Metolius All-Around ReviewDecember 6, 2016
- Comfortable padding
- Easy to use gear loops
- High strength SafeTech components
- Dual belay loops
- Heaviest harness tested
- Difficult to use & adjust buckles
- Less versatile than other harnesses tested
The Metolius All-Around is a comfortable harness for single and multi-pitch objectives in the sport and trad climbing realms. Plush padding makes this harness comfortable for long hanging sessions. The SafeTech features where every possible component is strength rated to at least 9 kN adds security and durability. But it lacks versatility for use in ice or alpine climbing and it’s not a good harness to share since it’s difficult to adjust.
The All-Around was considered the most comfortable harness in this round of testing. In an era of slim, compact harnesses it was a pleasant surprise to hang in the plus padding of the All-Around. With thick padding relative to other harnesses tested, the All-Around was found by testers to be the most comfortable harness for extended hang sessions. The biggest drawback affecting the comfort of the All-Around is the lack of a speed buckle. Instead, the buckles are double backed, making it a little tricky to get a snug fit to aid in comfort.
The All-Around features adjustable buckles on the leg loops and waistbelt. Unlike many other modern harnesses, the All-Around uses traditional buckles that must be double backed. Many climbers appreciate these buckles because they eliminate slippage like you find on some speed buckles and create greater security such as in the case of attaching a friction hitch to a leg loop. Adjusting these buckles to get a snug fit can be more tedious but they work as well as or better than the double backed buckles of years ago. Still, many users may miss out on the simplicity, ease and smoothness offered by modern speed buckles where you can slip on a harness and with one motion pull it tight. And the same goes for taking the harness off. Instead of one handed releasing the buckle, you’ll need two hands to release the All-Around’s buckles.
The All-Around features four gear loops that stick out generously from the harness and were some of the easiest gear loops to use out of the harnesses tested. Most other harnesses on the market feature slickly contoured gear loops but the All-Around’s gear loops are simple loops of nylon covered in semi-rigid plastic to allow them to protrude from the harness. Compared to other gear loops tested they are on the small side but testers found the All-Around’s gear loops to allow gear to be accessed with ease. In the rear of the harness is a high strength (at least 9 kN) haul loop, which like the gear loops on the All-Around, are part of Metolius’ Safe Tech commitment to make every possible component of their harnesses high strength. This feature of the gear loops on the All-Around is popular with many climbers who appreciate the security offered by these high strength components.
The feature that stands out on the All-Around is the SafeTech construction that Metolius’ harnesses are well known for. Every component on the All-Around is high strength (minimum of 9 kN), providing greater security and peace of mind for climbers. The SafeTech construction along with reinforced tie-in points means the All-Around is built to last as the components are rugged and won’t easily wear out. Dual belay loops give the harness some options and help reduce clutter and clean things up in an area where so many things can be going on when anchored in or belaying and rappelling.
The All-Around is named for its ability to appeal to a wide range of rock climbers. Trad and sport climbers that spend more of their time on single pitch should appreciate the ample gear loops and the features and durability offered by the SafeTech construction. Climbers venturing into multi-pitch will appreciate the comfortable padding for hanging belays and high strength haul loop. The only climbers left out are ice and alpine climbers. Due to its weight and large size when packing, the All-Around lacks appeal for alpine climbers and ice climbers will miss ice clipper attachment points and leg loops with speed buckles that are easy on and off with crampon laden boots.
At 539 grams (19.01 ounces), the All-Around is the heaviest harness in this round of testing, being 5 ounces heavier than the next heaviest harness.
Schneiter is an AMGA-certified guide, founder of Glenwood Climbing Guides, and very quick on his draws.