2020’s Best Climbing Harnesses In Each Rock Climbing Category

Whether you're climbing inverted off-widths or hanging tufas, we've found the harness for you.

Looking for the best climbing harness for your style of rock climbing?

Look no further! Whether you are a beginner or an expert, we have created an extensive list of the top-performing harnesses in each climbing category. 

Table Of Contents: 

If you aren’t sure what type of harness you need or how to choose a climbing harness, we’ve covered that in-depth in a previous article.

Take a look then come back here to quickly find what you’re looking for. 

Maybe you want a quick answer?

Check out our top picks, or use the table of contents for more detail on each of the best rock climbing harnesses in each category as well as the runner’s up.

Remember to check our deal finder before purchasing to find possible deals on the harness you want.

Here are our top picks in each category (see more detail and runners up below): 

The Best Rock Climbing Harnesses In 2020

The best climbing harness will keep you comfortable while helping you perform at your best with confidence. Like a pair of shoes or a helmet, they also have to be the best for you in fit and function.

We’ve chosen the best harnesses based on comfort, adjustability (where appropriate), gear carrying capabilities, weight, and value. 

The most important factor, however, is intended use. We worked hard to find the right harness for every possible type of climbing we could think of.

There is a bit of overlap in the results but that is to be expected in such a varied sport. 

A Few Names Dominate The Pack

While there are a number of climbing harness manufacturers out there, a few names dominate the field. This is for good reason.

Reputable manufacturers like Edelrid, Petzl, Arc’Teryx, and Black Diamond have been at the forefront of climbing gear since its creation.

All of these companies were born out of a passion for climbing excellence that can still be seen today.

In fact, after the invention of nylon in the late 30s, Edelrid invented the first ‘Kernmantel’ rope. Kernmantel refers to an inner core surrounded by a sheath. This is the type of rope used in all dynamic rock climbing ropes today.

Black Diamond, or more so Yvon Chouinard, have helped shape the climbing industry from the start. First with pitons, then passive gear, then cams and performance clothing. 

Petzl was started by a caver named Fernand Petzl in the 1970’s.

Arc’teryx started with the pursuit of a minimalist harness in the late 80s. Today they remain a homegrown Canadian company that designs and manufactures in Vancouver, Canada. 

All this to say; although results may seem biased towards certain companies, it’s because they’ve earned it. 

So without spraying you with more historical trivia; here they are! The best climbing harnesses in each climbing category. 

And the Crux Range Editor’s pick goes to…

Editor’s Pick For Best All-Around Harness

An all-around harness needs to be easily adjustable, lightweight, comfortable enough to wear on a multi-pitch with hanging belays, have enough gear storage to accommodate both a slew of quickdraws and gear for a wandering full-rope-length pitch, have ice-clipper slots, and of course, look really cool. 

That may seem like a lot to ask of a climbing harness, but here are a few that take that challenge head-on.

Petzl Aquila

A well designed harness from one of the most reliable names in the game, Petzl’s Aquila can do it all. Comfortable from the get go, the low profile front waist belt stays out of the way while climbing. Large gear loops, re-inforced hardpoints, and adjustability to the max. A solid all around choice for every level of climber.
• 365g
• 4 XL gear loops
• Contoured waist belt

• FUSEFRAME webbing technology
• Adjustable leg loops
Available at Backcountry, REI, Amazon

Best All Around Harness Petzl Aquila

BD Technician

Built with Black Diamond’s new Fusion Comfort Construction, the Technician is lightweight without skimping on the necessities. Comfortable, adjustable, ready for any environment.
• 376g
• 4 gear loops
• Large 5th loop/haul loop

• Fusion Comfort Construction
• Adjustable leg loops
Available at Backcountry, REI, Amazon

Best All-Around Harness BD Technician

Best Climbing Harness For Beginners

When you’re just starting out don’t go for the fanciest or lightest harness. Get something that is the most comfortable you can possibly find. Hey, you might not even end up liking rock climbing, right?

Not likely, but I guess anything is possible.

Whether learning at the gym or the crag, you are going to spend a lot of time hanging while you figure out how to do new moves.

Then when you start lead climbing you are probably going to be taking falls often or riding some big whippers. 

What you need to start isn’t the most technical harness but the one that fits you best and is comfortable to hang in. Try the Mammut Ophir 3 or the Edelrid Jay.

They have what you need, are comfortable, and are both well-made harnesses at a reasonable price.

Mammut Ophir 3

The Ophir 3 was edged out for best all-around harness but it is still an incredible value for what you get. Ophir 3 is comfortable, technical, and adjustable.
• 370g
• 4 gear loops
• Split webbing for back support

• Adjustable leg loops
Available at Backcountry, MooseJaw, Amazon

Best Climbing Harness For Beginners Mammut Ophir 3

Edelrid Jay

Edlerid’s Jay harness is a great place to start. Coming in at an affordable price you get 4 gear loops and adjustability with a name you can trust.
• 500g
• 4 gear loops

• Adjustable leg loops
Available at Backcountry, REI

Edelrid Jay Beginners Climbing Harness

Best Climbing Harnesses For Experts

Once you get to a certain level of climbing, every ounce, movement, and placement matters. 

For the highest level climbers, you probably already know what you like; but two new harnesses are worth mentioning: 

The Black Diamond Vision and the Arc’teryx C-quence.

Black Diamond Vision

Named after the Avenger’s character? Maybe, either way this harness is just as indestructible and sleek as the comic book hero. Made from lightweight quick-drying material with one of the tiniest full-strength belay loops on the market, the Vision is made for expert climbers looking to shed unneeded ounces while sending some of the hardest lines on the planet.
• 224g
• 4 gear loops

• 5th large gear loop/haul loop
• Quick dry material
• 4 Ice-clipper slots
Available at Black Diamond, Backcountry, EMS

Best Expert Climbing Harness Black Diamond Vision

Arc’teryx C-quence

Arc’teryx was started with a harness and to this day they make some of the most comfortable-highest performing climbing harnesses available. The new c-quence is hard to find in the US but it’s worth it if you can. Warp technology keeps you extra comfortable. A new leg loop shape allows better mobility with more comfort/space while hanging.
• 370g
• 4 Large gear loops

Warp Strength Technology
• 4 Ice-clipper slots
Available at REI, MEC

Best Climbing Harness For Experts Arc'teryx C-quence

Best Women’s Climbing Harness

As we’ve mentioned before there isn’t much difference between men’s and women’s climbing harnesses.

The main differences you will find are that women’s harnesses tend to ride higher on the waist, and the leg loops will be a bit larger in proportion to the waist as compared to a men’s harness. 

Both men’s and women’s harnesses are constructed the same and meet the same safety standards. There is no reason you can’t wear a harness meant for the opposite sex. 

Personally, I find women’s harnesses often fit me better anyway. 

Petzl goes beyond simply changing the color scheme with their Luna harness. This climbing harness is shaped specifically for women with a longer rise to create better waist belt placement when weighted.

A nice bonus, the rise suspenders quickly clip on and off for easy access when nature calls. 

Petzl Luna

Designed to give women the most comfortable fit possible in a capable all-around harness. The luna has what you need to go from gym to big wall and everything inbetween.
• 495g
• 4 Large gear loops
• Re-inforced hardpoints & belay loop
• Adjustable leg loops
• Women specifc waist belt contour

Available at Backcountry, REI, EMS

Best Women's Climbing Harness Petzl Luna

Best Men’s Climbing Harness

The best men’s harness comes down to what you are going to be using it for.

But if you simply want the best all-around harness with the most comfort at a decent price, check out the Black Diamond Technician and the Edelrid Sendero. 

Edelrid Sendero

A more ergonomic waist belt design gives the Sendero all-day comfort without sacrificing on style and performance. One of the most capable all-around harnesses available, the Sendero is made with Edelrid’s legendary quality featuring reinforced gear loops, comfy leg loops, and low profile materials for a sleek-durable feel at a very affordable price.
• 315g
• 4 gear loops
• Large 5th loop/haul loop

• Mesh leg loop webbing
• 2 Ice clipper slots
• Adjustable leg loops with clip off rise
Available at Backcountry, REI, Amazon

Best Men's Climbing Harness Edelrid Sendero

BD Technician

Built with Black Diamond’s new Fusion Comfort Construction, the Technician is lightweight without skimping on the necessities. Comfortable, adjustable, ready for any environment.
• 376g
• 4 gear loops
• Large 5th loop/haul loop

• Fusion Comfort Construction
• Adjustable leg loops
Available at Backcountry, REI, Amazon

Best All-Around Harness BD Technician

Best Harness For Indoor-Gym Climbing 

Indoor climbing or gym climbing requires the least amount of gear you could possibly need while rock climbing.

Most gyms have pre-clipped draws, so all you need is a harness, a rope, and a belay device. Not much to carry. 

As a result, you don’t need lots of gear loops or adjustable leg loops or even a haul loop. A minimalist harness will keep you light and agile so you can pull through that overhanging crux move with ease. 

The BD airNet was designed in collaboration with Adam Ondra specifically for competition and indoor climbing. This is perhaps the lightest-most extremely minimalist gym specific harness ever made.

A tie for best gym harness and predecessor to the AirNet, the Arc’teryx SL-340 makes pulling on plastic a comfortable-simplified pursuit. 

BD airNet

If Q from James Bond made a harness, this would be it. Constructed with airNet-dyneema technology the airNet is super strong while maintaining breathability and wearability. New patented seamless infinity belay loop included!
• 235g
• 4 gear loops/2 lightweight
• Large 5th loop/haul loop

• airNet technology dyneema construction
• Infinity belay loop
Available at Backcountry, REI, Black Diamond

Best Gym Climbing Harness Black Diamond AirNet

Arc’teryx SL-340

SL stands for superlight. Aside from the airNet, the SL-340 is one of the lightest harnesses on the market. With only two gear loops they cut some weight to make this harness gym ready. Like all Arc’teryx harnesses, it features their WST technology to increase comfort by spreading the load through the entire waistbelt.
• 340g
• 2 gear loops

• Warp Strength Technology
Available at Backcountry, Steep & Cheap, Amazon

Best Indoor Climbing Harness Arc'teryx SL-340

Best Sport Climbing Harness

A sport climbing specific harness should be light and still have a decent amount of gear storage and comfort. Chances are, however, you won’t need adjustable leg loops or a burly haul loop. 

One of the most comfortable as well as one of the lightest sport climbing harnesses currently on the market; the Black Diamond Zone will get you through the crux with ease and style. 

BD Zone

The Zone was made specifically with outdoor sport climbing in mind. Light, simple, and breathable the Zone has enough gear loops for even the longest sport routes.
• 307g
• 4 gear loops
• Fusion Comfort Construction
• Ice-clipper slots

Available at Backcountry, Black Diamond

Best Sport Climbing Harness Black Diamond Zone

Most Comfortable Harness

Petzl is a company committed to quality. Their Adjama harness as been around for a long time and the newest iteration is one of the best. 

While not the most stylish harness, the Adjama just might be the most comfortable harnesses ever created. Its comfort holds up to full days hanging in the plush waist belt and the fabric, although appearing outdated, holds up to punishment like no other. 

The only drawback, it’s a bit on the heavy side compared to its peers. But you can easily make up for that small difference in other ways like carrying a smaller chalk bag or a lighter rope (or just pulling harder). 

Petzl Adjama

A timeless classic, the Petzl Adjama performs well in almost any situation. Being one of the heavier harness it may not perform well in Alpine or wet environments, but for hanging belays on exhausting multi-pitches the Adjama keeps you safe and ready for more.
• 485g
• 4 gear loops

• Re-inforced hardpoints & belay loop
Available at Backcountry, MooseJaw, REI

Most Comfortable Climbing Harness Petzl Adjama

Top Multi-Pitch Climbing Harness

There are a few factors that might differentiate a multi-pitch harness from other types of harnesses. 

Climbing pitch after pitch usually requires a lot of hang-time at the belays. Even at standing belays, you’ll often find yourself weighting the harness. For this reason, you want a comfortable harness. 

Still, on a long multi-pitch or big wall you are going to be carrying a lot of gear and other extras like water and warm layers—every ounce counts. So you also want a lightweight harness. 

On top of those two requirements, you also need a lot of space to rack your gear and hang your water or your approach shoes for the descent.

You may also find yourself climbing in cold weather layering up, in that case, you’ll also want adjustable leg loops. 

Finding the right balance isn’t easy. Lucky for us, harness manufacturers are on top of it. 

Two of the most comfortable-work built harnesses that pack in a tonne of storage space without sacrificing too much on weight are the Black Diamond Solution Guide and for an adjustable leg loop option check out the Arc’teryx AR-395.

BD Solution Guide

Black Diamond made the solution with hard battle style trad climbing in mind. Constructed with the same Fusion Comfort Construction as the Zone, the Solution also features a near-indestructible abrasion-resistant fabric they call Super Fabric to increase durability. A stylish harness that performs well beyond expectations.
• 394g
• 4 gear loops

• 5th large gear loop/haul loop
• Contoured fit increases range of motion
• Ultra-durable Super Fabric construction
Available at Backcountry, REI, Black Diamond

Top Multi-Pitch Climbing Harness Black Diamond Solution Guide

Arc’teryx AR-395

When you first pick up an Arc’teryx harness it feels too plush to trust. But don’t let their soft demeanor fool you. These harnesses are workhorses that stand up to any type of climbing. Check the video below to see how strong even an old Arc’teryx harness is.
• 395g
• 4 gear loops

• Adjustable leg loops
• Warp Strength Technology
Available at Backcountry, REI, Amazon

Best Multi-Pitch Harness Arc'teryx AR-395

Personally, I didn’t trust Arc’teryx’s new design when it debuted in 2015. It just seemed to soft and low profile to inspire confidence. But time has changed my view.

These are some of the most durable and comfortable harnesses you can find. Just check out these guys putting a beat up 3 years-old harness to the test.

The Best Big Wall Harnesses

If you want a cushy big wall harness with an excessive amount of gear loops and the possibility of two full-strength belay loops; take a look at the Misty Mountain Cadillac, Wild Country Syncro, or Black Diamond’s Big Gun. 

Misty Mountain Cadillac

One of the original big wall oriented harnesses, the Cadillac does everything to the max. With 6 large gear loops, extra wide webbing, and the thickest waist belt out there, you will be comfortable hanging from a below or flying off your last RP.
• 530g
• 6 gear loops

• Adjustable leg loops
• 1.25″ nylon webbing
• Extra-large padded waist belt
Available at Backcountry, Amazon

Best Big Wall Harness Misty Mountain Cadillac

Top Performing Trad Climbing Harness

You aren’t going to find a whole lot of difference between a ‘trad’ climbing harness and a ‘multi-pitch’ harness.

The only difference might be in leg loops. If you are trad-cragging, like you might do in Indian Creek for example, you don’t really need adjustable leg loops and can probably get away with a little less comfort. 

Of course, you are still going to need a lot of space for gear and some ice-clip slots just to keep your options open. 

For the ultimate in trad climbing performance check out the Petzl Sitta or the Black Diamond Solution Guide (see above).

Petzl Sitta

Petzl’s new Sitta harness was made with elite performance in mind. Similar to the BD’s airNet technology, Petzl uses their proprietary WIREFRAME dyneema cord tech to distribute load for comfort while keeping the Sitta light and strong.
• 270g
• 4 gear loops

• 2 XL gear loops with organizers
• Ice-clipper loops
• WIREFRAME construction
• Re-inforced hardpoints & belay loop
Available at Backcountry, MooseJaw

Best Trad Climbing Harness Petzl Sitta

Here’s a closer look at the Sitta and the technology that makes is to cool!

Best Alpine Harness

To be the best Alpine climber or mountaineer, you have to be a jack-of-all-trades—same goes for your harness. 

Alpine climbing harnesses need to be lightweight while also maintaining durability and the ability to carry a full rack and then some. 

Black Diamond’s new Vision harness, coming in at a feather-light 224 grams, gives you everything you need to stay light and fast while shedding anything you don’t. 

A strong rival, the Petzl Sitta (above), is just as capable and only slightly heavier at 270 grams.

Black Diamond Vision

Named after the Avenger’s character? Maybe, either way, this harness is just as indestructible and sleek as the comic book hero. Made from lightweight quick-drying material with one of the tiniest full-strength belay loops on the market, the Vision is made for expert climbers looking to shed unneeded ounces while sending some of the hardest lines on the planet.
• 224g
• 4 gear loops

• 5th large gear loop/haul loop
• Quick dry material
• 4 Ice-clipper slots
Available at Black Diamond, Backcountry, EMS

Best Expert Climbing Harness Black Diamond Vision

Best Ski & Mountaineering Harnesses

As we discussed in more detail in a previous article, although the words alpine and mountaineering are often used interchangeably, there is a bit of difference when it comes to harnesses. 

Mountaineering harnesses are more suited for ski travel and/or snow travel, crossing glaciers, and moderate ice with minimal rappels. 

These harnesses will usually be ultra-low profile and minimalist with a longer rise for comfort while skinning up, post-holing across, or shredding down. 

Look for one that can be put on even when wearing skis or crampons. 

The Black Diamond Couloir and Petzl’s Altitude are two of the best in this category. 

BD Couloir & Petzl Altitude

Low profile, packable, and easy on-off without lifting your feet; these two harnesses are ready for anything winter travel can throw at you.
BD Couloir: Black Diamond, REI
Petzl Altitude: Backcountry, Amazon

Best Ski & Mountaineering Harness

Top Kid’s Rock Climbing Harness

As they say, “Children are the future.” So why not start them climbing early? 

For kids you have two options to choose from; full-body harnesses or the sit-style used for adults.

Which you choose really depends on the size of the kid and if they are strong enough to keep themselves upright. 

If using a sit-style harness instead of a full-body harness and your child lacks the core strength or coordination to stay upright when hanging or lowering, chances are they will end up inverted and in much more danger. 

Whether you opt for full-body or sit-style, fitting kids’ harnesses can be tricky.

To be honest, we wouldn’t recommend buying a kids’ harness online unless they have recently tried the exact one on in a shop or some other safe environment. 

Remember, full-body harnesses are usually for very small kids, ages 5-10 +/- and have a weight limit in the range of 60-80 lbs. Be sure to check the manufacturer details on each harness. 

Because kids body proportions can vary so widely, most kid’s harnesses are very adjustable. Ensure that the one you choose is snug and fits to the proper specifications. 

Our favorite full-body harnesses are the Black Diamond Momentum Kid’s and the Edelrid Fraggle II. 

For a fully adjustable kid’s sit-style harness, check out the Petzl Macchu or Mammut’s Ophir Kids.

If you think your kid is going to progress quickly there is a two-piece option. You can get a sit-style harness paired with an adjustable chest harness like the Petzl Voltige that integrates with the sit harness. That way, once they get stronger you can wean them from the chest harness to only using the sit-style harness. 

Petzl Macchu Kids Sit-Style

Best Kids Harness Petzl Macchu

Edelrid Fraggle II Kids Full-Body

Full Body Climbing Harnesses For Adults 

For whatever reason (pregnancy, disability, safety, etc.), you may want a full-body climbing harness for yourself or another adult.

Just remember, these are not the most comfortable things to hang in and for sure you don’t want to be taking any whippers-in a full-body climbing harness. 

A good example is the Petzl 8003 or again you can add a chest harness to work in conjunction with your sit-style harness. Take a look at Black Diamond’s Vario. 

Petzl 8003 Adult Full-Body

Best Adult Full-Body Harness Petzl 8003

As far as a full-body harness for arborist or construction workers etc. we know there are lots of options out there but have zero experience with those types of harnesses.

We found this site, Tree Stuff, to be incredibly insightful for information in that niche.

Best Dog Harness

Last but not least, Fido. 

Although dog owners often take their dogs backpacking or camping, not many people take their dogs up to a port-a-ledge.

Still, it has been done and there are plenty of other situations when Fido might need to be tied in. 

The Doubleback Harness from Ruffwear is one of the burliest dog harnesses available. It features a test-rated (8.9 kN) tie-in point and complete support for stability and comfort when lifting or lowering your dog. 

Ruffwear Doubleback Dog Harness

Available at Ruffwear, Backcountry, Amazon

Best Dog Harness Ruffwear Doubleback Harness

Summary

Whether you are climbing in the gym or up the side of K2, you need a harness that fits well and performs flawlessly to keep you safe and sending. 

Follow this guide or our previous guide about how to choose a harness, to find the right harness for your style of climbing. 

When possible, try on your prospective harness before buying.

There are plenty of options out there, choose the right one for you based on the type of climbing you do most, comfort, amount of gear loops, adjustability, and weight. 

And as always, never buy a harness that is not UIAA certified. 

Ultimately you may have to experiment with a few different styles or brands of harnesses before you find your perfect match. That’s ok, the main goal is safety anyway.

Once you’ve found your perfect harness, read this article to find out how long it should last and how to keep it clean and strong.

We hope you found this guide helpful.

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The activities described herein can be dangerous and possess inherent risk. The content provided is not intended as an expert opinion or advice. Seek proper instruction or appropriate medical advice from qualified professionals to learn the necessary skills to participate in any of the activities or regimes described herein. See Disclosure & Disclaimer for more info.

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