How to wear climbing harness

How to Wear a Climbing Harness?

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With so many different climbing harnesses currently available in so many different styles, it is difficult to give an exact account of how to put on and wear a climbing harness.

Once you have purchased your climbing harness, it is highly advisable to take some time to read through the instruction manual that came with it.

The user manual will give you brand- and model-specific instructions on how to wear your climbing harness. It will also have instructions on how to maintain and clean your harness which is important to prolong the lifespan of your harness.

how to maintain and clean your harness

Basic steps of wearing and putting on a harness

Here I will list the basic steps of wearing and putting on a harness, these are universal pointers and not model specific, so they may vary from what is stated in your user manual.

  • Step 1. If the leg loops are adjustable loosen the leg loop straps as well as the strap that secures the waist belt.
  • Step 2. Either gather the harness together in your hands or lay it out on the floor, whichever makes it easiest for you to step into the harness. You need to pay special attention at this point to make sure that nothing is twisted or tangled The belay loop should face the front of the harness.
  • Step 3. Your iliac crest is situated more or less at belly button level, maybe slightly higher. You need to place the waist belt a bit above the iliac crest so it also above your hips, this will help the climbing harness to stay securely in place, even if you are upside down.
  • Step 4. Now that your harness is in place, you need to adjust the straps to your size and secure them tightly. You should be able to fit your flat hand between your leg and the leg loop strap and a maximum of two fingers between the waist belt and your waist for a perfect fit. The best fitting harness is able to adjust equally either way and should not be tightened to the maximum. If this is the case, you may need a different size harness. Start by adjusting the leg loops one at a time aim to make them as comfortable as possible

The tighter you make your leg loops, the more snug and comfortable you will be while hanging freely, however, it may affect your range of movement. On the other hand, looser leg loops allow for more mobility and motion but are not as comfortable. As long as they are secured the climbing harness is safe, so the final setting will depend on your comfort.

  • Step 5. Double check all your buckles and straps making sure everything is secure and that you are comfortable; make sure the buckles on each loop are doubled back. If you are confident everything is secured, you are ready to go.
looking to buy a climbing harness

Once you have done this a couple of times it will become second nature to you and you will be doing it much faster as well. It is important not to become overconfident and forget important steps when securing the climbing harness as the results of that could be fatal.

Check for damage and tears

You also need to remember to check your harness very carefully before and after use to make sure that there is no damage to it that will make it unsafe to use. If you see any damage no matter how insignificant you think it may be, you need to take it seriously and replace the harness. Never try to repair your harness.

As the climbing harness is the most important part of your climbing gear you need to fit the harness to make sure that it is the best climbing harness for you.

When you are looking to buy a climbing harness, you need to take into consideration what type of climbing you will be doing and also where you will be doing most of your climbing; where you will be doing most of your climbing is a big determining factor in the size of the harness that you choose, however, it is often overlooked.


If you are going to be climbing in an area with low temperatures, you will be wearing thicker clothing under your harness which may make the harness too tight, and the same goes for warmer temperatures with lighter clothing, making the harness too big.

When you are climbing, you will sometimes find yourself in uncomfortable positions so having a perfectly fitting harness and knowing how to wear it properly are extremely important. It is your comfort and safety that will be compromised.

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