Best Climbing Harnesses of 2022 for All Types of Climbing

two climbers wearing harnesses climbing a rock


Rock climbing is a fun and adventurous way to enjoy time outside and get a full-body workout without even realizing it. However, before you head out to the rock and rope-up, there's at least one more piece of essential safety gear you need: a climbing harness.

Your climbing harness is quite literally connecting you to your lifeline while you climb, so it's incredibly important. That's why we've put together this guide on finding the best climbing harness. Whether you're brand new to climbing or you're retiring your old harness and looking for an upgrade, this guide will give you a solid starting point—nine top-notch climbing harnesses to choose from based on your different climbing needs and goals.

Luckily, as long as you get a new harness specifically designed for climbing, you'll be getting a harness that has been fully tested to stringent safety specifications. The different features and styles we'll be discussing here instead have to do with convenience, comfort, and preference, depending on what type of climbing you plan to do.

Why Trust Us?

ACTIVE.com's editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including experienced climbers, competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching and using climbing equipment in both indoor and outdoor settings in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

The Best Climbing Harnesses - Our Top Picks

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Who Should Buy a Climbing Harness?

If you're going to be regularly climbing up rock or plastic higher than 10 to 15 feet, you should be getting a climbing harness. If you just want to check out the sport for the first time at the gym, you'll typically be able to rent a harness there. However, if you decide the sport's for you, a climbing harness will be one of the first pieces of gear you'll want to invest in along with climbing shoes.

What To Look For in a Climbing Harness

Type

The types of climbing harnesses often blend together, but as a general guide there are four different types of harnesses: gym climbing, sport climbing, trad/traditional climbing, and ice or alpine climbing/mountaineering.

  • Gym harnesses will have limited or no gear loops and less adjustability. Some gym rental harnesses will also combine the belay and tie-in loop for a simpler system and have minimal to no padding on the leg or waist straps for a more cost-effective and durable harness.
  • Sport climbing harnesses are typically the jack-of-all-trades harness you'll see out and about most frequently. These have more padding on the waist and leg loops for a comfortable fit and have two to four gear loops to hold quickdraws.
  • Trad/traditional climbing harnesses are slightly more specialized than sport harnesses with four or more gear loops to hold the additional gear you need for trad climbing. A trad harness will also have a haul loop on the back of the waist belt for carrying up a second rope. That being said, you can often interchange sport and trad harnesses and many climbing brands construct harnesses to do both.
  • Ice or alpine climbing/mountaineering harnesses often put more focus on weight, adjustability, and packability rather than comfort or ease of use. Some will still have the comfort and extra features for versatility, but it isn't the expected standard for this type of harness.
  • Beyond these main categories there are a few other types of harnesses that we won't be covering in this article, such as canyoneering harnesses, full-body harnesses (for rescues or pregnant women), and competition harnesses.

Construction

Regardless of the type, all the harnesses will have a similar general construction. Namely, a waist belt, leg loops, leg straps connecting the leg loops and waist, and a belay loop at the front. Most will also have gear loops to clip climbing gear to, but some more minimal harnesses do not.

Another construction point to consider is whether you can detach the leg straps from the waist belt, otherwise known as droppable leg loops. This is primarily important for long, multi pitch climbing or alpine climbs where you have to stay tied into the harness for long periods of time. The droppable leg loops allow you to get your pants far enough down to relieve yourself when nature calls while on the wall without having to fully take off the harness.

Adjustability

The adjustability of a harness can decide whether a harness feels good for you or not, so it's important to consider. All climbing harnesses will have an adjustable waist belt, but some will have fixed leg loops rather than adjustable leg loops. Harnesses with fixed leg loops will generally have some elastic to make them slightly adaptable and some climbers find the harness more comfortable without the adjustment buckles. This is where trying on different harnesses to see how the leg loops fit your body can be very important.

Durability

All climbing harnesses must stand up to the climbing safety requirements, which require a certain amount of durability. That being said, if your harness starts showing significant wear or fraying on the straps, it's time to retire the harness. Generally, most harnesses will last three to five years with moderate use.

Men's Vs Women's

In our list of harnesses, you'll often see a distinction between a men's version and women's version. Nowadays, many brands make women- and men-specific harnesses to account for different body shapes between men and women. The main differences are a uniquely shaped waist belt, differing leg-to-waist ratio, and a waist belt that rises slightly higher for women to be above the hips.

Regardless of men's versus women's, the most important thing is that the harness fits your body shape, so don't be afraid to try men's, women's, and unisex to see what feels the most comfortable for you.

Best Rock Climbing Harness Overall for Men - Edelrid Jay Harness

Best Rock Climbing Harness Overall for Men - Edelrid Jay Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Sport/overall climbing
  • Sizes available: S, M, L
  • Adjustable leg loops: Yes
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 14 oz. (M)
  • Gear loops: 4 gear loops, 2 attachment points for ice screw clips, and a chalk bag loop
  • Padding: 3D mesh padding

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This harness checks all the boxes and then some with a nice combination of versatility, comfort, and affordability. Plus, the harness uses bluesign®-certified materials and is a part of Edelrid's #ClimbGreen collection for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly option.

With adjustable leg loops and an easily adjustable waist belt, you can dial in the right fit for you and feel comfortable in the harness. However, the distinctive feature of the harness is the moveable foam waist padding — the padding and gear loops "float" on the webbing, so even if you have to crank the waist tight or have it wider, you can still keep the tie-in point and gear loops centered and aligned.

This is the men's version, meaning the brand has designed it with men's body structure and dimensions in mind.

What We Like

  • Bluesign®-certified materials
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Moveable foam waist padding
  • Comfortable padding on leg loops and waist belt
  • Dyneema® and polyester textile abrasion protector at the tie-in points for added durability

What We Don't Like

  • Gear loops a bit small for holding a lot of trad gear
  • Not as rigid or padded for holding heavier gear

BUY: Edelrid Jay Harness

Best Rock Climbing Harness Overall Women - Edelrid Jayne Harness

Best Rock Climbing Harness Overall Women - Edelrid Jayne Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Sport/overall climbing
  • Sizes available: XS, S, M, L
  • Adjustable leg loops: Yes
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 14.56 oz. (S)
  • Gear loops: 4 gear loops, 2 attachment points for ice screw clips, and a chalk bag loop
  • Padding: 3D mesh padding

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The Jayne harness is the women's version of Edelrid's Jay and packs in all the same features with a more women-centered fit. The main differences? Slightly longer leg loop bridges to let the harness sit higher up on the waist and different color options. I can't say I'm thrilled about gendered color schemes, but if they must, the brand does offer several color varieties from super bright to more toned down.

With highly adjustable leg loops and waist, climbers appreciate the dialed-in fit for a wide range of women's body types. Just like the Jay, this harness employs that moveable foam waist padding as well, so even when the harness is at the tightest or widest, it still feels perfectly fit to your body. Plus, the harness uses bluesign®-certified materials and is a part of Edelrid's #ClimbGreen collection for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly option.

What We Like

  • Bluesign®-certified materials
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Moveable foam waist padding
  • Women-specific fit
  • Comfortable padding on leg loops and waist belt
  • Dyneema® and polyester textile abrasion protector at the tie-in points for added durability

What We Don't Like

  • Gear loops a bit small for holding a lot of trad gear
  • Not as rigid or padded for holding heavier gear
  • Specifically feminine color schemes that you'll either love or hate

BUY: Edelrid Jayne Harness

Best Beginner Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Best Beginner Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Momentum Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Sport/overall climbing
  • Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, XL (XXL only in Men's)
  • Adjustable leg loops: Yes
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 11.4 oz. (M)
  • Gear loops: 4 gear loops and a haul/chalk bag loop
  • Padding: Dual Core Construction

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Check Price

The Black Diamond Momentum harness has been the quintessential beginner's harness for years and it still reigns supreme. The harness is plenty comfortable for trying out the sport at the gym and has enough technical features to let you venture into sport or even trad climbing if you ever want to.

At an approachable price, the harness won't break the bank to get started climbing, but you'll still get everything you need from it. The adjustable padded leg loops mean you can easily get the harness on and then tighten them for a comfortable fit.

One thing to note: while Black Diamond's clasp system for the drop-seat leg loops is durable, long-lasting, and lightweight, it does take some finesse to get back on while wearing the harness. In most cases, you won't ever notice this, but if you find yourself on lots of multi-pitch routes and needing to pee regularly, it could become annoying.

What We Like

  • Men- and women-specific sizings
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Comfortable and breathable bullhorn-shaped waist
  • Durable, easy to use, pressure-molded gear loops

What We Don't Like

  • Padding can feel a bit cheap or thin
  • Leg loops occasionally cause pressure points while hanging
  • Drop leg loop mechanism more challenging to reattach than some other clips

BUY: Women's Black Diamond Momentum Harness, Men's Black Diamond Momentum Harness

Best Sport Climbing Harness - Petzl Sama/Selena Harness

Best Sport Climbing Harness - Petzl Sama/Selena Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Sport climbing
  • Sizes available: (XS only in women's), S, M, L, (XL only in men's)
  • Adjustable leg loops: No
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 13.8 oz. (women's medium), 14.6 oz. (men's medium)
  • Gear loops: 4 gear loops and a rear loop for climbing accessories or ice climbing tools
  • Padding: EndoFrame Construction, EVA

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It's hard to find much fault with Petzl's Sama and Selena harnesses: they have exceptionally comfortable yet breathable padding, a great gender-specific construction that gives a natural fit, and easy to use gear loops for holding quickdraws, slings, a Grigri, or anything else. My personal favorite touch is the drop leg loop clips. Unlike many other leg loop clips, these are incredibly easy to get off and on, making a quick bathroom break a breeze.

The one gripe many climbers, including myself, have about this harness is the non-adjustable leg loops. While the elastic in the fixed leg loops does help the harness comfortably fit most leg sizes, you don't get as much adjustability as harnesses with adjustable leg loops. If your hip-to-thigh ratio is much different than the premade size, the harness may not fit quite right.

What We Like

  • Men- and women-specific sizing
  • Extra supportive leg loops (good for hanging)
  • Large, easy to use gear loops and rear center loop
  • Comfortable fit
  • Easy drop-seat leg clips

What We Don't Like

  • Non-adjustable leg loops
  • Heavier harness
  • Gendered coloring

BUY: Petzl Sama Harness, Petzl Selena Harness

Best Trad Climbing Harness - Petzl Luna/Adjama Harness

Best Trad Climbing Harness - Petzl Luna/Adjama Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Multi-pitch, trad, and ice climbing
  • Sizes available: (XS only in women's), S, M, L, (XL only in men's)
  • Adjustable leg loops: Yes
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 1 lb. 1.5 oz. (women's medium), 1 lb. 1.1 oz. (men's medium)
  • Gear loops: 5 gear loops and a rear loop for climbing accessories or ice climbing tools
  • Padding: EndoFrame Construction, EVA

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Take Petzl's Sama/Selena harness and add adjustable leg buckles and an extra gear loop and you essentially have the Petzl Adjama/Luna. For a harness that's comfortable even in a hanging belay and has as much trad gear storage as you could need, the Adjama or Luna is what you want.

This harness—Luna for a women-specific fit and Adjama for men—packs as many features into a sleek and comfortable harness as possible. The fifth back gear loop adds just that extra bit of gear space for multi-pitch and trad climbing when you bring more climbing gear with you. The one downside to this? Since it does pack in that extra loop space, the harness can feel bulkier and heavier than other harnesses and may be overkill for gym climbing.

What We Like

  • Men- and women-specific sizing
  • 5 gear loops and rear center loop
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Comfortable fit
  • Easy drop-seat leg clips

What We Don't Like

  • Price
  • Gendered coloring
  • Heavier, bulkier harness

BUY: Petzl Adjama Harness, Petzl Luna Harness

Best Alpine and Ice Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Technician Recco Harness

Best Alpine and Ice Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Technician Recco Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Alpine and ice climbing
  • Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Adjustable leg loops: Yes
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 13.47 oz.
  • Gear loops: 4 pressure-molded gear loops, 5th rear gear loop, 4 ice clipper slots, and rear haul loop
  • Padding: Fusion Comfort Technology

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Black Diamond designed this harness with extra safety features specifically for ice climbing and mountaineering in collaboration with Canadian ice climber, Will Gadd. The unique feature of this harness? An integrated Recco Reflector that makes the harness (and by extension, you) more searchable by rescuers in case anything goes wrong in the mountains.

Apart from the Recco Reflector, this harness is no slouch when it comes to additional features. While it's relatively lightweight, it packs in a ton of different options for attaching gear including a total of five gear loops, four ice clipper slots, and a rear haul loop. The adjustability and harness construction also makes for an impressively comfortable fit for just hanging out at the gym and literally hanging on the rock.

What We Like

  • Lots of gear attachment space
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Comfortable yet low-profile fit
  • Lightweight
  • Recco Reflector for search and rescue

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier, bulkier harness than a standard gym or sport harness
  • Price

BUY: Black Diamond Technician Recco Harness

Most Comfortable Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Solution Harness

Most Comfortable Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Solution Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Sport/overall Climbing
  • Sizes available: XXS, XS, S, M, L, (XL only in men’s)
  • Adjustable leg loops: No
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 11 oz.
  • Gear loops: 4 pressure-molded gear loops and a rear haul loop
  • Padding: Fusion Comfort Technology, EVA foam insert

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Check Price

The Black Diamond Solution is an all-around champion when it comes to a no-nonsense harness that's mega comfortable. Sleek, easy to get on and off, and plenty comfortable with padded webbing on the leg loops and hip belt, this lightweight harness thrives at the climbing gym or the sport crag.

With men- and women-specific designs, the harness dials in a comfortable fit even without adjustable leg loops. Bonus points: the harness uses Bluesign®-approved materials.

What We Like

  • Comfortable, gender-specific fit
  • Lightweight
  • Bluesign® approved
  • EVA Foam inserts

What We Don't Like

  • Fixed leg loops
  • Drop leg loop mechanism more challenging to reattach than some other clips

BUY: Men's Black Diamond Solution Harness, Women's Black Diamond Solution Harness

Best Kids’ Climbing Harness - Petzl Macchu Harness for Kids

Most Comfortable Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Solution Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Gym/overall Climbing
  • Sizes available: One size
  • Adjustable leg loops: Yes
  • Droppable leg loops: Yes
  • Weight: 11.4 oz.
  • Gear loops: 2 gear loops and a back chalk bag loop
  • Padding: EndoFrame

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Start ‘em off early, that's what we say! And with this harness, you can do just that. We struggled to find any negative reviews about this kids’ harness. Modeled after one of Petzl's adult harnesses, this little number is your kid's new favorite accessory on and off the rock. The kids’ Macchu harness is comfortable and easy to help your kiddo get in and out of, thanks to two adjustable buckles at the waist and the adjustable leg loops.

Another benefit of those super adjustable buckles? The harness will last through more than one growth spurt without your kid growing out of it. We've noted the harness only having two gear loops rather than four as a negative, but to be honest, there are few instances when a kid would be trying to carry that much gear anyway.

What We Like

  • Comfortably distributes a child's weight in hip belt and leg loops
  • 2 DoubleBack waist buckles for extra adjustability
  • Easy leg strap buckle for droppable leg loops
  • Adjustable leg loops

What We Don't Like

  • Only 2 gear loops
  • Slightly more complicated on and off with 2 buckles

BUY: Petzl Macchu Harness Kids'

Best Budget Climbing Harness - CAMP Energy CR-3/CAMP Energy Nova

Most Comfortable Climbing Harness - Black Diamond Solution Harness

SPECS

  • Type: Sport/overall Climbing
  • Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, (XL only in CR-3)
  • Adjustable leg loops: yes
  • Droppable leg loops: not easily
  • Weight: 13.3 oz (CR-3), 12.2 oz (Nova)
  • Gear loops: 4 webbing-reinforced gear loops and a haul loop
  • Padding: Thermo-formed

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Check Price

For a harness that can do it all without burning a hole in your wallet, look no further. CAMP's Energy line is perfect for new climbers to get into the sport, but honestly, it's a solid option for budget-minded, long-time climbers as well. With four gear loops, a rear haul loop, thermo-formed foam padding in the leg loops and waist belt, and adjustable leg loops, it has just about everything you could want in a gym or sport climbing harness.

There are two potential concerns to compare against more pricey options: the padding and the drop seat. Some buyers complained about the padding digging in and the elastic leg loop connectors don't easily detach for a drop seat. You are technically able to take the leg loop connectors off from the clip, but un-threading the tie and then having to re-thread it would be a complicated process.

What We Like

  • Price
  • Gender-specific fit
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Approachable harness with room to grow your skills

What We Don't Like

  • Padding potentially digging in
  • Not an easy way to drop the leg loops

BUY: CAMP Energy CR-3, CAMP Energy Nova

FAQs About Climbing Harnesses


How long is a climbing harness good?

A climbing harness can be good for anywhere up to 5 to 7 years, however it heavily depends on how frequently you use the harness. A harness that gets nearly everyday use and is regularly taken outdoors could need replacing in just a year or two.

What gear does a rock climber need?

Unfortunately, there isn't a catch-all, easy answer for this because it depends on the type of climbing you plan to do. For bouldering at the gym, you can show up with comfortable clothes and rent everything you need, though you'll find it easier with at least climbing shoes and chalk. For rope climbing indoors, you'll also want a harness, a belay device, and a locking carabiner. When you venture outdoors, you need those same basics along with more of your own gear like a rope, helmet, and quickdraws or a bouldering mat.

Is climbing good for building muscle?

Absolutely! Climbing will work every muscle in your body and likely make you aware of muscles you didn't even know existed.

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