Whether you’re rapping into a slot canyon or whipping twenty feet off of a sport climb, a climbing harness is required to comfortably distribute your body weight and provide a secure tie-in point. Although harnesses are specialized for different types of climbing, there are basic features every harness has in common. These include a waist belt with a manual double-back buckle or an automatic double-back buckle, adjustable or fixed leg loops, two tie-in points, and a belay loop that connects the tie-in points.
Sport climbing harnesses are designed to be as low profile and lightweight as possible. They will typically have minimal padding, fixed leg loops, and a couple of gear loops.
Bigwall and trad climbing harnesses provide more comfort and versatility for longer routes that involve lots of gear and time spent on the wall. They will typically have extra padding, adjustable leg loops, at least four gear loops, and a rear haul loop.
Ice climbing harnesses are similar to trad climbing harnesses, but they include features geared towards cold weather and ice climbing equipment. These include leg loops that adjust to fit winter clothing, at least four gear loops, a rear haul loop, and clipper slots for attaching ice screws and tools.