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Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl Corax Review

Price:   $60 List | $59.95 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Affordable, double buckles on waist belt, adjustable leg loops, lots of gear storage
Cons:  Heavy, bulky, double buckles require lots more fiddling than single
Bottom line:  A great alternative to the Black Diamond Momentum if affordability is of primary concern.
Editors' Rating:   
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Designed for these disciplines:  Sport and trad, mountaineering, via ferrata
Weight (size medium) (ounces):  15.4 oz.
Gear Loops:  4
Manufacturer:   Petzl

Our Verdict

While the Petzl Corax was not one of the highest scoring harnesses in our review, it is notable for the fact that it combines maximum adjustability with impressive versatility at a very reasonable price. It is far more adjustable than our Best Bang for the Buck winning Black Diamond Momentum, making it a great alternative if you want reliable performance at a reasonable price. Not only does this harness feature adjustable leg loops, but it also has double buckles on the waist, making it possible to hone in the fit just perfectly while also keeping the belay loop and gear loops perfectly centered. The Corax also has large gear loops that have ample space for holding the necessary gear for any route. If adjustability, versatility, and low price are important factors to you when selecting a harness, be sure to give the Corax a look.


RELATED REVIEW: The 8 Best Climbing Harnesses


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 31, 2017

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The first thing we want to point out about the Petzl Corax is that in our comparative ratings, it got relatively low marks for comfort. However, we don't mean to suggest that this harness is downright uncomfortable because it's not. We just want to point out that compared to the competition, it was slightly less comfortable. Please don't let our ratings dissuade you from trying this harness on as you shop, as there are many good things to love about this harness.

The Corax uses a simple design for waist belt and leg loop comfort that is comprised of a single piece of fat webbing heavily padded on the inside for greater comfort. While this method doesn't use any of the fancy weight distributing technologies of other harnesses we tested, it does allow the cost to stay low, and surprisingly is nearly as comfortable as much more expensive harnesses. It also has the most extended pieces of webbing linking the leg loops to the bottom of the belay loop, a feature that significantly adds to mobility. Due to its very adjustable and relatively mobile fit, we think this harness is probably the optimal choice for folks who don't happen to be as skinny as a bean pole.

Performance Comparison


The Corax is a versatile and highly adjustable harness that is also comfortable and very inexpensive. Here racking up the draws for another pitch in the sun at Smith Rock  OR.
The Corax is a versatile and highly adjustable harness that is also comfortable and very inexpensive. Here racking up the draws for another pitch in the sun at Smith Rock, OR.

Hanging Comfort


The Corax was not a super comfortable harness to hang in for extended amounts of time, but neither was any other harness we tested. In fact, it would have been more accurate if we had called this metric "least uncomfortable for hanging". The waist belt on this harness is heavily padded over the wide webbing strap, but leaves a bit of webbing unpadded in the front, due to the double buckle design. The leg loops are also padded in the same way, although they are not very fat at the ends and the padding isn't as thick. When conducting our hanging tests, we noticed that the waist belt had a propensity for riding up and smushing our kidneys a bit, not unlike what we experienced with the Black Diamond Momentum. It was about as comfy as the Edelrid Zack, although compared to that harness its leg loops felt better and the hip belt felt slightly worse. 5 out of 10 points.

You can see how the thin padding on the leg loops rides very high up into the crotch area when hanging  and this harness puts more pressure on the femoral artery than most. This wasn't the most comfortable harness for hanging in for long periods of time.
You can see how the thin padding on the leg loops rides very high up into the crotch area when hanging, and this harness puts more pressure on the femoral artery than most. This wasn't the most comfortable harness for hanging in for long periods of time.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


Standing comfort and mobility was one of the strong suits of the Corax, which is scored higher than the other two Petzl harnesses we tested, the Petzl Aquila and the Best Overall Harness for Trad Climbing, the Petzl Sama. While it is a profoundly padded harness, its adjustability means that you can fine-tune it just right, minimizing the presence felt while standing or walking around. It holds the weight of a rack comfortably and is perhaps even more comfortable with extra layers of clothes on underneath. That said, the waist belt is a bit bulky for wearing underneath the hip belt of a pack super comfortable, and in this way it couldn't compare to the Arc'teryx AR-395a. With its adjustable leg loops and long webbing between the leg loops and the belay loop, we found this harness to be quite mobile, certainly more so than the Sama with its fixed leg loops. Considering all of this, we gave it 7 out of 10 points.

Pulling the rope from a climb at the Streaked Wall above Telluride  CO  with the famous ice climb Bridalveil Falls in the background. We found the Corax to be super adjustable  and therefore quite comfortable and mobile for hanging out in all day.
Pulling the rope from a climb at the Streaked Wall above Telluride, CO, with the famous ice climb Bridalveil Falls in the background. We found the Corax to be super adjustable, and therefore quite comfortable and mobile for hanging out in all day.

Features


The Corax has adequate features for all styles of climbing, but except for its double front buckles, there is nothing extraordinary about what it brings to the table — simply solid functionality. While we have been singing the praises of the advantages of the double front buckles, we must also point out that they are clunkier and heavier than harnesses with only a single front buckle, and that it is time-consuming to perfectly adjust both of the buckles so that they are optimally snug. In truth, the adjustable "floating padding" on the waist of the Edelrid Zack is probably a better system, but we didn't like that harness as much overall.

The best feature of the Petzl Corax is the double front waist buckles  shown here. While these give you the option of extreme adjustability while also keeping the harness optimally centered  it also takes more fiddling to adjust both buckles evenly so they are "just right".
The best feature of the Petzl Corax is the double front waist buckles, shown here. While these give you the option of extreme adjustability while also keeping the harness optimally centered, it also takes more fiddling to adjust both buckles evenly so they are "just right".

The Corax has the standard four gear loops, two on each side, with the front ones providing rigidity that makes clipping and unclipping easier. Compared to most harnesses, the gear carrying capacity is quite large, on par with the Petzl Sama. It also has an easy to clip rear haul loop. Missing are ice clipper slots. With solid but not mind-blowing features, we rated this harness as a 6 out of 10 for features.

Belaying Comfort


When it comes to holding your climbing partner for a long time as you are belaying, we find that comfort boils down to how the leg loops feel as they sit over the inside of the leg and rise to join the belay loop. The Corax leaves lots of exposed webbing that is unpadded in this region, and it did feel as if it was biting into us more than most other harnesses, certainly more than we felt with the Petzl Aquila. While this wasn't a catastrophic failure by any stretch of the imagination, holding friends on top-rope for hours isn't nearly as enjoyable in the Corax as it is in our Best Overall Sport and Gym Climbing harness, the Black Diamond Solution.

Belaying endless laps of "free-snake" top-roping is certainly more enjoyable if you have a comfortable harness. In this photo you can see the long lengths of webbing running up from the leg loops to the belay loop  which certainly helps this harness retain its comfort.
Belaying endless laps of "free-snake" top-roping is certainly more enjoyable if you have a comfortable harness. In this photo you can see the long lengths of webbing running up from the leg loops to the belay loop, which certainly helps this harness retain its comfort.

Versatility


Versatility is one of the strong suits of this harness. Petzl says that it is designed for rock climbing, mountaineering, or via ferrata. With its super adjustable waist and legs, combined with its large amount of gear storage potential, we think this harness is pretty great for any rock climbing, whether that means trad cragging, clipping bolts at the gym, or a long free route at Red Rocks. With no ice clipper slots and a very bulky waist belt, not to mention its heavyweight and overall bulkiness, we wouldn't recommend it as our first choice for ice or alpine climbing. We found it to be more versatile than the Black Diamond Chaos, but not quite as well-rounded as the Sama. 7 out of 10 points.

As you can see  the large gear loops on the Petzl Corax can certainly hold a lot of gear  and then some  making this harness a great choice for any sort of rock climbing.
As you can see, the large gear loops on the Petzl Corax can certainly hold a lot of gear, and then some, making this harness a great choice for any sort of rock climbing.

Best Applications


The Corax will appeal most to those who need a lot of adjustability at an affordable price, whether that's due to sharing a harness, a larger fit, or bulky clothing. It is a good choice for sport, gym, or trad climbing, as well as long free routes. In our opinion, it is not ideally suited to ice or alpine climbing and is a bit bulky and heavy for mountaineering. And as Petzl recommends, it would also be a solid choice for traveling on the via ferrata.

Working on a steep sport climb at the Techno Crag in the San Juans. The Corax is ideal for anyone who wants maximum adjustability and versatility at a low cost  and is great while sport or trad climbing.
Working on a steep sport climb at the Techno Crag in the San Juans. The Corax is ideal for anyone who wants maximum adjustability and versatility at a low cost, and is great while sport or trad climbing.

Value


This harness retails for $60. Since it has so many awesome traits, for the right person it should present a great value. However, if you want the best harness for least amount of money, we also encourage you to look at the Black Diamond Momentum, our Best Bang for the Buck winner.

Conclusion


The Petzl Corax is a reasonably comfortable harness that has the ability to serve well for all styles of rock climbing. It is most notable for its incredible adjustability, mostly due to its double buckle design on the waist belt. For this reason, climbers with larger bodies who still want the gear loops and belay loop to stay centered are encouraged to check it out.

Roping up for another fine pitch at Smith Rock state park  OR  while climbing in the Petzl Corax.
Roping up for another fine pitch at Smith Rock state park, OR, while climbing in the Petzl Corax.
Andy Wellman