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Black Diamond Technician - Women's Review

An all-around harness that's not comfortable to hang in.
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Price:  $80 List | $79.95 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Extra gear loop, ice clipper tool slots, lightweight for a trad harness
Cons:  Adjustable leg loops are uncomfortable, no padding in the waist or legs
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 6, 2018
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 13
  • Standing Comfort - 20% 8
  • Hanging Comfort - 20% 4
  • Features - 20% 7
  • Mobility - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 8
  • Adjustability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Black Diamond recently released the Technician as a replacement to their Lotus harness. The Lotus was one of our favorite harnesses, with a nicely padded waistbelt and abrasion resistant patches. The Technician is more of a riff on the Solution harness, with a minimalist design (and padding) that still has some all-around features, like a third gear loop, full-strength haul line tab, and ice-clipper slots. However, they missed the mark in their leg loop design. While we appreciate adjustable leg-loops for four-season use or for anyone with larger thighs, these were uncomfortable to hang in, and we were instantly in pain as soon as we sat back in it. For a comfortable trad-climbing harness, check out the Misty Mountain Silhouette. If you love all things Black Diamond, we thought the Solution was a lot more comfortable to hang in than the Technician.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Technician had a host of "all-around" features, including adjustable leg loops, four ice clipper slots, a wide fifth gear loop in the rear, a rear haul loop, and low profile releasable leg loop holders. It weighs 12.9 ounces in the size small that we tested, which is only .9 ounces more than the Solution or Arc'teryx FL-355.

Performance Comparison


This new  lightweight all-around harness from Black Diamond has some nice features  but it wasn't comfortable to hang in.
This new, lightweight all-around harness from Black Diamond has some nice features, but it wasn't comfortable to hang in.

Standing Comfort


The Technician is a slim and light harness, and it felt comfortable when standing around and belaying. The rise on this one is suited to those who like to wear their harness on their hips, and we didn't have any gaping at the waist or pressure points digging into us.

This harness is lightweight and has a slim profile  so you won't notice it too much when standing around or belaying.
This harness is lightweight and has a slim profile, so you won't notice it too much when standing around or belaying.

Hanging Comfort


We gave the Technician the lowest score in this review for hanging comfort. This is largely due to the weird construction on the leg loops, whereby there is almost more webbing than padding. The padding barely came halfway around our legs, so once we were hanging in it, all we felt was the webbing and buckle digging into our legs. We also weren't that impressed with the waistbelt either, which is a variation on the Solution's waistbelt but not quite as wide or as comfortable.

The padding on the leg loops only covers the rear of our legs  so when weighted we can feel the thin webbing in the front cinching down on our thighs. Not comfortable!
The padding on the leg loops only covers the rear of our legs, so when weighted we can feel the thin webbing in the front cinching down on our thighs. Not comfortable!

Discipline-Specific Features


The Technician has a host of great all-around features, which we listed above. If you want to own only one harness and like to mix it up a bit, from sport to trad to ice, then this could be the perfect harness for you. However, we also require some good padding from our all-around harnesses, for those hanging belays or marathon belay sessions, and this one just didn't deliver in that department. We understand that manufacturers are trying to one-up each other with lighter and lighter harnesses, but we'd take a few extra ounces on our trad harness if it meant we were more comfortable on a long route.

This harness has a wide  flexible fifth gear loop  as well as a clip-in point for a haul line and a low-profile closure for the leg loops. BD calls it a "four-season workhorse " but it's not at all beefy and is lacking in padding and comfort.
This harness has a wide, flexible fifth gear loop, as well as a clip-in point for a haul line and a low-profile closure for the leg loops. BD calls it a "four-season workhorse," but it's not at all beefy and is lacking in padding and comfort.

Mobility


The Technician had decent mobility, which is one bonus to the thin leg loops. We had to leave them fairly loose though to not feel restricted in the legs (since there is no elastic to stretch with you).

We didn't have any mobility issues in this harness  particularly if we left the leg loops on the loose side  but that meant even more webbing cinching down on us when the sat back in the harness.
We didn't have any mobility issues in this harness, particularly if we left the leg loops on the loose side, but that meant even more webbing cinching down on us when the sat back in the harness.

Versatility


At first, we thought the Technician would be a highly versatile harness, but after using it, we feel like we'd never take it on a multi-pitch route due to the uncomfortable leg loops. That made us knock down its versatility score a bit. However, it is versatile if you only do single pitch trad, ice or sport, and don't hang in your harness too much!

Once we realized how uncomfortable the legs loops were  we only wanted to use this harness while single-pitch climbing.
Once we realized how uncomfortable the legs loops were, we only wanted to use this harness while single-pitch climbing.

Adjustability


While this harness does have adjustable leg loops, they get more uncomfortable the more you have to loosen them. Once again we wanted to give this harness a high score for this category but had to knock a few points off of it.

So much webbing  so little padding! Adjustable leg loops are nice  but we still want some padding around our legs and not just thin webbing for half of it.
So much webbing, so little padding! Adjustable leg loops are nice, but we still want some padding around our legs and not just thin webbing for half of it.

Best Applications


The Technician has all of the features for ice and trad climbing in a lightweight sport climbing design. While you might want to use this model for a variety of climbing styles, we highly recommend that you try it on first and hang in it in the store to determine if the leg loops work for you or not. If they do, and it's comfortable, it could be a great all-around option for you, but that wasn't the case for us.

If you love the thin  minimally padded harnesses but want one with adjustable legs  this could be a good option for you  though you should try and hang in it first.
If you love the thin, minimally padded harnesses but want one with adjustable legs, this could be a good option for you, though you should try and hang in it first.

Value


This harness retails for $80. That's a good value if you do multiple climbing styles and want to have only one harness in your quiver. However, our Best Buy winner, the Black Diamond Momentum, retails for only $55, is lighter than this one (11.8 ounces), and infinitely more comfortable. The Momentum doesn't have the ice clipper slots or a fifth gear loop though, so it may not work for all of your climbing needs.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Technician seriously missed the mark for us. We've loved a lot of BD harnesses over the years, and have given many awards in our reviews, but this one was uncomfortable and ill-suited for its intended purpose, long routes where comfort is key.


Cam McKenzie Ring