A climbing harness keeps active people connected to a climbing rope safely and securely, so it is important to spend some time choosing the right product. While all climbing harnesses generally feature the same basic parts, manufacturers tailor the vast majority of products to a specific style of climbing. The first step in choosing a climbing harness is to understand the available types. Then climbers can select products suited to the activity, such as indoor or outdoor rock climbing. Learning about the parts and ratings of climbing harnesses helps buyers to use the equipment correctly.
Types of Climbing Harness
As a general rule of thumb, more advanced climbers should buy lighter harnesses, which offer greater mobility with less drag weight. Specialist rock climbing gear is typically more expensive.
Gym Climbing Harnesses
Gym climbing harnesses are ultra-light and identified easily by the relative absence of padding, gear loops, and leg adjustments. These harnesses are suited primarily to indoor gym use or low-rated climbing tours, primarily because of the lightweight belay system, which secures the rope.
Standard Climbing Harnesses
Standard climbing harnesses have a balance of padding and weight, and are good for beginners or recreational users. Standard harnesses tend to come with additional lumbar padding suitable for hanging for long durations.
Ice Climbing Harnesses
Ice climbing harnesses have buckles and snaps that are less likely to become brittle in cold temperatures. They also have much more padding than other types of harnesses, particularly on the backs of the leg straps and lumbar. Ice harnesses also have the most gear loops, as well as a secondary rock climbing rope loop.
Alpine Climbing Harnesses
Alpine climbing harnesses have the thinnest straps, which make them the most lightweight variety of harness. They maximise gear space and adjustability in the straps. Alpine harnesses often have a thin belay loop.
Parts of a Climbing Harness
Understanding the parts of a climbing harness and their purpose is invaluable to climbers of all levels of experience. Different styles of climbing harness may feature adjustable parts. The waist belt and the haul loop sit around the waist. The gear loop hangs from the waist belt, and allows the climber to hook gear to himself for hands-free carrying. The belay loop allows the belay line to feed through. Leg loops, if available, provide additional support.
Each part of a harness has a different grade of padding, which depends on the intended type of climbing activity. Novices may need thicker, padded climbing harnesses, which are more comfortable for inexperienced climbers that hang for a longer time while they build their endurance.
Climbing Harness Ratings
Buyers should always check the safety and load ratings of climbing harnesses, and wear the products for activities that reflect those limitations. Two independent international organisations test and rate climbing harnesses: Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme and the European Committee for Standardization. In addition to their load rating, harnesses are also rated on their seat style. The vast majority of climbers use either a B or C seat style.
How to Buy a Climbing Harness on eBay
It is important to choose the right climbing harnesses for the activity, so do the necessary research before deciding which product to purchase. Then you can search eBay using the handy tool available on any page. A general search for 'climbing harness' may yield a great number of results, but a more specific search, such as 'C-rated ice harness' may offer more specific results that meet your requirements. In some cases, climbing harnesses may be bundled with other climbing tools and equipment, so check the listings for good deals.