Seat Harness Recommendations?

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

Moderator: Tim White

Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby BryantG » May 30, 2013 11:39 am

I am a new vertical caver in North Central Arkansas. I got lots of time On Rope in-cave last weekend and got to try a bunch of different gear I had bummed off some friends.

Friday I used a GGG harness which I liked but I don't know that I liked it enough to spend my money on one. The next day I ended up using a rock climbing harness where you just have the gear/attachment loop instead of a half-round holding everything together. I realize that having a proper seat harness is a vital part of having a good setup so that is why I thought I would ask around.

Recommendations for a seat harness would be much appreciated!

--Bryant
User avatar
BryantG
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 14, 2012 12:25 pm
Location: Arkansas
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 30, 2013 3:59 pm

I can't make any comparisons based on experience since I've only used climbing harnesses and the GGG. The GGG ($60) seems to be pretty much the same harness as the more expensive PMI Viper and Petzl SuperAvanti, but I'm sure there are subtle differences. Karst Sports carries all of these and the CMI CaveMaster, which seems to be a much more expensive version (tougher maybe?) of still the same harness
User avatar
GroundquestMSA
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: May 5, 2011 1:32 pm
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby BryantG » May 30, 2013 4:27 pm

Thanks for the response. I was looking at Karst and I kind of like the looks of the Petzl Fractio but I don't know anyone that uses one and it is a little more pricey. Perhaps I should give the $60 GGG another run. I know people that use it and like it. It's also seems to be pretty affordable when compared to most other models.
User avatar
BryantG
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 14, 2012 12:25 pm
Location: Arkansas
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby Mugger » May 30, 2013 4:40 pm

I started out using my alpine climbing harness, and I was able to make it work for my needs. Then I borrowed a seat harness at one of our grotto's vertical training days... and saw what I was missing out on. I ended up going with the PMI Pit Viper, mainly because I sometimes share gear with a few caving buddies and it could adjusting to fit everyone's size best. Its held up quite well and I'm pretty happy with it.
User avatar
Mugger
Occasional Poster
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sep 20, 2009 10:40 am
Location: California
Name: Hans
NSS #: 61554
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Shasta Area Grotto
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby NZcaver » May 31, 2013 12:40 am

Welcome to the forum.

GGG make good basic harnesses at a reasonable price. What didn't you like about the one you tried - the fit or comfort or...? The reason I ask is that I find the classic caver harness design with the waist loop, two leg loops, and screw link in the front to be less than comfortable for me. Even though it is by far the most popular style for frogging cavers in the US, with many different manufacturers and models utilizing the same design. Instead I prefer the lesser-known "butt-loop, waist loop, screw link" style of frog harness, one which is fairly popular with a number of women cavers (and a few men, including me).

I still use a Petzl harness of this design, which they stopped making years ago. The closest available equivalent is the GGG Ultralight, and I have one as a spare. If fit or comfort is the issue - and you can find somebody with this style of harness - you might want to ask to try it and see if it suits you better. Good luck!
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6316
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CCG
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby BryantG » May 31, 2013 2:12 pm

Thanks for the welcome.

The main factor was the fit. I have a short and stocky build: 5'8"-165 lbs and I found that the GGG harness just wasn't great for me. The frog system is the only thing I plan on using especially in Arkansas where we don't have anything that's deep enough to require other systems that might be necessary for classic TAG pits, etc. I'll take a look at the Ultralight while making my consideration. It also wouldn't hurt to just try a few more harness styles before making my decision. Thanks for the help!
User avatar
BryantG
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 14, 2012 12:25 pm
Location: Arkansas
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby Jeff Bartlett » May 31, 2013 3:35 pm

If you're going to be frogging, a low attachment point is critical -- no matter what Amy Hinkle says in the NSS News -- so it'll make a big difference for you to buy a caving-specific harness instead of a climbing-style harness. The four simple, commonly-available options I'd recommend you look at are, from least expensive to most expensive:

GGG Frog Caver
OR1 Goliath (unpadded, non-expedition version)
PMI Pit Viper
Petzl Superavanti

The Superavanti, GGG and PMI are all very similar designs and differ primarily in construction quality and price. I'm on my third harness in about six years of caving; the current one is my second Superavanti, having retired one previous Superavanti and one previous Pit Viper. It is my personal opinion that this Petzl harness uses significantly higher-quality materials and is of a sturdier construction than the PMI (and especially the GGG) equivalents, more than justifying the additional $11 expense when compared to the Pit Viper. My Pit Viper lasted about 1/3 as long as my first Superavanti, was more difficult to adjust, and had gear loops that could not be entrusted with any weight.

The Petzl's maillon loops and gear loops incorporate a spectra fiber, the gear loops are sewn in a continuous circle, the waist buckle features a unique extra layer of webbing for abrasion protection and the coating on the legs is much more durable than that on the PMI. The GGG doesn't have a protective coating at all. Essentially, you get what you pay for here.

The Goliath is an entirely different style of harness; you'll either love it or you'll hate it. I've tried one on several occasions and did not find it to be comfortable. It also requires the included butt-straps for the leg loops to stay in place. Some folks prefer these for the generous padding alone, but for caving in Arkansas I certainly wouldn't want any extra bulk on my body to hang on protrusions and collect mud. I value simplicity and durability here.

YMMV. Holderfield may have further input for you.
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
User avatar
Jeff Bartlett
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 948
Joined: Jun 29, 2007 12:19 am
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Name: Jeff Bartlett
NSS #: 59325
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Tennessee Cave Survey
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby Cody JW » May 31, 2013 6:43 pm

I have used the Fractio for frogging . I agree with Jeff B on the Superavanti also an excellent choice. The only bad thing I can say about the Fractio is the rubber coating on the leg loops tend to snag on each other when walking creating a minor distraction but I got many years of use with them. Could just be the way I walk. For rope walking I use a high attach harness as it is more comfortable to hang in and rides higher on my back causing me to tilt back less.
It only takes one person to surrender a dog to a kill shelter ,but it takes many to rescue it.
User avatar
Cody JW
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 905
Joined: Oct 24, 2007 10:16 am
Location: Indianapolis In. USA
Name: Jeff Cody
NSS #: 23961
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby BryantG » Jun 1, 2013 12:13 pm

Thanks a ton for the input, extremely helpful. I was somewhat blind going into purchase this.

Jeff, I talked to Holderfield and it turns out that I've actually used his Superavanti before. Its what I learned vertical with while I was up in a tree with him and Patton. It seems to be a superior harness and I like the idea of the hardcore gear loops and the protective coating. Does it pack down very well for throwing it in a pack and doing in-cave drops that are a ways from the entrance?

I'm about to order it from karst, or1, or IMO just not sure which yet.

--Bryant
User avatar
BryantG
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 14, 2012 12:25 pm
Location: Arkansas
  

Re: Seat Harness Recommendations?

Postby adoucette » Jun 2, 2013 1:53 pm

I like my superavanti. Didn't get uncomfortable in Ellison's... Has low attachment point. Seems durable. To your question, it does pack down well.
adoucette
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 24, 2007 9:09 pm
Name: Ari Doucette
NSS #: 60129
  


Return to On Rope!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron