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

Black Diamond Technician Review

A versatile and affordable harness for climbing in any season
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Price:  $85 List | $76.85 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Versatile, relatively affordable, lots of gear storage
Cons:  Not super comfortable, stiff
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 3, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Hanging Comfort - 35% 7
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 20% 6
  • Features - 20% 8
  • Belaying Comfort - 15% 6
  • Versatility - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Technician harness is newly released in 2018 and offers another "quiver-of-one" option alongside Black Diamond's higher end Chaos harness. It uses the same Fusion Comfort Technology that is employed in the very comfortable Black Diamond Solution, but the overall effect is a far stiffer, more rigid, and not as comfortable harness. With four ice clipper slots and five gear loops, not to mention adjustable leg loops, the Technician is versatile enough for any style of climbing, winter or summer, and comes with a reasonable price tag that is far lower than some of the other top choices for versatility.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Versatile, relatively affordable, lots of gear storagePerfect feature set for any style of rock climbing, most comfortable harness for belaying, quite affordableThe best arrangement of functional features including gear loops, very comfortable design for hanging and belaying, versatile, relatively affordableVery light, super packable, most mobile, versatile for all types of climbingUnrivaled comfort while belaying, hanging, or chilling, super light, affordable
Cons Not super comfortable, stiffNo ice clipper slots, not the lightestHeavy and bulky, more annoying to wear while walking than lighter harnessesExpensive, not as comfortable for prolonged hangingGear loops are small for carrying a large rack, not very versatile for other styles of climbing
Bottom Line A versatile and affordable harness for climbing in any seasonThe best rock climbing harness that you can buy.The optimal choice for long free routes, or anytime when carrying a large rack.A lightweight, high-end harness with a top shelf price tag.Without doubt the most comfortable harness you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbing.
Rating Categories Black Diamond Technician Petzl Sama Petzl Adjama Petzl Sitta Black Diamond Solution
Hanging Comfort (35%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
Standing Comfort And Mobility (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
9
Features (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
5
Belaying Comfort (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
8
Versatility (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
4
Specs Black Diamond... Petzl Sama Petzl Adjama Petzl Sitta Black Diamond...
Designed for these disciplines Sport, trad, alpine, ice Sport, indoor, trad Trad, multi-pitch, mountaineering trad, sport, mountaineering Sport
Weight (size medium) (ounces) 13.8 13.7 15.8 9.7 12.3
Gear Loops 5 4 5 4 4
Haul Loop Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Legs? Yes No, elastic Yes No, elastic No, elastic
Self-locking buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? Yes, 4 No, but works with Caritool EVO No, but works with Caritool EVO Yes - 2 No
Waist Belt Construction Fusion Comfort Technology Double webbing strips padded with EndoFrame technology EndoFrame Technology: wide waistband to reduce pressure points WireFrame: support and weight distribution w/o use of foam Fusion Comfort Construction: Three bands of webbing, breathable mesh, EVA foam insert
Waist Size Ranges (inches) 27-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 28-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 28-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL) 26-30 (S), 29-33 (M), 32-36 (L) 27-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL)

Our Analysis and Test Results

We laud the addition of the Technician to Black Diamond's lineup of harnesses, as they have been missing the versatile option that can do all styles of climbing. However, we lament that despite using the same Fusion Comfort Construction that is employed so effectively in the uber-comfortable Solution, the same effect is not replicated here. It's obvious to us that much of the comfort of the Solution comes from its suppleness, and for some reason, the waist belt and leg loops on this harness are stiff, rigid, and anything but soft. If this harness actually felt the same way that wearing a Solution does, it would be a no-brainer shoe-in for a top pick award. That said, we are happy that it has a large fifth gear loop on the back to accommodate the still pretty small rigid plastic gear loops found on the sides, and that they now offer a high-carrying capacity harness for less money than the overpriced Chaos.

Performance Comparison


The Black Diamond Technician is a versatile harness that is equally at home on granite slabs  as shown here  or in the mountains on long free or alpine climbs. It uses the same technology as the supremely comfortable Solution  but with a more versatile feature set.
The Black Diamond Technician is a versatile harness that is equally at home on granite slabs, as shown here, or in the mountains on long free or alpine climbs. It uses the same technology as the supremely comfortable Solution, but with a more versatile feature set.

Hanging Comfort


When hanging, we notice that the weight on one's body is fairly evenly distributed between the waist belt and the leg loops. Hanging in the Technician, we find that the more rigid waist belt has an effect on how this harness distributes the load, and we feel more pressure on the top of our iliac crest and in the middle of the lower back than if we are hanging in the softer Solution. The leg loops, despite also being more rigid in nature, do a just fine job of distributing the load over our hamstrings without cutting off circulation. We can't rate this harness as high as the Petzl Sama when considering hanging comfort, but we think it is better than the Petzl Sitta.

A large part of hanging  and belaying comfort  is centered on how the leg loops feel as they wrap around the inside of the legs. The Technician leg loops are not as comfortable as those on the Solution because they taper quickly to a thin strip of webbing.
A large part of hanging, and belaying comfort, is centered on how the leg loops feel as they wrap around the inside of the legs. The Technician leg loops are not as comfortable as those on the Solution because they taper quickly to a thin strip of webbing.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


All of the harnesses in this review are relatively comfortable to hang out in around the crag, and so the complaints we are forced to point out in order to decide relative differences are minor. And so, the stiffness of this harness is noticeable when wearing it and walking around, in particular the leg loops seem to have a shape of their own that simply don't rest flush and snug against our legs. We notice that while the gear loops are plastic and rigid, they will still smush down against the body when trapped under pack straps, and so this harness is reasonably comfortable with a pack on. We don't want to be too harsh, but compared to the ultra comfortable Sitta, the most mobile and comfortable harness to wear, this one ensures that we feel very "present" in our harness.

Adjustable leg loops help one fine-tune the fit of this harness so that it perfectly suits the individual regardless of the amount of clothing they are wearing.
Adjustable leg loops help one fine-tune the fit of this harness so that it perfectly suits the individual regardless of the amount of clothing they are wearing.

Features


As one would expect for a do-everything harness, the Technician has all the features one could ask for, and we feel they perform pretty darn well. It has four ice clipper slots for versatility carrying ice tools and screws in the winter, and adjustable leg loops so you can fine-tune the fit if you are wearing extra clothes.

The think black cord at the back of the Techinican harness works as a fifth gear loop that is easy to clip  and is the ideal place for extra belay gear  shoes  and a windbreaker. There is also a small 0kn rated haul loop  seen here with the BD logo on it  but the rear gear loop works just as well for this purpose.
The think black cord at the back of the Techinican harness works as a fifth gear loop that is easy to clip, and is the ideal place for extra belay gear, shoes, and a windbreaker. There is also a small 0kn rated haul loop, seen here with the BD logo on it, but the rear gear loop works just as well for this purpose.

The four rigid gear loops are not anywhere near as large as those found on the Petzl or Arc'teryx harnesses, a common "problem" with the design of all Black Diamond harnesses, in our opinion. However, this one has a very wide fifth gear loop in the back for hanging shoes, anchor building slings, and whatever else you may be carrying. One of our few complaints is that there is only one single keeper loop for the end of the waist belt buckle webbing, meaning a tab will be hanging down and loose if you fit on the small end of the spectrum.

Rigid plastic encased gear loops  like those found on all BD harnesses  make clipping gear very easy. You can also see the two ice clipper slots  mirrored on the other side of the body  that make this a great choice as an ice and alpine climbing harness.
Rigid plastic encased gear loops, like those found on all BD harnesses, make clipping gear very easy. You can also see the two ice clipper slots, mirrored on the other side of the body, that make this a great choice as an ice and alpine climbing harness.

Belaying Comfort


While belaying, the weight of your climber tends to be localized entirely in the leg loops, especially as they wrap around the inside of the legs. The Technician harness, with its adjustable leg loops, tapers aggressively in this area to a sharp-edged design before becoming just a piece of flat webbing. It is thinner and less comfortable against the inside of the leg than most harnesses we tested, and is a notable step down in comfort from the Solution or Petzl Adjama. While this isn't a reason that we would consider not buying the harness, we feel that if you're intending to put in serious belay duty at the sport cliff, you would likely be better off with a comfier model.

Lead belaying  as Peder is doing here in Chulilla  puts little to no stress on a harness or the person wearing it. However  when you need to lower your leader  most of the weight is on the insides of the legs  and the Technician is unfortunately not the most comfortable for this purpose.
Lead belaying, as Peder is doing here in Chulilla, puts little to no stress on a harness or the person wearing it. However, when you need to lower your leader, most of the weight is on the insides of the legs, and the Technician is unfortunately not the most comfortable for this purpose.

Versatility


The Technician is a versatile harness, especially when it comes to rock, ice, and longer multi-pitch routes. We think it is roughly on par with the Arc'teryx FL-365 in that regard, but point out that it is far more affordable. Because of its rigid design and relative lack of comfort while walking, it isn't our top pick for mountaineering or glacier travel.

Compared to the rest of the harnesses in the Black Diamond lineup  the Technician is capable of carrying a ton of gear! This is easily one of the best traits of this harness  making it versatile enough for long routes. However  in this photo you can also see one feature we didn't like  the strap from the waist buckle has only one keeper loop so it hangs down into our gear while racked and climbing.
Compared to the rest of the harnesses in the Black Diamond lineup, the Technician is capable of carrying a ton of gear! This is easily one of the best traits of this harness, making it versatile enough for long routes. However, in this photo you can also see one feature we didn't like, the strap from the waist buckle has only one keeper loop so it hangs down into our gear while racked and climbing.

Best Applications


This harness is best used as a cross-over option between sport climbing, trad climbing, and ice climbing. In particular, it is a good fit for ice climbers who want to only buy one harness. If we were looking for a very versatile harness but only climbed rock, we would choose the Petzl Sama instead.

Hanging on the sloping ledge at the top of pitch 3 of the Naked Edge  in Eldorado Canyon  CO  testing the comfort of the BD Technician on one of the country's most classic free climbs.
Hanging on the sloping ledge at the top of pitch 3 of the Naked Edge, in Eldorado Canyon, CO, testing the comfort of the BD Technician on one of the country's most classic free climbs.

Value


This harness retails for $85, which is a bargain when compared to other versatile all-season options such as the Sitta ($200) or the Arc'teryx AR-395a ($160). While it has roughly average performance, the relatively low price means we think it presents a pretty decent value.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond Technician fills a hole in BD's harness lineup by catering to those who like to climb dry rock in the summer as well as frozen ice in the winter, without having to own multiple harnesses to do so. We are a bit disappointed that it isn't as comfortable as the Solution, one of the comfiest harnesses we have every used, but feel like its feature set and price do a good job setting up the all-arounder for success.

Leading the first pitch finger crack of the Naked Edge in the Technician  a harness that easily carried a pair of shoes and a jacket on the back  and is equally at home on sport climbs as it is on long trad routes or ice climbs.
Leading the first pitch finger crack of the Naked Edge in the Technician, a harness that easily carried a pair of shoes and a jacket on the back, and is equally at home on sport climbs as it is on long trad routes or ice climbs.


Andy Wellman