Petzl Adjama Review

January 28, 2012
Petzl Adjama
Petzl Adjama 2Petzl_Adjama_Loop 3Petzl_Adjama 4Petzl_Adjama 5Petzl_Adjama 6Petzl_Adjama_Rear_Scrapes Petzl_Adjama_Front

The Good

  • Semi rigid design contours the waist and thighs.
  • Breathable monofilament mesh/woven polyester/perforated closed-cell foam padding.
  • Rigid front gear loops keep rack organized, broad rear gear loops can hold large amounts of gear.
  • Spacious, easy to thread tie-in point.
  • Low-profile haul loop
  • Accommodates plastic ice screw biners.

The Bad

  • Rear gear loops so far back on the harness that they are hard to utilize while on lead.
  • Rear drop seat feature grinds in chimneys/offwidths.
  • Exposed waist buckle can also scrape in chimneys, prematurely wearing out harness.
  • Leg loop buckle slack is hard to feed into sheaths.

The semi-rigid, breathable Adjama is a great multi-purpose harness. It carries a large amount of gear comfortably and can be used with plastic ice ‘biners. It also has a spacious, easy to thread tie in-point. The stiff leg loop buckles and webbing make it challenging to micro adjust its width, and we noticed some overall wear and tear rather quickly.


The Adjama is a highly breathable, all Petzl_Adjama-2purpose harness that works equally well on ice/mountaineering, cragging, multi-pitch and big walls for climbers not requiring extra padding/support.

The first in-the-field test in the Adjama was on a runout 5.7 face climb in J Tree called Stitcher Quits. Racking on my harness, I noticed the gear loops kept draws cleanly out of the way. The waist belt and leg loops moved with my movements. It was quick and tangle free to slide on, and also visually easy to work with when tying it. The overall comfort while climbing was good.

Several pitches later, two involving racking nearly a full load of draws and cams on my harness, I began to notice how much gear the Adjama could handle without overloading. The rear gear loops, like the Misty Sonic, are so far back that they are more useful for carrying anchor slings and locking biners than cams and draws, which are blind to reach when on lead. Halfway though the day, I took my only leader fall during the harness testing period, a 15-foot whipper off a greasy slab route. It was a pop-and-stop situation and a tight catch. The harness provided a solid landing.

Further testing consisted of 5.9-5.10 chimneys and offwidths, a tight hand crack in a corner and a slanting 5.10d finger/tight hand crack. Grinding up the wide cracks the Adjama heaped some punishment on the harness (and on the tester’s knees), including wear on the auto-locking buckle and webbing that folds through the buckle. The hook and webbing that attaches the rear drop-seat feature also were quickly scraped up. Granted, most climbers don’t climb wide cracks on a regular basis, however, the wear on the waist belt webbing over the area where the webbing and buckle meet is a cause for concern as repeated use will likely result in early retirement of the harness.

Petzl_Adjama-2-2As all Petzl harnesses have the same style auto-locking buckle, this is a wear point worth inspecting every few months regardless of what model you wear.

On slabs, face, finger and hand cracks, the Adjama felt like a modern, ergonomically shaped harness that carried gear as well, if not better than, as the Black Diamond SA. The ample padding is breathable, making the already light harness feel even lighter. The padding material is slightly rough against bare skin.

It can be worn with a pack. The leg loops with drop-seat feature are not entirely removable from the harness. The exposed front buckle and low-profile rear drop-seat feature scrapes in chimneys and offwidths.

In short, only a few features on the harness could use improvement. The stiff leg loop buckles and webbing make it challenging to micro adjust its width. The waist buckle webbing and rear drop-seat-clip showed signs of wear after only a few short pitch of chimney/offwidth climbing.

Rear drop seat wear:


Note: The Adjama is priced $10 higher than the Petzl Calidris but is much lighter and more breathable. The Petzl Sama is essentially the same as the Adjama, only it has elastic leg loops instead of adjustable leg loops. The Hirundos is Petzl’s lightest weight harness and is not intended for heavy use.

Quick ratings (out of 10)

Comfort: 8
Adjustability/Smooth Buckles: 3
Gear Loops: 6
Leg Loops 4
Haul Loop: 4


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