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Climbing harnesses

Climbing harnesses 101

If you’re sport climbing or climbing in a gym, a fixed harness with less adjustability and space to store gear is ideal. They’re designed to be ultralight to save on weight and have a thin, sleek look.

For trad climbing and ice climbing, adjustable harnesses let you tweak and adjust as needed. Harnesses for trad climbing have more gear loops for all the nuts and bolts required to trad climb, however an ice climbing harness has enough room to store any ice screws and tools.

Fitting your harness

The next step after choosing a harness from brands like Black Diamond, Petzl and Mammut is adjusting the fit. You want no more than a 2-finger gap between your waist and the harness and for it to sit just below your belly button. For the leg loops, the placement matters less but a tighter fit will be more comfortable and safer when you’re relaxing in your harness. If possible, testing it at a designated location for harness testing can ensure you have the most comfortable fit before you find yourself way up the wall.

Safety first

As always, understanding how to properly use your climbing harness before heading out to your local climbing gym or crag is essential. Take a peek at our article on how to choose a climbing harness for a more in-depth look at all the features and styles of climbing harnesses, and more tips to fit your harness correctly.