One of the questions that we get asked often is what harness should I get. It is certainly a valid question but depends greatly on preference and the type of work being down. For WISPS and tower climbers, we are starting to see a trend moving towards rope access harnesses as opposed to the traditional tower climber harness. Therefore, we decided to buy a few different types and get to work. Below is a comparison of two popular rope access harnesses. The opinions are solely those of Tower One and we did not receive any special treatment from either manufacturer.
|DBi/Sala Exofit NEX Black-out Petzl Avao Bod Fast
In a recent study we compared the DBI Sala Exofit Blackout rope access and rescue harness to the Petzl Avao Bod Fast Rope access fall arrest harness for tower climbing use and here are our results.
Cost: While the DBI harness is nearly $100 less expensive than the Petzl, there are substantial differences to consider. Read below and and make your own judgments on what you are looking for in a new harness.
Doning: The Petzl is quite a bit easier to get on and off than the DBI is. With the fully removable chest section and fast buckles that allow you to just step through the waist and not each individual leg loop.
Comfort: The DBI harness has a plusher feeling padding than the PETZL but once on, they are both very comfortable to wear. However, the PETZL harness is more comfortable on a tower than the DBI without a seat.
Adjustment: The Petzl harness exceeds in speed and ease of adjusting the various straps to fit the harness to your size and needs. This definitely makes a difference in the approaching winter months as one day we may be in jeans and the next we may have full overhauls on. We don't want to spend fifteen minutes adjusting our gear each day.
Buckle attachments: The DBI has clip-in type buckles with posi-lock strap clamps that are very nice but are difficult to adjust the straps. The PETZL has a new style clip in buckle that is simple to use and is very easy to adjust.
“D” rings: The DBI has larger D rings than the PETZL, however, the main attachment ring on the Petzl seems to stay upright more than the DBI which makes it easier for restraint attachment.
Accessory loops: Both harnesses have about the same amount of loops for attaching gear and tools, but the Petzl has sewn loops to keep things separated and from sliding back and forth.
Over all: In my opinion as a climber for WISPs that may climb 2-3 different towers in a day and as a DBi Sala fan for 9+ years, I would have to lean toward the Petzl harness for ease of getting it on and off and for the ease of adjustment.
If you have any experiences with these harnesses we would like to hear about it. Please post in the comments below.