Petzl SAMA Harness | $64.95 | petzl.com
Petzl has re-imagined its flagship SAMA harness to create one of the most comfortable and affordable set-ups on the market. The new SAMA is pimped primarily as a sport-climbing harness, but I call it one of the better all-around rigs I’ve worn.
The waist construction got an overhaul with technology Petzl calls EndoFrame—a drastic departure from the last SAMA’s ExoFrame construction. The new waist is padded (instead of mesh) and employs two parallel bands of webbing that they say has better support and weight distribution.
The most significant redesign involves the shape of the waist belt. Most harnesses (including the last SAMA) have a waist belt that is wide and beefy at the small of the back, and thinner and less supportive around the hips. But, as anyone who has hung in a harness for too long knows, most chafing occurs around the hips. These are the real pressure points.
The new SAMA tapers along the small of the back, and gets wider with more support at the hips. Essentially, the waist’s shape has been reversed. I found this feature extremely comfortable while hang-dogging my project and enduring long belays.
Another common problem is that harness tie-in points fray while the rest of the rig is still in good shape. Petzl addressed the problem by building Dyneema tie-in points to reduce friction against the rope. More testing will need to be done to determine longevity, but I’ll bank on this as a big improvement.
A few other features I like: There are two spots to attach ice-screw clippers so they are positioned out of the way. The elastic leg loops are comfortable and supportive. The webbing pulls through the double-back buckle smoother than water runs off my dad’s bald head.
My only beef with the new SAMA is the rear gear loops. They are positioned right on your back, and sit flush with the harness, making clipping difficult. I appreciate that they’re out of the way, but they’re almost useless for racking gear.
As everything—rock shoes, bread—gets more expensive every year, I was most happy to find this solid all-around SAMA priced so affordably.
EndoFrame construction uses two straps for support, and is wider on the sides.
Specific stitching on the waistbelt limits hard points and chafing.
DoubleBack Light buckle is smooth.
Dyneema tie-in points reduce wear.
Elastic leg loops.
Four gear loops.
Two slots for ice clippers.
Rear loop for haul rope.
Detachable leg-loop keeper straps.