Black Diamond Momentum ReviewSeptember 9, 2015
- Easy fitting leg loops
- Smooth and easily adjustable buckle on waist belt
- Easy to clip, full strength haul loop
- Not as breathable as some harnesses
- Some slippage in leg loops during extended use
- Gear loops felt on the smaller side
The Black Diamond Momentum is a lightweight, comfortable harness that comes at a price that should appeal to a wide range of climbers. Four easy to use gear loops and an easily accessible, full strength haul loop provide plenty of gear storage options. A smooth and easy to use buckle adjusts the waist and BD’s trakFIT adjustment system for the leg loops makes for quick transitions when taking the harness on and off.
The Black Diamond Momentum is the latest iteration of a popular harness that should appeal to a wide range of climbers with its light weight, comfort, four gear loops, smooth waist buckle, and easily adjustable leg loops.
The Momentum has thick padding in contrast to the thin and svelte harnesses that are popular with many brands. I was initially skeptical that it could provide enough comfort for the demands of long hours of hanging in a harness while climbing and guiding, but the Momentum is one of my favorite harnesses this year for comfort, thanks to the contoured waist belt and Dual Core Construction. Two bands of webbing help distribute the load with comfortable padding in between, creating a cushioned feel. All of that padding prevents the harness from breathing as well as its lightweight competitors—although a soft, breathable liner against the body does help this issue.
The Momentum’s lone waist belt buckle is easy to use and is super smooth. It is easy to get the right fit and easy to remove at the end of the day. In roughly 40 days of testing, I never experienced any slippage of the buckle during falls, extended hang session from cliff edges, or while walking through slot canyons.
The Momentum has four rigid gear loops that are easy to access for clipping and unclipping gear. The bottoms of the gear loops are slightly “squared off”, creating an effective basket to hold gear in a way so it doesn’t bunch up on one end of the gear loop. I thought the gear loops were slightly smaller than gear loops on some of the other harnesses tested, I still had room for plenty of draws, cams, and other gear needed for multi-pitch climbing. All of the gear loops protrude from the harness generously, making for easy access, but also more uncomfortable pack wearing.
The leg loops on the Momentum are one of my favorite features, thanks to BD’s trakFIT adjustment system. When first pulling on the harness, the elastic stretch in the leg loops is noticeable. In testing, the snug feel from the elastic was enough to make me feel comfortable even though I have larger than normal thighs for my waist size. A snugger fit can be achieved by pulling on the small plastic buckle embedded in the leg loop webbing. This is great and allowed for adjustments during longer hanging sessions. The only drawback I experienced was some slight slippage in the plastic buckle after being worn for a few hours—particularly when moving a lot, either walking or climbing.
At 12.3 ounces, the Momentum isn’t the lightest harness on the market but it is still considered lightweight. The weight is impressive, considering the amount of padding and comfort that the harness provides. Of course, all of that padding makes for a harness that doesn’t pack as small as some of the other lightweight harnesses tested.
The Momentum includes a number of nice features to help round out a solid harness. I love the full strength haul loop that is easy to clip and I used it extensively to trail a tag line during multi-pitch climbs. The bottom edge of the waist belt and both edges of the leg loops also feature a more durable material to help guard against abrasion. Unlike many harnesses today, the Momentum lacks ice clipper attachment points, which I would have liked to see to help give it increased four season functionality. One of the best features is the price. At $54.95 it’s a great price for a high performing harness—one I personally recommend.