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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:  $70 List | $69.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and highly mobile
Cons:  Might not feel great if the leg loops don't fit you
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 6, 2018
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Standing Comfort - 20% 9
  • Hanging Comfort - 20% 8
  • Features - 20% 9
  • Mobility - 15% 10
  • 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. But Black Diamond 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. If you're looking for a more all-around model, with a full-strength rear tag line loop and slots for ice clipper carabiners, then check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Camp Supernova. We also liked the Black Diamond Momentum, which has a bit more padding and retails for only $55. But for those dedicated bolt clippers or anyone who prefers a thinner style harness, you can get a comfortable one in the Solution.


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 on of our highest scores for standing comfort. It's our favorite harness to wear around the crag. The thin waistbelt 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. Those ladies should check out the Petzl Selena, which is designed to ride a little lower. The Mad Rock Venus and Edelrid Jayne II also felt like they had a lower rise to us.

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. That was the case with the Arc'teryx FL-355. 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 great. 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 hang dog session.


Here again is where the Solution's leg loops are superior to other models. Some, like the Black Diamond Technician, 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 Black Diamond Momentum was slightly more comfortable in this regard, and the Misty Mountain Silhouette is also an excellent choice for long trad routes.

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 harness like the Mammut Zephir or the Petzl Selena, 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 these gear loops better than the Petzl Selena's, which lay flat, and the Mammut Zephir's, which has a long, angled plastic gear loop on each side. The idea for that 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.

Mobility


The Solution scored at the top of the pack for mobility. This harness offers unparalleled ease of movement.


The elastic on the legs have a lot of stretch to them, so you can heel hook, high step, or contort yourself in any which way without any interference from the harness.

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. The Black Diamond Technician has a p-cord style 5th gear loop in the rear which is more user-friendly for carrying extra gear like a rappel device or anchor system. There's no option for ice tools 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 also 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 FL-355. Those leg loops felt tight on us (while the waistbelt fit fine), as opposed to the Solution that fit us in both the legs and waist. If you do need more adjustability in the legs, look to the Camp Supernova, our Editors' Choice winner, which has 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.

Best Applications


The Solution is our favorite harness for the sport crag, and for that, we've given it our Top Pick for Sport Climbing award.

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.

Value


This harness retails for only $70, which seems like a real bargain to us, particularly considering that the Arc'teryx FL-355 costs $145, more than twice as much!

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.


Cam McKenzie Ring