By: Morgan Cvetkovic-Jones
With summer and the outdoor climbing season fast approaching, you might be planning to make your debut on real rock, taking the skills you’ve learnt at an indoor wall to your local crags or boulders. In this mini-series we’ll be looking at some of the kit you’ll need to get started climbing outside. This week it’s the turn of the humble harness, the iconic bit of kit that allow us to explore the vertical world to its very limit.
All the harnesses we sell will be suitable for use both indoors and out but, in this guide, we’ll take a specific look at a harness’ suitability for the outdoor disciplines, sport and trad climbing. Below we’ll suggest our top 5 picks for your first outdoor climbing harness, we’re going to keep our recommendations sensible (no minimalist, skimpy string alpine climbing models) and set an £80 price cap, this is your first harness, so it needs to have some degree of multi-functionality and comfort for prolonged use.
For more harness information, check out our in depth harness buying guide.
1. Edelrid Moe
The cheapest multi-purpose harness on sale, the Edelrid Moe belies its modest price tag with a high quality, versatile design that makes it perfect for sport climbing, trad climbing or even more adventurous outdoor climbing pursuits like multi pitch or alpine climbing. Although suitable for a wide range of disciplines, the Moe is best suited to sport climbing.
- Extremely lightweight for such an adaptable harness at 298g for a size small.
- Centre fit construction means the tie in points will always be central on the harness.
- Adjustable leg loops.
- Haul loop and ice screw clip points for maximum versatility.
- Bluesign approved – an eco-friendly manufactured product.
- The Moe features 4 gear loops but the 2 loops at the back of the harness are smaller in profile and more difficult to use, especially when racking trad climbing equipment.
- Lighter design means the Moe isn’t going to be the most comfortable option for long belays or prolonged periods of sitting in the harness.
2. Wild Country Flow ( Women's Flow available here)
Like the Moe, the Wild Country Flow is a cheaper choice packed full of versatile features but the Flow comes in as our bang for your buck pick thanks to its bulkier design and more usable gear loops than found on the Moe. Although not as streamlined a sport climbing offering as the Moe, the Flow is arguably the more rounded harness for the climber hoping to explore every outdoor discipline.
- Women’s option available.
- Premium, durable materials that offer great comfort and durability over long term use.
- Weight distribution belt design is perfect for extended belays or hanging in the harness.
- 4 usable gear loops make the Flow an ideal choice for trad climbing as well as being more than capable for sport climbing.
- Adjustable leg loops make the Flow easy to fit perfectly, especially in colder seasons.
- Heavier design is great for extra comfort but not ideal if you’ll be using the harness on your sport climbing projects.
- No haul loop or ice clipper – not a big deal in the UK but certainly something to consider if you have a taste for big walling or alpine adventures.
Coming in at the upper end of our price limit, the Blue Ice Cuesta is a premium all round option for the climber that has already developed a sophisticated set of climbing skills in the gym and needs a quality harness to match their advanced level. Ideal for a range of outdoor disciplines, the Cuesta embodies its Chamonix home in an ultra-lightweight design made from the very best materials.
- Lightest in the all-rounder class at 275g for a size small.
- Cutting edge materials, featuring reinforced, high tenacity nylon sheet at the tie in points to ensure maximum strength and durability whilst the use of aircraft grade metal on the buckles make the Cuesta positively bomb proof.
- 4 easy to use gear loops which work fantastically both whilst sport and trad climbing.
- Laminated waist belt and leg loops are optimized for prolonged comfort with the adaptative elastic adjustment of the leg loops proving a perfect hybrid between lighter weight and variable fit.
- No ice clippers.
The Prisma is our choice for the best featherweight sport climbing harness. Perfect for the climber committed to getting out and clipping some bolts, the Prisma doubles up as a fantastic alpine option being so light and flexible you won't even know it’s there.
- Super lightweight at 163g for size small.
- Constructed from high-strength Dyneema® straps that are used in the revolutionary light-frame design which distributes weight and offers unrivalled breathability – perfect for trips to hot spots like Margalef or Kalymnos!
- 4 very usable gear loops.
- Ice screw clips.
- Lightweight construction won’t be as durable or comfortable as bulkier models.
- Elastic leg loop design isn’t as adaptable as some alternative models.
5. Petzl Adjama (Women's version - Petzl Luna)
If you’re looking for a harness specifically for trad climbing and multi pitch adventure climbing then look no further, the Petzl Adjama and Luna are the best trad climbing harnesses on the market. Suitable for every climbing discipline, these harnesses are most at home in the mountains with a durable and adjustable design to suit any season.
- Women’s option available.
- Heavily padded and reinforced to guarantee all-day comfort and durability.
- ENDOFRAME Technology construction allows optimal weight distribution.
- Highly adjustable waist and leg loops make these harnesses suitable for use all year round and will fit seamlessly over whatever layers you have on underneath.
- 5 gear loops mean carrying lots of gear on long routes will be easy.
- The loop at the back of the harness is an ideal addition for carrying belay station gear, shoes or other specialist equipment.
- Haul loop for multi pitch climbing and clips for ice screws.
- Heavier than regular all-rounder harnesses at 485g for a medium Adjama and 390g for a small Luna.