Even if you work for a company that provides all the safety gear needed, many climbers like to have gear that is just theirs. When picking out a harness, there are several things to look for. This guide will give you the important things to look for.
Start by asking yourself some questions. How experienced are you? How much padding do you need? What is the main reason for getting your own harness? Once these are answered, the search can begin. In the
Padding is pretty standard in harnesses these days. If you have a stockier body type, are new to climbing, or have areas where many harnesses “dig in,” then consider getting extra padding, especially around those “sensitive areas.”
The gear loops that hang off of harnesses are important for hauling and storing equipment. These loops hang off of the waist to distribute the weight more evenly. Most people only use for, but thinking about your climbing necessities will determine how many you need. When climbing a tower, there is no room for anything to be carried in the hands, and it is a long way down if you forget your water bottle.
Sizing the harness can be the trickiest part. Just because a harness fits over your jeans doesn’t mean it will fit over a snow suit. If a harness is too small it will make movement difficult. If it is too large then safety is compromised. The harness should not slide when it is over the ribcage. As a generally rule, snug, but not uncomfortable is a good rule of thumb.
This leads to the harnesses adjustability. When trying on a harness it should be in one of the intermittent adjustment settings. This will allow the harness to fit during weight gain and weight loss periods. It is amazing what a difference 10 pounds can make in how a harness fits, so getting one that only fits on the highest or lowest adjustment settings can spell trouble in the future.
The price tag on a harness can be a big factor but, it should not be the main factor. A harness needs to be durable, especially since it will be used day-in day-out. So that cheaper one may be fine for a few months or a year, but a more expensive one will save you from buying one every few months. On the opposite end, if you have not yet committed to being a tower dawg for life, buying a less expensive one, or even borrowing one from a friend may be a more viable option.
Men and women are built differently. Women who work in the climbing industry should look for a woman’s harness. Some of the key differences in a women’s harness are a shaped waistline, a reduced leg-to-waist ratio, and an increased rise. Not only do these increase a woman’s comfort, they increase safety.
Each of these factors should be considered when harness shopping. Since every body is different, do not expect the harness your buddy uses to be the one that will provide the most comfort to you. If the harness doesn’t feel right when you try it on, it won’t feel right when you are 1000 feet up in the air.