Reviews You Can Rely On

Arc'teryx C-Quence Review

A versatile, comfortable harness with refined features, and our favorite harness on the market
arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review
The C-Quence has huge gear loops that can hold all of the gear you'll ever need for long multi-pitch trad climbs.
Credit: Andy Wellman
Editors' Choice Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $145 List
Pros:  Very comfortable, large gear loops, good mobility, versatile for all types of climbing
Cons:  Not very light, expensive
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jeff Dobronyi & Andy Wellman  ⋅  Nov 3, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 15
  • Hanging Comfort - 30% 8.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 25% 8.0
  • Features - 20% 8.0
  • Versatility - 15% 8.0
  • Weight and Packability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx C-Quence is the best all-around harness because it earned excellent marks across all our testing metrics and is versatile enough for any style of climbing. We found it was a large improvement in terms of comfort over previous Arc'teryx harnesses, especially where the newly designed and shaped leg loops wrap around the insides of the legs. It has plenty of gear storage on its five gear loops, so you can easily climb multi-pitch or alpine routes without needing a different harness. While there are many high-quality specialty harnesses that may work better for a given purpose, it is hard to beat this one for use across all disciplines of climbing. If you are looking for the best harness money can buy for any technical pursuit, this is the harness for you.

Compare to Similar Products

 
arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review
This Product
Arc'teryx C-Quence
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $145 List$100 List
$99.95 at REI
$80 List
$79.95 at REI
$75 List
$74.95 at REI
$59.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
78
74
73
71
55
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Very comfortable, large gear loops, good mobility, versatile for all types of climbingComfortable to hang in, large gear loops, good mobility, versatileUnrivaled comfort while belaying and hanging, good mobility, affordableGreat features, comfortable, highly versatile, inexpensiveExtremely light, great mobility, functional enough
Cons Not very light, expensiveNo ice clipper slots, heavyGear loops are small for carrying a large rack, not very versatile for other styles of climbingNo ice clipper slots, heavyUncomfortable for hanging, not suitable for most types of climbing
Bottom Line A versatile, comfortable harness with refined features, and our favorite harness on the marketA comfortable harness that excels on long, multi-pitch trad routes and is versatile enough for all kinds of rock climbingOne of the most comfortable harnesses you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbingA high-performing rock climbing harness at an excellent priceThis ultra-lightweight skiing and mountaineering harness is the best in its class
Rating Categories Arc'teryx C-Quence Black Diamond Solut... Black Diamond Solution Petzl Sama Blue Ice Choucas Light
Hanging Comfort (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
3.0
Standing Comfort and Mobility (25%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
Features (20%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
3.0
Versatility (15%)
8.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
3.0
Weight and Packability (10%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
10.0
Total Scores (%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Specs Arc'teryx C-Quence Black Diamond Solut... Black Diamond Solution Petzl Sama Blue Ice Choucas Light
Designed for these disciplines Rock, ice, alpine Sport, trad, multi-pitch Sport Sport, indoor, trad Mountaineering, ski touring, ice
Weight (size large) 13.7 oz 15.1 oz 13.3 oz 14.8 oz 3.3 oz
Gear Loops 5 5 4 4 2
Haul Loop Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Adjustable Legs No No, elastic No, elastic No, elastic No
Self-locking buckle Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Ice Clipper Slots Yes - 4 No No No Yes - 2
Waist Belt Construction Contoured WST (Warp Strength Technology) Super Fabric Fusion Comfort Construction: Three bands of webbing, breathable mesh, EVA foam insert Double webbing strips padded with EndoFrame technology UHMW polyethylene, polyamide

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review - clipping bolts in penitente canyon in the arc'teryx c-quence.
Clipping bolts in Penitente Canyon in the Arc'teryx C-Quence.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Hanging Comfort


This is one comfortable harness to hang in. Arc'teryx's "Warp Strength Technology" design is very thin, almost unpadded, and super flexible. Very thin wires, either in a cross-hatching pattern or lined up parallel and running close together side-by-side, effectively distribute the weight across the entire strip of waist belt material. We find this design to work better than others that only have one or two pieces of webbing sandwiched between foam padding.


The waist belt doesn't ride up too much above the hips when hanging, so it only minimally crunches the kidneys. Likewise, the wide leg loops disperse the load well enough that we never suffered loss of circulation in our legs while hanging for a long time, which can happen in other harnesses. For taking lots of falls while sport climbing, or for multi-pitching where hanging at the belay for long parts of the day is mandatory, this is a very good option.

arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review - the c-quence is a very comfortable harness for hanging, thanks to...
The C-Quence is a very comfortable harness for hanging, thanks to its tapered leg loops and ergonomic waist belt.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Standing Comfort and Mobility


The thin and unpadded design of the C-Quence's waist belt and leg loops keep it flexible so that they fit against the body well. This makes for a very comfortable harness while climbing and for all-day wear at the crag. However, we noticed that as we walked, the motion of our legs moving one after the other shifts the belay loop, which catches a bit on the upper tie-in point. This isn't uncomfortable at all, but simply reminds us with every step that we are wearing a harness.


The flat waist belt sits close against the body and is an excellent design for wearing with a pack. The gear loops are also free-hanging and can sit down flush against the body, so wearing this harness with a pack while walking presents little issue. We would go so far as to call it one of the best options for glacier walking and scrambling, in addition to vertical climbing.

arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review - with a very thin construction, the harness adapts to the body well...
With a very thin construction, the harness adapts to the body well and is comfortable to wear while hanging out or standing. It is also highly mobile.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Features


The C-Quence has all the features needed for every style of climbing. It has four large free-hanging gear loops that are covered in molded plastic for easier clippability. Each of these gear loops can hold about twelve carabiners, so carrying a full rack is not an issue. They taper to a low point near the front of each loop, which we don't love because it causes all the gear to slide down and condense upon itself. This may work fine for quickdraws, but for cams it can make it harder to grab the one you want quickly without all the others getting in the way.


The waistbelt also sports four ice clipper slots, two on each side, making for perfect ergonomics when ice climbing. In the back is a fifth flexible webbing gear loop which is a nice spot to clip shoes or a light windbreaker. The front buckle is automatically doubled back, is easy to manipulate, and stays locked tight throughout the day as you climb.

arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review - showcasing the gear loops on the c-quence.
Showcasing the gear loops on the C-Quence.
Credit: Andy Wellman

This harness only comes with fixed leg loops, lacking adjustable buckles. The leg loops are designed with an elastic strip for a range of expansion, so we didn't have any issue wearing it with more clothes on, and indeed prefer not to have the added bulk and weight of extra leg buckles.

Versatility


This is a very well-rounded harness that is applicable for any style of climbing. It's super comfortable for falling, hanging, and belaying, which makes it an ideal gym and sport harness. It also has plenty of gear storage on its five gear loops, so multi-pitching is right up its alley. With ice clipper slots and a wide range in the leg loops, it's no problem to wear it on cold ice climbs, and the flat waist belt and comfortable fit make it a solid choice for wearing with a pack while alpine climbing or while walking up glaciated peaks while mountaineering.


We can't think of any climbing style where this harness falls short. Other more specialized harnesses exist for each niche style, but none perform as well across the board. Compared to the most lightweight sport climbing harnesses, the C-Quence weighs a few more ounces, so dedicated sport climbers might want to look elsewhere. It is certainly heavier than mountaineering-specific harnesses. But the versatility that this harness brings to the table is impressive.

arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review - the arc'teryx c-quence isn't the lightest harness in our review, but...
The Arc'teryx C-Quence isn't the lightest harness in our review, but it is still pretty darn light for how well it excels in every discipline.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Weight and Packability


Weighing in at 13.7 ounces for a size large, the C-Quence isn't the heaviest of those we tested, but it's far heavier than the lightest. For alpine climbing especially, low weight is a key consideration, and despite being so low profile, this one still packs on a little extra weight.


We think these extra ounces are worth the excellent hanging comfort and features that the C-Quence brings to the table, and we only reach for a lighter harness on our hardest redpoint attempts or for the longest alpine approaches.

arc'teryx c-quence climbing harness review - testing the c-quence harness on technical granite. we like this...
Testing the C-Quence harness on technical granite. We like this harness equally well for trad climbing and sport climbing, as it is comfortable for all uses.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Should You Buy the Arc'teryx C-Quence?


Like most things Arc'teryx, you shouldn't expect to get a bargain price point. Few harnesses cost more than this one, but none perform as well across the board, either. Experienced and discerning users will appreciate the performance refinements that this harness brings to the table, but many users (and anyone on a budget) should check out one of the cheaper high-performance models. However, the performance can't be beat, and the quality is top-notch, so if you are willing to pay the money, we think this harness absolutely presents great value.

What Other Climbing Harnesses Should You Consider?


While the Arc'teryx C-Quence is our favorite all-around harness, it is expensive. Climbers on a budget should check out the excellent Petzl Sama for fantastic performance on all kinds of rock routes, while four-season climbers who also need ice clipper slots for a low price will find the Black Diamond Technician to meet their needs. If you aren't hampered by cost, and want an even lighter and more versatile harness for lightweight alpine climbing, the Petzl Sitta costs even more, but weighs less.

Jeff Dobronyi & Andy Wellman
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More