Rock Climbing Harnesses: A Buyers Guide

Snapshot of silhouette of male climber with copy space. Beautiful landscape with trees, mountain peaks and sunshine on orange sky on background. Over filtered. Mountain rock climbing concept.

Mountains were placed upon this beautiful earth so man could scale them and behold the surrounding beauty of the natural world. The sport of rock climbing can be a dangerous one without the right equipment. Fortunately, you came to just the right article that will teach you to harness (get it?) the best shopping skills when it comes to purchasing the right harness for rock climbing.

There are five factors that should be taken into account when purchasing a rock climbing harness. These criteria are the experience of the climber, the gender of the climber, the age of the climber, the weight of the climber, and how much money the climber is willing to spend.

By taking these factors into account and making wise judgment calls, you will have just the right harness for your climbing and will soon be enjoying the majesty of nature wherever you climb.


The amount of times a climber has actually used a harness to climb a large natural formation contributes greatly to the kind of harness he or she would be able to use. If you are buying your very first climbing harness, it would make sense to assume that you are somewhat new to the sport of rock climbing. If this is the case and you are only performing the safest of excursions, then you will want a harness that is intended for the most basic of climbs.

With experience comes endurance, which means that for the new and inexperienced climber, you will likely be stopping every now and then to catch your breath and regain your stamina. For extra comfort during these moments, you will want to buy a harness that has soft padding on the waist belt and leg loops.

The more experienced climber will be climbing to greater heights, which is why the harness with more gear loops would be better suited for those who go slightly more extreme. These gear loops can also hold different kinds of tools if the situation calls for them. For instance, if you are planning to go ice climbing, you will want a good number of gear loops to hold your pick axe and other tools meant for traversing the ice and snow.

Different Types of Harnesses

There are many different large objects that people can climb, so certain kinds of harnesses exist to accommodate these differing endeavors. There are sports or gym harnesses that are suitable for indoor climbing parks and outdoor recreational routes.

Traditional harnesses are very similar to the sports ones, but they tend to have more capacity for carrying certain tools used for more serious excursions than anything found in a park. Ice and mixed harnesses are used for traversing the natural wonders that are found in more tundra-based biomes and in areas that are colder than average.

More specialized harnesses meant for more specific excursions also exist such as ones meant for mountaineering, canyoneering, competition, big wall, and rescue. Take into careful consideration what sort of climbing you will be doing and search for a harness that is best suited for whatever it is you plan to do with it.


Young woman wearing in climbing equipment standing in front of a stone rock outdoor and preparing to climb, rear view

The lower bodies of men and women are built differently. This is why there are harnesses that are made specifically for men and harnesses that are specifically made for women. A climbing harness meant for a woman will have a reduced leg-to-waist ratio than that of a harness meant for a man. Of course, not all bodies are the same size and shape, so you will have to make your own judgments on what size will fit best for your body specifically.


The age of a person usually determines the overall size of his or her body. Seeing as how a child is typically smaller than a grown adult (I would hope so, at least), that means that the kind of harness that can be worn by a child climber is much smaller than that of a harness meant to fit an adult. Unlike the adult harness, the child harness is not gender-specific, which means that any harness meant for a child will fit both boys and girls.

Also, because of the increased head-to-torso ratio common in children, the body of a child has a higher center of gravity than that of an adult. This is why children under the age of five years old need a full-body harness when climbing. When they become older, they will be able to use a seat harness.


Another factor to take into account is the weight of the person climbing. Needless to say, the person climbing needs to be in a physical condition that allows him or her to participate in a sport that requires rigorous physical activity such as rock climbing. It is also important to note that not all people who are physically fit and able to climb are the same weight.

When choosing what harness to buy, you will want to find one that has adjustable straps on all components that make up the harness. Regardless of your size, you will want a harness that can grow and shrink to fit your body as it might change over time. If shopping for a harness in person, try on the harness you wish to buy and let it carry your weight if possible. If you are unclear if the harness will support your weight, be sure to check the weight limit on the product description and ask an employee for help.

How to Test a Harness

As mentioned earlier, you can often find testing centers for a rock climbing harness at certain outdoor sports retailers. When using these testing centers, you need to see that the harness fits you just right with a good amount of comfort and allows you to sit upright.

The waist belt should fit snuggly and not shift in any direction when being used. If the waist belt moves excessively, tighten it to see if it will stop. If it continues to do so regardless of how often you adjust, then you will need to look for a different harness that actually does the job for you.

Is this Harness Safe?

All harnesses are designed with safety as the top priority of the engineers. For any harness that is manufactured, it needs to pass a series of tests and regulations before it can be sold to the public. A force that breaks any harness is one that has to exceed any force that causes harm or injury to the inside of the human body. All designers and engineers are aware of this, so you can rest assured that your new harness will certainly keep you attached to the rock you are climbing for however long you plan on climbing.


American dollars on white background

If money is of concern to you, then simply go for a more affordable harness. Wearing a harness that costs more than the average harness does not guarantee a greater level of security. The more expensive harnesses on the market usually have nicer features such as softer padding or extra gear loops.

If you are looking for a harness that is reasonably priced and meets all of the requirements you are looking for, try looking for a product that is considered to be a best seller or the top choice of whatever company is selling the harness. These options usually take into account affordability, quality, and customer satisfaction. Try not to go with too cheap of an option because you still want a quality harness that will support you during a climb.

Lower Priced Harness

If you search for rock climbing harnesses on Amazon, the first product listed that has the label of being “Amazon’s Choice” is the Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness, Protect Waist Safety Harness, Wider Half Body Harness for Mountaineering. This harness is priced at a comfortable $22 and is considered to be a good harness for any beginner.

It has a weight limit of 300 kilograms (or about 660 pounds), has a waist strap that adjusts from twenty inches to forty-six inches, and leg straps that adjust from fifteen inches to twenty-seven inches. This harness can be used for a variety of purposes and activities and fits men, women, and children.

Higher Priced Harness

The Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness, Protect Waist Safety Harness, Wider Half Body Harness for Mountaineering comes in another version that is somewhat more expensive and yet has more features than the standard edition. This version also has more padding and has a wider fit for larger bodies.

The waist strap fit has increased to accommodate waists measuring between thirty inches to fifty-three inches and the leg straps have grown to measure between nineteen inches and thirty inches. Essentially, this alternate version of the same harness fits somewhat larger bodies, is optimized to have even more comfort than the original, and allows the waist belt to be adjusted and secured in one swift tug.

Do I Need to Purchase Other Products for Rock Climbing?

Equipment for work at heights

While the harness is one of the more obvious items needed to ensure a safe climb on the mountainside, you will also need a few other items that are meant to ensure your safety. A few of these items include a climbing rope, a rope clamp, and a good number of carabiner clips.

If you look at the section that shows other products that are frequently bought alongside the harnesses mentioned above, you will find three different products that would be some of the most convenient and cost-effective items you could purchase in a bundle.

The first product would be the NewDoar UIAA & CE Certified Hand Ascender Rock Climbing Tree Arborist Rappelling Gear Equipment Rope Clamp for 8~12MM Rope. This rope clamp comes in a variety of colors and comes in at a price of $35. It is made up of an aluminum alloy, making it very light yet very durable with a weight limit of 300 pounds.

The second product would be the FresKaro UIAA Certified 25KN Auto Locking Climbing Carabiner Clips, Twist Lock and Heavy Duty Carabiners for Rock Climbing, Rappelling and Mountaineering, D Shaped 3.93 Inch, Large Size, Black. You can buy two of these for around $20 or you can buy three for about $25. I would recommend buying the pack of three clips because you essentially get three clips for the price of two and a half clips. These clips are lightweight, very strong, and lock with ease.

The third product would be the X XBEN Outdoor Climbing Rope 10M(32ft) 20M(64ft) 30M(96ft) 50M(160ft) 70M(230ft) 152M(500FT) 352M(1000FT) Static Rock Climbing Rope for Escape Rope Ice Climbing Equipment Fire Rescue Parachute. This rope also comes in a variety of colors and a variety of lengths. The thickness comes in at a third of an inch with both ends of the rope having two hooks sewn into them. The weight limit of the rope is around 300 kilograms or about 660 pounds.

Always Seek Professional Advice and Assistance

This really should go without saying, but if you are wanting to go rock climbing for the very first time, you should definitely have the help of an expert or at least someone who has a good amount of experience in this particular activity. Just because you bought all of this fancy gear and have the spirit of a mountain goat does not mean you are absolutely ready to go rock climbing.

Find a friend who enjoys rock climbing what their favorite products are and ask them for assistance. You could even invite them to join you on a climb. If you do not know anyone who will do this, then I am sure that you can find a coach or an employee who works at an outdoor retailer who can at least give you advice or direct you to someone who has more knowledge on the subject.

The best way to have fun while rock climbing is to be safe, so be sure that you are careful and have the supplies necessary to get help should you need it.

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