Black Diamond Solution - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and highly mobile
Cons: Uncomfortable if leg loops don't fit you
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This harness feels like a real bargain to us, particularly considering that the other comparable models cost twice as much!
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