Your climbing harness is one of the most essential pieces of equipment that most climbers will use during their climbing adventures. Not only will your climbing harness be used to connect you to certain pieces of gear along the way of your climb, but a climbing harness will be one of the most important factors in keeping you safe in the event of a fall. If your climbing harness is too tight, you'll have problems climbing since your movements will be greatly restricted. Alternately, if your harness is too loose, your harness will slip, chafe, and could possibly even let go of you. Knowing how your climbing harness should fit is a great way to help keep you safe, and have the best climb possible.
Just as a pair of jeans fits differently on different people who try them on, so the same climbing harness will not work for every person. Be sure to try on several different types of harnesses so that you can find one that fits comfortably. Here are a few other tips and pointers for learning how a harness should fit you.
Fitting the Waistband
The waistband of your harness should be snug, but not uncomfortable. The waistband should ride just above your hipbones, not so tight that it should interfere with your breathing, but tight enough that you can't pull the harness down over your hips no matter how hard to try. Children and adults with narrower hips should probably stay away from the more conventional harnesses and instead stick with a more full body harness.
Fitting the Leg Loops
The leg loops on your climbing harness should also be snug, but not to the point of being uncomfortably so. Wearing the leg loops too tightly or even too loose could result in an painful injury in the event of a fall. If your leg loops are adjustable, their webbing straps should be long enough for you to double them back through their buckles with at least 2 inches left over.
When you are choosing a climbing harness, make sure that you are wearing the kinds of clothes that you will be climbing in. Be very careful when fitting a seat harness (which is one of the most popular kinds of harnesses). As mentioned before, a harness that is too large, the harness may slide up onto your lower ribs, compressing your diaphragm and leaving you gasping for air, or worse, made slide off during a fall. But a harness that is too small will squeeze you too tightly, making climbing an uncomfortable sport for you.
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for climbing harnesses, you can be aware of the fitting requirements to help you to both stay comfortable during the climb, as well as being a great piece of protection.
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