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Black Diamond Momentum Review

An affordable sport and gym harness that is ideal for beginners or those on a budget
Black Diamond Momentum
Photo: Black Diamond Equipment
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Price:  $65 List | $59.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, very easy to adjust leg loops, light
Cons:  Not the most comfortable for hanging, smaller gear loops, no ice clipper slots
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2020
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Hanging Comfort - 35% 6
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 20% 5
  • Features - 20% 6
  • Belaying Comfort - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Momentum is a great harness for beginners and those looking to get into the sport on a budget. It features nice cushy foam padding on both the waist belt and the leg loops, and the TrakFit adjusters on the leg loops are far and away the easiest to use and adjust on the fly of any harness we have ever tested. This harness has seen an update in 2020, to be slightly lighter with lower profile foam padding, although the essentials of the harness remain the same. While it isn't one of the highest rated options in our review, it is the most affordable, and offers solid comfort for sport and gym climbing.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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77
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72
Star Rating
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Pros Affordable, very easy to adjust leg loops, lightPerfect set of features, lightweight, comfortable, affordablePerfect feature set for any style of rock climbing, most comfortable harness for belaying, affordableGreat arrangement of functional features including gear loops, very comfortable design for hanging and belaying, versatile, relatively affordableUnrivaled comfort while belaying, hanging, or chilling, super light, affordable
Cons Not the most comfortable for hanging, smaller gear loops, no ice clipper slotsNot the most comfortable for long belay sessionsNo ice clipper slots, not the lightestHeavy and bulky, more annoying to wear while walking than lighter harnessesGear loops are small for carrying a large rack, not very versatile for other styles of climbing
Bottom Line An affordable sport and gym harness that is ideal for beginners or those on a budgetAn excellent harness for any style of climbing, and the best quiver of one you can buyA high performing harness at an excellent price makes for great valueThe optimal choice for long free routes, or anytime when carrying a large rackWithout doubt the most comfortable harness you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbing
Rating Categories Black Diamond Momentum Edelrid Sendero Petzl Sama Petzl Adjama Black Diamond Solution
Hanging Comfort (35%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Standing Comfort And Mobility (20%)
5.0
7.0
5.0
3.0
7.0
Features (20%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
Belaying Comfort (15%)
7.0
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Versatility (10%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Black Diamond Momentum Edelrid Sendero Petzl Sama Petzl Adjama Black Diamond Solution
Designed for these disciplines Sport, gym, trad Sport, lightweight alpine, trad Sport, indoor, trad Trad, multi-pitch, mountaineering Sport
Weight (size medium) 10.6 oz 11.6 oz 13.7 oz 15.8 oz 12.3 oz
Gear Loops 4 5 4 5 4
Haul Loop Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Legs? Yes Yes No, elastic Yes No, elastic
Self-locking buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? No Yes - 2 No, but works with Caritool EVO No, but works with Caritool EVO No
Waist Belt Construction Dual Core: Open-Air waistbelt for breathability Soft frame construction with 3D mesh padding Double webbing strips padded with EndoFrame technology EndoFrame Technology: wide waistband to reduce pressure points Fusion Comfort Construction: Three bands of webbing, breathable mesh, EVA foam insert
Waist Size Ranges (inches) 24-27 (XS), 27-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 27.5-33.5 (S), 29.5-35.4 (M), 31.5-37.4 (L) 28-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 28-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 27-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL)

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Momentum has a simple design that keeps it affordable, yet remains surprisingly comfortable. While we compared it to many more expensive specialty harnesses, which were admittedly more comfortable for most uses, taken in isolation we think that most people would be more than content with this one. It works great for those who like to save a bit of money and typically climb in the gym or at the sport crag. Its gear loops are fairly small and can hold a light rack for some trad cragging, but isn't our favorite choice for multi-pitching.

In the middle of 2020 this harness was updated. Although it looks basically the same, and the updates have minimal effect on performance, this is a slightly improved version. Look closely and you will see that the foam used as padding in both the waist belt and the leg loops is a bit lower profile, and not as thick and bulky as the older version. This change seems to have shaved off some weight as well, as we measured it losing 1.3 ounces compared to the previous version. The Momentum also comes in a women's version, and both a 3S version, which has metal adjustable buckles on the leg loops instead of the plastic TrakFit buckles, and a 4S version which has the metal leg buckles as well as double waist belt buckles for greater adjustability.

Performance Comparison


The Momentum is a budget harness that is comfortable and heavily...
The Momentum is a budget harness that is comfortable and heavily padded. It is a fairly simple design, and has the easiest to adjust leg loops of any harness we tested. We like it best for gym and sport climbing, and while it can handle a day of trad cragging here and there, is not an ideal choice for multi-pitching.

Hanging Comfort


Black Diamond calls the technology used in the waist and leg loops Dual Core Construction. This means there are two strips of webbing, one at the top and one at the bottom, running parallel to each other within the belt and loops. These are heavily padded with foam and a soft breathable mesh fabric. Compared to many harnesses, this is a fairly low tech approach, but one that helps keep the price down. It also does a nice job of padding the legs and around the hips. When hanging in the harness for more than a few moments, however, we start to notice the waist belt riding up underneath our ribs, and this puts a lot of stress on our kidneys. While the leg loops remain sufficiently comfortable, we start to squirm pretty quick in an effort to relieve the stress on the gut and lower back. Many other designs don't ride up in quite the same way, and are therefore more comfortable while hanging.

Hanging while lowering off and cleaning a sport route. We conducted...
Hanging while lowering off and cleaning a sport route. We conducted side by side tests for hanging in each harness, and find this one to be rather uncomfortable. As you can see, the waist belt rides up under the ribs, pinching the guts and putting a lot of pressure on the kidneys. While some others also have this problem, most do not. Its not a very big deal when lowering off and hanging for just a minute, but gets progressively more uncomfortable the longer you hang out.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


The foam padding found on the waist and leg loops is comfortable, but also significantly more present than the very thin, unpadded loops found on many other harnesses. When walking about, the pads on the leg loops rub against each other. The thickness of the foam on the waist doesn't make it a very ideal choice for wearing with a pack on because the waist straps will catch on the bulkiness of the harness. We have no issues with comfort here, but let's just say that you aren't likely to forget you are wearing a harness with this one on.

You can see the thick padding that makes up the waistbelt. This...
You can see the thick padding that makes up the waistbelt. This padding is comfortable and effective, but also a bit warm on hot days, and is far more present and noticeable against the body than many thinner options.

Features


The Momentum has a minimal feature set that serves well for sport climbing and in the gym, but doesn't really provide enough for multi-pitch climbing. It has four gear loops with rigid plastic coverings that are flat and easy to clip. However, they are not super large compared to many harnesses, and there is no fifth gear loop in the back for storing things such as shoes, a jacket, or belay biners and slings. There is a small unrated haul loop on the back, but it's so small it can be hard to clip blind.

This is the TrakFit adjustable buckle on the leg loops. Simply slide...
This is the TrakFit adjustable buckle on the leg loops. Simply slide this buckle back and forth on the webbing, which is very easy, to adjust the tightness or looseness of the leg loop against the body.

This is the waist belt buckle, which is automatically doubled back...
This is the waist belt buckle, which is automatically doubled back. While it is effective, the webbing seems too fat for the buckle itself, such that there is a ton of friction, and it can be hard to cinch down or open up quickly and easily.

The legs are adjusted using the TrakFit system, which is essentially a plastic buckle that slides back and forth to tighten or loosen the fit. We love the way this works, and think it provides the simplest and easily adjustabe harness that we've tried. It is a cinch to change the tightness as desired on the fly. The main buckle, on the other hand, is a bit of a challenge to easily manipulate as it feels as if the webbing is a bit too large and thick, making it sticky and hard to easily pull through or loosen.

The gear loops are flat and rigid due to this clear plastic coating...
The gear loops are flat and rigid due to this clear plastic coating, and are very easy to clip. However, they aren't very large, so don't hold a ton of items compared to competitors, and also don't sit flat against the body very well if you are wearing a pack over the top of the harness.

Belaying Comfort


When belaying and holding a resting or hanging climber for long periods of time, the force of their weight is focused almost entirely on the leg loops, especially where they wrap around the inside of the thighs to join at the front of the harness. The Momentum is heavily padded in this area, and thus is pretty comfortable, and in our testing and belaying, we never experienced the uncomfortable gouging that can happen with some harness designs. The amount of foam padding is a bit bulky in the crotch, and means we were more likely to have to adjust ourselves so that everything sits comfortably, although we noticed this is less of an issue when wearing shorts rather than pants, and is something we sort of expect to have to do anyway.

Belaying in the sun on a late fall day. When belaying, especially...
Belaying in the sun on a late fall day. When belaying, especially top-rope like this, most of the body weight will be felt on your leg loops. This harness is quite comfortable for use while belaying, as the leg loops do not dig into the femoral region of the legs too much.

Versatility


This is not a very versatile harness, and is best used for single pitch cragging. It doesn't have the amount of gear storage space on its gear loops that we appreciate for multi-pitch climbing. Likewise, there are no ice clipper slots, which make it hard to consider for doing much ice climbing, unless you are simply top-roping. The bulkiness of the foam padding doesn't interface with a pack very well, so it's also not ideal for alpine and mountaineering.


On the plus side, at only 10.6 ounces, this is a fairly light harness compared to most of the competition, so isn't likely to weigh you down on the hike to the crag.

The Momentum is not the most versatile option. We tested it numerous...
The Momentum is not the most versatile option. We tested it numerous days trad climbing, and even multi-pitching, and it will work. Here racked up for a single pitch trad route with a light double rack. However, the gear loops are small for carrying a larger rack, and there is not a ton of room for multi-pitching essentials since it lacks a fifth gear loop.

Value


The retail price for this harness is lower than virtually any other one you could buy. While it isn't the highest ranked in our review, we think it provides solid value, provided you intend to stick to the gym or sport crags for leading or top-roping. It is a solid budget choice, especially for those looking to get into climbing while spending the least amount.

Putting the Momentum to the test on one of the very technical seam...
Putting the Momentum to the test on one of the very technical seam routes at Penitente Canyon in Colorado. We love this harness as a great budget option for sport climbing and in the gym.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Momentum is newly updated, yet remains the same solid, well-padded, and affordable choice that it's always been. Its easily adjustable leg loops and foam cushioned waist belt provide plenty of comfort for sport and gym climbing, although it lacks the gear carrying capacity and features for other styles of climbing.

Climbing single pitch cracks on volcanic rock to test out the...
Climbing single pitch cracks on volcanic rock to test out the carrying capacity of the Momentum.

Andy Wellman