Misty Mountain is known for their beefy Cadillac harnesses (not reviewed here) as well as their customizable options. (All of their products are made in North Carolina, and you can create your own harness if you prefer a combination that is not offered as-is or need a different size of leg loops relative to your waist.) We wanted to check out something that was a little less robust than the Cadillac (but hopefully still as comfortable) and chose to test their Silhouette harness. Billed as an all-around model, it has a comfortable and supportive waistbelt in a slightly less burly package when compared to the Cadillac. It's still a great choice for traditional climbing (in fact, our favorite choice and Top Pick for that application), but it's surprisingly not too bulky for sport climbing either. This harness is for the gal who's mostly climbing long cracks but doesn't mind a "rest day" spent clipping bolts. It does not cross over to ice though, so if that is also in your repertoire, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Camp Supernova.
Misty Mountain Silhouette Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Padded waist belt is comfortable, made in the USA and customizable
Cons: Heavy and a little buky
Manufacturer: Misty Mountain
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Misty Mountain Silhouette is a comfortable and well-made harness from the heart of Appalachia, the only harness in our test group that is made in the USA. It's a sturdy model that has great comfort and works well for long routes where you might be hanging in your harness at every belay.
When it came to standing comfort, the Silhouette didn't score so high. The same features that make it comfortable to hang in (see the next metric below) make it a little bulky and sweaty.
This was the heaviest harness in our review (15.4 ounces in size Small). We also felt hot in this model when testing it in the summer.
Here is where the Silhouette shines, and it was the most comfortable harness that we tested to hang in.
The waistbelt is four inches wide at the back, and then it tapers around the front, contouring the waist and hips and providing ample padding throughout. It's not quite as beefy as a big wall harness, but it's enough so that you won't be crying during your next hanging belay. The leg loops have nice padding as well, which is key since that's where most of your weight is held by your harness. While we appreciate attempts to make gear lighter, sometimes you need a few ounces of padding on your harness!
Black Diamond recently replaced their well-padded and comfortable Lotus harness, our previous Top Pick for Trad Climbing recipient, with the much lighter and thinner Technician. Not only is there no padding in the legs, but there's almost more webbing than padding! As soon as we hung in that model, the webbing dug into our thighs, and we couldn't imagine hanging out in it for more than a minute at a time.
One of the most important things you can do before buying any harness, but particularly one you plan on multi-pitch climbing in, is to hang in it first. Gear stores will often have a powerpoint that you can hang from, or if you purchase it online, you can test it out at your home or a gym first before ripping the tags off and committing to the purchase. Try to spend at least five minutes free hanging in it, and if you can't handle that amount of time, it's probably not the best one for you.
We liked all of the features on the Silhouette — it had almost everything that we want in a trad harness, except perhaps a fifth gear loop in the rear.
There is a haul loop tab that can fit one or two carabiners, but sometimes it's nice to have even more racking options for your shoes, a windbreaker, a water bottle, or whatever you like to clip to your rear.
We liked the gear loops on the Silhouette. Sure, they look a little weird sticking up or out from your harness when there is nothing on them, but they can hold a lot of gear. Other than that, this is a fairly simple model. There's an abrasion-resistant material sewn to the outside of the waistbelt, but that might be nice over the leg loops too.
This harness didn't have the best mobility. The bottom tie in point and leg loop attachment is made with one-inch webbing that is thick and not pliable.
Because the leg loops are adjustable, there's no elastic in them, which also impacts the mobility a bit. If you're looking for the best of both worlds (some elastic but a little more adjustability), check out the Black Diamond Momentum. It has a sliding buckle that gives you two inches of adjustability with elastic underneath for stretch.
The Silhouette is somewhat versatile. It functions best as a trad harness, but we still did some moderate sport climbing in it with no worries. The leg loops are adjustable enough for this to fit over your winter gear, should you want to ice climb in it, though there aren't any ice clipper tools slots.
The Silhouette received top marks for adjustability. The leg loops can fit a range of sizes comfortably (unlike the Black Diamond Technician, which are only comfortable when at their smallest). The rise is high enough to fit those who like to wear their harness on their waist, though the adjusters are a little challenging to lengthen or shorten, which is why we only gave it a 9 and not a 10/10.
The real thing that makes Misty stand out from the competition from an adjustability standpoint is the ability to order a custom harness from them. Have muscular thighs from years of mountain biking or deadlifting? Some of the other models might not fit you well, particularly if the leg loops aren't adjustable. Misty will let you order different sized waistbelts and leg loops in various combinations, with any of their product lines.
The Misty Mountain Silhouette is a trad girl's dream harness. It's the perfect option for long routes with hanging belays, or even single pitch lines where you need a lot of gear and prefer to rack on your harness. This model is on the heavy side and doesn't offer much breathability, so if you're out in warm and humid summer months, it might be a little much. The same thing goes for gym climbers. As we mentioned above, it doesn't have slots for ice tool clips; however, the new Caritool Evo from Petzl is actually compatible with all harnesses as the attachment goes around the waistbelt and not through a slot. Alternatively, you could look at the Camp Supernova or Edelrid Jayne II, which are comfortable and have two slots.
The Silhouette retails for $115, making it one of the more expensive harnesses in our test group. Only the Arc'teryx brand was more expensive. The price on the Silhouette didn't seem too excessive though, considering the quality workmanship, and the knowledge that you are supporting a small company that does all of it's manufacturing in the States.
The Misty Mountain Silhouette was our first choice of harness every time we racked up for a gear route, and even for the occasional sport climb too. It is supportive and comfortable, and your body will thank you if you take this one on your next multi-pitch climb as opposed to some thin sport climbing model.
— Cam McKenzie Ring