Hands-on Gear Review

Edelrid Zack Review

Despite its low overall score, this harness is worth checking out if you want adjustability and a low price.
By: Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 31, 2017
Price:  $50 List  |  $49.95 at REI
Pros:  Sliding waist belt is highly adjustable and always centered, very affordable
Cons:  Heavy, bulky, not super comfortable
Manufacturer:   Elderid
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 8
  • Hanging Comfort - 35% 5
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 20% 6
  • Features - 20% 7
  • Belaying Comfort - 15% 5
  • Versatility - 10% 6
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

The Edelrid Zack is a very affordable and serviceable harness for all types of rock climbing. It features an extremely adjustable waist belt that always stays centered because you can slide the padding around as needed. While its movable padding and low cost are noteworthy features, it was also the lowest scoring harness in our comparative review. This low score was due mostly to the fact that it just wasn't as comfortable for hanging in or belaying, two critical aspects of a climbing harnesses' performance. It wasn't our favorite, but that doesn't mean it won't work great for you. We encourage you to check it out if high adjustability and low price are attributes that matter in your search.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Share:

Much like the Petzl Corax, the Edelrid Zack is most notable for its incredible adjustability. It has auto-locking buckles on its adjustable leg loops, and pairs them with a single auto-locking buckle on the waist, in contrast to the double buckles found on the Corax. The waist belt on this harness is made up of a single piece of very long webbing that allows for an extensive size range per harness. This is accompanied by a single bit of foam padding that can slide around freely on the webbing, back and forth, so that you can center it wherever you like. This feature makes the adjusting the Zack to a very wide range of sizes simpler and more straightforward than the comparable Corax, and yet this harness was also less comfortable, so more difficult for us to recommend. While this isn't a bad option, especially for a new climber or the budget conscious, it just wasn't our first choice after having worn and climbed in so many other excellent harnesses.

Performance Comparison


Pulling through the low steep moves on a popular climb at the Motherlode  a beautiful crag high in the San Juan Mountains  while wearing the Edelrid Zack harness.
Pulling through the low steep moves on a popular climb at the Motherlode, a beautiful crag high in the San Juan Mountains, while wearing the Edelrid Zack harness.

Hanging Comfort


When considering hanging comfort, the Zack ranked at the bottom of the pile with the Petzl Corax, although for different reasons. We have found that when hanging for long periods of time, roughly 60% of the pressure of a person's body weight will be felt in the leg loops, while the other 40% will be dispersed around the hips and lower back by the waist belt. Unlike some of the advanced technology used to evenly disperse weight on harnesses like the Best Overall Harness for Sport Climbing, the Black Diamond Solution, the Zack employs a simple design of foam padding over a strap of webbing. The problem is, the foam padding is very rigid, not very soft, and not very comfortable. We felt like we could feel the webbing through the foam while hanging, and this wasn't a very comfortable feeling. In the end, we awarded it 5 out of 10 for hanging comfort.

While hanging  you can see how the leg loops of this harness ride straight up after wrapping the inside of the legs. This design not only bit into our crotch more than others  but didn't leave a ton of space.
While hanging, you can see how the leg loops of this harness ride straight up after wrapping the inside of the legs. This design not only bit into our crotch more than others, but didn't leave a ton of space.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


Once again, the Zack was found to be not super comfortable for standing around, when considered in comparison to the competition. Put this harness on in isolation, and you may not notice the differences that we comment on here, but when worn side-by-side with a far more comfortable harnesses like the Arc'teryx AR-395a, and the differences are quickly evident. Much of our complaints have to do with the very stiff, almost cardboard-esque, feel of the slide-able waist belt that limited the comfort we felt when wearing a massive rack, or when trying to fit the hip belt of a pack comfortably over the top of the harness. That said, due to the adjustability of the leg loops, we felt like this was a reasonably mobile harness, and it ended up with the same score for this metric as our Best Overall Harness for Trad Climbing, the Petzl Sama.

The waist belt on the Edelrid Zack has the ability to be slid from side to side  so no matter what size you are  you can center the harness on your body.
The waist belt on the Edelrid Zack has the ability to be slid from side to side, so no matter what size you are, you can center the harness on your body.

The waist belt on the Zack slid all the way to one side  and then completely to the other side in the next photo. While we loved this adjustability  you can also see how this harness is essentially a stiff grey pad over a wide black strap of webbing  which was less comfortable than others.
The waist belt on the Zack slid all the way to one side, and then completely to the other side in the next photo. While we loved this adjustability, you can also see how this harness is essentially a stiff grey pad over a wide black strap of webbing, which was less comfortable than others.

Features


Led by its adjustable and movable waist belt, the Edelrid Zack has some nice features and some that could certainly use some improvement. We liked how all three buckles found on this harness used a sliding bar in the middle that cinches very tight automatically, and stays snug effectively. This system was different but seemed to work a bit better, than the auto-locking buckles found on the Petzl Aquila. We also liked how heavily reinforced the tie-in points are, and how each of the four gear loops is rigid for easier clipping and unclipping. That said, we found that the huge gap between gear loops was not only unnecessary, but also a bit annoying, and also complain that the rated haul loop is so laughably small as to be unusable. We found it impossible to clip a carabiner through this tiny piece of webbing at all, let alone with the harness on, and don't understand why any company would include an unusable feature like this.

We liked how stiff and spacious the gear loops on the Zack were  ensuring that they held a lot of gear and were also easy to clip and unclip. We didn't like this huge gap shown on the right between gear loops that put the rear one far back behind us.
We liked how stiff and spacious the gear loops on the Zack were, ensuring that they held a lot of gear and were also easy to clip and unclip. We didn't like this huge gap shown on the right between gear loops that put the rear one far back behind us.

We also found that for our skinnier frame, the super long tail on the waist belt was far too long even to be tucked away nicely, and dangled in the way of the right side gear loops. Despite these minor complaints, we awarded 7 out of 10 points for the features, which was the same score that we gave to the Black Diamond Solution.

As you can see  the rated haul loop on the Edelrid Zack was too small to even get a keylock biner to slide through  and was essentially unusable. We have no idea why a harness maker would choose to include an unusable feature.
As you can see, the rated haul loop on the Edelrid Zack was too small to even get a keylock biner to slide through, and was essentially unusable. We have no idea why a harness maker would choose to include an unusable feature.

Belaying Comfort


The hard and rigid feeling of the padding on the leg loops, in conjunction with the webbing that connects them to the belay loop, made this feel like one of the least comfortable harnesses for an extended belay session. While the leg loops didn't dig into our crotch creases quite as powerfully as the Arc'teryx AR-395a, it did still gouge us a bit, especially while wearing shorts, and this discomfort was more pronounced than we felt while belaying in the Petzl Corax. 5 out of 10.

Not lacking for views! Testing the Edelrid Zack's comfort while belaying. Due to a very stiff and not super comfortable padding system  it was not one of our top choices for extended belay duty.
Not lacking for views! Testing the Edelrid Zack's comfort while belaying. Due to a very stiff and not super comfortable padding system, it was not one of our top choices for extended belay duty.

Versatility


There is no doubt that the adjustability of this harness contributes to its versatility, but unfortunately, its other features don't help it out all that much. While its gear loops are large enough and work well for sport or gym climbing, and even for a bit of trad cragging, we thought that its lack of haul loop and slightly smaller than average rear gear loops would limit it for long free routes or alpine rock routes. Combine that with its weight, bulkiness, and lack of ice clipper slots, and we also wouldn't choose it for alpine or ice climbing, or mountaineering. It has slightly less potential uses, but more adjustability, than the Black Diamond Chaos, but wasn't nearly so versatile as the Petzl Sama.

You can see how much tail is left over after tightening up the waist buckle on this harness  meaning that it has a very large range of adjustability. For this reason it is a good choice for larger climbers or those who might often share their harness with a friend.
You can see how much tail is left over after tightening up the waist buckle on this harness, meaning that it has a very large range of adjustability. For this reason it is a good choice for larger climbers or those who might often share their harness with a friend.

Best Applications


This harness is best suited to those who don't want to spend very much money and desire a wide range of adjustability, especially on the larger end. It would make a good harness for a beginner climber as well. It works well enough for all styles of single pitch rock climbing, whether that's in a gym or out on the cliff, but isn't our first recommendation for multi-pitch or winter climbing.

Climbing steep pockets on welded tuff  high above the ground at a local crag near Ouray  CO. The Zack is a good harness for the budget conscious who still want to hit the crags.
Climbing steep pockets on welded tuff, high above the ground at a local crag near Ouray, CO. The Zack is a good harness for the budget conscious who still want to hit the crags.

Value


This harness retails for a mere $50, making it the most affordable harness in our review. For climbers who don't need the highest performance or most versatile harness, this presents a pretty good value. That said, it is easy to get a far more comfortable harness for not very much more money.

Conclusion


The Edelrid Zack is a very affordable and easily adjustable harness that will serve beginner climbers or the very money conscious climber well. Despite being the least comfortable harness in our side-by-side testing, it wasn't nearly so uncomfortable as to be considered unusable, not by a long shot. As the lowest scorer in our review, it wouldn't be our first recommendation, but despite that it is a decent harness that is worth checking out if the Black Diamond Momentum or Petzl Corax aren't immediately inspiring to you.

While it may not be as high tech (or as expensive) as some of the other harnesses we tested  when it comes to keeping you safe as you ascend the cliffs  there is no doubt the Zack has got your back.
While it may not be as high tech (or as expensive) as some of the other harnesses we tested, when it comes to keeping you safe as you ascend the cliffs, there is no doubt the Zack has got your back.

Andy Wellman

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 31, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...