Ryan K.wrote a review of Black Diamond Chaos Harness on February 13, 2017
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I really wanted to like this harness.
But I can't.
I bought this since it seemed to be the lowest profile harness I could find: no leg loop buckles, minimal padding, etc. This has turned out, well, as advertised. But beyond that, I don't have much positive to say about this harness.
The very first route I did in this left me with bruising on my hips in the shape of the waist belt for over a week. Granted it was a pretty heinous flared, bombay chimney to offwidth, but I've done similar stupid decisions with other harnesses without results like that. I really hoped it would break in quickly, which it has, but kind of alarmingly so. Despite being only a few months old, the structure feels pretty similar to my 2 month old aspect, and not a ton better than my 2 year old one. Except those are actually comfortable. Guess we'll see how that one plays out though. The face fabric is holding up great, just the quicker than expect softening that concerns me.
Edit: Actually I take that back. The face fabric is holding up pretty well, but the abrasion resistant material? Well, that's coming off in small chunks in multiple places. Is this some sort of joke?
Even broken in, it is incredibly uncomfortable to hang in. I even hate belaying an average sized person hangdogging on TR. The waist somehow manages to crush my hips, first rib, kidneys or all of the above, no matter how I position it. I have started referring to this as the BD Kidney crusher.
That aside, the fit is weird. the leg loops are on the small side for the waist. I love the rigid gear loops and wish more companies did this. It feels like you can fit a lot more pieces without it turning into a crowded cluster vs soft loops. However, the loops are excessively justified towards the back on the smaller sizes. I am right between a small and medium - the medium mostly fits if it is completely tightened down, but if I am carrying a heavy rack, I'd like to be able to snug it up a little more. I have the aspect in a medium and this in a small. I don't mind the gear loops on the aspect (wouldn't want them further back but forward would be okay), but in the chaos, the rear loops feel almost directly behind me. I also don't like how the harness is pretty lopsided unless tightened as tight it will go, but I know that's how a lot of harnesses are so that's just me nitpicking.
Gear loops - a flagship "trad harness" should be able to carry everything one would want on an average multipitch route. This cannot. The medium small gear loops make the "5th gear loop", as featured on some of the company's lower end harnesses, completely mandatory in my opinion. Yes, you can carry a gear sling, use all shoulder slings not alpine draws, not wear gloves, freeze your ass off at belays, get super dehydrated, break all of your toes from walking off in your climbing shoes, not carry a cordelette, etc. But I can also do that with a $60 sport weenie harness. And be more comfortable since my kidneys will actually be intact at the end of the day.
This would be 3 stars if the cost to features ratio wasn't so dismal. Most of my complaints are fit related complaints but they are subjective and I realize that. Since many others seem to like the fit, I don't necessarily hold it against BD (minus the gear loop locations). All those complaints aside, I think it's a fairly "average" piece of gear. However, at this price point, it might be one of the most overpriced items of gear I unfortunately own.
Edit 2: Harness lasted about 3/4 of a spring in the desert before the leg loop face fabric (not the load bearing structure, not yet anyways) was disintegrating and a gear loop broke. So all in all, fairly average durability. My assertion stands that this is, or rather was, the most overpriced piece of gear I have owned.
Black diamond please offer the aspect with non adjustable leg loops. That is all.