Petzl Aquila ReviewSeptember 9, 2015
- One of the most comfortable harnesses tested
- Smooth and easily adjustable buckles
- Gear loops are easy to use
- Durable, reinforced Dyneema tie-in points
- Some slippage of leg loop buckles during long periods of use
- Difficult to clip and use haul loop
The Petzl Aquila is lightweight and packed with features, making it attractive for a wide range of climbers. Sport climbers will appreciate the comfort, easy movement and smooth buckles. Traditional climbers will enjoy the easy to access gear loops and durable tie-in points.
The Petzl Aquila features four rigid gear loops, easily adjustable buckles on the waist and legs, and durable tie-in points, all packed into a lightweight and comfortable harness.
The Aquila has proven to be one of the most comfortable harnesses I’ve tested and it has become my “go to” harness. Petzl’s Fuseframe technology does a great job of distributing weight along the wide waist belt and leg loops. While comfortable, the Aquila doesn’t sacrifice freedom of movement and feels great when climbing, hiking, and moving in the harness.
The Aquila’s super smooth and easily adjustable buckles are its best feature. The DoubleBack HD buckles (found on the waist and leg loops) are some of the smoothest and most easily adjustable buckles found on the harnesses tested. The Aquila really stood out with its ease of putting on and off as well as its adjustability. The buckles also feature small, rigid plastic pieces to cover the webbing on one side of the buckles and provide increased durability.
The Aquila has four rigid gear loops for gear storage. The front gear loops are slightly contoured and easy to use, both for clipping and unclipping gear. They also hold a good amount of gear, which is a nice feature for traditional climbers who need some space for all of those cams. In testing, the rear gear loops were harder for me to get comfortable with at first, because they felt really low on the harness. The rear gear loop attachment is high on the harness waist belt but the front attachment is low. This angle and low placement caused me to initially have a hard time finding the gear loops for placing gear, but with time I got used to it. The rear gear loops also lay flat against the back of the harness, making it more comfortable when wearing a pack.
When I first used the Aquila, the leg loops felt funny to me because they didn’t sit flat against the backs of my legs. But, after tweaking the fit of the Aquila and hanging in the harness, I grew to really love the leg loops. As an integral part of the fit and comfort of any harness, the Aquila’s leg loops turned out to allow great movement while climbing while also proving to be comfortable at extended hang sessions. They are easily adjustable with Petzl’s DoubleBack HD buckles although I experienced some minor slippage when wearing the harness for long periods of time, such as all day guiding sessions. I never experienced slipping while hanging or falling, but they did seem to subtly and slightly slip over the course of a long day. I got in the habit of tucking the tails of the webbing into sleeves on the leg loops to keep those tails out of the way and in this case, keep them from creeping.
At 12.1 ounces, the Aquila isn’t the lightest harness on the market but is still considered lightweight. It has a level of comfort and is packed with features that aren’t found on most other harnesses in its weight range. The performance to weight ratio is one of the Aquila’s best features.
The Aquila offers a number of nice features to add something extra to an already great harness. The sides of the harness include two Caritool attachment points, allowing ice climbers to add ice clippers for winter climbing. A low profile haul loop is found on the rear of the harness (I used it extensively for trailing a tag line on long climbs). It sits flat, making it comfortable for pack carrying but harder to follow as you blindly reach behind in an effort to clip. I also really liked the sleeves found throughout the harness for tucking in the tails of webbing. Having a clean harness is important to many people and the Aquila does a great job of this. Finally, one of the best features may be the 100% reinforced Dyneema tie-in points, adding great abrasion resistance. After 50 days of use, the Aquila tie-in points are in great shape.