Gear Guy

Problematic Harness

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“I am a dude and my harness sits low around my hips, especially when it is loaded with gear. My friend says this is unsafe, and that my harness doesn’t fit. Should the waist belt be over my hips?”

Listen to your friend. If your waist belt is riding low, as in below your hips, you could slip out of it in an upside-down fall. You shouldn’t use a harness that doesn’t fit. There are at least 200 models of harnesses—one of those, or likely quite a few of those will fit you perfectly. If you must, try women’s models. These can have wider waist belts relative to the leg loops, and a higher “rise,” which is the distance roughly from crotch to navel. It sounds like you have a long rise for a guy, so a women’s model might suit you. Other options are to check out harnesses with adjustable leg loops. Fit the waist first, then size the leg loops. The waist belt is the critical fit; most leg loops are a bit baggy and have some give built into them anyway so you have some leeway there. To get a sure-fire fit, consider a custom-made harness. Misty Mountain offers a service where you can have a harness built just for you. You can mix and match the waist and leg loops, add as many gear loops as you wish, pick the type of buckles you prefer and even get a color of your choosing.

This Gear Guy question appeared in Rock and Ice issue 248 (February 2018).

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