The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Black Diamond Momentum Review

This no frills harness is the best choice for budget conscious climbers.
Best Buy Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $57 List | $44.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very affordable, the most easily adjustable leg loops, reasonably comfortable
Cons:  Hip belt rides up a bit when hanging, padding is on the bulky side, gear loops smaller than desired
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
58
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Momentum is a very affordable harness that provides nearly the same level of comfort as top of the line harnesses that cost over twice as much. While it isn't one of the highest scorers in our comparative rankings, it works just fine for clipping bolts and training in the gym, and can even be a serviceable trad climbing harness if need be. It is far more comfortable and easy to use than the other super affordable harnesses that we tested, and in our opinion, presents the best value of any contender in this review. Offering top of the line performance at a bargain bin price, we can't help but call it our Best Bang for the Buck award winner. If you need a new harness, but would prefer to make your hard-earned cash go as far as possible, this is the harness we recommend for you.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award 
Price $44.93 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$69.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$99.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$59.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$69.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
58
100
0
79
100
0
78
100
0
77
100
0
76
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
Pros Very affordable, the most easily adjustable leg loops, reasonably comfortablePerfect feature set for any style of rock climbing, most comfortable harness for belaying, affordableComfortable to hang in, increased carrying capacity, durable, mobileGreat 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 Hip belt rides up a bit when hanging, padding is on the bulky side, gear loops smaller than desiredNo ice clipper slots, not the lightestNot as comfortable as Solution for long belay sessions, no ice clipper slotsHeavy 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 This no frills harness is the best choice for budget conscious climbers.The best rock climbing harness that you can buy.An extremely versatile harness ideal for multi-pitch rock climbs.The optimal choice for long free routes, or anytime when carrying a large rack.Without doubt the most comfortable harness you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbing.
Rating Categories Black Diamond Momentum Petzl Sama Black Diamond Solution Guide Petzl Adjama Black Diamond Solution
Hanging Comfort (35%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
Standing Comfort And Mobility (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
9
Features (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
5
Belaying Comfort (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
8
Versatility (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
4
Specs Black Diamond... Petzl Sama Black Diamond... Petzl Adjama Black Diamond...
Designed for these disciplines Sport, Trad Sport, indoor, trad Sport, trad, multi-pitch Trad, multi-pitch, mountaineering Sport
Weight (size medium) 11.9 oz 13.7 oz 14.1 oz 15.8 oz 12.3 oz
Gear Loops 4 4 5 5 4
Haul Loop Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Legs? Yes No, elastic No, elastic Yes No, elastic
Self-locking buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? No No, but works with Caritool EVO No No, but works with Caritool EVO No
Waist Belt Construction Dual Core: Open-Air waistbelt for breathability Double webbing strips padded with EndoFrame technology Super Fabric 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) 28-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 24-39 in 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

For such a low price, the BD Momentum is a pretty impressive harness. It uses what BD calls Dual Core Construction for its waist belt, which means that it has two strips of webbing, running across the top and bottom of the waist belt to help disperse the load of the climber, which are then padded heavily with foam. While it is a bit on the bulkier side, we were surprised to find that it is the second lightest harness that we reviewed, weighing in at a mere 11.9 ounces. Without a doubt, its best feature is the trakFit adjustable leg loops that we find to be the quickest and simplest leg loops to adjust. We can honestly say that we wish every single harness had this style of adjustable buckles. One last thing to note is that there are some customer reviews online claiming that this harness fits small. We would have to agree, and we encourage readers who find themselves on the edges of the fit guide to size up.

Product Updates
In late 2018, Black Diamond updated their harness line. The Momentum remains pretty much unchanged except for the color schemes.

Performance Comparison


The Black Diamond Momentum is our Best Bang for the Buck because it offers solid performance at a very reasonable price. Here testing it on Moondance  Smith Rock.
The Black Diamond Momentum is our Best Bang for the Buck because it offers solid performance at a very reasonable price. Here testing it on Moondance, Smith Rock.

Hanging Comfort


When it comes to hanging comfort, we find that roughly half of the climber's weight is supported by the waist belt across the lower back, and the other half is supported by the leg loops as they wrap around the hamstrings. This harness is a bit below average when hanging in it for long periods, although not drastically so.


The legs loops are made up of a single, massively padded strap that is reasonably comfortable, and which we can't complain about. On the other hand, the waist belt is one of the least comfortable in this test. We don't have any issue with the way it disperses our weight, but instead, we find that it rides up drastically as we hang, putting a fair amount of pressure on our kidneys. While this also happens slightly with many other options, it is a much bigger problem for us with this harness. We point this out mostly to differentiate the performance of different contenders, and not to scare people away. While there are more comfortable harnesses to hang in, this one works just fine.

To test hanging comfort  sometimes we just decided to take a break. Here on top-rope in the San Juan Mountains. The Momentum didn't let us down  but wasn't one of the most comfortable for hanging around in.
To test hanging comfort, sometimes we just decided to take a break. Here on top-rope in the San Juan Mountains. The Momentum didn't let us down, but wasn't one of the most comfortable for hanging around in.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


When it comes to standing comfort, the Momentum sits on the body pretty nicely. It runs a bit tight in the waist belt, so size up if you are in doubt as to what size to choose. The heavily padded nature of this harness means that it is a noticeable presence when being worn, in contrast to the thinner options that are moving away from padding altogether. It holds the weight of a rack very nicely on the hips, without much hint of sagging or undue pressure. Like most of the harnesses we tried, we think it is perhaps even more comfortable when wearing heavier clothing, and the super easily adjustable leg loops help with this feeling a lot. On the other hand, its fat and bulky waist belt mean that it isn't at all our top choice for wearing in conjunction with a pack, and we wouldn't choose it for alpine climbing or mountaineering for that reason.


Speaking strictly from a mobility standpoint, we feel that this harness is perhaps a hair more mobile than the other options that have a similar amount of padding.

In this photo you can see the fat padded waist belt which is reasonably comfortable but is quite a bit more bulky than most of the other thinner designs that are prevalent these days.
In this photo you can see the fat padded waist belt which is reasonably comfortable but is quite a bit more bulky than most of the other thinner designs that are prevalent these days.

Features


The Momentum has a fairly simple and pared-down feature set, which mostly works great. While the single, auto-locking waist buckle works fantastically, we are most impressed by the trakFit adjustable leg loops. This system uses sliding plastic adjusters instead of buckles, which never need to be threaded, and can't come undone. Sliding the slider one way tightens the legs up while more fully activating a strip of elastic similar to those found on fixed leg loops. Sliding the slider the other way loosens up the fit in the legs, with the stress taken off the elastic and taken up by the webbing. Adjusting the fit of the leg loops takes no more than one second per leg, no joke, and is dead easy. That's what we call an awesome design!


We also like the large, easy to clip haul loop, as well as the flat, rigid gear loops laminated in plastic. They are super easy to clip and unclip biners from, and their flat orientation means that all the biners don't condense into one bundle. However, they are a bit small for our taste while trad climbing, and we wish that Black Diamond had chosen to use larger gear loops instead, or added the fifth large gear loop found on the back of some of their other models.

The easy slider method of these leg loops is the simplest and most effective way to quickly adjust leg loops that we have seen  and we wish it was found on more harnesses. Simply side the black plastic buckle back and forth to adjust the sizing.
The easy slider method of these leg loops is the simplest and most effective way to quickly adjust leg loops that we have seen, and we wish it was found on more harnesses. Simply side the black plastic buckle back and forth to adjust the sizing.

Likewise, for an all-around harness, we think it would have been cool if they had ice clipper attachment points. That said, not a whole lot of people ice climb, so keeping the waist belt simple and free of clutter is also commendable.

Belaying Comfort


When tested exclusively for belaying comfort, the Momentum performs adequately, though not as awesome as the most comfortable harnesses to belay in.


Holding a climber while standing upright on the ground focuses most of the forces on the leg loops where they wrap around the inside of the legs. The padded webbing used on this area of this harness does an alright job, although the straps gouge us a little bit. This sensation is not nearly as bad as we found when belaying with harnesses that have very thin webbing in this part, but it isn't what we would describe as comfortable. Oddly, we found that once again, the waist belt tends to get pulled upward into the kidneys, something that doesn't happen while belaying in any other harness. This metric is the one area that we felt the low price point is noticeable compared to higher-priced competition.

Versatility


Despite winning our Best Bang for the Buck award, this harness is one of the least versatile in our review. While we appreciate how easy it is to adjust the legs, the fact that it has relatively small gear loops and a fat waist belt limited some of the climbing disciplines we would use it for.


Since its gear loops are relatively small, we don't think it makes the best choice for longer free routes. And since the Momentum has a relatively fat and heavily padded waist belt, we also don't feel that it is an ideal choice for alpine climbing or mountaineering, where you may need to wear a pack. What it is good for is cragging at local cliffs, on road trips, or at the gym.

The gear loops on this harness are smaller than average  although they are still large enough to hold a rack with reasonable sized rack  which makes this a fairly versatile harness for rock climbing.
The gear loops on this harness are smaller than average, although they are still large enough to hold a rack with reasonable sized rack, which makes this a fairly versatile harness for rock climbing.

Value


This harness is very close to being the most affordable harness in our review. Seeing as how it offers solid performance, awesome adjustability, and commendable comfort, we think you are getting great value for your money with this purchase. That's why we are calling it the Best Bang for the Buck!

The Momentum is an economical harness that is ideally suited to single pitch cragging  whether trad or sport  as we are finding out on this arete at Smith Rock.
The Momentum is an economical harness that is ideally suited to single pitch cragging, whether trad or sport, as we are finding out on this arete at Smith Rock.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Momentum is a minimally featured harness that is comfortable, has super adjustable leg loops, and is very light. It is also significantly less expensive than harnesses that perform roughly the same, inspiring us to award it our Best Bang for the Buck. It's an awesome choice for any entry-level climber or just someone who needs a comfortable new harness and doesn't want to break the bank.

The Dihedrals of Smith Rock are one of the most famous sport climbing crags in America  home to some of the most historic routes  and a perfect winter climbing area for testing out the Momentum harness.
The Dihedrals of Smith Rock are one of the most famous sport climbing crags in America, home to some of the most historic routes, and a perfect winter climbing area for testing out the Momentum harness.


Andy Wellman