Petzl Sitta Harness ReviewDecember 8, 2016
- Lightweight & compact
- Gear loop divider
- Smooth, easily adjustable buckles
- Not comfortable for extended hang sessions
- Less versatile for climbing outside of sport, ice & alpine
- Small haul loop can be hard to find
The Petzl Sitta’s extremely lightweight and streamlined build makes it a popular option for sport climbers who are looking to shed every ounce and feel free in their movement. Ice clipper attachment points, gear loop dividers and its compact size make it attractive for ice and alpine climbers who want a simple yet effective harness. The lightweight construction of the Sitta comes at the expense of comfort during extended hang sessions and its ability to carry large amounts of heavy gear for trad or multi-pitch climbs.
The Sitta’s sleek, lightweight construction makes it extremely comfortable for climbing movement on the rock and particularly for sport climbing, where every ounce counts. This is where the Sitta excels but to hang in the Sitta for extended periods of time can get uncomfortable. Additionally, if you’re going to carry a lot of gear on the Sitta, like cams and stoppers, it starts to pull hard on the waist belt and affect its comfort. Sometimes super light harnesses like this can also be uncomfortable in big falls, but on the first day out I took a fairly hard fall, swinging like a pendulum into the rock. I’m a fairly big climber (170 pounds) and it didn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable. For ice climbing, the Sitta works as a reasonably comfortable harness because of the extra clothes you can wear and in the case of ice climbing, having a lightweight harness has a good feel to it, making up for all of the bulky clothing being worn.
The Sitta features one buckle on the waist loop that was popular with testers for its ease of use and smooth adjustment. The DoubleBack HD buckle is made out of aluminum and has rounded edges that add to the sleek profile of the harness. At no time during testing was slippage noticed. The buckle also released with ease and made for easy adjustments when taking the harness on and off. Out of all of the harnesses tested, the Sitta’s smooth operating buckle was most popular.
The Sitta has four gear loops and the big standout is the organizer on the front gear loops. The front gear loops are rigid and contoured to allow for the easy clipping and unclipping of gear, but a plastic organizer can be slid from side to side, creating a divider between gear. I thought this divider could be a silly gimmick, but many testers appreciated the way the divider helped organize gear and I particularly enjoyed it for separating gear out when ice climbing, keeping quickdraw and slings out of the way of the ice screw clippers. The two rear gear loops are supple and allow for more comfortable pack wearing. A small but simple haul loop in the rear works well for tagging a rope although it doesn’t protrude from the harness so it can be somewhat hard to find on your own.
The most noticeable feature on the Sitta is the Wireframe Technology used in the waistbelt and leg loops. Lacking traditional foam and webbing construction, strands of Spectra are visible throughout the waistbelt and leg loops. The use of this construction makes for the big drop in weight compared to similar harnesses and makes it packable and relatively breathable when hiking for long periods of time. Additionally, the Sitta’s tie-in points are reinforced with high-tenacity polyethylene for greater durability. Two ice clipper attachment points also grace the sides of the Sitta, designed for Petzl’s Caritool tool holders.
The Sitta is designed specifically for sport climbing, ice, and alpine climbing and lacks the greater versatility of other harnesses. It works best for sport climbing when you’re carrying some draws and maybe a belay device. It also performs well for ice because your clothing provides padding although some testers wanted adjustable leg loops to make it easier to get on and off over crampons. Climbers may also appreciate its use in the alpine realm because of its incredibly lightweight and great packability. A simple plastic buckle in the back of the harness allows users to go to the bathroom without taking the harness completely off. The versatility of the Sitta is stretched to its limit when you start trying to carry a lot of gear on it, like cams and stoppers for traditional climbing and multi-pitch routes. I used it a number of times for short rock routes where I had minimal gear to carry and it can work well when gear is carried on a sling. But, if you load up the Sitta with a double rack of cams, it can be less comfortable and lose some of its great functionality.
At 270 grams (9.52 ounces), the Sitta is one of the lightest harnesses you’ll find that is intended for use in rock and ice climbing. Its weight is typical of what you might find in a harness relatively devoid of features for simple alpine climbing, but instead the Sitta has numerous features that make it attractive for a number of climbers with huge weight savings.
Schneiter is an AMGA-certified guide, founder of Glenwood Climbing Guides, and very quick on his draws.