I have posted several pics climbing with a full-body harness (22 weeks, 24 weeks, and outdoors), so it’s time for an official gear review!
The harness I use is the Petzl 8003. It is a generic, full-body harness as opposed to a pregnancy-specific harness. Harnesses built just for preggos come with lots of padding like you might see in a traditional waist harness. For example, here’s what I was using pre-pregnancy: Black Diamond Primrose (me and about half the women in the gym 😉 ).
At first I was concerned about the lack of padding. After all, my waist harness was starting to cut off circulation in my legs while getting lowered. However, since the leg straps in the full-body come across your butt instead of wrapping around your thigh, I haven’t had any issues with leg circulation. It actually feels way more comfortable to be lowered, since my weight all ends up in my cushy butt 🙂
In a traditional harness you’d tie in to two loops right above your crotch area. On the full-body, the loops come in from either side of your ribcage, almost like the chest strap of a hiking backpack. I have found it’s definitely easier to tie in to a figure eight knot if you pay attention to which side of the knot the loose end is coming from. Once you’re tied in, you feel just as snug as a traditional harness. I thought it might be weird to have my weight suspended from that high up, but it really feels fine. Just make sure to leave enough space in the shoulder straps for the two sides to get carabiner-ed together.
Speaking of straps, there are four adjustable pulls, two for your legs and two for your shoulders. Each strap has a plastic loop to secure the extra tail. The harness is definitely meant to fit ALL body sizes, so the tails on mine are pretty long (I’m 5’4” and was 120lbs pre-preggo). Sometimes the shoulder ones poke up near my face when the tails come loose, and the leg straps will sort of poke out awkwardly between my legs. I wish the tails stayed put better, however that is really the only bad part of the harness.
My favorite part of my new harness is how secure I feel being lowered, while not even noticing the harness on the way up! It doesn’t pull on my shoulders or restrict my movement in any way, and it’s light enough (since it’s just straps) that I don’t notice any bulk as I’m moving. Once my weight is put onto the belay loops at my ribcage, the entire harness folds together into a sort of recliner on the way down. No joke! It really is that comfy.
Overall, I LOVE this harness! It lets me keep climbing without putting any pressure whatsoever on my belly. It’s so simple that I feel light and unrestricted while climbing, and it wraps around my body so nicely that there aren’t any pressure points or numb spots when my full weight is in the harness. I feel completely secure and safe while being able to tackle all the same routes as pre-preggo!
This harness has allowed me to keep up one of my favorite hobbies while growing a little baby 🙂