Arcteryx R320a ReviewFebruary 7, 2012
- Supportive, seamless design.
- Soft material does not chafe skin.
- Smooth Buckles.
- Spacious crotch area.
- Aggressive, rigid (and reversible) gear loops.
- Up to $100 more expensive than some other harnesses in this review.
- Slim padding throughout.
- Fragile rear drop seat clips.
The R320a has a smooth, easy to operate waist and leg loop buckles with a modern, posh design with a compact, non-load-bearing rear haul loop and four aggressive, reversible, gear loops. The padding is slim, relying instead on its ergonomic shape to evenly distribute the force throughout the harness. It has one of the widest crotch areas of any harness reviewed, similar to the Metolius Safe Tech Trad. And, it is pricey.
The Arc’teryx R320a fits and is priced like a designer pair of jeans. The design is equally form fitting over Gore-tex bibs and short pants alike. One external seam connects all four semi-stiff, aggressive/reversible gear loops and plastic rear haul loop. It has micro, plastic buckles to release the drop seat feature. The leg loops connect to the front of the harness with a 90-degree stitching pattern instead of wrapping in a circle like on many other harnesses in this review. The waist belt and legs loops are broad in the back and narrow in the front. The tie in points and (removable) leg loops are spacious making the harness visually easy to thread rope into.
The buckles on the waist and leg loops are smooth to operate, even surpassing the Misty Sonic. I chose not to take this harness climbing in the Fisher Towers (one of the coarsest areas in the country to climb) because it’s so thin that I was concerned I’d rub the material raw. When in the gym, at Eldo and on the ice, the R320a performed equally well regarding adjustability, support and softness against bare skin.
Also tested was the S220 LT in Joshua Tree, which does not have adjustable leg loops, making it a lighter weight version of the R320a, at 265.2 grams.