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Black Diamond Solution - Women's Review

A lightweight and thin harness that is comfortable to hang in
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $75 List | $56.21 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and highly mobile
Cons:  Uncomfortable if leg loops don't fit you
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Jane Jackson & Cam McKenzie Ring  ⋅  May 11, 2020
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Hanging Comfort - 30% 8
  • Standing Comfort - 25% 9
  • Features - 20% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 6
  • Adjustability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

We haven't always been a fan of the "tape-style" harnesses. While they look sleek on and feel great when "hanging" around the crag, once you weight the rope they usually don't feel so comfortable when you're actually hanging in them. Black Diamond has found a way to make a thin, non-padded harness comfortable to hang in, and we love the Solution. It's lightweight and breathable, and you'll barely notice that it's on even when hang-dogging your project of giving your buddy an epic belay.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Solution uses Black Diamond's "Fusion Comfort Technology," which has three different strands of webbing in the waistbelt and leg loops to help distribute the load and minimize pressure points. This harness weighed 12 ounces on our scales in the size Small that we tested.

Performance Comparison


Our Top Pick for Sport Climbing is lightweight and comfortable  and our favorite option when clipping bolts.
Our Top Pick for Sport Climbing is lightweight and comfortable, and our favorite option when clipping bolts.

Standing Comfort


The Solution received one of our highest scores for standing comfort. It's our favorite harness to wear around the crag. The thin waist belt and leg loops help you stay cool all day long, and we didn't have any weird or annoying fit issues with it.


A lot of this metric comes down to how well the different geometries of a harness fit your particular body shape. Women's hips also vary a lot more than men's in their rise, so if you have a shorter rise or prefer to wear your harness over your hipbones as opposed to above them on your waist, you may not find this one so comfortable.

This was one of the most comfortable harnesses in our standing metric. We loved the leg loop design and the higher rise.
This was one of the most comfortable harnesses in our standing metric. We loved the leg loop design and the higher rise.

One of the things that helped make this harness more comfortable was the tapered leg loops. Leg loops construction must be a finicky business — too wide and bulky as it passes between your thighs and you'll feel like there's too much material bunching up in there. The Solution has one of the widest leg loops in this review, but it tapers down so that there isn't too much going on between your legs.

The Solution's leg loop (top) vs. the FL-355's (bottom). Not only is the Solutions's wider  but it tapers down more where it passes through your thighs  making it more comfortable.
The Solution's leg loop (top) vs. the FL-355's (bottom). Not only is the Solutions's wider, but it tapers down more where it passes through your thighs, making it more comfortable.

Hanging Comfort


We didn't think that the Solution would be so comfortable to hang in because, at first glance, there is minimal padding, and our experience with thin harnesses hasn't always been excellent. But the triple-strand load distribution disperses your weight over the entirety of the waistbelt and leg loops, and we felt great hanging in this one even on an extended belay or hangdog session.


Here again, is where the Solution's leg loops are superior to other models. Some don't have enough coverage, so that we felt the adjustable webbing digging into the sides of our thighs and cutting off circulation. The Solution's loops extend far enough around the front to mitigate this issue. The waistband was also surprisingly comfortable for being so thin, though we still prefer more padding when doing longer routes with hanging belays.

The wide leg loops didn't dig into our legs when hanging in this harness  unlike some other "thin" models.
The wide leg loops didn't dig into our legs when hanging in this harness, unlike some other "thin" models.

Discipline-Specific Features


We rated each harness on their discipline-specific features. When evaluating an all-around harness, we wanted to be sure we really could use it for multiple disciplines, and with a sport-specific harness, we wanted it to have everything we needed to help us send our proj and nothing that we didn't. When compared to other sport-specific harnesses, the Solution had much better features.


We think the molded gear loops that Black Diamond uses on most of their harnesses are some of the best in the business. They are encased in plastic molding so that they are rigid for easy racking, and they extend about an inch away so that they stay racked neatly together. Our only quibble with this style is that it's not comfortable to throw your pack on over this harness when moving from one spot to another. It's not that big a deal to take your harness off either, but for anything more than a 5-minute hike, you'll be more comfortable without it on.

Those rear gear loops are still easily accessible  but because of the way that they stick out from the harness it feels weird to wear a pack on top of them when moving from one climb to another.
Those rear gear loops are still easily accessible, but because of the way that they stick out from the harness it feels weird to wear a pack on top of them when moving from one climb to another.

We like that these gear loops lay flat. The idea behind their design is that it keeps all of your draws at the front of the gear loop for easy access, but when the angle steepens, they all go shooting the back of your harness and out of reach.

We never felt impeded by this harness  and could high step with ease thanks to the thin leg loops and stretchy elastic.
We never felt impeded by this harness, and could high step with ease thanks to the thin leg loops and stretchy elastic.

Versatility


As a dedicated sport model, this isn't the most versatile harness. It's comfortable enough to take on a longer route, but it lacks a few key features that you would want in an all-around model.


There is a 0 kN tab sewn on the back of the harness for a tagline, potentially, though it does seem a little flimsy to us. There's no option for ice tool carabiners, and the non-adjustable leg loops will limit your ability to wear this in colder weather over heavier pants.

A closer look at the extra-wide leg loops. We had enough play to wear them over legging and pants  but not winter gear.
A closer look at the extra-wide leg loops. We had enough play to wear them over legging and pants, but not winter gear.

Adjustability


The Solution is not very adjustable. The fixed leg loops do have a good amount of stretch to them from the elastic, but if the proportions don't quite fit you, then you won't find this model as comfortable.


Black Diamond does seem to have sized their leg loops a little more generously than the Arc'teryx models we've tested. If you do need more adjustability in the legs, check out a harness with fully adjustable leg loops.

There is a long elastic band in the leg loops to give you more stretch and a few inches of play for better sizing.
There is a long elastic band in the leg loops to give you more stretch and a few inches of play for better sizing.

Value


This harness feels like a real bargain to us, particularly considering that the other comparable models cost twice as much!

If you are searching for the best sport-specific harness  look no further! The Solution was our favorite option for sport cragging days.
If you are searching for the best sport-specific harness, look no further! The Solution was our favorite option for sport cragging days.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Solution is our number one choice for most sport climbing applications. The lightweight and breathable waistbelt won't weigh you down, and it's comfortable enough for prolonged hanging or working belays. If you haven't liked some of the thinner style harnesses from other manufacturers in the past, check this one out, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Jane Jackson & Cam McKenzie Ring