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The 5 Best Climbing Harnesses for Women of 2024

We tested women's climbing harnesses from Black Diamond, Arc’teryx, Petzl, Blue Ice and others to recommend our top picks
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Best Climbing Harnesses Women Review (From sport cragging to long alpine routes, our expert team has tested the best climbing harnesses for women.)
From sport cragging to long alpine routes, our expert team has tested the best climbing harnesses for women.
Credit: Whitney Clark
By Whitney Clark & Jane Jackson  ⋅  Apr 25, 2024

The Best Women's Climbing Harnesses for 2024


Our team of lady rock crushers has tested over 30 of the best climbing harnesses for women since we first started more than 10 years ago. This review features 11 of the best models currently available, including great options for gym, rock, alpine, and ice climbing. We wore each harness while tackling long alpine objectives and clipping bolts at our local crag. We also tested each one at the gym and on icy, picked-out waterfalls. After spending several months comparing each side-by-side, we offer our expert recommendations to help you find a comfortable and functional harness that'll have you climbing high in no time.

OutdoorGearLab's roots are in rock climbing, and as a result, we have a world-class team of climbers putting down the best reviews of climbing gear. Whether you're searching for a new rope, a fresh pair of climbing shoes, or you want to update your belay device, we have in-depth reviews and gear round-ups to help you with your selections. Also, check out our curated list of the best climbing gear on the market.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on April 25, 2024, to add new harnesses from Blue Ice and Petzl, and to update our award-winning lineup.

Related: Best Climbing Harness for Men

Top 11 Climbing Harnesses

Displaying 1 - 5 of 11
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $160 List
Check Price at REI
$48.71 at Backcountry
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$55.96 at Backcountry
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$85.95 at Backcountry
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$64.95 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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82
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65
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Pros Versatile, mobile, comfortable and compactComfortable, easy to clip rigid gear loops, great value, adjustable leg loop system is light and easyLightweight, breathable, comfortable, and highly mobileLightweight, comfortable, women's specific fitExtra gear loop, ice clipper tool slots, lightweight for a trad harness
Cons Material absorbs sweat, expensiveWaist belt doesn't have the best ventilationUncomfortable if leg loops don't fit youNo ice clipper slots, rear gear loops smaller than desiredAdjustable leg loops are uncomfortable, no padding in the waist or legs
Bottom Line A great all-around harness for alpine missions, trad climbing and multi-pitch routes that packs down small for lightweight adventuresOne of the best and least expensive all around harnesses in this reviewA lightweight and thin harness that is comfortable to hang inA comfortable, lightweight harness perfectly designed for trad climbing or long multi-pitch routesAn all-around harness that's not comfortable to hang in
Rating Categories Arc'teryx AR-385a Black Diamond Momen... Black Diamond Solut... Blue Ice Cuesta - W... Black Diamond Techn...
Hanging Comfort (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Standing Comfort and Mobility (25%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Features (20%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Adjustability (10%)
9.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
Specs Arc'teryx AR-385a Black Diamond Momen... Black Diamond Solut... Blue Ice Cuesta - W... Black Diamond Techn...
Designed for These Disciplines Sport, Trad, Ice Sport, Trad Sport Sport, Trad Sport, Trad, Ice
Measured Weight (size Small) 13 oz 10.3 oz 11.4 oz 9.7 oz 12.9 oz
Number of Gear Loops 4 (rigid with flexible attachment points) 4 (rigid) 4 (rigid) 4 (2 rigid in front) 5 (4 rigid, 1 flexible)
Haul Loop? Yes (not full strength) Yes Yes (not full strength) Yes Yes (not full strength)
Adjustable Legs? Yes (detacheable) Yes No No Yes
Self-Locking Buckle? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots? Yes (4) No No No Yes (4)
Waist Belt Construction Warp Strength Technology Dual Core (2 thin bands of webbing with foam in between) Fusion Comfort Technology (3 strands of webbing) Laminate waist belt, high-tenacity PES Fusion Comfort Technology (3 strands of webbing)
Special Features Colored fibers inside high wear points to indicated when it's time to retire trakFIT leg adjusters are low profile and lightweight Leg loops have same wide construction as waistbelt Women's specific fit for higher waist and larger thighs Leg loops have same wide construction as waistbelt


Best Overall Climbing Harness


Arc'teryx AR-385a


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Hanging Comfort 8.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Versatility 9.0
  • Adjustability 9.0
Weight (size small): 13 oz | Designed for: Trad, Alpine
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Comfortable for hanging in
Versatile for many disciplines
Big gear loops
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Not very breathable

If you like to climb in the mountains, hit the crag with your double set of cams, or rack draws for your alpine sport project, the Arc'teryx AR-385a is the do-it-all harness for you. The AR-385a is an impressive piece of engineering: it's comfortable, sleek, and functional, and it is sure to attract compliments at the crag and invite questions about its design. The patented Warp Strength Technology evenly distributes weight across the harness, practically eliminating padding while maintaining comfort. While it includes all of the necessary features for an all-around harness, it really shines for trad and alpine climbing. The wide waistband provides comfort at hanging belays, and the extra-wide gear loops ensure ample room for a double rack plus some. There is also a large haul loop in the rear to clip approach shoes or haul a tagline. If you're looking for a compact option for long rock climbs or an alpine mission, this harness is a great choice.

A small gripe with the design of this harness is that it absorbs more sweat than most. So if you regularly climb in hot and humid climates, it is likely worth considering something with a mesh back, like the ultra-breathable but equally expensive Black Diamond airNET. The main downside to the AR-385a, however, is the price tag. It is, without a doubt, one of the more expensive models we've tested and likely better suited for someone who climbs a lot. If you're just new to climbing, or you mostly plan to stick with sport climbing, other less expensive options will better serve your needs.

Read more: Arc'teryx AR-385a review

climbing harness womens - for years, the arc&#039;teryx ar-385a has been our go to harness for big...
For years, the Arc'teryx AR-385a has been our go to harness for big alpine rock climbing objectives.
Credit: Paloma Farkas

Best Bang for the Buck


Black Diamond Momentum - Women's


82
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Hanging Comfort 8.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Versatility 8.0
  • Adjustability 7.0
Weight (size small): 10.5 oz | Designed for: Sport, Trad
REASONS TO BUY
Lots of padding in the waist belt and legs
Rigid gear loops make clipping easy
Excellent value
REASONS TO AVOID
Waist belt is not very breathable
No ice clipper slots

An iteration of a harness that Black Diamond has been selling for years, the Black Diamond Momentum does not disappoint. It's a versatile, all-around model that is comfortable, adjustable, and inexpensive. It has Black Diamond's unique trakFIT adjustable leg loops, which provide a bit of adjustability but still the security of a fixed-leg system. The plastic-covered gear loops are rigid and stick out from the waist belt for easy clipping and unclipping, and there is a sturdy haul loop in the back.

The Momentum has a thickly padded waist belt, which is excellent for hanging belays but not so great on warm days. We always found ourselves with a sweaty back in this one, and something you certainly should keep in mind if you regularly climb in hot weather or tropical climates. If that sounds like you, it's worth considering upgrading to a more breathable harness like the Black Diamond Solution. Other than that, the Momentum is an affordable buy for a new climber who wants a guaranteed all-around versatile harness or for a seasoned rope climber looking to save money.

Read more: Black Diamond Momentum review

climbing harness womens - we love the women&#039;s momentum harness and how comfortable it is for...
We love the women's Momentum harness and how comfortable it is for trad climbing and long days on the wall.
Credit: JP

Best for Sport Climbing


Black Diamond Solution - Women's


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Hanging Comfort 8.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Versatility 6.0
  • Adjustability 6.0
Weight (size small): 11.4 oz | Designed for: Sport
REASONS TO BUY
Breathable and lightweight
Comfortable
Great mobility
REASONS TO AVOID
Specific fit for leg loops
Less than ideal for long hangs

While we don't love every harness that Black Diamond is currently making — we're looking at you, Technician — we'll admit we do love the Black Diamond Solution for both trad and sport climbing. The Solution is lightweight and breathable, and it is surprisingly comfortable considering the minimal amount of padding. The load is dispersed throughout the waist belt and leg loops via three different strands of thin webbing so you never feel a pressure point in one spot. The elastic on the leg loops have great stretch and mobility, and they are tapered just the right amount for where they pass through your thighs.

The leg loops on the Solution have a bit of stretch, but they're not adjustable. If you have larger or smaller thighs relative to your waist, the Solution may not fit you well. And though this harness felt great while hang-dogging and giving our friends epic belays, it wouldn't be our first choice for a Grade V with hanging belays. For high-grade alpine climbs, it's well worth considering investing in a harness like the Arc'teryx AR-385a. However, if single-pitch tad or sport cragging is your jam, you'll appreciate the lightweight nature of the Solution and the surprising level of comfort it provides.

Read more: Black Diamond Solution review

climbing harness womens - the black diamond solution harness has four rigid gear loops that...
The Black Diamond Solution harness has four rigid gear loops that makes racking easy.
Credit: Kyle Queener

Best for Long Mutipitch Routes


Blue Ice Cuesta - Women's


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Hanging Comfort 8.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility 9.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Versatility 6.0
  • Adjustability 6.0
Weight (size small): 9.7 oz | Designed for: Sport, Trad
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Comfortable
Women's specific fit
REASONS TO AVOID
Leg loops aren't adjustable
Small rear gear loops

The Blue Ice Cuesta is a women's-specific climbing harness designed for comfort and freedom of movement on long days. Its lightweight design makes it ideal for climbing in the backcountry, where every ounce in your backpack matters. As our top pick for multi-pitch climbs, it strikes a perfect balance between functionality, comfort, and durability. The harness has adequately sized gear loops capable of accommodating a double rack, while its abrasion-resistant fabric stands up to burly chimney climbing and scumming on sharp granite. Additionally, the rear gear loops lie flush with your body, which makes climbing with a backpack much more comfortable.

Although the leg loops are equipped with elastic that provides some stretch, they don't allow for large adjustments. If you need just a bit of extra wiggle room to accommodate an extra layer or a pair of long underwear, it shouldn't be a problem and shouldn't restrict mobility. The Cuesta lacks ice clipper slots, limiting it to a three-season harness. If you're looking for a versatile harness for all types of climbing, it's worth considering investing in a four-season option like the Arc'teryx AR-385a. Despite these few drawbacks, the Cuesta remains an affordable and comfortable choice tailored to the female form.

Read more: Blue Ice Cuesta review

climbing harness womens - the mobility, durability, and versatility of the cuesta makes it a...
The mobility, durability, and versatility of the Cuesta makes it a great choice for adventurous alpine climbing.
Credit: Jen Poe

Best for Alpine Climbing


Blue Ice Addax


63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Hanging Comfort 6.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility 6.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Versatility 7.0
  • Adjustability 5.0
Weight (size small): 4.9 oz | Designed for: Sport, Alpine, Ice
REASONS TO BUY
Extremely lightweight
Breathable
Durable
REASONS TO AVOID
Difficult to add layers while wearing
Not comfortable hanging

The Blue Ice Addax is ideal for alpine or backcountry climbs that prioritize lightness and speed. This is the ultimate ultralight option, just as long as you aren't going to be hanging in your harness or rappelling through the night. It also works great for general mountaineering and glacier travel when you just need a harness for crevasse safety. Despite its lightweight design, it offers exceptional durability, defying expectations often associated with lighter gear, which carries the stigma of wearing out faster than heavier alternatives. With four gear loops, a haul loop, and ice clipper slots, it's a versatile and reliable choice for climbers looking to cut weight from their backcountry kit.

But being one of the lightest harnesses on the market has its drawbacks. Its minimalist design features a pretty slim waistbelt and leg loops that are not very comfortable to hang in for extended periods of time. That said, its breathable material will keep you from getting too sweaty during hot days of climbing or long travel days across glaciers. Although the Addax can technically do it all, it's not the best option for climbs that require a heavy double rack or big walls – that's better reserved for a harness with more padding and rigid gear loops, like the Blue Ice Cuesta. It's better to save the Addax for those fast-and-light missions where saving weight is key.

Read more: Blue Ice Addax review

climbing harness womens - hanging in the addax while crossing the tyrolean into the torre...
Hanging in the Addax while crossing the tyrolean into the Torre Valley.
Credit: Babsi Vigil

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
85
Arc'teryx AR-385a
Best Overall Climbing Harness
$160
Editors' Choice Award
82
Black Diamond Momentum - Women's
Best Bang for the Buck
$65
Best Buy Award
80
Black Diamond Solution - Women's
Best for Sport Climbing
$80
Top Pick Award
74
Blue Ice Cuesta - Women's
Best for Long Mutipitch Routes
$86
Top Pick Award
65
Black Diamond Technician - Women's
$90
65
Petzl Sitta - Women's
$200
64
Petzl Selena
$85
63
Blue Ice Addax
Best for Alpine Climbing
$110
Top Pick Award
63
Black Diamond airNET Harness - Women's
$170
59
Edelrid Jayne
$70
56
Petzl Luna
$95

climbing harness womens - a champion for long routes, the women&#039;s cuesta is a lightweight...
A champion for long routes, the women's Cuesta is a lightweight harness that prioritizes comfort and durability. Our lead tester puts it through its paces on a multi-day climb in Patagonia.
Credit: Tad McCrea

How We Test Climbing Harnesses


At Outdoor GearLab, we've been reviewing women's climbing harnesses for seven years and have tested over 20 models. We are constantly researching the newest products on the market and adding new ones to this review as they become available. We buy each harness at retail price and test them side-by-side in a series of objective and subjective tests to get a good idea of how they stack up. We wear them for hours at the crag and use them in various disciplines, from sport climbing to trad climbing and alpine climbing. We also look in depth at the features of each harness and note how many pieces of gear each gear loop can hold. We utilize information from a vast network of testers to ensure our judgments are accurate. If you want more detailed info on our testing processes, see our full How We Test article.

Our climbing harness testing is analyzed based on five different metrics:
  • Hanging Comfort (30% of overall score weighting)
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility (25% weighting)
  • Features (20% weighting)
  • Versatility (15% weighting)
  • Adjustability (10% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


This review was brought to you by Jane Jackson and Whitney Clark. Jane and Whitney have spent years hanging around big walls and crags all over the world. From multi-day journeys up El Capitan in Yosemite to multi-day climbs in the mountains, our testers have experienced the value of a comfortable harness and the downsides of an ill-fitting one. At the moment, both Jane and Whitney are based in Bishop, California, where access to traditional and sport climbing routes seems limitless. They put these harnesses to the test on long trad routes in Yosemite, sport climbing sessions in the Owens River Gorge, and the basalt crags of northern Arizona.

The models in this review are our favorites from the dozens of women's specific harnesses available online. After spending months wearing and testing this year's top models — assessing comfort, versatility, adjustability, and discipline-specific features — we have ended up with a comprehensive review that should guide you toward the harness of your belay-duty dreams!

We didn&#039;t have any mobility issues in the BD Technician...
We didn't have any mobility issues in the BD Technician, particularly if we left the leg loops on the loose side, but that meant even more webbing cinching down on us when the sat back in the harness.
Petzl has placed the rear gear loops really far to the rear on the...
Petzl has placed the rear gear loops really far to the rear on the Selena and Luna models. This is fine for sport climbing, where most people only use the front loops, but not so great for traditional routes.
High up on the Monitor Wall, Colorado. Only certain harnesses offer...
High up on the Monitor Wall, Colorado. Only certain harnesses offer enough room for the twenty draws we needed for this route, along with our hiking shoes and belay setup.

Analysis and Test Results


This review focuses on women's rock, gym, aid, and ice climbing harnesses. Some are built for ultralight alpine missions, some offer hanging comfort, and others feature lots of loops to maximize gear storage. To objectively compare each in our testing, we rate them on hanging comfort, standing comfort, features, versatility, and adjustability. This article offers advice and compares each product in-depth. Read more about how to choose a women's climbing harness.


Value


The women's climbing harnesses we tested in this review had a significant price range. What do you get from an expensive one that you don't from a budget option? Sometimes, not much! Some “cheaper” models might not have the most complicated waist belt designs, meaning they might not distribute the load well or might not be as comfortable for prolonged hanging. The high-value Black Diamond Momentum performs the best of all lower-priced options and is functional for all types of climbing. The Edelrid Jayne is another lower-cost model, but its bulky rear gear loop isn't as functional as others – this harness is better for the beginner who plans to climb only occasionally.

climbing harness womens - the leg loops on the solution harness fit snug but are stretchy...
The leg loops on the Solution harness fit snug but are stretchy enough to not impede movement.
Credit: Kyle Queener

Hanging Comfort


This metric is often the dealbreaker when purchasing a new harness. It may look and feel great, but if hanging in it doesn't feel right, you should move on to the next model. As manufacturers move to lighter and more intricate designs, often the padding is left by the wayside. We typically need some padding to soften the weight of our bodies against the harness's frame. Unsurprisingly, the models with more padding scored higher in this metric than those without.


The Arc'teryx AR-385a, Black Diamond Momentum, and Blue Ice Cuesta were our favorites for hanging comfort. Those harnesses had ample padding and support with no weird features that dug into our sides or pinched us.

Hang Testing


Climbing gear shops typically have a clip-in point that you can use to do your hang test before making a purchase. This is a crucial test, as our testing has shown that what might feel good while standing and walking around a store will not necessarily feel good when hanging.

You might think this metric is only important for people doing long multi-pitch routes with hanging belays, but sport climbers tend to spend a fair amount of time hanging in their harnesses, so this is a key consideration for most climbers. We also like the hanging comfort of the sporty Black Diamond Solution.

climbing harness womens - the black diamond solution (bottom) has wide leg loops that reach...
The Black Diamond Solution (bottom) has wide leg loops that reach most of the way around your thighs but taper nicely between your legs. The Technician's loops (top) use the same triple-strand design, but don't offer as much coverage and were not as comfortable.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Typically, a climbing harness holds 70% of your weight on the leg loops and only 30% on the waist. So, while manufacturers tout the comfort of the waist belt above all, you want to be sure the legs are just as comfortable, if not more so. The AR-385a harness is comfortable in the waist, and the leg loops sit nicely on our thighs and the back of our legs.

Fit for Women's Specific Models


Most manufacturers make several women's specific models to choose from; some even have a women's version of every men's model in their line-up. Whether you need a “women's” model depends on how your body is proportioned. The manufacturer has deemed the typical female climber's form (and they seem to all have different ideas of what that is). Don't be afraid to try on some men's or unisex versions when shopping – while you may prefer the more “girly” styling on the female options, the fit should come first and foremost when buying this essential piece of gear. In the rest of this article, we'll cover how the various models fared in our test metrics and discuss what to consider when looking for an affordable model.

The Black Diamond Technician also has a comfortable waist belt, but the leg loops have too much webbing and not enough support, and we felt pinched by them. The Black Diamond Momentum performs well in this metric because of its wide waistband and well-padded leg loops. This is an excellent and less expensive option for multi-pitch and trad.

climbing harness womens - taking a whip in the technician. this harness had our least favorite...
Taking a whip in the Technician. This harness had our least favorite leg loops, and we didn't like spending any time hanging in it.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Standing Comfort and Mobility


We've given comfort a big part of our rating metric but split it between standing and hanging. Why? While the hanging comfort is key, unless you're always stuck at hanging belays, you'll likely spend more time standing around, belaying, or sitting down in your harness at the crag than you will be hanging in it. Since most climbers don't want to take it off after every pitch, we need it to be always comfortable.


The models that ranked the highest in this metric were (not surprisingly) the lightweight and minimalist ones. We like the Black Diamond Solution best for standing comfort. We like the leg loops on the Solution, which are wide in the back but taper between the legs for minimal bulk in that area. The Blue Ice Cuesta has a women's specific fit with a higher waist and larger leg loops, making it go almost unnoticed while wearing all day.

climbing harness womens - from tapered, supportive leg loops to its ability to comfortably...
From tapered, supportive leg loops to its ability to comfortably carry gear, the BD Solution is one of the most comfortable harnesses we've tested.
Credit: Will Stanhope

Another top model for standing comfort was the Arc'teryx AR-385a. It was lightweight and breathable, making it less noticeable and more comfortable throughout the day. Some were easy to wear under a pack and hike around, and we preferred the Arc'teryx model when hiking or scrambling with our harness.

climbing harness womens - putting the cuesta&#039;s mettle to the test in patagonia.
Putting the Cuesta's mettle to the test in Patagonia.
Credit: Babsi Vigil

We don't love the waist belt on the Petzl models and find that the wider waistband digs into us in the wrong places if we try to wear them on our waists. Those ladies that wear theirs a little lower and around their hips might find it more comfortable.

climbing harness womens - the thin design of the arc&#039;teryx ar-385a makes it comfortable to...
The thin design of the Arc'teryx AR-385a makes it comfortable to wear under a pack and hike around in.
Credit: Glenda Huxter

Features


For this metric, we considered what type of climbing each harness was designed for and how well its features work for those disciplines. Some models have many features (ice clipper slots, extra gear loops, etc.). If you are looking for a sport harness and don't want or need all of those extras, but you still want something lightweight with easily accessible gear loops, consider the feature set.


We can't say that there was ever a time that we felt very limited by the material or structure of the models that we were testing — these are not the old, bulky, and confining climbing harnesses of yesteryear. Instead, all models have movement and fluidity built into their design.

climbing harness womens - the blue ice addax is comfortable deceivingly functional for its size.
The Blue Ice Addax is comfortable deceivingly functional for its size.
Credit: Babsi Vigil

For a traditional-only harness, we thought the Arc'teryx AR-385a had the best features, including wide gear loops, an easy-to-use haul loop, and a waist belt built for hanging belays. We could rack it full of gear and quickdraws and still had room for our descent shoes, anchoring gear, and belay setups. For fast-and-light alpine missions where you'll spend little time hanging in your harness, the Blue Ice Addax is definitely the way to go. It is one of the lightest harnesses on the market, super durable considering its minimalist design, and goes practically unnoticed in your pack.

climbing harness womens - on a multi-pitch route, you need ample space on your gear loops.
On a multi-pitch route, you need ample space on your gear loops.
Credit: Tad McCrea

Those looking for a sport harness will appreciate the gear loops and simple design of the Black Diamond Solution. It's lightweight but can still carry a ton of draws, unlike the Petzl Selena, with its hard-to-reach rear gear loops. The Black Diamond airNET is also a great sport climbing harness, but we would have liked to see the pressure molded gear loops on both the front and the back rather than the lightweight webbing on the rear two gear loops. We liked the plastic protector found on some harnesses, like the Edelrid Jayne. It prevents wear in a hard-to-see spot and should help increase the longevity of your harness.

climbing harness womens - we were comfortable projecting in the black diamond airnet harness.
We were comfortable projecting in the Black Diamond airNet harness.
Credit: Will Stanhope

We would pay particular attention to this metric if we were looking for a climbing harness that we would use mostly for alpine adventures, say a season in the High Sierras in California. Since much of the climbing there often involves scrambling in between technical pitches without a lot of hanging belays, we'd want a harness that is lightweight, minimalist, easy to move around in, and comfortable under a pack — like the Addax or the AR-385a.

climbing harness womens - racking up is made easy in the ar-385a harness with its big gear...
Racking up is made easy in the AR-385a harness with its big gear loops and angled design.
Credit: Luka Krajnc

Versatility


Versatility is an important metric for anyone who likes to do a lot of different types of climbing, or for someone new to the sport who is not sure what style they like best and wants to try it all. It's also a key consideration for those of us who don't have much money to spend on gear and would prefer to own only one harness and have some more money to spend on a set of cams or quickdraws.


The most versatile climbing harnesses we tested were the all-around models, like the Blue Ice Addax, the Arc'teryx AR-385a, and the Petzl Sitta. These models can do everything, and they do it well. They all excel in a mountain environment as they strike a nice balance between functionality and durability. Each of these harnesses also features ice-clipper slots, making them viable options for ice climbing, too.

climbing harness womens - moving through tight terrain is no problem with the ar-385a, even if...
Moving through tight terrain is no problem with the AR-385a, even if you're carrying a big rack.
Credit: Clint Helander

Note that the Petzl Luna no longer has ice-clipper slots since the new Caritool Evo from Petzl clips around the entire waist belt. The Black Diamond Momentum and Blue Ice Cuesta are slightly less versatile, as they do not have ice clipper slots, but they are still well suited to traditional or sport climbing.

climbing harness womens - the petzl sitta is one of the lightest, fully-functional alpine...
The Petzl Sitta is one of the lightest, fully-functional alpine harnesses on the market.
Credit: Diana Wendt

Adjustability


Our final rating metric evaluated how adjustable each model was to accommodate different layers of clothing and body types. This is a key consideration if you plan on climbing in various climates and if your proportions are not what the manufacturer has deemed “standard” or “average.


The Arc'teryx AR-385a has adjustable leg loops that accommodate a 4-6 inch difference in leg circumference. Adjustable legs allow us to wear the same harness to the gym in leggings one day and out on an ice climb over long underwear and softshell pants the next.

Unsurprisingly, the models with adjustable leg loops scored higher in this metric than those without, but not all adjustable leg loops are created equal. We want something that still provides padding around most of our thighs whenever possible. The Black Diamond Technician does not – it has less leg loop and more webbing, which makes it uncomfortable to hang in.

climbing harness womens - black diamond&#039;s trakfit slider. the elastic underneath the webbing...
Black Diamond's trakFIT slider. The elastic underneath the webbing adjusts with the sliding buckle. It's not as adjustable as a real buckle/webbing leg loop, but there is no extra webbing flapping around on your legs which is nice.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

While adjustable leg loops add more weight to a climbing harness — the adjustable Petzl Luna weighs about two ounces more than the non-adjustable but similar Petzl Selena — that difference is pretty minimal. The Black Diamond Momentum has a trakFIT closure that combines the functionality of an adjustable leg loop with the lighter weight of a fixed one. A sliding buckle can tighten or loosen the fixed loop with elastic attached underneath it for stretch. While we like this system, it does not offer as much adjustability as a buckle system (2-3 inches instead of 4-6).

climbing harness womens - from traditional climbing to sport climbing, we put these harnesses...
From traditional climbing to sport climbing, we put these harnesses to the test.
Credit: JP

Conclusion


A harness is a necessity for all roped climbers; the fact that it can keep you alive makes the decision-making process that much harder. It is crucial to find a model that fits your climbing style and your build. We hope you can use the information in this review to make an informed decision about the type of harness that's right for you.

Whitney Clark & Jane Jackson