The Hirundos is a great, lightweight harness geared for sport climbers looking for their maximum range of movement. However, it is also very popular among alpine climbers because of its weight and quick-drying design. To sum up this harness in one word: skinny. The leg loops, waist belt, and belay loop are among the skinniest of all harnesses we tested.If you are loyal to Petzl harnesses and want either a light sport climbing harness or an alpine harness, you will love this. If you want the absolute lightest harness for alpine routes, the Camp Air is 30 percent lighter. If you are looking for a high-performance sport climbing harness and can spend another the extra money, we recommend the Black Diamond Ozone. If you are considering this harness also look hard at the Petzl Sama, which is only a little heavier and much more comfortable and versatile.
Petzl Hirundos Harness Review
Cons: uncomfotable to hang in
Our Analysis and Test Results
The New Hirundos vs. the Original
The popular Hirundos harness has been updated twice since our original review, and we've got the full scoop right here. Below, we've summarized both the 2015 and 2017 updates. While the weight was slightly decreased in the 2015 update, it is back up to its original weight of 300g for 2017's latest version, which we'll explain below. Side-by-side photos allow for easy comparison, with the latest version of this harness on the left and the original on the right.
2015 Summary of Updates
- FUSEFRAME Technology — In 2015, Petzl added FUSEFRAME Technology in hopes of improving weight distribution and pressure points. This thermo-formed foam is designed to integrate strength into the foam, resulting in a lighter, more compact waistbelt.
- Leg Loops — The 2015 version of the Hirundos saw more supple leg loop attachment bridges, designed to be more comfortable and natural.
- Tie-In Points — The tie-in points were reinforced in the 2015 version. Made from high-tenacity polyethylene, Petzl hoped to improve durability from rope friction.
- Seams — While contributing to the new and improved look, the 2015 Hirundos eliminated cross seams in order to reduce compression points or friction zones.
- Buckle — The forged aluminum DoubleBack HD buckle was new for 2015 and featured a nice grip and easy webbing glide for easier adjustment.
- Weight — The 2015 Hirundos dropped its weight from 300g to 280g, though as you'll read below, this weight has gone back up for the newest version.
2017 Summary of Updates
All of the 2015 updates are still relevant to the most recent version of the Hirundos, but Petzl did make a few new small changes this year.
- Elastic Waistbelt Strap — The latest Hirundos includes new elastic straps designed to help keep both ends of the waistbelt aligned.
- Weight — This small update forced the weight back up to 300g, the same as the original model that we tested.
- Price — Currently, the Hirundos is retailing at the increased price of $100, up slightly from the $85 price tag of the previous version.
Hands-On Review of the Original Hirundos
This is one of the lighter and more breathable harnesses we tested. It is marketed toward sport climbers but one of our reviewers, Ian Nicholson, uses as it his go-to alpine harness. It is 25 percent lighter than the Black Diamond Alpine Bod and dries fast because it is so well ventilated. It doesn't have adjustable leg loops, but most of our reviews find that feature to be overrated, even for alpine climbing and mountaineering. The Hirundos has all the solid features found on Petzl harnesses: self-locking (DoubleBack) buckle, easy to release elastic on the leg loops and well-ventilated foam.
It is no surprise that the thin waist loops and leg loops are not comfy when hanging around for long periods of time. Also, the gear loops were not the favorite of some testers; they are soft and lie flat against the harness and are positioned far back. However, other testers liked the gear loops just fine. The belay loop is startlingly skinny. It is plenty strong but not likely not have a long lifespan if you use it hard.
This harness is designed for hard sport climbs or redpoints where you want maximum range of movement and little weight or bulk. It also excels at alpine climbing because it is among the lightest and fastest drying.
One tester, Chris Van Leuven, used this on a number of El Capitan ascents. While it is generally not recommended for big walls, CVL found the advantages of such a skinny harness: it is light, gives a big range of movement for free climbing and is comfortable to sleep in because of the soft gear loops. That said, Chris vows to take a more comfortable harness on future big wall routes, a harness with more padding such as the Petzl Sama.
At $100, this harness is in the middle of the value range. The Sama is $35 less and has many more uses. On the other hand, the Hirundos is right on par with Black Diamond's Ozone and $60 less than the Arc'teryx R320.
— Chris McNamara