Climbing is a sport that originated in the 19th century in Germany and England as an activity born from mountaineering. It consists of making progressions on walls, using the physical and mental strength of the sportsman.
The upper and lower limbs are used. In the 60s, it underwent an evolution with the opening of the rock tracks. It is a sport considered at risk, but it is not entirely true because it depends on how it is practiced.
Also, the equipment used by climbers has evolved a lot, to ensure safety, at least from that point of view. The harness is one of those tools that ensure the safety of the discipline.
Here we had listed out the best climbing harnesses that are present below.
Climbing Harness Buying Guide
What Are the Main Elements of A Climbing Harness?
The climbing harness is made up of several parts, each of fundamental importance for the safety of the climber. You must always be careful that they all work correctly and follow the instructions to keep them in good condition. The main elements are:
- Lumbar belt: It is the main element of the harness. It bears most of the weight and from which the other peripheral units depart. It must guarantee a balance between comfort and lightness.
- Buckles: Their functionality depends on the type of climbing. The modern ones are equipped with a self-locking system.
- Leg loops: Usually, they are padded and can be adjusted with an elastic or buckle system, which facilitates changing clothes.
- Service ring: It is a ring that passes through the two anchor points and represents the most resistant area of the harness.
- Material holder: It is used to carry tied objects or accessories during climbing. The number depends on the type of activity practiced and the needs of the climber.
- Tying or anchoring points: They are two rings that connect to the service ring. The rope is passed through it to distribute the weight evenly.
What Is the Difference Between a Climbing Harness for Men and Women?
Although some models can be designed for both sexes, it is advisable to purchase a product that offers the characteristics required for each genre. In the case of women, the center of gravity is lower, and therefore they need to balance the harness to feel more comfortable and safer.
Also, women are generally thinner and wear the harness on their hips, and therefore must assess the distance between the belt and the leg loops. In short, we must look for specific models for each genre, and the same thing applies to children.
How to Wear a Climbing Harness?
Wearing a climbing harness is not very complicated. However, it must be done with great precision and accuracy, as our safety and comfort depend on it. Briefly summarized, these are the main steps that must be followed to wear a harness:
- Insert the legs into the leg loops making sure they are not inverted and that the service ring is in front.
- Place the belt on your hips, almost at the level of your navel, to avoid slipping when you are upside down. Tighten it tight, leaving at most two fingers of space.
- Adjust the leg loops using the elastic part if they are not adjustable. The tighter they are, the more comfortable you will feel, even if your movements are limited.
How to Store and Clean a Climbing Harness?
The first thing to do is to read the instruction manual and find out about all the elements that make up the harness model. Before each use, we have to check everything down to the last detail, making sure that each piece works well and is in good condition since, over time, some elements can wear out and endanger our physical integrity.
As for the cleaning of the harness, we can immerse it in water for two hours, using a neutral soap and a brush in case some stain remains. After that, we rinse it and let it dry in an airy place, without exposing it directly to the sun. In the meantime, you need to make sure all the elements are working correctly.
How to Choose Best Climbing Harness
Before buying a climbing harness, we have to deal with a series of purchase criteria that are essential for our safety and comfort. For example, it is necessary to know the use we want to make of it, that is, for what type of climbing we wish to use it. We must also look for the right size with a perfect fit and the weight that best suits our needs.
Climbing can be done on different itineraries and environments. So, we have to look for a harness that responds to the characteristics of the style we want to perform.
Let’s not forget how vital the slings are for our safety because they are made to meet all the performance required by the climber during use. For artificial climbing, more comfortable and practical harnesses are used, while in sport climbing, lighter equipment is used, which does not hinder progression.
Traditional climbers must put comfort and space occupied in transport first. In ice climbing, special equipment carriers and adjustable leg loops are required.
The size of the climbing harness is essential because our safety depends on it. It must fit perfectly. It is necessary to make sure that the belt does not slip from the hips when we are upside down. We must also keep in mind the different physical configurations between man, woman, and child.
In addition to safety, we must check that the size is right to ensure the necessary comfort. It could happen to wear the harness for many hours or to be tied in climbing in the high mountains. On the other hand, we will avoid chafing and annoyance due to small cuts.
Leg loops are another element that you must keep in mind before buying a climbing harness, although they are not important such as the belt, the rings, and the critical points.
The leg loops can be fixed or adjustable. The former is the most common, although being elastic, they will allow you to use them for any activity.
One of the main advantages of the leg loops, in addition to comfort, is that they avoid chafing, which can annoy us or injure us as well as facilitate the change of clothes. A detail not to be overlooked, given the climatic or weather differences that may occur during a climbing.
In the belt of the climbing harness, there are material holders, which are usually used in outdoor activities. We typically bring a minimum of 4 material holders to carry all the equipment that we will need during the progression, even if the number may be lower or higher depending on the needs of each climber.
Climbing or mountaineering harnesses must comply with UIAA – 105 safety standards. To ensure that the chosen product complies with the regulations envisaged by national and international authorities, you must look at the label. This standard classifies slings into four categories:
- Type A: Full body harness. Suitable for very robust people, who have a very high gravity point or who are out of shape.
- Type B: Small whole harness. For climbers who weigh less than 40 kilos. Generally suitable for children.
- Type C: Low harness. It must meet the specific characteristics of each climbing technique or alpine sport.
- Type D: High harness (breastplate). Regular in rope progressions where a service ascender is required. They must always be used with the harness of type C.
A climbing harness is a tool guaranteed by safety regulations. This means that its main function is characteristic in all models on the market, although we must make sure to read the label. However, you must always pay attention to safety and check the status of our ally before each use.
Therefore, the search for the right article must focus on other aspects such as the comfort and the use that we will make of it. The first point is critical since we will spend many hours with the harness on, perhaps hanging on a wall. It should also be considered that size and model are suitable for men, women, or children.