Mammut Ophir 4 Slide Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Maximum adjustability, lots of useful features, affordable
Cons: Only two sizes, a bit bulky
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Most climbing harnesses only have one waist buckle. However, we often find that when adjusting the fit using this buckle, the harness can easily become uncentered, with the gear loops on one side sitting too far forward, while the loops on the other side sit towards the back. That is the great advantage of having two buckles on the waist belt, as the Mammut Ophir 4 Slide does. When making adjustments, you can fine-tune the fit using buckles on either side of the belay loop to be sure that the harness remains perfectly centered no matter how small or large you need the fit to be. This is very useful if you like to climb in all different seasons, and are often wearing different amounts of clothing.
A mid-layer and hardshell for ice climbing can affect the fit drastically compared to a pair of climbing pants and t-shirt more common in the spring or fall. Increased ease of adjustability is also useful if you often share a harness between more than one person, for instance, if you often teach others to climb who don't have their own gear, or if you are parents of a child in a youth program who needs a lot of belays, and the two of you like to split the duty.
The Ophir 4 Slide only comes in two size choices (XS-M, M-XL), and its double buckle system allows for an extensive range of adjustment between different body sizes. It has all the features you may need for literally any style of climbing. A very similar model, the Mammut Ophir 3 Slide, is also available if you like the design and price point, but want to cut down on bulk and weight by sticking with the more standard single waist buckle.
This harness uses a "split webbing" design in both the waist belt and the leg loops, which means that pieces of webbing run along both the top and bottom of each loop, padded with a thin layer of foam. This design is visible along the outside of the harness and is very similar to the design used in the more affordable Petzl harnesses. It's pretty effective and comfortable for hanging in. While the waist belt is of roughly average width and has a moderate amount of padding, it does a good job mitigating pressure points on the back when hanging for long periods. We noticed discomfort in the kidney region of our lower back on the sides of the spine, as well as over the tops of our iliac crest on each side when hanging for quite a bit, but this is quite common among almost all harnesses. The leg loops did a good job of alleviating any circulation cut off.
Standing Comfort and Mobility
This harness is plenty comfortable to hang out in at the crag or gym all day and is fairly mobile as well. That said, compared to most of the competition, it is bulky, and we noticed this especially in the leg loops when walking. When we walk, the loops rub against each other quite noticeably, making a fair bit of noise, something that isn't such an issue with harnesses that have less padded leg loops. The waist belt is moderately padded, but isn't too uncomfortable underneath the hip belt of a pack, aided by the fact that the gear loops easily lie flat against the body. Noticeable bulk is our biggest complaint, although this didn't affect us at all while actually climbing.
This harness has all the features one would need for literally any style of climbing, and they all work quite well. We have already pointed out the advantages of the double waist belt buckle design, but are also happy that adequate keeper loops for the tail ends of the waist belt webbing are in place to keep these from hanging in the way of gear racking. There are also two easy to adjust buckles on the leg loops. The tie in points and belay loop include wear indicators — red threads sewn underneath the outer layers so that they will show when these critical points have worn down so far as the necessitate harness replacement.
The lower tie in point on the leg loops also has a rigid plastic covering to greatly increase durability, a nice touch since this is usually the very first part of a harness to wear out. There are four rigid and easy to clip gear loops that lay flat against the body, as well as a haul loop on the back. Finally, there are two ice clipper slots, one on each side, for use with ice clippers that hold screws or tools more easily. About the only thing missing is a fifth rear gear loop, but by and large, it is hard to get more featured than this harness.
The part of the leg loops where it wraps around the inside of the legs to meet at the belay loop in front is the most critical for providing comfort while putting in long belay sessions, especially if you're top-roping or hanging a lot. The padding on the leg loops tapers to end at this point, although the padding still manages to protect from the thin black webbing pretty effectively. Overall, this harness was not terribly comfortable for long sessions of belay duty, but almost no harness is. It performed roughly average, and while you shouldn't have high expectations, this is no reason not to consider a purchase.
This harness is designed to be used for any purpose where you need to rope up and is fairly effective. However, compared to other options you can buy, it would not be our first choice for long multi-pitch routes, due to the lack of racking space since there is no fifth gear loop on the back. We also wouldn't choose it for mountaineering, since it is bulky and the leg loops rub together when we walk. At 14.6 ounces for the larger of the two size options, it is on the heavier side and is also a bit bulky compared to a lot of choices that are more trimmed down. But if you like to climb ice, sport, trad, and at the gym, this harness can do it all.
This harness is priced pretty reasonably and makes a good value purchase for those on a budget who want a harness with the maximum amount of adjustability. However, we must point out that if you do not need the double waist buckles, our Editors' Choice winner costs the same and is also highly versatile, not to mention a much higher overall scorer. For the most budget-conscious, our Best Bang for the Buck Winner costs a bit less.
The Mammut Ophir 4 Slide is remarkable because it has two waist buckles that allow for maximum adjustability while keeping the harness perfectly centered. It is an affordable option that is versatile enough for many styles of climbing, but unless you need its added adjustability, it is not the first recommendation that we would make.
— Andy Wellman