Cons: Not very light, expensive
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$145 List||$100 List|
$99.95 at REI
$79.95 at REI
$74.95 at REI
|$59.96 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Very comfortable, large gear loops, good mobility, versatile for all types of climbing||Comfortable to hang in, large gear loops, good mobility, versatile||Unrivaled comfort while belaying and hanging, good mobility, affordable||Great features, comfortable, highly versatile, inexpensive||Extremely light, great mobility, functional enough|
|Cons||Not very light, expensive||No ice clipper slots, heavy||Gear loops are small for carrying a large rack, not very versatile for other styles of climbing||No ice clipper slots, heavy||Uncomfortable for hanging, not suitable for most types of climbing|
|Bottom Line||A versatile, comfortable harness with refined features, and our favorite harness on the market||A comfortable harness that excels on long, multi-pitch trad routes and is versatile enough for all kinds of rock climbing||One of the most comfortable harnesses you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbing||A high-performing rock climbing harness at an excellent price||This 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%)|
|Standing Comfort and Mobility (25%)|
|Weight and Packability (10%)|
|Total Scores (%)|
|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|
|Adjustable Legs||No||No, elastic||No, elastic||No, elastic||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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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