - Women's Review

We love this model for its emphasis on durability and comfort
black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review
Credit: Black Diamond
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $100 List
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond Equipment
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 15, 2022
83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 9
  • Hanging Comfort - 30% 9.0
  • Standing Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Features - 20% 9.0
  • Versatility - 15% 7.0
  • Adjustability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

For anyone that has worn the Black Diamond Solution on many a big wall or full-day trad climb, the Black Diamond Solution Guide is heaven-sent. This harness has the comfort and simplicity of the Solution, with added padding and abrasion resistance to endure that 5.9+ chimney at the top of pitch 15. Though the Solution Guide is a bit less comfortable to hang out in all day at the base of the crag, it has extra padding that allows it to carry more weight comfortably. Its stiff leg loops and waist belt also gave it high marks in terms of hanging comfort. With an extra gear loop in the back (a total of five) and a burly construction, the Solution Guide is ideal for multi-pitch climbs or trad cragging (i.e., your go-to Indian Creek harness). Adjustability is the Solution Guide's major limiting factor.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Very durable
Five gear loops
Simple design
REASONS TO AVOID
On the expensive side
A bit bulky
Stiff leg loops

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Price $100 List
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Star Rating
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Pros Comfortable, very durable, five gear loops, simple designComfortable, easy to clip rigid gear loops, great value, adjustable leg loop system is light and easyLightweight, breathable, comfortable, and highly mobileSliding waist belt keeps the belay loop in front as you adjust it, comfortable to hang in, durableComfortable if you like to wear your harness on your hips
Cons On the expensive side, a bit bulky, stiff leg loopsWaist belt doesn't have the best ventilationUncomfortable if leg loops don't fit youRear haul loop isn't very functional, bulky especially around leg loopsRear gear loops are small and hard to reach, haul loop not full strength
Bottom Line We love this model for its emphasis on durability and comfortOne of the best and least expensive all around harnesses in this reviewA lightweight and thin harness that is comfortable to hang inThis all-around harness is a good beginner model and also good for gyms or programsA popular harness, particularly among women with a shorter rise
Rating Categories Black Diamond Solut... Black Diamond Momentum Black Diamond Solution Edelrid Jayne Petzl Selena
Hanging Comfort (30%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Standing Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Features (20%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Adjustability (10%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Black Diamond Solut... Black Diamond Momentum Black Diamond Solution Edelrid Jayne Petzl Selena
Designed for these Disciplines Trad, Multipitch Sport, Trad Sport Sport, Trad, Ice Sport
Weight in Ounces (Size Small) 12.5 oz 10.3 oz 11.4 oz 15.5 oz 13.2 oz
Gear Loops 5 (4 rigid, 1 flexible) 4 (rigid) 4 (rigid) 4 (rigid with flexible attachment points) 4 (rigid with flexible attachment points)
Haul Loop Yes Yes Yes (not full strength) Yes (very small) Yes
Adjustable Legs? No Yes No Yes No
Self-Locking Buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Tool Holder Slot No No No Yes (2) No
Waistbelt Construction Fusion Comfort Technology (3 strands of webbing) Dual Core (2 thin bands of webbing with foam in between) Fusion Comfort Technology (3 strands of webbing) 3D mesh padding EndoFrame construction
Special Features Extra padding in waistband trakFIT leg adjusters are low profile and lightweight Leg loops have same wide construction as waistbelt Plastic protector over bottom tie-in point Contoured waistband, long-rise for better hip-pacement

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Solution Guide was recently added to the BD fleet, and is marketed as their go-to for trad and multi-pitch climbing. We felt that this was right on point, but were also impressed by the versatility of this harness. We found ourselves wearing the Solution Guide on any outing — from sport climbing to long multi-pitch routes. The addition of a fifth gear loop in the back makes room for personal gear, while the wider waist belt provides comfort at hanging belays or rap stations.

Performance Comparison


black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - sport climbing in the gorge in the solution guide. these long routes...
Sport climbing in the Gorge in the Solution Guide. These long routes are a great place for this trad-y harness!
Credit: Neil Kauffman

Standing Comfort


Our lead tester was so excited when Black Diamond came out with the Solution Guide - as she had worn the Solution on multi-pitch routes around the world. The Solution Guide is far more comfortable to wear all day, and far more durable for those long, burly trad routes in Yosemite and elsewhere.

black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - the leg loops on the black diamond solution guide don't allow for...
The leg loops on the Black Diamond Solution Guide don't allow for much stretch so sizing right is important for a comfy fit.
Credit: Will Stanhope

That said, the very durable Super Fabric that makes up the waistband and leg loops of the Solution Guide makes it a tad less comfortable to stand in than its lighter weight counterpart. The fabric and construction make the leg loops and waist stiff, resulting in a loss of mobility when walking around in this harness. These losses in mobility are not enough to take away from the overall performance of this harness in terms of comfort, though. The Solution Guide also totes the signature tapered leg loop design of the other Solution model, which means that there is a lot of material on the back and outside of the leg loops, but not much going on in between the legs; this makes a huge difference in overall comfort.

Hanging Comfort


Black Diamond's Fusion Comfort Technology incorporates three bands of webbing and an EVA foam insert to create a very well-padded, comfortable harness to hang in. The Solution Guide incorporates this technology, plus has a bit of extra padding and stiffness, which allows for a more comfortable hanging experience — ideal for multi-pitch climbing. We climbed many long routes in this harness and never experienced any hot spots or pinching at long, cramped belays.

black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - the tapered leg fits our lead tester well, making this a comfortable...
The tapered leg fits our lead tester well, making this a comfortable harness to hang in.
Credit: Lindsay Hamm

Discipline-Specific Features


There are a few subtle, trade-specific features that separate the Solution Guide from the standard Solution harness. The gear loops are the same pressure molded solid loops, but the first loop on the Guide harness is a bit wider, providing room for more cams and slings. There is also a fifth, lightweight gear loop in the back for extra personal gear (i.e., rappel device, gloves, anchor material). For us, these features were the most notable additions to the Solution Guide, separating it from its lightweight cousin. The abrasion-resistant material and stiffer construction also add durability, which is helpful on burly chimneys and offwidths. After months of use at crags on the East Side, and desert towers in Utah, we've hardly noticed any sign of wear, despite groveling through many a squeeze chimney.

black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - testing out the durability of the solution guide on a classic valley...
Testing out the durability of the Solution Guide on a classic Valley grovelfest.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Versatility


The added features that make the Solution Guide a great trad climbing harness don't take away from this harness's versatility. The extra-durable leg loops and waistband are certainly not necessary at the sport crag, but they do not inhibit movement. Its weight lands it in the middle of the pack, neither too heavy or exceptionally lightweight. The Solution Guide also packs down small, so it fits in a tight pack for missions where space is limited. It does not have ice-clipper slots, which means this is not the best choice for ice or mixed climbing.

black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - the black diamond solution guide has a fifth rear gear loop for your...
The Black Diamond Solution Guide has a fifth rear gear loop for your extra kit.
Credit: Will Stanhope

Adjustability


The Solution Guide is not a very adjustable harness. We recommend trying this harness on before buying it. If it fits your body, it is very comfortable, but if the proportions don't match up, there isn't much wiggle room with this one. We found the sizing to be slightly on the smaller side compared to other BD models. For example, our lead tester wore a size small in the Black Diamond Solution harnesses which has the the same non-adjustable leg loops, and noticed that the size small Solution Guide was a bit more snug. The Super Fabric, an abrasion resistant fabric that's infused with tiny guard plates, does not stretch at all which is likely why it has a tighter fit.

black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - testing out the solution guide harness at the waterfall; a steep...
Testing out the Solution Guide harness at the Waterfall; a steep basalt crag in northern Arizona.
Credit: Chris Kalman

Should You Buy The Solution Guide?


With larger gear loops, impressive durability, and top-notch hanging comfort, the Black Diamond Solution Guide is our favorite harness for multi-pitch climbing. Though its trade-specific features add a little extra bulk, the Solution Guide still functions well as a cragging harness. Whether you're racking up for a 150-foot hand crack in Indian Creek or prepping for a long day of hanging belays, the Solution Guide has all the features needed for trad climbing endeavors big and small. For ladies who love the Solution, but want a bit more durability, padding, and larger gear loops, this harness is for you!

black diamond solution guide for women climbing harness review - the gear loops on the black diamond solution guide are stiff, easy...
The gear loops on the Black Diamond Solution Guide are stiff, easy to access, and allow ample space for a rack.
Credit: Will Stanhope

What Other Harness Should You Consider?


The Black Diamond Solution is the Black Diamond Solution Guides 'little sister' and another great option to consider when looking to buy a harness. It's slightly lower in profile and weighs a bit less, all the while giving you the same comfort for hanging belays and long days at the crag. The Solution is a bit more mainstream without the added specific features of the Guide and is a more cost friendly option. Another harness that we liked especially for alpine climbing was the Arc'teryx AR-385a which is lightweight, comfortable with its wide waist belt, and versatile with its ice clipper attachments.

Jane Jackson
 
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