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Climbing Harnesses

Arc’teryx R-320

The new Arc'Teryx harnesses are snazzy, thin, sleek and, at just 11.4 ounces, unbelievably light. I tested the R-320, the all-around, four-gear-loop, fixed-leg-loop model.

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Price | $12508S-HARNESS

www.arcteryx.com

4 stars

The new Arc’Teryx harnesses are snazzy, thin, sleek and, at just 11.4 ounces, unbelievably light. I tested the R-320, the all-around, four-gear-loop, fixed-leg-loop model.

The design story is the Warp Strength technology, an entirely new approach to creating comfort and support, while eliminating the bulk of traditional foam padding. By taking the vertical stitching out of a piece of tubular webbing, and fanning the horizontal threads along each point of the swami’s length (the threads are cased in plastic to retain shape), Arc’Teryx has created a harness that is truly weight-bearing and supportive at every point. It’s literally the difference between trying to lie down on a slackline versus a hammock. I noticed the difference the first time I buckled up.

I have only two small gripes. First, the harness breathed poorly and was sweatier than others I own, probably because of the plastic sheet inside the swami’s exterior fabric, which is a nice soft-shell.

Also, for some reason, the leg loops, which use Warp Strength Technology, seemed less comfortable than the swami. Sometimes my legs went numb while hanging at a belay, and I found myself wishing for a little more padding.

That said, the R-320 is a great, innovative safety-seat. I’ve already spent dozens of hours in it, working moves, belaying the inept and jugging up free-hanging lines (the most unpleasant task of all). At times, I forgot I was testing the harness. It was so light, unobtrusive and comfortable, especially underneath a pack’s hip belt, I caught myself double-checking to make sure it was still on.