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Climbing Harnesses for All Mountain Sports Activities

5.9, 5.11b, or 5.13b. Granite, sandstone, or plastic. Sport climbing, multi-pitch routes, or four-thousand-meter peaks. Mountain sports and climbing mean different things to different people. Some want to push their limits, others want to have fun with friends.

Some are enticed by the climbs themselves, for others it’s about enjoying nature. But whatever your plans and your reasons for ascending to lofty heights, you always need the right harness.

How Do Climbing Harnesses Differ?

Climbing harnesses have different constructions, set-ups, and features. There are various webbing constructions, e.g. three-dimensional preformed, padded, or laminated, which in turn influence several important criteria that should be met by any good climbing harness:

  • Wide force distribution
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Good breathability
  • Low weight
  • Small pack size

You’ll personally notice how comfortable your harness is to wear, how easily you can hang in it, and how much freedom of movement it allows you. The weight and pack size can also differ depending on the type and number of buckles and gear loops as well as the materials used.

Furthermore, there are harnesses with:

  • non-adjustable leg loops,

  • semi-adjustable leg loops, and

  • adjustable leg loops.

The requirements you place on your harness will differ depending whether you’re climbing in a gym, at the crag, in the snow, or in the ice. We’ve therefore provided an overview of the various different uses for you in our Knowledge Base.

Sustainable Climbing Harnesses  

EDELRID has been committed to sustainability for years. As a result, most of our climbing harnesses are bluesign® certified and can be found in the #ClimbGreen collection. If you purchase a product that bears the bluesign® logo, you can rest assured that it has low emissions, poses no risks to health, and was produced in an environmentally friendly manner. We manufacture many of our harnesses in Vietnam in our partner VAUDE Vietnam’s in-house production facilities, where we have set up an exclusive production line just for our harnesses, giving us full control of the internal processes. This applies to the workmanship and quality of the harnesses as well as the social and work conditions for the local employees. We are a popular, reliable, and predictable employer who pays above-average wages. The staff reward us with dedication, hard work, and trust. This results in modern standards and the best products. Or in other words, German quality—made in Vietnam.

 

The Different Types of Climbing Harnesses

Your climbing harness is a central and personal part of your mountaineering equipment. It is important for you to choose a harness that fits your body shape and meets the demands of your intended activities.

When it comes to climbing harness types, we differentiate between sit harnesses, chest harnesses, and full body harnesses.

Sit harnesses

Sit harnesses are used in almost all mountain sports disciplines. They offer optimum freedom of movement combined with outstanding safety. Thanks to the seated position, the load is optimally distributed across the thighs when hanging in or falling into the harness. Sit harnesses are generally relatively light and have a small pack size. Today, there are genuine flyweights: our lightest harness for high-altitude and ski touring weighs less than 80 g. Depending on the intended use, sit harnesses offer multiple gear loops for your equipment and, accordingly, several attachment options for ice screw clips. To offer the perfect fit, we have also developed special women’s models tailored to the female anatomy.

Chest harnesses

In some situations, it can be useful to supplement a sit harness with a chest harness. In particular, people who are overweight or have extremely narrow, not very pronounced hips (especially children) should only climb in the mountains or at the crag when wearing both sit and chest harnesses. This combined set-up is also commonly used by photographers and alpinists who hang on the rope for a long time while carrying a backpack and a lot of equipment. The good load distribution and upright position while hanging mean that less body tension is needed and the core muscles won’t tire as quickly. Please note that chest harnesses must only ever be used in combination with a sit harness. To this end, the two harnesses are usually connected using an additional webbing sling. Alternatively, the climbing rope can be fed directly through the chest harness.

Full body harnesses

Full body harnesses essentially work in the same way as a sit harness and chest harness combination but are far easier to use. They have a large adjustment range, enabling them to be easily tailored to the wearer’s shape and size. This type of harness is particularly popular in the rental sector and ideal for high ropes courses. However, full body harnesses have a comparatively high intrinsic weight and large pack size. They also offer slightly less freedom of movement.

Children’s Harnesses

Children’s anatomy and center of gravity differ from those of adults. As a result, special harnesses have been designed for younger users, which can be easily adjusted to ‘grow’ with them over the years. 

A full body harness like the FRAGGLE is ideal for the smallest of climbers. Slightly older children with a little more body tension can progress to a sit harness (FINN), which can also be supplemented with a children’s chest harness (KERMIT) if necessary. All EDELRID children’s harnesses are intuitive to put on, enabling little ones to do this by themselves—subject to a check by their partner and under a supervising adult’s guidance of course!

    If you want to find out even more about climbing harnesses, simply take a look at our Harness Handbook.