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Harnesses are one of those things that are always there, it's just hard to remember they are. Except when they hurt! Harnesses are the link between all of that other equipment, and the climber. The preferred type of harness for climbing is the leg loop style. Diaper harnesses, which we don't go into detail about, are uncomfortable, unadjustable, and somewhat unsafe.
The harness above is pictured upside down. At the bottom are four plastic loops. These are called gear loops. Quickdraws and other equipment are attached to these loops for easy access while climbing. Moving up is the waist belt. This particular harness has two buckles and two pieces of webbing for the waist belt. Most harnesses have one. When putting on your harness, and before climbing, always check to be sure your waist belt is doubled back! Forgetting to double back the waist belt has caused many accidents.
Moving up, the next piece is the belay loop. It is a small ring of webbing that the carabeiner attached to the belay device can be clipped into while belaying.
Next are the leg loops. These are adjustable, and should have lots of padding if you want a comfortable fall.
Harnesses are essentially webbing with gear loops and padding. If you are ever planning on hanging in your harness for more than one minute, you want serious padding in your harness. The padding on the harness pictured above is a foam like material. Most harnesses use a soft cloth for padding inside the leg loops and waist.
When shopping for a harness, you will want to at least try the harness on before buying it. Make sure that it can fit very snugly. If possible, hang in it for awhile to feel how comfortable it is.[an error occurred while processing this directive]