I have four harnesses right now, and they have four different brand names. My wife and I each have one that we use, and then we have another pair for when we take friends and family from out of town. Harnesses are pretty standard, but there are a few features that really make a big difference.
When selecting a harness, The main things to look at are the waist size, belt/leg comfort, and quantity of gear loops. Some harnesses are universal and will fit anyone, but most are designed in small, medium, or large sizes. Harnesses vary in price from around $30 to $150, depending on the brand and the features.
As I’ve shopped around for harnesses, and talked to other climbers and canyoneers, I’ve found that there really isn’t much of a difference between the medium-priced harnesses and the most expensive ones. As long as they’re rated for safety, they pretty much do the same thing. That being said, these are the harnesses I use, and why.
My go-to harness is the Edelweiss Strato. I generally use it for climbing, but also occasionally for canyoneering and caving. The straps are comfortable for longer periods of time, and I really like the auto-locking buckles on the waist and legs. Rather than having to double all of the straps back through like in a regular harness, the auto-locking buckles provide the same safety with just a simple tug on the straps. With ample gear loops for hanging quickdraws, a chalk bag, and belay glasses, this is my favorite climbing harness.
Amazon: Edelweiss Strato
I prefer a simpler harness for canyoneering and caving, like the ABC Guide Harness. This harness is strictly webbing, so it won’t get shredded when chimneying across a slot or crawling through a tunnel in a cave. The downside is that there are no gear loops for climbing equipment. The price point is the most attractive part of this harness!
Amazon: ABC Guide Harness
My wife uses the Singing Rock Midi Harness (Amazon), and really likes the thick padding in the legs and waist straps. I recently bought the Mammut Ophir 3 Slide Harness (Amazon), and I’m looking forward to trying it out.
In a worst-case scenario, you can always make a harness out of webbing!