Climbing Harnesses Review: Arc'Teryx 395A - Gear Hacker

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Arc’teryx 395A Review: Best Harness for Mountaineering

Best Harness for Mountaineering

  • Comfort 80% 80%
  • Hanging Comfort 50% 50%
  • Gear Loops 100% 100%
  • Versatility 80% 80%

Weight: 395g

Gear Loops: 4

Ice Loops: 4

Leg Loops: Adjustable

Price: $200

What We Like: Built for the alpine, lots of features

What We Don’t: Price and leg loop comfort while hanging

 

Not to use a car analogy, but the Arc’teryx AR 395a is like a Ferrari when, most of the time, you just want a Jeep. It is burly but not too flashy. It is a great harness with a lot of versatile features. Unfortunately, they seemed to miss the mark when it comes to the hanging and belaying comfort of the leg loops. The thin fabric digs into the leg and rides up while wearing. This is a great harness for alpine adventures but misses the mark in the sport or trad climbing departments, and this is why we named it the Best Harness for Mountaineering in 2020.

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  • Hanging Comfort 80% 80%
  • Gear Loops 80% 80%
  • Versatility 100% 100%

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Cons

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Ice Loops: 2 

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Climbing Harnesses Review: Arc'Teryx 395A - Gear Hacker
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  • Hanging Comfort 50% 50%
  • Gear Loops 100% 100%
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Pros

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Cons

Price And Leg Loop Comfort While Hanging

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Ice Loops: 4 

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Ah, we love Arc’teryx gear at Gear Hacker. We love to look at it, because no matter what, it is always just a smidge or a mile out of our price range. The same goes for the AR 395A, a cryptic name for an “All-Around” (AR) harness.
The Canadian company never ceases to impress with the quality and price of their products. The AR-395a is their harness for all-mountain environments, and it does have features that will work in each environment. You know that their gear is made well, so if you can splash out on a harness and are planning on some serious alpine adventures, this is the one for you. For the reasons you’re about to read, we named the Arc’teryx AR395a the Best Mountaineering Harness of 2020.
Climbing Harnesses Review: Arc'Teryx 395A - Gear Hacker

Design

Using Warp Strength Technology which disperses pressure around the body and gives flexibility while in motion, this harness is comfortable. Hanging or pushing for a redpoint of your season’s project, there is no denying the well-designed build. The harness itself is quite thin and light, so it stays very comfortable under a backpack and can pack down quite small to fit into the previously mentioned backpack.

Climbing Harnesses Review: Arc'Teryx 395A - Gear Hacker

The leg loops are adjustable to dial in the fit, but unfortunately, this is a big problem because they are terrible at pinching the inside of the wearer’s leg while belaying. The design causes them to dig directly next to the wearer’s private area if any force is applied to the harness. This issue may not present as badly while wearing thicker winter apparel, but for sport climbing, it is a real pain—literally.

The belay loop and tie in point have indicator stitching for when it is time to retire the harness. The leg loops can be removed as well if you are bivvying on the side of the mountain and want that added safety but want to remain comfortable.

Comfort

We generally love Arc’teryx at Gear Hacker, but they missed the mark with this harness in the comfort department—at least for rock climbing. While walking and not having any upward pull on the harness, it is very comfortable and moves well while hiking. This makes it a very good option for an alpine mission or trekking across glacier fields.

The real problem lies in the leg pinching on the hang. While hanging in the harness, the leg loops will ride and pinch very close to sensitive areas—never a good thing. The design seems to force this, while on other harnesses the leg loops meet in a triangle shape before going towards the belay loop. In the 395a, the leg loops are a perfect circle, and this is where the problem arises. When vertical pressure occurs and they are pulled up, the only thing they can do is pinch. This is a total bummer for the climber, but again, it is a great harness for movement, making it an excellent alpine or mountaineering harness.

Gear Loops

The four gear loops on the AR 395a are large and stiff. There is a nonrated haul loop on the rear of the harness for shoes or a tagline. Something that we haven’t seen in other harnesses are the four ice clipper slots that will add a huge amount of versatility to this harness for ice or mixed climbing. The front gear loops are forward tapering so that the quickdraws will all slide to the front. Depending on the amount of gear in these loops, they can bunch together and make it difficult to access gear.
 

Climbing Harnesses Review: Arc'Teryx 395A - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

For more than double what most harnesses cost, it is a big ask to call this a great harness for its value. Whether it is “worth it” is very dependent on what kind of climbing you are after. The large gear loops and four ice clipper slots do make it one of the most versatile harnesses on the list. This harness is at home in the high alpine and long mixed climbs where you need to haul some serious gear or are always wearing a backpack while on the mountain. For longer multi-pitches, this harness misses the mark because of the uncomfortable and almost painful pinching caused by the thin nylon leg straps.

The design is sound, and it is a very comfortable harness when there is not too much weight on the gear loops. The leg loop buckles that will potentially loosen on their own can be an issue, not for safety but more for comfort and keeping everything secure on the climber’s body while they are in motion.

Climbing Harnesses Review: Arc'Teryx 395A - Gear Hacker

At $159, you could essentially get two harnesses, one for sport and multi-pitch climbing and the other for alpine climbing, and still have some leftover money for a new trucker hat. The versatility makes this harness great, so if that is why you are looking at this review then this harness it’s a no brainer. If you are looking to get a cool Arc’Teryx harness for the gym or local single pitch crag, I would keep moving though. However, for large mountain objectives where you won’t be sitting in the harness long, this is the Best Mountaineering Harness of 2020.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!