Climbing Harnesses Review: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker

Table Of Contents

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

Weight: 345g

Gear Loops: 4

Ice Loops: 2

Leg Loops: Adjustable

Price: $135

What We Like: Comfort of the larger waist and leg loops

What We Don’t: Ice clipper loops are in the way of the front gear loop

A rock climbing-specific harness that is built to perform. The Aquila has four gear loops that are off-center of each other on the harness for easy organization and access while on the wall. The leg loops are thick and adjustable for comfort while sitting in a hanging belay. Petzl used their FuseFrame technology for the Aquila to provide maximum comfort while managing the overall weight to help you hit those higher grades.
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Climbing Harnesses Review: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker
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  • Hanging Comfort 80% 80%
  • Gear Loops 80% 80%
  • Versatility 80% 80%

Pros

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It comes as no surprise that Petzl is listed in this review several times because they have created a very diverse set of harnesses that are capable for use across the entire spectrum of the vertical world. The Petzl Aquila is Petzl’s entry into the alpine and technical rock world. While very similar to the Petzl Sitta, some differences have made this harness a great option for heading into the high alpine or on a ski tour mission.

 

Climbing Harnesses Review: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker

Design

Petzl makes light but strong harnesses. Using their FuseFrame technology, the harness can distribute your weight well and reduce any pressure points. The waist belt is wider than the Sitta for added comfort while in a hanging belay or during falls. The leg loops are also thicker and add more comfort all around.

Climbing Harnesses Review: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker

The leg loops are adjustable, which aid in the ability to put the harness on over ski boots or mountaineering boots while tackling an alpine mission. The problem is that the buckles seem to loosen on their own. The benefit of being able to wear multiple layers is now outweighed by an issue that the loops have been known to loosen.

Comfort

As mentioned earlier, the FuseFrame technology used on the Aquila makes the waist belt slightly wider than the Sitta, but this helps to distribute your weight. The weight distribution provided by the formed foam and split webbing makes this a very comfortable harness for hanging.

The stretch mesh that covers the split webbing and foam is soft and breathable. So even on hot days, it allows for more breathability than thicker, more padded harnesses.

Climbing Harnesses Review: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker

Gear Loops

The gear loop setup is fairly standard. There are a total of four gear loops. The front two are firm for quick and easy access to your quickdraws, while the rear two loops are soft for comfortable wear under a backpack. There are also two ice screw clip loops—one on each side of the harness and a haul loop at the rear.
 

Here lies the main issue with the Aquila. The two front gear loops are just slightly too far back for where we think they should go. The front gear loops also sit over the top of where the ice tool clip goes, so now there is a lot of gear in a very small place which will get frustrating especially when hanging onto a crux move and trying to add some protection. Unfortunately, it seems like the gear loops were not fully thought out when making the harness. All of the weight at the back will pull on the harness while climbing, and this may cause some sagging issues on the wall as well. For the price, these flaws are troubling.

Climbing Harnesses Review: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

We think Petzl missed the mark with the Aquila. As a harness, it is made extremely well and will be a versatile addition to any climbing set up. However, for $130 it is almost twice the price of some other very versatile harnesses on the list.

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: Petzl Aquila - Gear Hacker

The gear loops are too far back and too small for a large trad rack. The front gear loops also sit on top of the ice tool clip slot, which makes for a very congested back two-thirds of the harness. For the price and the potential headache of where everything is located, there are better options on our list and better options in each category of climbing if you are looking to get a specific harness for alpine or sport/trad climbing.

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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!