Reviews You Can Rely On

Blue Ice Addax Review

The lightest harness on the market that can surprisingly withstand more wear and tear than most
gearlab tested logo
Blue Ice Addax Review (The Blue Ice Addax is an ultralight, but still fully functional harness.)
The Blue Ice Addax is an ultralight, but still fully functional harness.
Credit: Crystal Dunbar
Price:  $110 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Blue Ice
By Whitney Clark ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 25, 2024
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 11
  • Hanging Comfort - 30% 6.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 25% 6.0
  • Features - 20% 7.0
  • Versatility - 15% 7.0
  • Adjustability - 10% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Blue Ice Addax is easily one of the lightest harnesses on the market. It is the perfect accompaniment to fast-and-light multi-pitch or alpine objectives, especially if you don't plan to spend too much time hanging in your harness. The Addax is made with high-quality materials that held up to repeated abuse on tough alpine routes. We'll admit that folks may need time to adjust to this minimalist design, especially the slim belay loop. But after testing this harness from the rugged mountains of Southern Patagonia to single-pitch cragging in Bishop, we're confident in the Addax's ability to stand up to months of wear and tear. Read our complete guide to choosing the best women's climbing harness for your needs.
REASONS TO BUY
Extremely lightweight
Packs down small
Durable
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as comfy for all day wear
Expensive
Leg loops not adjustable
Editor's Note: We added the Blue Ice Addax to our lineup on April 23, 2024.

Compare to Similar Products

 
blue ice addax
This Product
Blue Ice Addax
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $82.46 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$160 List
Check Price at REI
$42.22 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$55.93 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$64.46 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
63
85
82
80
74
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line An extremely lightweight and durable harness that can be worn in the mountains or at the cragA fantastic lightweight harness for alpine ascents or everyday climbingAn excellent all around model that is also affordableA sport climber's dream harness that is comfortable, breathable, and easy to move inA super comfortable, women's specific harness that is perfectly suited for long days in the alpine
Rating Categories Blue Ice Addax Arc'teryx AR-385a Black Diamond Momen... Black Diamond Solut... Blue Ice Cuesta - W...
Hanging Comfort (30%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Standing Comfort and Mobility (25%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Features (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Adjustability (10%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Specs Blue Ice Addax Arc'teryx AR-385a Black Diamond Momen... Black Diamond Solut... Blue Ice Cuesta - W...
Designed for These Disciplines Sport, Trad, Alpine Sport, Trad, Ice Sport, Trad Sport Sport, Trad
Measured Weight (size Small) 4.9 oz 13 oz 10.3 oz 11.4 oz 9.7 oz
Number of Gear Loops 4 4 (rigid with flexible attachment points) 4 (rigid) 4 (rigid) 4 (2 rigid in front)
Haul Loop? Yes Yes (not full strength) Yes Yes (not full strength) Yes
Adjustable Legs? No Yes (detacheable) Yes No No
Self-Locking Buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? Yes (2) Yes (4) No No No
Waist Belt Construction EVA Foam, UHMW polyethylene, high-tenacity PES Warp Strength Technology Dual Core (2 thin bands of webbing with foam in between) Fusion Comfort Technology (3 strands of webbing) Laminate waist belt, high-tenacity PES
Special Features Speed buckle Colored fibers inside high wear points to indicated when it's time to retire trakFIT leg adjusters are low profile and lightweight Leg loops have same wide construction as waistbelt Women's specific fit for higher waist and larger thighs

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Blue Ice Addax is the perfect harness for fast-and-light alpine climbs where weight savings are key. Despite the minimalist design, it is impressively durable, which might be surprising considering that ultralight gear often falls apart more quickly than its beefier counterparts. The Addax features four gear loops, a haul loop, and ice clipper slots, making it a versatile, four-season harness.

Performance Comparison


blue ice addax - the soft gear loops on the addax can lie flush to the harness...
The soft gear loops on the Addax can lie flush to the harness, making it more comfortable to climb with a backpack.
Credit: Babsi Vigil

Hanging Comfort


Hanging out in a belay is not the Addax's strong suit. This ultralight design has been stripped down to a bare minimum. It weighs only 4.9 ounces, which, for reference, is lighter than an apple! To its benefit, the harness features fixed leg loops, which help reduce pressure points that are often created from buckles or the leg loops moving out of position. Despite its minimalist design, the frame is also relatively rigid, which gives your body more support while hanging or taking falls.


We spent quite a bit of time cragging in this harness to see how well it stood up against more traditionally padded harnesses. It does include a small amount of EVA foam padding in strategic areas, such as the waist and leg loops, for comfort during extended wear, but it's minimal at best. The waist belt and leg loops cover much less surface area than burlier harnesses – which are, not surprisingly, much more comfortable than the Addax. If you need to occasionally hang or rappel in this harness, no problem. We just wouldn't recommend it for projecting or extended hanging belays.

blue ice addax - hanging in the addax while crossing the tyrolean into the torre...
Hanging in the Addax while crossing the tyrolean into the Torre Valley.
Credit: Babsi Vigil

Standing Comfort and Mobility


When you pull on the Addax, you'll hardly notice you have it on. However, once you clip on a double rack, slings, and approach shoes, you might start to feel differently. The Addax should not be your go-to when you have to carry a ton of stuff – its ultralight design just doesn't hold up to weight as well as some other heavier-duty harnesses. It should, however, be your choice for fast-and-light missions.


The leg loops are fixed and don't offer much stretch. But there is a small bit of elastic on the inner thigh that provides a bit of wiggle room. No one wants to feel like a tight-fitting harness restricts their movement, so it's important to correctly size the Addax to maximize comfort and mobility.

blue ice addax - the waist belt on the addax is slightly padded, and made with...
The waist belt on the Addax is slightly padded, and made with durable yet highly breathable material.
Credit: Whitney Clark

Features


Although the Addax is a minimalist harness, it is thoughtfully designed and still incorporates almost all of the features you could want. The waist belt and leg loops are covered with breathable mesh panels to enhance ventilation for climbing on hot days. This breathable, lightweight design is particularly warranted for all-day simul-climbing or long treks across sun-baked, glaciated terrain.


One feature that might take some time to get used to is the slim belay loop. Blue Ice calls it the “Magic Ring,” and unlike most belay loops, it is seamless. It is also very skinny but fear not – it is full-strength rated and meets all of the UIAA certifications. Four soft gear loops fit a good amount of gear, but they don't provide as comfortable of a carry as a harness with stiff loops and a more padded waist belt. That said, having soft gear loops makes carrying a backpack much easier and more comfortable, which is also an important design consideration for an alpine harness.

The Magic Ring belay loop on the Addax might be smaller than most...
The Magic Ring belay loop on the Addax might be smaller than most people are used to, but it is fully UIAA rated.
A close up of the gear loops. Although they're full-sized, they...
A close up of the gear loops. Although they're full-sized, they don't have any rigid structure, which has its pros and cons in terms of utility.
The leg loops can only be removed by pushing this overhand knot...
The leg loops can only be removed by pushing this overhand knot through the loop, which makes it much more difficult to add or remove clothing while wearing the Addax.

Versatility


With four large gear loops, a haul loop, and ice clipper slots, the Addax easily transitions from the crag to an alpine environment. The gear loops are a bit smaller than we'd like, only measuring about 4.5 inches across. We could fit a double rack, slings, and our standard belay kit on there, but just barely.


While this lightweight harness is marketed as a jack-of-all-trades, it really shines in an alpine environment where you don't need a ton of gear on your harness. It should be pulled out of your gear closet for those fast-and-light missions where saving weight in your backpack is key.

blue ice addax - the addax has just enough room for a light rack of draws, and is...
The Addax has just enough room for a light rack of draws, and is pushed more to the limit when carrying a full rack of trad gear.
Credit: Crystal Dunbar

Adjustability


The speed-buckle adjustment on the waist belt of the Addax is super easy to operate. Unlike some other alpine-oriented harnesses we've tested, it stays locked in place and has yet to loosen itself. The buckle can be tightened or loosened with one hand and easily adjusted with gloves on.


Even though the leg loops on the Addax are fixed, a bit of elastic on the inner thigh does provide a few inches of wiggle room to add some layers for cold alpine climbs. Like all other harnesses with fixed leg loops, if you want to add or take off layers, you have to take the leg loops all the way off. But this is more challenging with this harness because of the lack of release buckles. Instead, there is an overhand knot on the end of the shock cord that you would have to push through the nylon loop. If you need to change clothes, the unfortunate reality is that its easiest to take the Addax completely off.

blue ice addax - we love the ease of the speed buckle on the waist belt. cinching up...
We love the ease of the speed buckle on the waist belt. Cinching up the Addax for a tyrolean over the river in El Chalten, Patagonia.
Credit: Babsi Vigil


Should You Buy the Blue Ice Addax


The Blue Ice Addax harness is ideal for alpine climbs that prioritize weight savings, making it the perfect choice for alpine climbs. Despite its minimalist design, it is remarkably durable, defying our expectations that this ultralight piece of gear would wear out faster than heavier alternatives. Thanks to a full-fledged set of features, it really is a four-season, jack-of-all-trades kind of harness. Yet, we firmly believe that the Addax excels in an alpine environment.

What Other Harnesses Should You Consider?


If saving weight is a priority, yet you want a harness that is a bit more comfortable for all-day wear, the Petzl Sitta is a great alternative for an alpine harness. It features a bit more padding than the Addax, which makes hanging in your harness more bearable, but it is much more expensive. The Arc'teryx AR-385a is a highly versatile option with larger gear loops, though it's significantly heavier than the Addax.

Whitney Clark