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Petzl Adjama Review

The optimal choice for long free routes, or anytime when carrying a large rack.
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Price:  $80 List | $59.89 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great arrangement of functional features including gear loops, very comfortable design for hanging and belaying, versatile, relatively affordable
Cons:  Heavy and bulky, more annoying to wear while walking than lighter harnesses
Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Andy Wellman ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2019
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Hanging Comfort - 35% 8
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 20% 5
  • Features - 20% 9
  • Belaying Comfort - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Climbing long trad routes requires a comfortable harness for hanging at belays and the capacity to carry an entire rack and shoes, jacket, and anchor building tools. With its comfortable padded Endoframe waistbelt and leg loops and five giant gear loops, the Petzl Adjama is the perfect harness for this style of climbing. On one test day, we wore it on the 23-pitch Resolution Arete on Mt. Wilson in Red Rocks and were more than happy with how well it carried the extra gear we needed to simul-climb many of the easier pitches.

In addition to the extra wide and rigid front gear loops that make clipping and un-clipping biners a cinch, this harness has the largest and easiest to access rear gear loop, which we find perfect for hanging our shoes and stuffed windbreaker. It has adjustable leg loops for greater customization and comfort and is among the most comfortable we tested while hanging at the belay. While it is a bit bulky for everyday sport climbing use, we highly recommend it for multi-pitch adventures and trad cragging.


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Petzl Adjama
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great arrangement of functional features including gear loops, very comfortable design for hanging and belaying, versatile, relatively affordablePerfect feature set for any style of rock climbing, most comfortable harness for belaying, affordableVery light, super packable, most mobile, versatile for all types of climbingComfortable to hang in, increased carrying capacity, durable, mobileUnrivaled comfort while belaying, hanging, or chilling, super light, affordable
Cons Heavy and bulky, more annoying to wear while walking than lighter harnessesNo ice clipper slots, not the lightestExpensive, not as comfortable for prolonged hangingNot as comfortable as Solution for long belay sessions, no ice clipper slotsGear loops are small for carrying a large rack, not very versatile for other styles of climbing
Bottom Line The optimal choice for long free routes, or anytime when carrying a large rack.The best rock climbing harness that you can buy.A lightweight, high-end harness with a top shelf price tag.An extremely versatile harness ideal for multi-pitch rock climbs.Without doubt the most comfortable harness you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbing.
Rating Categories Petzl Adjama Petzl Sama Petzl Sitta Black Diamond Solution Guide Black Diamond Solution
Hanging Comfort (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
Standing Comfort And Mobility (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
Features (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
5
Belaying Comfort (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Versatility (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
4
Specs Petzl Adjama Petzl Sama Petzl Sitta Black Diamond... Black Diamond...
Designed for these disciplines Trad, multi-pitch, mountaineering Sport, indoor, trad trad, sport, mountaineering Sport, trad, multi-pitch Sport
Weight (size medium) 15.8 oz 13.7 oz 9.7 oz 14.1 oz 12.3 oz
Gear Loops 5 4 4 5 4
Haul Loop Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Legs? Yes No, elastic No, elastic No, elastic No, elastic
Self-locking buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? No, but works with Caritool EVO No, but works with Caritool EVO Yes - 2 No No
Waist Belt Construction EndoFrame Technology: wide waistband to reduce pressure points Double webbing strips padded with EndoFrame technology WireFrame: support and weight distribution w/o use of foam Super Fabric Fusion Comfort Construction: Three bands of webbing, breathable mesh, EVA foam insert
Waist Size Ranges (inches) 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) 24-39 in 27-30 (S), 30-33 (M), 33-36 (L), 36-39 (XL)

Our Analysis and Test Results

Petzl redesigned the Adjama in 2018, refining the Endoframe technology to make it thinner and lower profile against the body, while also shifting the color scheme to a subdued denim blue. The design remains the same for 2019. The Adjama is heavier than other Petzl harnesses we compared it to, but has adjustable leg loops where the others have fixed elastic ones, and has an extra-large gear loop on the back to help with carrying the multi-pitch extras. Its two front gear loops, which are rigid and flat, are a bit larger and can carry more items than those found on the average harness. While the most other options are excellent choices for sport or gym climbing that can also serve plenty well on trad climbs when needed, the Adjama is the one that we would choose to purchase if multi-pitching or trad cragging were our forte and made up the vast majority of climbing that we do.

This harness has a very similar feature set to the Arc'teryx AR-395a, as both have five large gear loops and adjustable leg loops, not to mention an extra-wide waist belt that makes hanging for long periods of time not too bad. That said, we prefer the Adjama because its features are much more refined and work perfectly all the time, whereas we find the gear loops on the AR-395a to be harder to use, the tail end of the waist belt webbing hangs in our way, and the rear gear loop is smaller. The Adjama also costs literally half as much, and thus offers a much better value as well.

Performance Comparison


The Adjama is our favorite harness for trad climbing due to its extra large gear loops that make it especially easy to carry and organize a full rack.
The Adjama is our favorite harness for trad climbing due to its extra large gear loops that make it especially easy to carry and organize a full rack.

Hanging Comfort


Comfort while hanging depends on a climber's weight being distributed close to evenly, depending on the position they are hanging in, between the lower back and the backs of the legs. Using the same Endoframe technology also found in other Petzl harnesses, which essentially is an evenly distributed weight-bearing method covered in thin, breathable foam padding, this is one of the more comfortable harnesses to hang in. The reasonably wide leg loops don't cut off circulation as they run across the tops of the hamstrings, although the waist belt does ride up a little bit over the kidneys and lower ribs, applying pressure that becomes uncomfortable after a while. This is a common problem with many harnesses.


It is hard to find another harness that is more comfortable to spend time hanging in than this harness. There is no question that it is far comfier than the more sparsely designed and lighter-weight options. If lots of hanging belays are in your future, you could choose far worse than the Adjama.

Hanging at a ledge-less belay high up on the Resolution Arete in Red Rocks. One of the reasons we love the Adjama is that it is comfier than almost any other for putting in time at a hanging belay  a critical aspect of multi-pitch climbing.
Hanging at a ledge-less belay high up on the Resolution Arete in Red Rocks. One of the reasons we love the Adjama is that it is comfier than almost any other for putting in time at a hanging belay, a critical aspect of multi-pitch climbing.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


In our comparative testing, the Adjama scores relatively low for standing comfort and mobility. We must qualify this statement, however, by pointing out that it's only compared to excellent competition that we could say this. Wearing the Adjama is not at all uncomfortable, it's simply bulkier than most of the others, and is a bit more annoying to walk around in. Petzl recommends this harness for mountaineering use, but in our mind, that implies glacier travel and hiking in a harness, which is not something we would choose the Adjama for.


While the waist belt and leg loops are relatively fat, padded, and slightly bulky, they are not at all uncomfortable. The leg loops tend to rub together on the insides of the legs while walking, making a swishing noise, and the way that they belay loop slides around while walking is also noticeable. This harness has adjustable leg loops, which aid in fine-tuning the fit. The obvious bulk when walking is one of the few downsides to this harness and is a natural trade-off for the added comfort and versatility that comes from its padding.

Mobility is one of our few complaints about this harness  in particular you can see how the padding on the leg straps between the legs is quite bulky  which rubs together as you walk  making a swishing noise.
Mobility is one of our few complaints about this harness, in particular you can see how the padding on the leg straps between the legs is quite bulky, which rubs together as you walk, making a swishing noise.

Features


Designed with long free routes in mind, this harness has a better feature set than any other. It has adjustable leg loops with doubled back buckles that have fat webbing through them that sticks well in place and doesn't easily slip open, which we found can be a problem with harnesses that use much thinner webbing on the legs, causing unexpected loosening. Likewise, the large doubled-back buckle on the waist of the harness also does not loosen on its own accord, and the end of the webbing is perfectly held in place by three different elastic loops, ensuring that no matter the fit there is not an end of webbing dangling in the way. These keeper loops are out of the way of any gear loops, which we certainly appreciate.


In addition to the five gear loops, there is an additional haul loop for clipping a tag line. This harness does not have ice clipper loops. However, Petzl has released their Caritool EVO ice clippers, which are meant to be used in conjunction with this harness, and clip over the entire waist belt, so they don't need sewn on slots to clip through. With all of the features necessary for the widest variety of climbing, and with function nearly perfect at that, the Adjama is the top-rated harness for this metric.

The best feature to be found on this harness is the extra large fifth gear loop in the rear  which is more than big enough for racking shoes  a houdini  and anchor building materials.
The best feature to be found on this harness is the extra large fifth gear loop in the rear, which is more than big enough for racking shoes, a houdini, and anchor building materials.

Belaying Comfort


Belaying is a reasonably comfortable activity, as long as you aren't holding your partner! When you are, the forces are localized almost entirely in the leg loops, and in particular, where they run around the inside of the leg over the femoral artery region. With its wide leg loops that are padded with comfortable foam, the Adjama is one of the most comfortable harnesses for putting in extended belay duty.


The padded and rounded over edges of the leg loops leave nothing to bite into the crotch when a climber falls. There is not a single other harness that provides the same level of comfort for top-rope belaying.

Belaying on a flat ledge  and grabbing a quick bar to eat  roughly half way up the 23-pitch Resolution Arete on Mt. Wilson in Red Rocks. This is one of the comfiest harnesses for belaying  and especially holding the leader  that we tested.
Belaying on a flat ledge, and grabbing a quick bar to eat, roughly half way up the 23-pitch Resolution Arete on Mt. Wilson in Red Rocks. This is one of the comfiest harnesses for belaying, and especially holding the leader, that we tested.

Versatility


While the Adjama has every feature necessary for pretty much any style of climbing, we don't think it is the most versatile harness you can buy. It works just fine for sport climbing, but we think it is a bit bulky and perhaps overkill compared to the competition, and so would rather wear a lighter and lower-profile harness for this purpose.


At the same time, we don't think this is the ideal harness for mountaineering either because it's bulky, heavy, and not the best for walking in. We can't argue that you can use it for these purposes, it just wouldn't be our first choice, and others are more versatile.

While we love this harness for trad and multi-pitch climbing  and concede that it works just fine for sport climbing as well  although its a bit bulky  we wouldn't choose it for winter or alpine climbing.
While we love this harness for trad and multi-pitch climbing, and concede that it works just fine for sport climbing as well, although its a bit bulky, we wouldn't choose it for winter or alpine climbing.

Value


This harness retails for slightly more than the other top-rated options. It isn't by any means the most economical harness available, but also isn't very expensive compared to many others. As one of the very top scorers in our review, it offers excellent value.

On the summit of the classic Smith Rock trad route Zion  with the snow covered cascades in the background  after a simul climb wearing the Adjama.
On the summit of the classic Smith Rock trad route Zion, with the snow covered cascades in the background, after a simul climb wearing the Adjama.

Conclusion


The Petzl Adjama is a fantastic harness for trad climbing and multi-pitch adventures because it combines comfort and gear carrying capacity, the two most critical components of any long-route harness. It is easily one of the most comfortable you can buy and comes at a relatively affordable price. We preferred to use it only for these styles due to its bulk and weight, and chose something lower profile when heading out sport climbing or for the alpine.

Whether climbing multi-pitch classics  or for single-pitch trad cragging  as shown here in the lower gorge of Smith Rock  the Adjama is the best choice.
Whether climbing multi-pitch classics, or for single-pitch trad cragging, as shown here in the lower gorge of Smith Rock, the Adjama is the best choice.


Andy Wellman