The Best Climbing Harnesses for Women in 2023


Whether you climb sport, trad, alpine peaks, or love clipping draws in the gym, we’ve got you covered. Send your next project with one of the best women’s climbing harnesses of 2023.

At first glance, harnesses may seem simple, but their specific components make a world of difference for a climber’s needs and preferences.

Rest assured, these top picks from our expert gear testers will help you feel safe and secure while also meeting your climbing objectives. We’re here to help you find the best climbing harness for your specific needs.

Our testers include an American Mountain Guides Association-certified rock guide, an intro-to-outdoor rock climbing guide, a former Yosemite Mountain Guide, and a skilled recreational climber. These harnesses supported our cams, swings, rappels, belays, and rests on a range of North American rock from Canada to Colorado and all over California.

Below, we outline the best climbing harnesses for women in hopes of making your next belay that much better. If you need more help deciding, check out our comparison chart and read our buyer’s guide for a full rundown of what to consider when purchasing a harness.

The Best Climbing Harness for Women in 2023

Best Overall: Black Diamond Solution

Black Diamond Solution Harness

The Solution ($80) is Black Diamond’s best-selling harness, and for a good reason. Sleek, simple, and remarkably comfortable, this harness has some of the widest leg loops of any we tested.

A contoured shape and soft materials in the loops support your weight while you hang, work moves on your sport climbing project, or sit in your harness while belaying your partner. The women’s-specific rise considers the different waist-to-hip ratio of women versus men, allowing for a more comfortable and considerate fit depending on your body type.

The one complaint about the Solution is that it does not have adjustable leg loops. The wide loops taper in the front and have some stretch to pull over your thighs, and while this might work for most people, one size does not fit all, especially with women who tend to have a smaller waist-to-thigh ratio. We recommend you try this harness on before you buy to make sure it fits your body type.

This harness, with its low bulk and high comfort metrics, is a great choice for everything from single-pitch sport climbing to multi-pitch trad climbs, both activities that might see you hanging in your harness more often. The Black Diamond Solution Guide is an even better choice for the trad climber as it was made with that in mind, but the Solution is an excellent all-around harness with a relatively low price tag.

  • Weight: 11.64 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: No
  • Activity: Sport, trad, alpine climbing
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Wide leg Loops
  • Non-adjustable leg loops

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best Budget Harness: Black Diamond Momentum 

Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Harness

The Momentum ($65) is our favorite gym-to-crag harness among the test pool. The design is simple, with four oblong, rigid gear loops — meaning that plastic tubing sits around the cord.

This harnesses belay loop is brightly colored in contrast with the tie-in loops, so it’s easy to quickly tie in without error. The two rear elastic risers are adjustable and connect the leg loops to the waist belt via a slide-in hook, so a drop seat is available (although the latch is not easy to undo or refasten solo, one tester found).

While the harness is on the lighter end of the spectrum, we wished for a bit more cushion on the lumbar during long days in the saddle. That said, the Momentum easily met our performance standards and we’re confident it’s the best climbing harness you’ll find for the price.

  • Weight: 10.7 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: Sport, trad, gym climbing
  • Affordable
  • Large, durable gear loops
  • Simple, straightforward design
  • Could use more cushion on the lumbar

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best for Beginners: Petzl Luna

Petzl Luna Harness

Overall, testers found that the Petzl Luna ($90) is a great all-around harness that’s comfortable and easy to pull on fast. The aluminum, double-back buckles are smooth and friendly to use — on both the waist and leg adjustment points — and the padding on the waist and legs makes rappels and hanging more enjoyable.

The harness has a large gear-carry capacity with two large, slightly forward-angled gear loops in the front and another three soft, round gear loops toward the back. However, these gear loops are smaller than those on other harnesses we tested. They’re also constructed of cord which is more prone to abrasion, especially if you are a trad climber and find yourself squeezing through chimneys.

Because of this, we preferred this harness for sport climbing where you only need room for quickdraws on your gear loops, and are less likely to be in situations where your harness is pressed up against the rock.

This harness is also one of the heavier models we tested. That, paired with the small, cord-constructed gear loops makes this a great choice for beginners who are mostly top roping and want a comfortable harness with adjustable leg loops, or sport climbers who don’t mind a bit of extra weight.

  • Weight: 16.6 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: sport and gym climbing
  • Easy to pull on with nice big waist buckle
  • Comfortable padding on waist and leg loops
  • Quick-release leg loops
  • Not the lightest harness
  • Small, cord-constructed gear loops more prone to abrasion

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Best For Ice Climbing and Mountaineering: Petzl Sitta

Petzl Sitta Harness

Are you an ice climber or mountaineer looking for a specialized, ultra-lightweight harness for your next winter outing or high-altitude expedition? Look no further than the Petzl Sitta ($200) – a slim and streamlined harness weighing in at 9 oz that packs down small, saving room in your pack, while still designed to be comfortable to climb in all day.

The Sitta has an extremely thin and flexible waistband and leg loops. They have high-modulus polyethylene strands running through them for better weight distribution despite the thin material. And the leg loops are elasticized, stretching easily over bulky layers and providing optimal freedom of movement.

With four spacious gear loops for racking gear and slots for ice tools, the Sitta is the ideal choice for ice climbing or mountaineering, and is also a great choice for high-end sport climbing due to its light weight.

The downsides to this harness are in its price tag and specialization. Clocking it at $200, this is the most expensive harness we tested. It is also a very specialized harness, and not one we would recommend for all styles of climbing. If you don’t mind paying a premium to shave weight, however, you won’t be disappointed by this high-end, ultra-light harness.

  • Weight: 9 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: No
  • Activity: Ice or sport climbing, mountaineering
  • Ultralight
  • Extremely packable
  • Large gear loops and slots for ice tools
  • Very expensive
  • Non-adjustable leg loops
  • Specialized

Check Price at Amazon

Best for Multi-pitch Climbing:: Edelrid Helia

Edelrid Helia Harness

The Edelrid Helia ($140) harness is the most supportive and comfortable harness that Edelrid makes, with some unique design features that make it a great choice for multi-pitch rock climbing. Padding on this harness is strategically placed in certain areas to maximize comfort while keeping the overall weight of the harness lower.

The butterfly-shaped waist belts help distribute weight and make hanging in this harness remarkably comfortable, which is key to making hanging belays bearable on long routes. The gear loops are large and spacious, and a fifth loop in the back is made with durable plastic for hanging a haul line or any other gear essentials.

A removable small zippered bag is also included to make stashing bars, gels, topos, or other small items a breeze, making this the ultimate multi-pitch harness.

While the gear loops on this harness are spacious, there were a few things about them that our testers wish could be improved. One thing of note is that the back gear loops are larger than the front, and we would prefer this to be the other way around. When racking gear, most trad climbers will put the majority of their rack on the front loops, while reserving the back loops for draws, slings, and anchor building materials.

The padding of the harness also comes down underneath the gear loops, causing there to be less space to easily clip gear on and off. We would love to see either longer gear loops on this harness or less of an overlap with the padding of the waist belt for better gear access. Despite our techy complaints, it still outperformed the rest as the best climbing harness for multi-pitch endeavors.

  • Weight:
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing
  • Strategic, comfortable padding placement
  • Haul loop is spacious and durable
  • Removable zippered bag for stashing essentials
  • Bulky, not a good choice for sport climbing
  • Front gear loops slightly smaller than back gear loops
  • Padding of waist belt interferes with space on gear loops
  • Expensive

Check Price at REI

Best for Bigwalls: Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe

Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe Harness

The most unique element and the thing you might notice first on the Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe Harness ($130) is the double belay loop, which is one of the many design features that make this harness the safest and most durable of all the harnesses we tested. Every component has a strength rating of 10kN or 2250 lbs, which is the max impact force rating of a modern climbing rope.

This harness is burly, durable, and comfortable, making it a great pick for long trad routes or big wall climbing. “The Safe Tech Deluxe Harness has a wider waist belt and thicker foam compared to most women’s harnesses, so it feels super durable and beefy,” our tester said.

Being so durable comes at a cost, however, mostly in weight. At 20 oz, this is by far the heaviest harness we tested, and one of the heaviest harnesses on the market in general. You will not want to wear this harness for your sport climbing redpoints, as its weight will be noticeable.

The buckle is also the old-school, double-back method of threading, which takes longer to fasten and could be prone to threading wrong, leading to potential accidents if not adequately double-checked.

If you want a comfortable, secure, and safe harness for your next trip up El Capitan, look no further than the Safe Tech.

  • Weight: 20 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: Trad, multi-pitch, big wall climbing
  • Every component has a strength rating of 10kN
  • Double belay loop for less clutter belaying and rappelling
  • Comfortable padding
  • Made in the USA
  • Old school, double-back buckle
  • Bulky
  • Heavy

Check Price at Backcountry

Best Of The Rest

Black Diamond Women’s Airnet Harness

Black Diamond airNET Harness

The Black Diamond Women’s Airnet Harness ($170) is the lightest harness we tested, clocking in at a mere 8 oz. Made with Black Diamond’s airNET technology, this harness distributes load evenly over the “net” during falls, allowing it to be supportive while retaining its ultralight weight.

This harness is designed for the high-end, single-pitch sport climber who wants ultimate freedom of movement, and a “barely there” feeling so that nothing comes in the way of them sending their hardest pitch. 

This is another highly specialized harness with a high price tag, and therefore not recommended for beginner climbers, trad climbers, or climbers looking for an all-around harness. With non-adjustable leg loops, only two rigid gear loops, no padding, and a high price point, this is a harness that will probably be best used for serious redpoints (not for “hang dogging” or sitting in your harness and working moves on your route).

If you’re a serious sport climber who wants the extra edge while in send mode, this harness is made with you in mind.

  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: No
  • Activity: High-end sport climbing
  • Ultralightweight
  • Freedom of movement and breathability
  • “Barely there” feeling
  • Expensive
  • Non-adjustable leg loops
  • Not comfortable for hanging in
  • Highly specialized

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Mammut Ophir 3 Slide

Mammut Ophir 3 Slide Harness

The Mammut Ophir 3 Slide ($65) weighs 12.3 oz and features four slightly rigid, forward-angled gear loops. It has a strong haul loop that’s rated to hold nearly 900 pounds. The harness is fully adjustable at the waist and leg loops.

Designed with Mammut’s Split Webbing Technology, the weight-bearing strands of webbing inside the waist belt are split to ride above and below your hips for optimal support. Another unique feature is that the fabric of the tie-in points will turn a different color after they are worn down past the point of safe use.

This harness sports cord-constructed, flexible gear loops. “I love floppy gear loops like these ones, because, ergonomically, clipping gate-in feels best for me,” our tester pointed out.

“Hard, rigid gear loops force gate-out clipping. With hard loops, if you clip inward, stacked-up carabiners are forced to rise at an awkward, forward angle as the loop fills. If you carry an entire rack on the harness, you’ll notice.” And while this gear tester likes the floppy gear loops for clipping gear, another tester prefers rigid gear loops for fast and easy clipping. Simply put, this choice comes down to personal preference.

We like the Ophir 3 Slide for its comfortable fit and thoughtful features. But if we’re being really picky, an extra half-inch of length on the height of the back padding would be ideal to provide more support to the lower back while hanging.

  • Weight: 12.3 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: Sport, trad, ice, and gym climbing
  • Extremely strong haul loop
  • Two-part webbing construction provides support and comfort
  • Fabric of tie-in points changes color when worn down
  • Could use more length in the height of the back padding for support

Check Price at REI

Petzl Selena

Petzl Selena Harness

The Petzl Selena ($75) is another great harness for beginner climbers, sport climbers, or gym climbers. Very similar in design to the aforementioned Petzl Luna, there are a few key differences in the Selena.

The padded, contoured waistbelt does a great job supporting the lower back, sitting comfortably right above the hips. It’s lighter than the Luna by 2.8 oz, and has fewer gear loops and no adjustable leg loops for a more streamlined profile. This makes it a great beginner or sport climbing harness because it is light without sacrificing comfort.

The Luna is a better choice, however, if you plan on doing anything that requires more gear like trad climbing, ice climbing, or mountaineering. The Selena lacks the 5th, large gear loop in the back, and doesn’t have adjustable leg loops to accommodate more layers for colder weather climbing.

A more simplified version than the Luna, at a lower weight and price point, makes this one of the best climbing harnesses for beginner climbers.

  • Weight: 13.8 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: No
  • Activity: Sport climbing, gym climbing
  • Light
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Non-adjustable leg loops
  • Smaller gear loops than other models

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Edelrid Autana

Edelrid Autana Harness

The folks at Edelrid make a lot of fantastic harnesses, and the Edelrid Autana ($90) is no different. A lightweight performance harness, the Autana is manufactured in compliance with bluesign® standards, which enforces strict chemical safety protocols for textiles ensuring that the supply chain of production is not harmful to the environment.

The Autana is also a versatile women’s climbing harness, with five gear loops, adjustable leg loops, two attachment options for ice screw clips, and a tie-in point with a different interior color for wear indication.

One of our testers noticed, however, that the harness was susceptible to abrasion over time, making it perhaps not the best choice for trad climbing. Our testers also prefer gear loops that have plastic casing over the cord for the best durability for trad climbing.

This harness is probably best used for performance sport climbing due to its light weight, and ice climbing due to its additional features.

  • Weight: 10.3 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: Sport, gym, ice climbing
  • Made entirely with bluesign® certified materials
  • Adjustable leg loops
  • Five gear loops and two ice screw attachment points
  • Lightweight
  • Exterior of harness susceptible to abrasion over time
  • Cord-constructed gear loops also susceptible to abrasion

Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon

Edelrid Jayne

Edelrid Jayne Harness

The Edelrid Jayne ($70) harness is a great all-around harness, though it doesn’t have enough stand-out features to make it into our top picks. Made with bluesign® certified materials, this is another great sustainable option.

Four moderately sized gear loops make it a good choice for sport or gym climbing, but it lacks the space offered by other harnesses that would make it great for bigger adventures that require more gear, like multi-pitch trad climbing.

A unique feature we like is how the sliding waist belt moves around so you can dial in your fit and keep the tie-in points centered. The leg loops on this harness are also wide and comfortable, with stretchy mesh on the front for optimal leg mobility. 

As mentioned earlier, there aren’t really any stand-out features that make the Jayne really shine. It has a tab to clip a carabiner to in the back for a chalk bag or haul line, but it is small and not rated for a heavy load at 25 kg.

This harness is also bulkier compared to the other lighter, more streamlined models we tested. That being said, this is still a great all-around harness at a moderate price point and would be great for beginner climbers who don’t want to spend too much money.

  • Weight: 12.7 oz
  • Adjustable leg loops?: Yes
  • Activity: Sport climbing, gym climbing
  • Made with bluesign® certified materials
  • Comfortable 
  • Sliding waist belt for adjustability
  • Only four gear loops
  • Small haul loop with low strength rating
  • A bit bulky

Check Price at REICheck Price at Backcountry

Best Climbing Harnesses For Women Comparison Chart

Harness Price Weight Adjustable leg loops Activity
Black Diamond Solution $80 11.64 oz No Sport, trad, alpine climbing
Black Diamond Momentum  $65 10.7 oz Yes Sport, trad, gym climbing
Petzl Luna $90 16.6 oz Yes sport and gym climbing
Petzl Sitta $200 9 oz No Ice or sport climbing, mountaineering
Edelrid Helia $140 Yes trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing
Metolius Safe Tech Deluxe $130 20 oz Yes Trad, multipitch, big wall climbing
Black Diamond Women’s Airnet Harness $170 8 oz No High-end sport climbing
Mammut Ophir 3 Slide $65 12.3 oz Yes Sport, trad, ice, and gym climbing
Petzl Selena $75 13.8 oz No Sport climbing, gym climbing
Edelrid Autana $90 10.3 oz Yes Sport, gym, ice climbing
Edelrid Jayne $70 12.7 oz Yes Sport climbing, gym climbing


We put these harnesses through their paces in several dreamy destinations, including Ten Sleep, WY; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Why You Should Trust Us

Miya Tsudome is one of the primary gear testers on this review. With years of writing gear reviews, she takes a decade of climbing experience and background as a climbing guide for the Yosemite Mountaineering School to help you make the most informed purchasing decision for your climbing harness needs.

Living in Bishop, California on the flanks of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Miya spends all of her free time in a harness. Whether that be sport climbing in the Owens River Gorge, trad climbing in nearby Yosemite Valley, or alpine climbing in the High Sierra.

She and the other testers on this review spent weeks assessing the comfort, adjustability, fit, weight, and features of all twelve harnesses in this review, to help you make the most informed decision for your next climbing harness purchase. Overall, we’re confident these are the best climbing harnesses for women.

How to Choose a Climbing Harness

All body types are unique and have diverse proportions. One climber’s waist might be narrow or boxy while the same person’s quads are built-out or straight. Harnesses don’t come in “one size fits all.” Especially the harnesses without adjustable leg loops. Therefore it’s best to go to a store and try on a variety of harnesses before making your purchase, so you can be sure to find one that fits your body type best.

As you choose a harness, consider selecting one that’s fully adjustable like the Black Diamond Momentum, Petzl Luna, or the Metolius Safe Tech if you plan on climbing in various weather conditions and environments where you may want to add or subtract layers.

Sport climbers can get away with smaller gear loops, but you’ll need more space for a rack if you want to tackle long traditional climbs; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Adjustable leg loops can help accommodate layers for cold weather climbing, and also allow you to dial in the fit and feel of your harness to just the way you like it. While some people might like snug leg loops, others will prefer them to be looser around their thighs for comfort and mobility. Again, this is all a matter of personal preference, so trying before you buy becomes that much more important.

What Makes a Climbing Harness Women’s-specific?

Very often, women have uniquely different body shapes than men, which is why harnesses mostly come in both a women’s and men’s version. Women’s waists tend to be narrower than their hips, with a longer rise between their waist and their legs.

Men’s models tend to be geared toward straighter bodies, and those harnesses will sit closer to the hips as a result. The key to finding the right harness for you is to evaluate your body type. If you have a more narrow, straight torso, a men’s harness might actually fit you better. If your body type is more hourglass in shape, than a women’s harness is designed just for you.

Other features that make a harness more female-friendly are easily detachable leg loops, as found in the Petzl Luna, Sitta, and Selena, as well as the Edelrid Helia, Jayne, and Autana. With a quick-deploy buckle, you can detach the leg loops and take a squat to use the bathroom without having to take off your whole harness. This is especially nice when on a multi-pitch climb where taking off your harness is not an option for safety reasons.

Women’s waists tend to be narrower than men’s, while their thighs tend to be larger. This is another thing to consider when purchasing a harness, because harnesses without adjustable leg loops might fit great in the waist but be too small around the thighs, depending on your body type. This is another reason why its best to try before you buy.

Different Harnesses for Different Styles of Climbing

Another thing to consider before you buy a new harness is what style of climbing you will mostly participate in. Harnesses vary widely in their weight and features, making some most suitable for certain types of climbing than others.

BDMomentum (1)
A sport climbing harness needs to be comfortable. While hanging belays are uncommon, hanging around and working difficult routes is the M.O. for many climbers; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

Sport Climbing

If you are primarily a sport climber, then you will want a lighter, more minimalist harness as you only need enough space on your gear loops for quick draws, and don’t want to be weighed down when you are going for your hard redpoint attempts. The lightest harnesses we tested are the Black Diamond airNet and the Petzl Sitta, which are good choices for the most serious sport climbers. But the Black Diamond Solution, Petzl Selena, and Edelrid Autana are all great sport climbing harness options as well.

Trad Climbing

You will inevitably be carrying a lot more gear on your harness when trad climbing versus sport climbing, and therefore it is a good idea to get a harness with big, durable gear loops, with five loops instead of four being preferable, and a harness that is comfortable and supportive.

The Black Diamond Momentum is a great entry-level trad climbing harness, with its rigid, plastic-coated gear loops that are durable and abrasion resistant. The Edelrid Helia and the Metolius Safe Tech are also excellent choices for the psyched multi-pitch trad climber, with the Helia having five gear loops for ultimate gear racking, and a pouch for storing essentials on your waist. The Safe Tech has all its components strength rated up to 10kN, making it the safest harness in the lineup and therefore great for big wall trad or aid climbing.

Gym Climbing

If you find yourself more of an indoor plastic grabber, a beginner climber, or a top rope hero, then it’s best to buy a harness that is inexpensive and easy-to-use. You won’t need the frills of ice screw attachments, haul loops, or double belay loops. Instead, look for a comfortable, functional harness like the Black Diamond Momentum, Petzl Luna or Selena, or Edelrid Jayne.

These harnesses come at a lower price point, are comfortable, and are well equipped to stay in the gym or go to the crag. Until you need a more specialized harness, any of the above options will do just the trick.

Ice Climbing or Mountaineering

Lastly, if you prefer cold-weather or big mountain pursuits, there are harnesses out there that might be better suited to your specialty than others. You want a harness that is lightweight and packable, as you will already be carrying and wearing more gear. You also want a harness that has attachments for ice screws or loops for ice tools, a good haul loop for extra gear or a tag line, and a harness that is flexible enough to move well with your body when you are wearing bulky layers.

The Petzl Sitta is a remarkably lightweight harness; (photo/Miya Tsudome)

The Petzl Sitta is our top choice in this category, as it meets all the above requirements, plus is light enough to also function as a great sport climbing harness, justifying its high price tag.

1. What is the Difference Between Women’s and Men’s Harnesses?

Men and women have different body shapes and many harnesses are made to accommodate those differences. Women’s harnesses will typically have a narrower waist belt and a longer distance between the waist belt and leg loops.

This allows the harness to sit higher on the waist whereas a men’s harness will sit closer to the hips. Women’s harnesses will also typically come in different colorways than men’s harnesses. Depending on your body type, you should buy a harness that fits you best, regardless of gender.

2. How Should A Climbing Harness Fit a Woman?

A climbing harness should fit a woman snugly around the waist above the hips. This is because women tend to have a lower center of gravity than men, and a harness is the safest and most secure when it fits well around the waist. Leg loops should be snug but not overly loose or overly tight. This provides the most support and mobility for comfort and safety.

3. How Do I Know What Size Climbing Harness to Get?

The best way to determine what size climbing harness to get is to try one on in a store. Climbing harnesses come in all shapes and sizes, and one brand’s size small is not another brand’s size small. You can also look up the harness’s specs on each brand’s website, where measurements are typically listed.

Taking your own measurements into account, you will be able to determine what size you might want to buy. Another thing to consider is what type of climbing you will be doing. If you are doing any ice climbing or mountaineering or climbing in variable weather or in different seasons, you might want to size up to accommodate extra layers.

The post The Best Climbing Harnesses for Women in 2023 appeared first on GearJunkie.

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