Choosing the right climbing harness doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Knowing the different parts which make up the harness, and which is more suitable for the activity you’ll be doing, will help you to understand your needs and make the process much easier.
The harness’ waist belt is there to provide safety and comfort, and somewhere to lean your weight against on descents. A well-fitting waist belt will support you around your lower back, and should have adjustable buckles for a personalised fit.
These are adjustable on most harnesses for the best possible fit and comfort, as well as to accommodate different clothing layers. Most harnesses will also have padding on the leg loops for comfort when hanging or resting.
Buckles will be located on various points of the harness, to allow you to customise the fit according to your size, and your clothing. The more buckles a harness has, the more versatile it will be to different types of climbing, as it will accommodate different layer thicknesses.
Gear loops are used to attach your rack to; many harnesses have 4 loops, but some more advanced models will have more. Gear loops are usually made of tough plastic or webbing, but it’s important to remember that they are not load bearing.
The haul loop is a small loop on the back of the waist belt, used for trailing a second line. These loops are not load bearing but are a great feature to look out for if you plan to be taking on more difficult outdoor routes.
The belay loop is the strongest part of the harness, and as such will have been load tested. Some of our stores have suspension points at which you can try harnesses, so you will be able to find one which you find the most supportive.
Tie-in points are two loops connected to the belay loop, which are used to connect your ropes. Your ropes should go through both the upper and lower tie-in points.
These are used in the space between the waist belt and leg loops, and are connected with thin webbing or elastic straps, which can be adjusted for the perfect fit.