There are 62 rock-climbing harnesses that cost $75 or less, and 60 that cost more. I’d like to report that you get what you pay for, but I’d be fibbing because I’ve worn $100 harnesses that left deep impressions in me, and not in a good way, while I have found happiness among $50 introverts.
Finding your favorite harness is as daunting as choosing a seashell on the beach, but price is one way to winnow down the lot. The new Eclipse, an offering from Wild Country is, at $74.95, right at the tipping point for being among the most and least expensive.
The Eclipse is fully padded and adjustable. It’s what I’d peg as an all-arounder. I wore it for some 50 outings and hung in it for at least 200 hours, rigging, bolting, scrubbing, photographing, and I’m still climbing in it. I spent so much time in the Eclipse I know it better than I knew my wife before marrying her.
The Eclipse is comfortable with one exception that I’ll note later. The padding is a nice density, thickness and width and it hasn’t gone too soft, nor does it get too sweaty when you can’t avoid the sun. The buckles aren’t the easiest to pull, but neither do they fray the webbing. Adjustability is such that you could almost put two people in the thing and it would still fit. Although I feel like a bumbly when I wear a harness with adjustable leg loops, I have warmed up to them because their precise fit beats that of fixed-loops, the likes of which now feel to me as if I’m wearing large pants without a belt. After being tied to and untied from several hundred times, the “crotch” loop has not frayed, a point that indicates solid engineering and materials.
There are five racking loops and these are stiff enough to easily clip. When you add much gear to the right, forward loop, however, the weight pulls the padded belt down, exposing your love handles to the naked, structural webbing. Two elastic keeper loops are supposed to hold the padding in place, but it still wiggles loose. Wild Country is aware of this issue and modifying the design.
As with its price, the Eclipse’s weight of 14 ounces is smack in the middle. It’s not the lightest, it’s not the heaviest, and to be frank, the difference of a few ounces is only noticeable on the scales—and wallet.
ABOUT THE RATING The more I used this harness the more I liked it. I wanted to give it four stars, but the issue of the padding pulling away from the belt, leaving the belt to dig into my side, reduced the grade by a star. Wild Country says they are aware of the problem and is resolving it. When that happens this will be a solid four-star harness, and one of the more comfortable models out there right now.
• Fully padded and adjustable.
• 14 ounces.
• Available in S, M, L.
• Solid, well built.
• Five gear loops, but forward right loop pulls down the padding.