Kids climbing harnesses come in two main types, the sit harness which is the same style as a standard adults climbing harness, and the full body harness which are designed for smaller children’s bodies. The time to transition from body harness to sit harness normally occurs from around the age of five up, but is totally dependent on the size of the individual.
The main thing to consider with a kids climbing harness is the amount of adjustment available in the waist and leg loops. Fitting a fast growing child in a climbing harness that is at the outside end of its adjustment range will only mean buying another one in the very near future. One of most adjustable kids harness currently available is the DMM Tomcat which features some of the same great technology seen in DMM’s adult harness range such as the floating waist loop. The floating waist loop means the child can get a perfect fit throughout the whole adjustment range as the attachment point can be brought to the front centre of the body. The Black Diamond Wiz Kid has fixed, elasticated leg loops and lacks the floating waist band, but we’ve found it to be a better fit for smaller kids, it’s also fantastic value for money and comes boy and girl colours – great for fashion conscious 6 years olds!. For even smaller kids we’ve found the best climbing harness when a full body harness isn’t available, is the Edelrid Finn, which comes in some really tiny sizes.
Smaller children are usually safer climbing in a full body harness. They have a much higher centre of gravity which increases the chance of them inverting in a fall, hence the need for a full body harness. In addition they lack the defined hips that make a standard climbing harness so secure. To deal with the inverting issues kids full body harnesses have a higher tying in point, level with the chest, which ensure they are held in an upright position when they’re being lowered and sitting back in the harness. The Edelrid Fraggle not only shares it name with one of our favourite childhood programs it is also great full body harness for the smallest kids. It comes in super small sizes and features a rear tie-in point which can come in really handy for very little people – just make sure you check the instructions or have a chat with us before you fist use it. The Ousititi from Petzl represents great value for money, it’s really adjustable, a great price and is well tried and tested as it has been around for years. Often getting kids climbing can their comfort. If this is an issue for you we’ve found the comfiest kids full body harness is the Wild Country Vision. This is the one we use n the Centre with small kids. It features padding over the shoulders and under the legs, and is perfect for budding climbers up to 40kg.
Tips For Buying a Kids Climbing Harness
- Fit is king! The most important thing to consider when buying a climbing harness is always how well it fits. For kids, try and fit the harness so that it’s comfy and secure at about 25% of the way through its adjustment range. This way, there’s 75% to go as your child grows plenty of margin for their body changing shape.
- Choose a full body harness for very young children and a sit harness for older, more developed kids. As a rough guide, under six should be in full body harnesses, but this depends on the size and shape of the child more than age! Another good rule to think about is where is the child’s centre of gravity – the higher it is, the more there is a need for full body harnesses.
- If you’ve like this article about buying climbing harness for kids, check out our articles on buying kids climbing shoes.