Black Diamond Solution Guide - Women's Review
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Black Diamond Solution Guide - Women's
|Price||$74.48 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Comfortable, very durable, five gear loops, simple design||Comfortable, easy to clip rigid gear loops, great value, adjustable leg loop system is light and easy||Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and highly mobile||Sliding waist belt keeps the belay loop in front as you adjust it, comfortable to hang in, durable||Comfortable if you like to wear your harness on your hips|
|Cons||On the expensive side, a bit bulky, stiff leg loops||Waist belt doesn't have the best ventilation||Uncomfortable if leg loops don't fit you||Rear haul loop isn't very functional, bulky especially around leg loops||Rear 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 comfort||One of the best and least expensive all around harnesses in this review||A lightweight and thin harness that is comfortable to hang in||This all-around harness is a good beginner model and also good for gyms or programs||A 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%)|
|Standing Comfort (25%)|
|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|
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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