How to Choose A Climbing Harness

If you are going rock climbing, there is a good chance you'll want one of these! Climbing harnesses have multiple functions, most important of which is safety. They also feature handy little loops that allow you to clip a ton of additional gear into your harness for easy access while on the move. The following explanation of features and fitting guides will help you choose the climbing harness that is right for you.

Harness Features

1. Gear loops - These loops are designed to carry your gear, such as cams, nuts, and quickdraws. Harnesses with two gear loops are most suited for gym climbing, top roping, and sport climbing, while harness with 4+ gear loops are also suited for trad, multipitch, and ice climbing.

2. Ice clipper slots - Harnesses with ice clipper slots are designed specifically for ice climbing. They are used to rack ice screws, picks, and other ice tools.

3. Leg Loops - Adjustable leg loops are nice for ice climbing and mountaineering, where you need to put a harness on over boots and crampons. They are also great when frequently adding or subtracting layers. Fixed leg loops offer less to deal with, are good for sport climbing, and some people actually prefer the fixed fit.

Harness Construction - Less expensive harnesses are often bulkier and don't breathe as well. More expensive harnesses have more ventilation, lighter padding, and are more comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Fitting Your Climbing Harness

Iliac Crest

Harness waist belts should fit over the Iliac Crest. It should be snug enough that you cannot pull it down. Ideally the buckle adjustment should be halfway through its range and not maxed out at either end.

Leg Loops should be comfortable but do not need to be super tight. You should be able to place a flat hand between your leg and the harness.

Black Diamond Harness Sizing Chart (Fixed Leg Loops)

Shop Black Diamond Climbing Harnesses


Sizes Small Medium Large X-Large
Waist Circumference 27-30”(69-76 cm) 30-33”(76-84 cm) 33-36”(84-91 cm) 36-39”(91-99 cm)
Leg Circumference 19-21”(48-53 cm) 21-23”(53-58 cm) 23-25”(58-63 cm) 25-27" (63-69 cm)


Sizes X-Small Small Medium Large
Waist Circumference 26-29” (66-74 cm) 28-31” (71-79 cm) 33-36” (84-91 cm) 36-39”(91-99 cm)
Leg Circumference 18-20” (46-51 cm) 20-22” (51-56 cm) 22-24” (56-61 cm) 24-26” (61-66 cm)

Mammut Harness Sizing Chart

Shop Mammut's Climbing Harnesses Mammut climbing harness sizing chart

Petzl Harness Sizing Chart

Shop Petzl's Climbing Harnesses Petzl climbing harness sizing

Arc'teryx Harness Sizing Chart

Arcteryx climbing harness sizing chart Shop OGE's Selection of Climbing Harnesses!

Still have questions? Check out our video on how to size a climbing harness