A near-weightless climbing harness with zero foam padding that’s completely comfortable? Meet the Petzl SITTA, available in bright orange.
The blazing harness is an eye-catcher worthy of its spectacle. The SITTA from Petzl has “WIREFRAME” Technology that says goodbye to thick foam padding in favor of high-strength, flat-lying Spectra strands.
This dramatically lowers the weight to that of a mountaineering harness while maintaining the strength and comfort of a high-end rock climbing harness.
Released in the summer of 2015, our editors have had plenty of time to test the SITTA. After ice, trad, sport, and plastic, we all think it deserves all the oohing and aahing it’s received at the gym.
Review: Petzl SITTA Climbing Harness
Petzl brands this harness for high-end climbing and mountaineering. Our crew tested it at crags around the country, ice climbing in Montana, and on multi-pitch granite in Yosemite.
You won’t climb a full grade harder because of a new harness. It tends to be a neutral player in climbing, keeping you safe, hauling gear, and doing its job quietly in the background. The SITTA, however, does not sit in the background. Instead, it augments one’s climbing experience.
I noticed quick action while placing and removing gear from my harness. The gear loops are rigid and sit angled away from the harness so there is more clearance to pull gear without mashing your hand/gear into your hip.
The added divider in the front gear loop was helpful for sorting pro and other trad gear. This separator is removable for added customization.
The other gear loops are standard harness loops and sit flat against the body with no dividers.
Petzl claims the flat-lying rear loops avoid creating pressure points when wearing a backpack, as the harness is flat on the backside. However, most harnesses are flat, and only especially bulky harnesses create pressure points with packs.
Other noteworthy design elements: a rear haul loop and two integrated Caritool tool holder slots.
SITTA’s minimal design was at times difficult to put on correctly—my only real complaint. The thin leg loops twisted, and the elastic leading from leg loop to waist was easily tangled.
The WIREFRAME Technology in the waistbelt and leg loops provides load distribution without foam. The extremely thin design does not create any noticeable pressure points or discomfort.
Spectra strand is the low-stretch, high-strength fiber that runs the length of the waistband and leg loops. It allows the harness to be as light as it does while remaining comfortable and strong. These strands disperse weight throughout the harness, so no single area is under too much pressure.
The WIREFRAME Technology and other weight-cutting measures all amount to a harness that weighs a scant 9.5 ounces. This is not the lightest harness on the market; the Camp Flash weighs 8.3 ounces.
To save further on weight, Petzl gave the SITTA non-adjustable leg loops, and reduced the width and size of loops and belts in the front of the harness.
Compared to other rock climbing harnesses of this weight, the price is on the upper end. You get what you pay for, however, as the SITTA is extremely comfortable for such a light harness.
The decreased use of fabric might raise questions about the durability and lifespan of this harness. It has so far lasted one season fine, and there is no evidence this is a poorly manufactured harness.
Petzl claims the tie-in points are reinforced for improved resistance. However, this is also used to describe the less state-of-the-art SAMA and ADJAMA harnesses, so it is not necessarily an improvement from other Petzl harnesses in that regard.
Petzl SITTA Specifications (Size Medium)
Petzl SITTA Conclusions
Finger strength, technique, and footwork all improve a climber’s ability. But can a new harness? Perhaps not, but why not stack the odds in your favor?
Most climbing is done in a harness, and when you decide which one is right for your needs, the SITTA should be high on the list. Despite the strikes against it (high price, no adjustable leg loops, easy tangling in a pack), this is an exceptional harness that is comfortable, versatile, and plenty light.