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Black Diamond Momentum Review

An affordable sport and gym harness that is ideal for beginners or those on a budget
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Black Diamond Momentum Review
Credit: Black Diamond Equipment
Price:  $65 List
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2020
  • Hanging Comfort - 35% 6.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 20% 5.0
  • Features - 20% 6.0
  • Belaying Comfort - 15% 7.0
  • Versatility - 10% 5.0

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.
Very easy to adjust leg loops
Not the most comfortable for hanging
Smaller gear loops
No ice clipper slots

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

black diamond momentum - 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.

black diamond momentum - 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.

black diamond momentum - 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.


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.

black diamond momentum - this is the trakfit adjustable buckle on the leg loops of the...
This is the TrakFit adjustable buckle on the leg loops of the Momentum. 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.

black diamond momentum - 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.

black diamond momentum - 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.

black diamond momentum - 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.


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.

black diamond momentum - 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.


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.

black diamond momentum - 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.


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.

black diamond momentum - 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