Throughout the year, Gear Institute faculty field tested and reviewed scores of climbing related products. From those, we’ve rounded up the Best in Class in a number of categories.
Edelrid Orion Climbing Harness
With a total rating of 88 out of 100, the Orion ranked as the best of the harnesses we tested and at $125 it’s also the most expensive. Yeah, performance and safety come at a price. But you also get the most comfortable option, with smooth, easy-to-adjust speed buckles on the waist and leg loops and easy-to-clip gear loops in a user-friendly, asymmetrical design that should perform at the crag, multi-pitch route, or the climbing wall. Read the full review here.
Trango Zenith Climbing Helmet
Good value and solid protection come together in the Zenith, a smart choice for ice and rock climbers. We found that the molded foam helmet felt lighter and more protective than traditional hard shell models, with thorough protection from side, rear, and overhead impacts. It was also one of the most ventilated models we tested, a serious boon on the dog days of summer. Read the full review here.
Stio Vescent Soft Shell Jacket
Boasting Stio’s proprietary Sphero XT fabric, the Vescent ranked as the best all-around soft shell tested by Tanner Jackson—a considerable feat considering the sheer number of soft shells on the market. The tough-as-nails DWR treatment stood up to copious amounts of rain and provided good stretch, while the roomy cut to allow for days-long comfort. The jacket’s feature set may strike some as minimal (no pit zips or hood adjustments), but for an all-mountain soft shell, it had everything we needed (and nothing we didn’t want). Read the full review here.
C.A.M.P. Photon Mixed Express Nylon Climbing Quickdraw
This quickdraw keeps things simple—in the best of ways: two light, full-sized carabineers, each with a slim, tapered key lock nose and a large gate opening, and curved wire gates for easier trad and sport climbing. Testers reported that this quickdraw as the easiest to clean, and its lightweight construction makes it a great go-to for on-sighting sport routes or those looking to build out a lighter trad rack. Read the full review here.