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Petzl Sama Review

A high-performing rock climbing harness at an excellent price point
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Petzl Sama Review (The Sama is comfortable for long hanging sessions while belaying sport climbs or hanging at belays all day on...)
The Sama is comfortable for long hanging sessions while belaying sport climbs or hanging at belays all day on multi-pitch routes.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi
Price:  $85 List
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Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Jeff Dobronyi & Andy Wellman  ⋅  Dec 19, 2023
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 15
  • Hanging Comfort - 30% 8.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 25% 6.0
  • Features - 20% 8.0
  • Versatility - 15% 7.0
  • Adjustability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Petzl Sama boasts great comfort, lots of great features, and versatility, all for a low price, proving itself to be the best value in a climbing harness. It has plenty of room on its gear loops for long multi-pitch and trad climbs, as well as a comfortable waist and leg loop construction. This harness excels at every style of rock climbing, nearly matching the top performers and doing so for less money than the competition. The biggest limiting factors for this harness are its lack of adjustable leg loops and ice clipper slots, which makes this harness unsuitable for ice and mixed climbing. But for all rock applications, this is a great choice and an excellent value. Check out how it compares to the competition in our article on the best climbing harnesses.
REASONS TO BUY
Great features
Comfortable
Highly versatile
Inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
No ice clipper slots
Heavy
Editor's Note: We updated this review on December 18, 2023, to adjust our testing metrics and offer new recommendations for comparable harnesses.

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Bottom Line This model is fashionable, comfortable, and versatile, all for a lower price than the competitionA lightweight harness for technical climbing adventures as long as they don't involve much hangingThis harness is simply the best choice for gym and sport climbingA light and comfortable harness for single or multi-pitch sport climbingA decent all-around performer with a puzzling design that allows the nylon waist belt to slide through the padding, causing confusion and discomfort
Rating Categories Petzl Sama Blue Ice Choucas Pro Black Diamond Solution Edelrid Sendero Edelrid Moe
Hanging Comfort (30%)
8.0
5.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Standing Comfort and Mobility (25%)
6.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Features (20%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
Versatility (15%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
7.0
Adjustability (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Petzl Sama Blue Ice Choucas Pro Black Diamond Solution Edelrid Sendero Edelrid Moe
Weight (size Large) 14.8 oz 5.3 oz 13.3 oz 12.3 oz 12.3 oz
Number of Gear Loops 4 4 4 5 4
Haul Loop? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Leg Loops? No, elastic No No, elastic Yes Yes
Self-Locking Buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? No Yes - 4 No Yes - 2 Yes - 2
Waist Belt Construction EndoFrame: wide waistband to reduce pressure points Mesh Fusion Comfort: three bands of webbing, breathable mesh, EVA foam insert Soft frame construction with 3D mesh padding Soft frame construction with 3D mesh padding

Our Analysis and Test Results

In addition to its strong performance across the board, the Petzl Sama stands out for its good looks and low price.

Performance Comparison


petzl sama - hanging the draws in the versatile and affordable petzl sama.
Hanging the draws in the versatile and affordable Petzl Sama.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Hanging Comfort


The Sama is one of the most comfortable harnesses to wear while hanging. With its fixed leg loops, the majority of our body weight feels reasonably well distributed across our legs. The truth is that no harness is super comfortable to hang in for very long, but we find that this harness certainly has more comfy leg loops than most of the competition.


The Endoframe construction of this waist belt is essentially a very fat strap that runs across the top, with a much smaller subsidiary strap that splits off to the bottom of the waist belt to help with load distribution. These two straps are padded on the inside, and the result is quite comfortable. When hanging, the waist belt tends to ride up a bit into our kidneys, although some other harnesses are certainly worse in this regard. We had no problem hanging in this harness all day on long multi-pitch routes.

petzl sama - the sama is comfortable for long hanging sessions while belaying...
The Sama is comfortable for long hanging sessions while belaying sport climbs or hanging at belays all day on multi-pitch routes.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Standing Comfort and Mobility


The fixed-length leg loops on this harness fit our testers' legs more closely than other harnesses on the market. While this makes for great hanging comfort, it can feel a little restricting when climbing and walking. The waist belt is padded and contoured nicely to wrap the hips comfortably, and we had no qualms with the waist belt's comfort.


When holding a full rack on the gear loops, the extra weight produces very little sagging, nor does it cause the waist belt to drop away from the waist at all. However, with its bulkier padded waist belt, the Sama doesn't sit quite as comfortably underneath a pack's waist belt as those harnesses with unpadded waist belts. We feel this was one of the weakest aspects of this harness, and it is not nearly as mobile or featherlight as the very lightest options.

petzl sama - the sama is generally comfortable for moving around and climbing...
The Sama is generally comfortable for moving around and climbing, though the leg loops can feel a bit restricting on the most acrobatic moves.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Features


The Petzl Sama has one of the best sets of features. The gear loops are large, molded for easy clipping, and overlap to bring more gear around the front of the harness, where it's easier to reach. We fit tons of cams and slings on each side of the harness with ease, never having to adjust our racking techniques to accommodate the shape of the gear loops.


We love how the tie-in point is specially reinforced with slippery polyethylene fiber, and that the lower tie-in loop has a red wear indicator that lets you know when you need to retire the harness. Finally, its single auto-locking waist buckle is simple to use and works great. While there is no fifth gear loop around the back of the harness, and there are no ice clipper slots or adjustable leg loops, rock climbers won't find any shortcomings with the Sama's features.

petzl sama - the sama's gear loops are large enough to fit a full double rack for...
The Sama's gear loops are large enough to fit a full double rack for long, intriguing trad routes.
Credit: Penney Garrett

Versatility


The Sama is a highly versatile harness that excels at any type of rock climbing. It has plenty of hanging comfort and ergonomic gear loops for days at the sport crag, and its features make it a great choice for trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing, and routes where lots of gear is required.


Like other rock-specific climbing harnesses, the Sama lacks versatility for ice and mixed climbing due to its fixed, non-adjustable leg loops and lack of ice clipper slots. That said, Petzl now makes the Caritool EVO ice tool clippers, which work with this harness by attaching to the entire waist belt, rather than needing specific slots. If you are looking for one harness for every style of rock climbing, this is a good choice.

petzl sama - the sama's large, low profile gear loops add versatility for all...
The Sama's large, low profile gear loops add versatility for all rock climbing disciplines, but the lack of ice clipper slots makes it hard to ice climb in this harness.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Adjustability


The Sama has a waist belt with plenty of length adjustment. The self-locking buckle is large and easy to manipulate. While the leg loops don't have a length adjustment strap or buckle, they employ an elastic band for a couple of inches of length adjustment in the legs.


We did not notice any difficulty finding a snug and comfortable fit in the thighs in this harness. Since this piece of gear is designed for rock climbing only, it's unlikely the user will be layering bulky clothing underneath the leg loops.

petzl sama - the sama's leg loops adjust with elastic stretching, and the waist...
The Sama's leg loops adjust with elastic stretching, and the waist belt offers plenty of length adjustment.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Should You Buy the Petzl Sama?


The Sama has excellent rock climbing performance and costs less than most other harnesses built for this purpose. No other harness combines such high performance with such a low price. For that reason, we think this is the best value. Even if money is not a concern, this is still a great option, competing closely with the most expensive and high-performance options out there. Our mountain guide testers have used this harness for over a hundred days without noticing any critical wear and tear, and this durability further enhances the value of the harness.

petzl sama - questing through cracks and dikes in the petzl sama.
Questing through cracks and dikes in the Petzl Sama.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

What Other Climbing Harnesses Should You Consider?


The Petzl Sama is one of the highest-rated harnesses in this review, and its affordable price makes it a great budget choice. It is one of our favorite harnesses for multi-pitch and trad climbing, but if you're looking for a harness with even larger gear loops and more leg loop adjustability, check out the Petzl Aquila. If you want a high-performance sport climbing harness for a price similar to the Sama, our favorite harness for clipping bolts is the Black Diamond Solution. If you need a good all-around harness that can also be used for winter climbing, the Petzl Sitta is our favorite harness on the market, but it costs a lot more. The Edelrid Moe and Black Diamond Technician have ice clipper slots and share a palatable price point, but we think you'd be better off with the Sama and improvising ice clippers.

Jeff Dobronyi & Andy Wellman