In college, I took a knitting course. I had my priorities straight: in addition to requiring a minimal amount of work, I was the only guy in a class with 12 other girls. By the time the end of the semester rolled around, I had knit two potholders, a hat and one-and-a-half socks. Had I known I might be able to knit myself a harness one day, I might have paid better attention.
Mammut’s new Comfort Knit Fast Adjust Harness isn’t something you can knit with your needles and yarn, though, name aside. It is constructed using warp knit technology—basically more complex machine knitting. It is the first harness constructed using this technique, and Mammut’s goal is simple: increased breathability. The knit pattern incorporates hundreds of small holes, and the airy weave structure itself let’s air move more freely through it than other harnesses. Other companies rely on space-age fabrics to accomplish the same thing.
My first impressions of the harness were that it was going to be a bit clunky: at 420 grams this thing is at least a middleweight in any head-to-head match-up. But the more I wore it, the more I liked it. The waistbelt is wide and soft. The upper lip of the waist belt is rounded and cushioned—it dug into my hips perhaps less than any harness I’ve worn. This is the harness you want if you know you’re going to be doing a lot of hanging, but not necessarily climbing at your limit when weight is a concern.
The Comfort Knit also has Mammut’s proprietary tie-in protector, essentially a small plastic piece inset on the bottom tie-in point. It shields that bottom hardpoint from any potential abrasion caused by the rope.
What Mammut considers one of the harness’s biggest selling points is maybe the feature that elicited from me the biggest So what? The fast adjust leg loops are easy to adjust, to be sure, but I’ve never really found thinking, God, if only I could adjust my leg loops 5 seconds faster! I either get a harness with fitted leg loops that fit my thighs, or I get one with adjustable leg loops and leave them sized as I like them.
The Comfort Knit Fast Adjust also has a futuristic aspect to accompany the retro knit. It has an NFC chip inside it. Your climbing gear can now be considered part of your social media: download the Mammut Connect app, scan the chip (located under an orange logo near the buckle) and upload photos to your new Mammut profile. The biggest incentive here is an extra five-year warranty when you register the harness on Mammut Connect. The functionality to track all your climbing stats isn’t baked in yet, but maybe it will be down the road?
At $160, the Mammut Comfort Knit Fast Adjust Harness is spendy, but between great durability and that five-year warranty, you’re bound to get your money’s worth.
Note: The Mammut Comfort Knit Fast Adjust Harness was released in February, but is currently out of stock and will not be back in stock until June.
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