This is the least expensive harness with self-locking leg buckles and waist belt. It is a capable harness that performed well in all our tests. The buckles were smooth and easy to adjust. The haul loop is one of the easiest to find, and there is a good amount of padding for legs and waist. Overall, it is one of the best entry level harnesses we tested.
If they offered a version of this harness without self-locking buckles for the legs (and could then charge $5 less), this would give the Black Diamond Momentum stiffer competition. As of now, the Momentum is our favorite entry level/value harness. But if you want self-locking buckles on the legs, the Momentum SA will run you $10 more than this harness. Try them both on and you might find the Mad Rock is the best all self-locking harness for the money. If you are just starting out climbing, we strongly recommend checking out their Deluxe Mars Climbing Package where you get the Mars, a belay device, locking biner, chalk bag and chalk for $70. Its the best deal that we know of for getting into the sport.
Mad Rock Mars ReviewPrice: $50 List | $49.95 at Amazon Pros: value, buckles, easy to release
Cons: no option for leg loops without buckles
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This harness does everything well: the self-locking buckles are smooth, the gear loops work and the harness is comfy. It is also relatively light considering that both the waist and legs are fully adjustable. The haul loop is one of the easiest to find and is bomber. The extra webbing on the leg loops and waist belt tucked away nicely under the elastic. Overall, the waist belt fits much like the Wild Country Vision, which was also a great harness for the money.
The elastic risers for the leg loops are very easy to release and relatively easy to put back on once you get the hang of them. We also liked the look; it's hard to go wrong with black and gray.
We wish this harness came with the option of fixed leg loops (no buckles). We prefer harnesses without adjustable leg loops for most rock applications. Without the buckles, the harness would have been a little lighter, cleaner and maybe less expensive.
The gear loops have a steep pitch forward and deep U shape that causes biners to bunch up. The Petzl gear loops are similarly constructed but have more of an L shape that makes biners less likely to bunch up and easier to clip in.
We prefer stiffer, plastic-coated gear loops like those on Black Diamond harnesses. That said, plastic coated loops have durability issues that these do not. It's a personal preference whether you want the most durable gear loops or gear loops that stick out more from the harness and are therefor easier to clip and organize biners on.
We like the plastic attachments for the leg loops. However, the design may not be that durable. We were not able to break them in field tests, but we did scratch them and start to wear them down. This will only be an issue for climbers who chimney a lot.
This is a great all-around harness. For entry-level climbers it is ideal because of its price and range. You can do just about anything in this harness, from the gym to multi-pitch climbs.
At $49 it is the best value for a harness with self-locking buckles for both the waist and legs. We preferred the Black Diamond Momentum SA but it is $10 more. So if you are new to the sport and want a fully adjustable harness, it is hard to beat this one for the money.
— Chris McNamara, Chris Van Leuven
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Most recent review: June 23, 2015
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