Beal Rebel ReviewDecember 6, 2016
- Lightweight & compact
- Ease of movement
- Dual buckles on waist belt for fine tuning fit
- Not comfortable for extended hang sessions
- Lacks adjustable leg loops
- No ice clipper attachment points
The Beal Rebel is a lightweight, compact harness best suited for sport climbing and alpine climbers looking for a more full featured harness. Four gear loops hold plenty of quickdraws and the comfortable fit allows for great freedom of movement. The Rebel’s versatility is limited to single pitch rock climbing by a lack of ice clipper attachment points or a full strength haul loop.
The Rebel proved to be a reasonably comfortable harness thanks to the Web-Core technology used by Beal that does an admirable job of distributing weight along the waist and legs. Those familiar with Arc’teryx harnesses will notice the similarity in construction as this type of harness construction has become increasingly popular in recent years. Instead of the traditional piece of webbing inside a padded waist belt the Rebel and Beal’s Web-Core technology feature a flat piece of material that is connected to the nylon webbing in the front. The Rebel is only available in two sizes and lacking adjustable leg loops made the fit of the Rebel key for testers in determining whether or not the Rebel was comfortable.
The Rebel features two waist belt buckles that help you fine tune the fit and center the waist belt on your back. The speed buckles used on the Rebel are easy to use and smooth in their operation, allowing for quick adjustment. Little to no slippage of the buckles was observed during extensive testing yet the buckles released in a smooth, easy fashion. The leg loops use the Dynamic-Fit system, borrowed from Black Diamond, that allows the leg loops to stretch to fit over the thighs with lightweight plastic buckles that can be snugged up. These plastic buckles, while not load bearing, also experienced a lot of slippage during use and had a hard time keeping a snug fit.
The Rebel utilizes four lightweight, contoured gear loops for carrying gear. The “Kar-Aside” gear loops were effective at holding gear and protruding from the harness, allowing gear to be easily accessed. Of average size, the gear loops can carry enough for your typical sport climb and some trad and multi-pitch climbing. The Rebel lacks a full strength haul loop, limiting its use to sport climbing or for climbers who don’t like to trail a line from the rear of their harness. Instead, the small loop on the rear of the harness is most appropriate for clipping on a chalk bag. This small loop is hard to find when wearing the harness, limiting its ability to be used as a place to clip in a tag line, shoes or extra gear.
The Rebel is slim on features but one of the first things that stands out about the Rebel is its compact size. The Web-Core technology used in the waistbelt and leg loops is not only light but really compact for packing. The Rebel lacks other features that stand out on other harnesses like ice clipper attachment points or a full strength haul loop.
The Rebel is rather limited in terms of its versatility, serving primarily as a sport climbing harness. Lacking a haul loop, rear gear loop, or large gear loops makes the Rebel limited in its value for trad climbers, multi-pitch climbers or big wall climbers. Plus, while the Rebel performs comfortably while clipping bolts it doesn’t feel the best when trying to carry a lot of gear, like a rack of cams on the gear loops. Lacking ice clipper attachment points makes this a hard sell for ice climbers where those attachment points have become the norm. Alpine climbers may be interested in the Rebel if they want a compact and more comfortable all-around harness and don’t mind the lack of adjustable leg loops. The contoured plastic on the gear loops is removable, making the Rebel more comfortable when carrying a pack during those long days in the mountains.
At 345 grams (12.1 ounces), the Rebel is comparable to many harnesses on the market. Ten years ago it may have been considered an ultra-light harness but today it’s in the mainstream for weight with all-around harnesses.
Schneiter is an AMGA-certified guide, founder of Glenwood Climbing Guides, and very quick on his draws.