If you’ve gotten into climbing, then you have probably quickly realized how important it is to get the right climbing equipment. Now, when it comes to equipment one thing that you’ll want to prioritize is a good climbing harness. If you’ve ever been on a rock or ice face, then you know fully well why getting a good and reliable climbing harness is of the utmost importance. So how do you go about doing this?
To pick the right harness, you’ll need to know what to look for. This can be rather tricky as not everyone is knowledgeable on this subject. To help you out with this, here’s a brief breakdown of everything you need to know about picking climbing harnesses.
Understand the Parts
Before you gauge the quality of a harness, it’s important that you understand all of its individual parts. Here’s a quick summary of the parts of a harness and what to look for:
- Waist Belt: When it comes to waist belts, you’ll want to look for one that is comfortable all while being able to support your weight. Aside from this, be sure to pick one with at least one buckle to adjust the belt.
- Buckles: The buckles consist of one or two pieces of metal that allow you to manual double back or automatic double back. When it comes to the buckle, you’ll want one that is a little bit off-center to avoid conflict with the rope tie-in.
- Leg Loops: When it comes to leg loops, be sure to get padded ones so that you can be comfortable while climbing. Padded leg loops are a game-changer for longer climbs as they will significantly make the entire experience more enjoyable for you.
- Gear Loops: Gear loops are designed to carry equipment such as quickdraws and cams. Your preference for gear loops will fully depend on what you’ll be bringing during your climbs.
- Haul Loops: The Haul loop is located at the back of the harness and is used to attach a second rope or haul line. With that being said, this is not meant to be load-bearing. Keep this in mind during your climbs to avoid any accidents.
- Belay Loops: You’ll want to be particular about the belay loops as it is supposed to be the strongest point on your harness. Anything hard should be attached to the belay loop.
- Tie-in Points: These are the two loops connected to the belay loop. When it comes to tie-in points, you’ll want to pick a harness that can withstand 2,700 to 3000 lbs of force.
- Rise Straps: The main thing you’ll want to consider when it comes to rise straps is whether or not they’re removable. If the straps are removable, the harness is considered a drop-seat harness. These types of harnesses allow climbers to take off the leg loops without having to go through the trouble of untying them. Straps that are unremovable are often adjustable, which alter the shape of the harness.
While this information will be useful when it comes to helping you pick the right harness, it’s important that you go through the trouble of testing them. The only way to do this is to hang from it or put weight on it. To do this, you’ll have to go to a testing station or test it on a rock wall. If you do end up testing it, be sure to take note of how the harness feels when you’re using it to accurately gauge how well it works for you.
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