Climbing Harness Review

Harnesses are clearly an essential part of every climber’s kit but as a woman, finding the right features and fit can still be a challenge. Those tested here are designed only for rock and the gym. Many manufacturers make two or more women’s models, but few make them versatile enough for ice climbing. 

We found some to be thoughtfully constructed and well featured; four gear loops, adjustable leg loops, contoured waist and leg webbing. None tested here had ice clipper loops. It seems we’re all destined to own at least two harnesses if you climb all facets.  

We tested these women’s specific harnesses on different body types, single and multi pitch climbs, and in the gym. We set out to test lightweight versions but ended up with a variety of different weights. While fit and comfort are first and foremost in a harness, especially for multi pitch climbing, features like two gear loops per side and adjustable leg loops were important toward our overall ratings.

Best Overall -- Most Versatile, Durable, and Comfortable


Luna Harness

Price: $89.95
Weight: 495 g
Weight: 495g
Adjustable leg loops: Yes
Pros: Fits a variety of body types very comfortably and is very durable 
Cons: It’s heavy and a bit chunky with such thick webbing
Overall: This full featured highly padded and contoured harness was an all around winner for comfort in all disciplines. Though not light, it stood up to desert off widths, chimneys and years of use with some of our testers. The waist and leg loops were highly adjustable to accommodate different body types comfortably. The bonus center back large and small gear loops are super functional for multi-pitch ventures when trailing a tagline or for extra lockers, a prussic or Tibloc.

Model is wearing a size medium.
Model's measurements | Bust: 35 Waist: 28.5 Hips: 38.5

Best for Overall Comfort and Simplicity

Black Diamond


Price: $79.95
Weight: 330g/11.64oz
Adjustable leg loops: No
Pros: Wide and super comfortable leg loops and waist belt, well balanced fit. 
Cons: Small gear loops
Overall: The Fusion Comfort technology evenly distributes the weight between the leg loops and waist belt creating an incredibly comfortable fit from the gym to multi-pitch routes. The fabric is stiff out of the bag, requiring a little break-in time but it molds to your body nicely after a few days out. The gear loops, though a little smaller than most, are well positioned and pressure molded to make them easy to clip to. The weight and non-adjustable leg loops definitely limit the fit.

Model is wearing a size S.
Model's measurements | Bust: 35 Waist: 28.5 Hips: 38.5


Women's Cuesta

Price: $79.95
Weight: 305g
Adjustable leg loops: No
Pros: Lightweight.
Cons: Leg loops uncomfortable to hang in and gear loops are too far toward the back of the harness.
Overall: While we liked that this harness was light and streamlined. The leg loops tended to pinch and dig in on hanging belays and the gear loops were too far in the back to be functional. The ultra light stretch cord connecting the leg loops tended to come undone regularly and seemed excessively light even compared to the rest of the harness material. The large belay loop does allow for a higher rise and more versatile fit. The weight savings was felt to be too much of a compromise for the lack of comfort.

Model is wearing a size S.
Model's measurements | Bust: 35 Waist: 28.5 Hips: 38.5


Energy Nova Women's Harness

Price: $49.95
Weight: 345g/12.2oz
Adjustable leg loops: Yes
Pros: Very affordable price.
Cons: Gear loops are way out of position to be functional and the entire harness seems to sit off center.
Overall: This is a nice balance of lightweight to comfort at a very affordable price. The thermo formed padding and conical shaping of the waist and leg loops was very comfortable to belay and hang in. We found it strange and dysfunctional however that when the belay loop is centered, the left gear loop is much further forward than the right one. They are so off centered that it makes it clunky to clip to either side efficiently. The back leg loop extensions also end up way off to the side when the belay loop is centered.

Model is wearing a size extra small.
Model's measurements | Bust: 34 Waist: 28 Hips: 32 Inseam: 29


Konseal Women's Harness

Price: $130
Weight: 350g/12.3oz
Adjustable Leg Loops: Yes
Pros: Great padding, reasonably comfortable to hang in, gear loops are perfectly positioned, large and easy to clip to.
Cons: Very expensive given that it’s not versatile enough for ice and alpine climbing.
Overall: The mesh center back fabric sans padding had us a little skeptical at first as to its real benefits. But the highly molded contoured cut and extra padding on the hips and leg loops distributed weight evenly. The gear loops are angled, molded and perfectly positioned, definitely the best of all we tested. The thicker, contoured padding approach is an interesting new construction, comfortable and relatively light, though it did dig into some or our tester’s legs while hanging. Overall, our testers still prefer the comfort and versatility of the Arc’teryx AR 385A harness, an old Arcteryx staple that continues to deliver, especially on multi-pitch climbs with hanging belays.

Model is wearing a size small.
Model's measurements | Bust: 34 Waist: 28 Hips: 32 Inseam: 29

Black Diamond

Women's Airnet Harness

Price: $169.95
Weight: 227g/8 oz.
Adjustable leg loops: No
Pros: Ultra light for fast alpine pursuits.
Cons: Extremely expensive for what our testers found to be of limited use.
Overall: This is a super light, minimalist harness that is best when you don’t expect to actually hang in it or hold someone on belay for very long. It was designed for Ondra’s competition climbs – it may keep up with Ondra, but for mere mortals, it lacks any comfort. The fit overall felt out of balance. The leg loops were quite small for the waist size. The belay loop is narrow, small and tended to pull the harness up into the crotch like an old school grundy. The lack of padding made it noticeably less comfortable to hang in.

Header photo courtesy of Lauren Smith

Disclaimer of Liability: Technical rock and ice climbing is inherently dangerous. Neither Broad Beta, LLC., nor any of its employees, shall be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described and/or contained herein, and Broad Beta, LLC. assumes no responsibility for anyone's use of the information.
Any person using our gear in any manner is personally responsible for learning the proper techniques and good judgment. We strongly recommend that every climber seek instruction by a qualified professional.

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