Video: Petzl Calidris Harness Review

Join me today as I review the Petzl Calidris harness.  I have been wearing this harness for about 2 years and it is excellent.  It is very well padded and your body weight is evenly distributed across the entire width of the padding.  Petzl calls this Frame technology.  Other harnesses just add bulky, viagra sweaty padding in an attempt to make it more comfortable.  The Calidris is light, comfortable, and cool.

I even show the old Calidris and it is easy to see the many improvements Petzl has made.  Then, when compared to an “average” climbing harness, the beefed up nature of the Calidris is obvious.  This harness is awesome!!

What harness do you wear?  Do you wish it was more comfortable? If so, check out the Petzl Calidris.

  • grigore

    the singing rock is classic! for its price and what it is, it can’t be beat – lightweight (alpine), adjustable (trad), bare bones (sport)! For $30, you can buy 3 singing rocks instead of just 1 petzl. Is the petzl 3x more comfy? perhaps. does it last 3x as long? perhaps. If you’ve got the dough, petzl is the way to go, but i’d buy another singing rock in a heartbeat.

    • Gif

      Ha! I don’t know… I think the Singing Rock is kind of a turd. Is it good for $30? Yes. Is it a good harness? In my opinion, no. It took only 1 hanging belay to convince me to toss that sucker and get a better harness. Good for a starter, but the Petzl is sick!

      Thanks again for the comment, Grigore!

  • Jeremy

    I currently am wearing the Arc’teryx S240 Harness and I love it and before that I was running a cheapo Singing Rock harness that fit like a glove (2 ends of the spectrum as far as price is concerned). For my job, I recently designed a high end industrial full body fall protection harness. As part of the development, I benchmarked most of the leading recreational rock climbing harnesses. As part of this benchmarking, I spent time in each of these harnesses at the crag so I could learn the benefits and drawbacks first hand. After all that I’ve learned about making a comfortable harness, it all boils down to fit. Everyone’s body sizes are different and manufacturers have to make a decision on how they plan to fit all body types with the few sizes that they offer. In doing so, they each have different fixed dimensions that they have chosen. Getting a harness that most closely matches your body is the number one most important feature if you are looking at comfort. The price that you pay for the harness has no bearing on this fit. You have to try them, and spend time in them, to find the best fit. For this reason, you will always see conflicting opinions on the best harness on posts like this.

    I have also found that surface area is key to comfort if you spend a lot of time hanging in the harness (not necessarily the type or amount of padding). Often, the larger the surface area of the load bearing points, the better, provided they are not in the wrong spots (largest areas should be on the center of your back, on the side of your pelvis, and under the back of your thighs). This theory is what makes the Arc’teryx harness so comfortable, yet minimalistic. This harness barely has any padding, however it uses variable width webbing (contributing to it’s cost). In webbing, the force is carried along the warp fibers which run parallel to the webbing. By using variable width webbing, the force is distributed over a larger surface area. Most harnesses use a constant width webbing and then try to spread the force over a larger surface area by adding padding between the wearer and the webbing. Over time, the force will penetrate through the padding at the edges of the webbing under the pad on all but the thickest of padding.

    There are many other factors that contribute to a good harness, but fit and the fundamental design is the key to comfort. Sweat wicking materials, easy to adjust buckles, and the size, shape, and position of the gear loops are also important. Often any gear loop issues can be overcome with some homemade engineering to fix the any issues. Select a harness based on fit and you’ll be very satisfied.

    • Gif

      Superb recommendations here, Jeremy! Nothing like getting advice from someone who designs harness for rescue use! Obviously, those harnesses have to be comfortable, so you know all the key points that go into a comfortable harness. I have not had the chance to try the Arc’teryx harness. I have heard nothing but positive reviews about it. I will definitely have to check it out and make a comparison. The Calidris is similar to what you describe: it has a large surface area, and the construction is NOT just one strand of webbing with lots of padding. Misty Mountain harnesses are built with one strand and padding, and I agree, that is not the way to go. Thanks so much for a great comment, Jeremy. Perhaps some day you will design a harness for climbing use!

  • MK

    Hi Gif, thanks for the very detailed review. A couple questions please: 1) I presume you got the smaller sized Calidris, is that correct? I have read somewhere that the smaller one has too small of leg loops, but the larger sized one is overall very bulky. 2) A lot of people have advised me against wearing a “big wall” harness when I’m doing indoor gym climbing, saying that it impedes movement for some trickier moves, and told me to get the trimmed-down Petzl Corax instead. Have you found yourself suffering from constrained mobility due to the Calidris? I would love to have something more comfortably padded, even when indoors, but I am concerned about what people are saying regarding range of motion.

    • Gif

      Hi MK, thanks for watching. I have the smaller sized Calidris, and yes the leg loops are small compared to the size of the waist belt. I wore this harness for 4 years and was never hindered by its bulk. I never found it to impede movement. It’s not minimalist in any sense, but I didn’t find it to hinder me. I recently replaced my aging Calidris with the new Petzl Sama. Check out my review here: http://rockclimberlife.com/petzl-sama-initial-impressions

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