Rappelling's fundamentals are simple to learn but challenging to master. The appropriate rappelling gear can help you get the confidence you need to test your boundaries. You might know the necessity of rappelling ropes, but today we'll take a deeper look at another essential piece of equipment: the rappelling harness.
A decent harness for climbing and rappelling should be comfortable, provide appropriate support for the wearer, and feature a few dedicated accessory loops.
You might believe that picking the correct harness is a simple task. Normally, anyone wouldn't disagree, but rappelling or mountaineering harnesses are more complicated than they appear.
A rappelling harness, which comprises five separate components, is a formidable piece of equipment that one should never underestimate. In general, every beginner climber or expert climber has a preferred harness, with some being stiffer than others, some having more loops (and thus being heavier). At the same time, some prefer lighter goods that are as simple to put on as they are to take off.
It's not easy to discover a comfortable harness that meets all your requirements. Aside from proper support and comfort, any rappelling gear component must be versatile and sturdy enough to survive harsh outdoor circumstances, such as dampness, abrasion, heat, and strong winds.
All you need is a rope that loops around your torso and serves as a harness to rappel. This is not a modern rappelling technique, and it is neither safe nor enjoyable. However, it can be effective as an emergency rappelling technique.
Components Of A Rappelling Harness
Not every rappelling harness is built the same. Some harnesses are more valuable and versatile than others, but all good harnesses should have five sections.
Haul loop - This loop is positioned at the back of the waist belt and has only one purpose: to hold extra climbing gear like a haul line or an extra rope. However, one should be cautious not to use it for load-bearing as it can put one's life at stake.
Foot loop - Leg loops or foot loop are also essential for support and control. Each leg passes through a loop with adjustable straps. In a rappelling harness, the leg loops are linked to the waist belt, which improves overall stability.
Gear loop - For the name, you would have got the idea about this component. Gear loops (as the name says) carry small to extra small gears like carabiners. As a result, it should be pretty clear that you never lay your entire body weight on these loops, which might put you in grave danger.
Waist belt and buckle - The waist belt and buckle support your body with the harness. The straps and buckles tightly grip the significant portions of the body while distributing the 'pull' against the harness. Since not everybody's type is the same, various designs and sizes of waist belts and buckles are available, which can be further customized as per one's needs.
The buckle is somewhat off-center, which is nice because it won't rub against the front of the harness's rope.
Belay loop and tie-in loops — The one end of the belay device loop joins the buckle and waistband and serves as a crucial harness component. This small loop connects the lower part of the body (legs in leg loop) to the waist and distributes the weight evenly. The other end of the belay loop is connected with a tie-in loop that bridges the belay loop and the leg loops to make the harness mechanism more secure. This tie-in loop is comparatively sturdier and is present in front on the front side of the harness.
Best Harness Of 2022
There are a plethora of deals out there, but that doesn't mean you should jump on the first one that appears on your news feed. A decent, comfortable harness for a different type of climbing should check all of the boxes in terms of safety, comfort, and versatility, and finding one that does so isn't always easy. Fortunately, I've compiled a short list of the current greatest rappelling harnesses.
#1 Black Diamond Momentum Harness
The best pick in our list is none other than the Black Diamond Momentum. It's easy to see why because you'd be hard-pressed to find comparable harnesses products with the same level of quality and dependability, especially at this affordable price range. The harness is available in six sizes, going from XS to XXL, so you'll have no trouble finding something that meets your needs.
There are four hues to pick from Verde (green), Graphite, Slate, and Astral Blue.
The price of this excellent harness varies significantly depending on the size and hue, but in general, the range isn't that wide, and the equipment is affordable.
The Black Diamond Momentum is made of a synthetic fabric explicitly designed for toughness. One could tell right away that this harness was a high-quality product when they first got it in their hands. The seams were beautifully stitched, the clasps were strong, and the fabric seemed durable enough to outlast anyone.
You will realize what we mean when you try it on the field.
With the waist belt clasp, you can adjust the back elastic riser. A Bullhorn-shaped waist belt featuring Dual-Core ConstructiontrakFIT adjustability with four pressure-molded gear loops are noteworthy features.
#2 Petzl CALIDRIS Ventilated Harness
The Petzl Calidris harness is our second and best pick, albeit it is also one of the most expensive harnesses. Nonetheless, because Petzl is one of the most well-known names in rappelling gear, a higher price tag should not come as a surprise.
That isn't to argue that the harnesses we've shown you so far aren't good. However, on the other hand, the Petzl product includes a few unique individual features and technology that set it apart from the competition.
I'll begin with the selection of equipment. Because this harness has several options at the front and back, the wearer may conveniently organize and carry stuff. There are four equipment loops in total, plus a broad haul loop and two CARITOOL tool holder slots on the side.
Dual waist buckles on the Petzl Calidris center the tie-in point while balancing the equipment loops. DoubleBack buckles on the leg loops allow the wearer to modify the loop tension quickly. This is useful when deciding whether to wear heavier or thinner clothing.
One of the most critical aspects of this rappelling harness is the breathable mesh construction combined with closed-cell porous foam padding and a 3D polyester mesh.
A breathable harness is a comfy harness that allows you to rappel for more extended periods without removing it. Not to forget, the FRAME Construction technology is worth noting. It distributes pressure across the whole surface area of the padded waist belt and elastic leg loops.
The Petzl Calidris rappelling and climbing harness is typically offered in two waist sizes and a single colorway. This model is my favorite harness. It is significantly more comfortable than the previous one. There hasn't been much change in dependability, which is a good thing.
#3 Kiss loves Full Body Safety Harness
If you are on a budget, then this is the ideal harness for you. The Kiss loves Full-Body Safety Harness, a budget-friendly version of the Petzl Navaho. This light harness is well-built and robust and comes in a one-size-fits-all design with CE 2002 certification.
The harness was made with quick-dry nylon webbing and a high-pulling-strength sewing thread from a professional. Padding on the back and legs, as well as a hybrid shoulder area, provide comfort. The overall design uniformly distributes pressure, allowing the wearer to be as comfortable as possible while climbing or descending.
Mountaineering, tree climbing, rappelling, and rock climbing are just a few of the outdoor activities for which this harness is well-suited. It comes with a fall safety device, which is essential when dealing on roofs or other high places.
#4 X XBEN Climbing and Rappelling Harness
If the above harness does not appeal to you, you might want to consider this X XBEN option. There are four different variations of this harness:
A thicker Black-Red version
A Premium Black Version
A Basic Black Version
A Bungee Jumping variant
We are talking about the Premium Back Version, a professional rock climbing or rappelling safety harness/work safety belt. As you can see, this harness can be used for a variety of activities, making it an excellent choice for any outdoor enthusiast.
The device is intended for both adult men and women as well as older children, according to the manufacturer's specs. The ability to transfer rope stress from the connecting loop to the back of the wearer's thigh is what makes this rappelling harness genuinely unique.
You'll get the impression that you're sitting in a chair this way. The X XBEN climbing/rappelling harness is CE-certified EN 358-2000 and can support up to 300kg (661 pounds) of weight.
#5 Kailas Safety Climbing Harness
The Kailas Safety Climbing Harness is a versatile piece of gear that one may use for a variety of outdoor sports. It's pretty comfortable, and it's ideal for indoor and outdoor climbing, thanks to its customizable construction.
Green, Orange, Red, and Yellow are the three color options available. It's a pretty conspicuous harness, and it was probably planned that way, so once you're up there, you'll be easy to spot.
The Kailas Safety Climbing Harness is quick-dry nylon webbing and a sewing thread with high pulling power. Do you have any padding? Yes, it is, and we might add, in all the appropriate places.
At the front of the belt, you'll discover two pieces of gear loops that will make it easier to carry and organize your goods. We should also point out the belt's associated mounting points, which can secure carabiners or tool racks.
This is one of the simplest rappelling harnesses to remove and replace on the list. When it comes to comfort, Kailas looks to have gone all out. We'd even say this is the comfiest harness of this year.
How To Check A Rappelling Harness?
From the above options, you finally picked the proper rappelling harness for yourself after shortlisting on various parameters (color, adjustable design, and online price) So, what's next? You don't want to put it to the test for the first time out on the cliffs, do you?
You should try it on ahead of time to ensure that it fits well and satisfies all of your requirements. Still, wearing it around the house won't teach you anything about it, so we recommend taking it to your local climbing gym for a test run.
To get an idea of how it would operate in the wild, simply climb up and rappel down a few times. You'll be able to adjust it appropriately at the waist and legs in this manner, avoiding any unpleasant surprises. If you don't have access to a climbing gym or time is of the essence, simply tie a rope to your harness and hoist yourself a few feet off the ground. While this isn't the most precise form of testing, it will rapidly reveal any pain, allowing you to tweak the harness until it feels just right.
Let's take a look at some of the most crucial factors to consider when buying a climbing or rappelling harness product for trying different climbing styles.
When deciding between a rappelling harness and a climbing harness, these are the considerations you should make.
#1 The Material
First and foremost, consider the harness's construction. It must be made of highly robust and long-lasting materials.
Nylon is the best and most used material for climbing and rappelling harnesses because it is incredibly durable, practically hard to rip, and the most reliable alternative overall. The best part about nylon is it doesn't absorb water and does not become harmed when wet. Polyester is another excellent option; however, the vast majority recommend nylon.
#2 Size and Dimensions
The size of the harness is also something to consider before making a purchase. A too-small one will not fit properly, crushing your legs and private areas.
A too-large one, on the other hand, will not secure you and may allow you to slip through.
The climbing or rappelling harness should fit snugly over your iliac crest and not be able to be pushed down to provide the best support.
Choose a larger size if the buckle is at its maximum and a smaller size if the buckle is at its smallest. One-size-fits-all variants are available; however, they are not advised.
#3 Its Integrity
The integrity of the harness is also something you should always keep in mind. A high-quality harness rather than a cheap old one is always a solid choice.
Your harness is no longer helpful if even the tiniest fray has occurred. This is for safety reasons; hence only the safest harnesses should be utilized.
How to fit a Harness?
Loosen the leg straps on both leg loops (if adjustable), then the waistbelt strap.
Strap yourself into a lightweight harness. Make sure the leg loops aren't crossed, the belay loop isn't twisted, and the waist belt isn't upside down. The front of the harness should have the belay loop facing it.
Place the waistbelt slightly above your iliac crest, which for most individuals is near belly–button level. If you wear the waistbelt over your hips, you won't mistakenly slip out of the harness if you tumble upside down. Tighten the waistbelt once it's in place.
Around your waist and the harness, there should be no more than a two-finger gap in slack. Make sure the buckle is doubled back (unless it's an auto double–back model, in which case it's not necessary).
A well-fitted harness should adjust to both larger and smaller sizes equally, allowing the harness to expand and contract in diameter. A harness that is "maxed out" or near the end of its adjustability range is not dangerous; nonetheless, it may be challenging to get into or out of, and its adaptability may be limited.
One by one, adjust the leg loops. Some harnesses don't have adjustable leg loops and instead rely on a piece of elastic to lengthen the leg loop.
The precise positioning of leg loops is less critical than the waistbelt; comfort is more vital. Make sure the loops allow for mobility and don't pinch in an uncomfortable way. The leg loops should be placed near the groin, with a two-finger space in slack between the loop and the leg.
The tighter your leg loops are, the snugger and more comfortable you will feel hanging freely; however, your range of motion will be limited. Looser leg loops, on the other hand, provide more significant movement and motion but are less comfortable to the dead–hang in. In either situation, the harness is safe, so it's up to you to decide how comfortable you want to be.
Last but not least, double-back the buckles on each loop. Now you can put your harness to the test.
Alpine Climbing Harness is one of the lightest harness, which is built to last a long time. However, evaluate your harness for wear and tear on a regular basis, and don't be afraid to retire it if something catches your eye. Any loose seams or damage in essential areas should be a warning sign.
When rappelling or climbing, keep in mind that safety comes first, and no matter how much experience you have, you're only as good as your equipment. I'd never advise wearing an outdated harness or a rope that looked shabby.
Even if your equipment may seem to be in good working order, it's always a good idea to update it on a regular basis or after a few years, especially if you're out there frequently.