Best Beginner Climbing Harness of 2021

Long gone are those days where a harness used to be a ‘just in case’ gear for climbers. Mountaineers and climbers are demanding more and more, and the brands are feeding them up accordingly. 

That brings us straight to the struggle of picking up the best beginner climbing harness that checks all the boxes. If chosen wrong, a bad harness can be the cause of a terrible loss of yours. But, out there in the market, you can find literally hundreds of models from dozens of brands ready to overwhelm you right away! 

So how would you put hands on the best harness for beginner climbers

Worry not. We’ve taken the mammoth task over for you. We’ve done a weeks-long research to filter out 7 of the top rated climbing harnesses for beginners, and listed them up. Throughout the unbiased, benefit-driven starter climbing harness review, you’re going to learn every single know-hows that does matter while you’re climbing wearing one of those. 

Best Climbing Harness for
beginner Review

Seems interesting? Let’s dig deep and find the right harness for beginners like you-

PETZL Sama
TOP PICK

PETZL Sama Climbing Harness

4.5/5
LEG LOOPS: Fixed
CONSTRUCTION: Foam
WEIGHT: 14.6 oz.
HAUL LOOPS: Yes
GEAR LOOPS: 4
Petzl Corax
Transition Harness
3.5/5
LEG LOOPS: Adjustable
CONSTRUCTION: Foam
WEIGHT: 17.28 oz.
HAUL LOOPS: Yes
GEAR LOOPS: 4
Black Diamond Momentum
Best For Sport

 

5/5
LEG LOOPS: Adjustable
CONSTRUCTION: Foam
WEIGHT: 10.7 oz.
HAUL LOOPS: Yes
Gear Loops: 4
EDELRID Jay III
Most Agressive

 

5/5
LEG LOOPS: Adjustable
CONSTRUCTION: Foam
WEIGHT: 14.5 oz.
HAUL LOOPS: No
GEAR LOOPS: 4
Mammut Ophir 3 Slide (women)
Best For Comfort

4/5
LEG LOOPS: Adjustable
CONSTRUCTION: Foam and split webbing
WEIGHT: 13 oz.
HAUL LOOPS: Yes
GEAR LOOPS: 4
Arc'teryx AR-395a
Best For Comfort

Arc'teryx AR-395a Harness

4/5
LEG LOOPS: Adjustable
CONSTRUCTION: Foam
WEIGHT: 13.9 oz
HAUL LOOPS: Yes
GEAR LOOPS: 4
Misty Mountain Cadillac (women)
Best For Comfort

4/5
LEG LOOPS: Adjustable
CONSTRUCTION: Foam
WEIGHT: 18.7 oz.
HAUL LOOPS: Yes
GEAR LOOPS: 6

PETZL Sama
best climbing harness for gym

The biggest selling point of the PETZL Sama Climbing Harness is its weight distribution capacity. Using the technology called ‘EndoFrame’, it distributes the weight around the waist and leg areas. So, you won’t have to deal with localized pinching or stress while you’re climbing high wearing the PETZL Sama. And that’s what makes it one of the best beginner rock climbing harnesses

Just like what good harnesses do, the PETZL Sama has got four size variations. The smallest one would fit waists of 71-77cm, where the largest one(XL) would grab waists within 92-100cm.

PETZL Sama Climbing Harness

What We Like

What We Dont Like

For anything in between, there are two other sizes available. 

Just like the waist sizes, the leg sizes for these versions also range within a decent dimension range. As a matter of fact, these leg loops are made of elasticated material. So, you’re going to have a comfortable feel out there. These loops will also empower you with a complete freedom of movement, which is quite out of the range of those low cost harnesses out there in the market. 

To adjust these leg loops and the waist one, you have to spend almost no time. Through the DoubleBack light buckle, it’s quite easy and quick to do that. 

Now, everything isn’t sweet about this harness, we have to say. The first point of complaining is- it’s not got an adjustable leg loop, which might bother tall people. Secondly, it can pinch the grundle a bit if too much pressure is applied.

Petzl Corax
Best Climbing Harness For Transition

The next harness on the podium is the Petzl Corax Harness, a climbing harness for beginners made to fit waist sizes within 25-42 inches. With 4 gear loops and a perfect weight distribution scheme, this unisex climbing harness can be your next big break for climbing. 

Offering a decent weight distribution, there are two double back buckles that would help to center the weight. This would also give you a hand to connect the double back configuration as per your preference.

What We Like

What We Dont Like

Talking about adjustability, you’ve got a bit of those into the leg loops as well. For various body types, this always helps to set the harness with ample optimization. 

Do a beginner user gets to carry a number of stuff along while climbing? The good news is, there are four equipment loops(2 on the front and 2 on back) to keep your stuff safe. On top of that, the accessory loop located on the rear center will let you transport ice screws. Therefore, your hands are all-free to use on climbing only, all the way!

About the size variation, there are two of them, combined covering a waist range from 25.6 to 42.1 inches. Although this might be shallow for many, the four color variations can cover it up anyway.

Black Diamond Momentum
Best Sport Climbing Harness

Most Durable

Comfort and adjustability- these two had found their way in together in this harness called Petzl Corax Harness. Ask us how? Here you go- 

They call it the ‘dual core’ construction, where two bands go evenly across the waist belt with a spiral pattern. On top of that, there is an abrasion-resistant shell with breathable lining to make the constriction more rigid and supportive. In between, Black Diamond uses a CLPE foam insert to make the whole thing a comfort fit.

 

What We Like

What We Dont Like

So, if you ask us to rate the structural strength of this harness, we’d do a 9.5/10. 

It’s interesting how they’ve got names for every feature of this harness. However, the leg loops with a name of ‘TrakFIT’ is really a state of the art design. They are easily adjustable without any buckles or so. There is just a slide dusted that makes tightening or loosening them quite easy. No mis-threading and no dangling webbing- that’s for sure!

Do you think that’s the end of the good stuff? Wait till the size diversity comes up. 

There are six size variations of this harness, covering up a wide range of waists and legs. The smallest one covers waists of 24-27 inches, where the largest XX size covers waists of 40-45 inches. Besides, the leg size also varies accordingly. From six size variations, one can easily find the best suit right away.

EDELRID Jay III
Most Comfortable Climbing Harness

The primary material of this harness is Bluesign- a certified material in terms of quality and comfort. Dedicatedly made for men, the EDELRID Jay III Climbing Harness comes with utter comfort and usability. 

The mesh padding that this harness is got is called 3D mesh padding. It gets overlapped on the upper waist belt and creates an extra shade of comfort for the beginner user. These paddings are movable along with the gear loops which grants you an easy access to the gears and tools you’re carrying.

What We Like

What We Dont Like

Talking about the gear loop, let’s check out how many of them are there. For instance, we’ve found 4 gear loops distributed symmetrically around your waist area. Along with that, there is also a belay loop. 

The size diversity is decent. There are three sizes starting from 24.8 inches and ending at 41.3 inches. Following the waist size range, there are leg loops starting from 17.7 inches and ending at 25.6 inches. This covers anyone within a tiny body to a bulky one.

Mammut Ophir 3 Slide

Best For Comfort

Around the waist and legs, there is not only the consecutive loops like other models. Alongside this, there is a feature called slide-bloc. Its function is to let the beginner user do quick adjustments within seconds. While doing so, it won’t even bother the double-back configuration that it sports. 

All of the good brands seem to have something patented as they design their top-rated harnesses. In the same way, we’ve found the patented reinforcement technology right at the tie-point of this harness. As a consequence, there will be almost no abrasion effects while you’re climbing wearing it.

 

What We Like

What We Dont Like

 

To hold your stuff, there are 4 gear loops and a belay loop. Also, there is a haul loop on the backside. 

As a safety measure, there is a red indicator thread. Once the harness is reaching towards its limits, the red thread will show up and you can take actions instantly to save your life.

Arc'teryx AR-395a

Our Top Pick

Hands down to the crown-pick of this list- the Arc’teryx AR-395a. 

Throughout the construction process of this harness, Arc’teryx had used a couple of trademark technology built all by them. In together, the blend of strength, comfort, and aesthetics makes it worthy of the first position in this listing.  

Got a doubt? Wait a bit till we break things into bite-size chunks.

Arc'teryx AR-395a Harness

What We Like

What We Dont Like

The Warp Strength technology drives a firm pressure dispersion and makes sure the strength and weight distribution stay even. No matter whichever position you take while climbing, it will be holding your back to prevent any sort of accidental falls or so. 

Next on, it’s the Burly double weaving across the harness body to keep your climb slipping-free. The thing it does is- it absorbs all of the moisture(sweat, water, dew) and dries them off asap. Externally, it looks hard-wearing, but it is soft enough to forget about its existence right away. 

In terms of the number of gear loops, the Arc’teryx AR-395a is one of the top scorers on the list. There are 4 reversible gear loops along with a rear haul loop. Besides, there are 4 ice clipper slots as well. Carrying all of your essential gears along won’t be bothering you anymore.  

Are you likely to check down on the harness for its safety status? If positive, you’d be glad to have the Orange wear safety indicator right on the belay loop of it. Whenever you feel like inspecting it, just check for the visible orange marks. Got none? You’re as safe as a human is in the womb.

Misty Mountain Cadillac
Best Climbing Harness For Women

Our next harness might look a bit tangling, but it has got it’s set of USPs. With a good price, you get the good stuff- they say it. And the Misty Mountain Cadillac Harness stands there to prove it all the way. Misty mountain is one of the best climbing harness for women. 

The core material of this climbing harness is 500D Cordura Nylon, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea at first glance. But having the comfy foam and a very lightweight, any climber would consider it as a good fit for them.

What We Like

What We DOnt Like

However, the best USP of this pick is it’s 6 different gear loops and an additional haul loop. We’re not sure that you’d need them all every time. But for heavy day-long climbing gigs, you’d thank Misty Mountain for having those loops at the right place at the right time. 

To make it a quick-to-adjust harness, you might see the threads across the straps. And this works for both waist buckle and leg buckles. This is, however, one of the convenient ways of providing adjustability to the climbers. 

From the 5 given size variations, you can find the right one without hassle. Just check out the waist diameter of yours and find the right range. The leg diameter is supposed to be adjusted accordingly.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Beginner Harness

As we’ve been through the top rated climbing harness for beginners, it’s time to hone up your purchase decision. Before that, we’d like to share our points on what to consider and what to not as a buying consideration. 

Here goes the buying advices-

What Kind of Climbing You’re Up To?

There are a number of climbing chores that climbers are up to. And each of them comes with a specific demand from the harness of the climbers. For a beginner to find the match, here goes the details- 

  • Gym Climbing: The harness should be durable, comfortable and within a decent price point. No need to have bulky gear loops or packaging whatsoever when you’re looking for the best beginner indoor climbing harness.
  • Trad Climbing: Multi pitching goes hand to hand with this kind of climbing. Therefore, the harness should be as simple as possible. But it should also be more feature-rich than sports climbing harness or gym climbing ones. 
  • Sports Climbing: Lightweight and flexibility- these happen to be two core criteria of a good sports climbing harness.  
  • Mount/Rock Climbing: These two are siblings of each other, as climbing criteria are considered. The harness should be, however, very light weight, rich of gear/haul loop, easy to adjust, tight-fit leg loops etc.

The Structural Strength

For a serious climbing chore, there is no way you would go with a poorly built harness anyway. Starting from the foam, there is the webbing, padding and weight distribution that sport the overall structural quality of a harness. 

Therefore, look for these criterias within each of these departments to check the box of overall built quality of your next harness- 

  • The foam: Should be a single piece of layer that’s 1” or so in dimension. It can also be cushioned and padded for additional shades of comfort. 
  • The webbing: A good webbing happens to be a single-piece, splitted width-wise and able to distribute the weight evenly across the belt. 
  • The weight: Although it’s a rather passive fact about the construction, but lightweight is a sign or careful crafting. For extreme climbing events, this turns to be a more compulsory demand indeed.

Size Matters

If you’ve been through the entire review, you might have noticed how we broke down the size diversity of each of these picks, right? Well, that’s kind of essential for everyone out there who’s tending to get a good fit of harness. 

While picking the right size from whatever options a brand provides with, go for the ‘as close as possible’ fit for your waist and thighs. Measure your waist and thighs up, if you’re uncertain about that. 

Under each of the size variations, there are ranges of these dimensions. Therefore, look for an adjustability feature as well.

Look for Loops

A number of loop variations are found across harnesses from good brands. All of them make sense anyway, based on what kind of climbing you’re up to. 

The three kinds of loops found in climbing harnesses are- The gear loops, the haul loop and the belay loop. We’d explain what does what and you can decide if you need those in your next harness or not. 

The gear loop, just like as it sounds, holds the gears and accessories. These plastic rings are more imprative who’re climbing outdoors(alpine climbing, trad climbing, mountaineering etc.). Usually, there are 4-6 gear loops in climbing harnesses. 

Next on, it’s the haul loop, which can hold a haul line or the second rope for the sake of safety. If not, it can even help your shoes, but not the primary anchor that safeguards you while climbing. 

Finally, it’s the belay loop, which is not compulsory for everyone. If you have one though, you can hang your belay device for belaying.

The Price Point

Based on how serious kind of climbing you’re going to be in, the budget varies. Starting from entry level harnesses that cost a few ten dollars, there are models which might take a few hundred dollar bills from you. With higher price, the quality goes high. But make sure whatever you’re investing after is worthy of your purpose. That’s it!

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

Not all the way, but unisex harnesses serve quite well. But if you’re looking more aesthetic and tighter fit, you might go with sex-specific models.

The most minimalist climbing harnesses use to weigh around 9 ounches. But if you’re looking for a feature-rich harness, you have to compromise the lightness of it.

With models like Mammut Ophir 3, there comes a safety indicator thread. Once it reaches it’s safe limits, the red fabric becomes visible and you should take respective actions immediately. And yeah, this is safe and accurate enough. 

The one word answer to the question is- Yes! If you look for the split-webbing technology in your next harness, it would check both of the boxes for you.

For entry level gym harnesses, you would be within $50-80. The pro-graded ones come with almost triple the price($150-200). There are a number of in-betweeners as well.

Bottom Line

Congratulations, pat your back. Because you’ve just read a 3000 words article reviewing the best beginner climbing harness for every price range. Keeping up the hope that you’ve already made a shortlist of yours, it’s time to come up with a decision. 

Alongside, look for the price-quality ratio and warranty policies before bringing your wallet out. Finally, double check the accessories and packagings that are often underlooked. 

Good luck for your thrilling climbing adventures! 

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