Rappelling Harness Vs Climbing Harness – What’s Differences?

Cliff climbing is an exercise and an adventure rolled into one that is filled with stimulating experiences. Often, climbing is an activity you can do while you are on vacation or at camp. You are sure to tamper with your fight hormones once you get to that height, especially when all you have to depend on as a climber are ropes.

Handling those raging hormones might appear to be impossible, but climbing with a sturdy harness can help eliminate your fears and improve your skill. This will also reduce, by a sizable factor, your chances of getting hurt.

There are different rock climbing techniques peculiar to the peak areas of the rock, and while few climbers carry out free climbing (which is way too risky), others would rather settle for a climbing harness.

Speaking of harnesses; there are different types that you’ll find on the market, based on individual features and how they suit your climbing preference. You’ll be doing yourself good to read through this guide as we walk you through the difference between rappelling and climbing harnesses as well as the qualities to look out for in a good harness. Let’s set the ball rolling, shall we?

Are There any Differences Between Rappelling Harness and Climbing Harness?

Rappelling strictly involves the downward movement of a climber from the top of a cliff. This is simply the reserve motion of climbing, and to achieve smooth repelling, it has to be done with an equally good harness that helps you lower yourself down easily and he person holding the belay rope, or the belayer, pulls the rope through a belay device as the climber goes up.

Rappelling Harness Vs Climbing Harness

To be factual the climbing and rappelling harness is not in any way different. The only distinguishing factor is what direction you’re going on the cliff – whether upward or downward. So, to put the rappelling harness side-by-side with the climbing harness may end up in a futile comparison. But for the sake of your safety and many other climbers, we’ll discuss, in the best way we can, how to ensure you get a good climbing or rappelling harness.

Now that you know there’s no difference between climbing and a rappelling harness, let’s help you settle on a choice that will make your next rock climbing a memorable one.

Choosing a Good Climbing and Rappelling Harness

There are myriads of climbing or rappelling harnesses on the market and just as you’d guess, it’s not easy finding what you need for the proper protection. Let’s solve that problem as we discuss a general feature you’d find on a good harness that makes both climbing and rappelling comfortable and less risky.

Climbing and Rappelling Harness

Quality of The Material

When going for a climbing or rappelling harness, the first thing you should be on the lookout for is the material of this gear. Mountain climbing is a tough and mental activity. To make the experience smooth, you need a harness with tough material that can withstand the cruel and rocky environment, yet delivering great function.

Nylon is a common material that is used in the manufacturing of climbing harnesses. This is because it is durable and does not get ripped easily. Another plus to nylon harnesses is the fact that it is water-resistant, which implies that you can go rock climbing in the rain. If you need a climbing or rappelling harness that will serve you well on your next climb, make sure it is made of nylon.

How Big or Small is It?

Climbing or rappelling, you need to keep size in mind. A small harness will bring injury to your legs, especially your thighs. Choosing a harness that is too large on the other hand may not secure you enough up there as you stand at a higher risk of slipping through.  If you plan to go on a hike you will need to make sure the apparatus fits into your backpack.   Once you leave camp on your hike carrying objects are out for long distances and a backpack is a must-have item.

To have good support when climbing or rappelling, your harness should snugly fit you so it cannot be pulled down easily, especially when climbing.

The State of The Device

As much as you don’t want to spend your money on a cheap climbing or rappelling harness, you should also be conscious of its condition. If you’re considering buying a secondhand harness for climbing or rappelling, you should watch out for frays as well as the quality.

Breakdown of the Equipment

By now you’ve discovered two things – first is that a climbing harness is in no way different from a rappelling harness. Secondly, you now know what to look out for when choosing a climbing or rappelling harness.

Next, we’ll dive a little deeper into the components of a climbing harness. Familiarizing yourself with these components will help you make a better choice for every climb.

Climbing Rappelling Harness


Safety and protections come first when climbing or rappelling and buckles are a great way to ensure you get all the safety you may need at any height. Buckles on a climbing harness may be manual or automatic depending on your preference. Automatic buckles however help facilitate easy and quick adjustment.

Rear Risers

The rear risers are elastic webbings used to join the leg loops (from the back), to the harness. They can easily be detached or attached through the plastic buckle to help with releasing the keg loops when climbing. Climbing or rappelling harnesses without the rear riser will not enable climbers to free their legs.

Waist Belt

The waist belt should strike a good balance between safety and comfort. It should sit fitted on your waist as it provides some form of cushioning. The design of the waistband may differ for several climbing styles plus the cushioning feature is usually minimized to reduce weight.

Gear Loops

If you look closely at the waistband of your climbing harness, it won’t take long before you notice the gear loops (made of tough cord) that are positioned at intervals. The purpose of the gear loop is to assist climbers with conveying other climbing gear up the cliff.

Loops may differ on several climbing occasions. Trad climbers will need a harness with more gear loops than a sport climber will.

Our Verdict

There you go! There’s no difference between a climbing harness and a rappelling harness. The only notable difference is the direction you’re going either when sport climbing or when doing trad climbing and for deeper insight, you may want to know more on the anatomy of a climbing harness to help you make a better choice when purchasing one. Only remember; a climbing or rappelling harness must be durable, safe, and versatile to improve your climbing experience.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

More Posts - Website

Leave a Comment