The Elite Ziplock Adjustable harness aims to combine performance and comfort whilst providing lots of bonus features. Wild Country position this model towards the top of its range. It weighs in at 507grams (wmns small) and just a smidge under £70.
The women's specific model has a longer rise as the distance between the top of the thigh and where the waist-belt sits is often substantially different on women than men. It also has an increased leg loop to waist size ratio to account for the different nature of women's contouring. However, that said - the women's version may not fit you as well as the men's if you're a slim build.
To get a feel for this harness I've used it over a two month period for indoor, sport and trad climbing, have taken falls and hung off belays on multi-pitch routes.
The standard features of the Elite include:
Ziplock buckle at the waist and baby ziplock buckles on the leg-loops designed to be simple, quick and smooth to tighten; in other words you don't re-thread them just step in and pull tight. Although I've been resistant to this type of buckle, I'm so far happy that they don't have that alarming tendency to creep a little bit during use, but I haven't tested it laden with a big wall rack yet!
It has 5 gear loops, which are well positioned and roomy enough for a standard rack. There's a standard 25kN belay loop and single clip off point leg loops (to make life easier for calls of nature).
Additional features include:
A 'packaway' haul loop (like a second 10kN belay loop towards the back left of the harness that tucks into it's own sleeve. Quite a specialist feature that won't be used by many folk but then it doesn't get in the way just adds a little weight. It also has a very neat 10kN accessory loop, positioned also just off centre on the other side, just big enough to clip a karabiner in to hang those extra bits and bobs - very handy.
With safety in mind there's a built-in wear indicator, which is a clever piece of bright fabric that underlays the belay loop wear tape on the leg loops. When you see a glimpse of bright red it's time to give it a thorough check - smart.
Comfort is provided by a ‘figure hugging batwing belt' with ‘Comfort Mesh' inner designed to give a seamless finish next to your body whilst the laminate is designed to wick away sweat. Now this is where I'm not convinced, for me the bulkiness of the padding detracts from the comfort. I'm sure it's great if you're taking repeated falls and hanging in it but then again if you're pushing it, don't you want something lighter anyway?
Another gripe is that the padded belt slides out of place behind the buckle, even when fed through the keeper loop on the inside of the belt and you constantly need to readjust. Causing similar irritation the leg-loop padding keeps folding back underneath the buckle. I was constantly fiddling with it to keep in place and whilst this won't affect safety, it is annoying.
In conclusion the Elite Ziplock Adjustable is a sturdy and dependable workhorse with some very clever design features. If they could solve the waistbelt/legloop padding slippage problems mentioned above it would be much improved - 3 stars out of 5.
|Wild Country Elite Womens Ziplock Adjustable|
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