This Spring & Summer I climbed almost exclusively in the Petzl Hirundos and would like to share my feedback on this well received harness by Petzl. The Hirundos is a solid option for any climber looking to shed a couple ounces and gain a bit of comfort. Let’s have a look.
I prefer lightweight weight harnesses that pack up small. My home scale weighs my size XL Hirundos in at just over 11 ounces.
This is a full pound lighter than my Petzl Corax that I used last winter and if there is a slight loss of comfort in the design I have not noticed. I also prefer harnesses that collapse neatly and fit easily inside my climbing helmet as I usually pack my helmet towards the top of my climbing pack. Since I usually don my helmet as soon as I get to the cliff it is most convenient to pack my harness with it.
According to the official size chart I would have fit a large with 6 cms to spare but a similarly built co-worker suggested I purchase an XL and his advice was spot on. My 5’9″ 180 lb frame with a 34 inch waist and thicker thighs definitely needed the XL despite the Petzl size chart.
|References||C36AO XS||C36AO S||C36AO M||C36AO L||C36AO XL|
|Waist belt||65-71 cm||71-77 cm||77-84 cm||84-92 cm||92-100 cm|
|Leg loops||48-53 cm||48-53 cm||52-57 cm||55-60 cm||57-62 cm|
|Weight||250 g||270 g||280 g||300 g||315 g|
While this harness is marketed towards sport climbing (and alpine climbing) I would suggest anyone that has “trad/mountaineering legs” to consider sizing up if you can’t get to a gear shop to try it on. If you have more than a 36 inch waist you’ll want to look at other options.
The Hirundos uses something called “Fuseframe” technology. A fancy word for a pretty straight forward idea. Instead of just adding padding around the structural strength of the waist belt Petzl splits the support with “thermo-formed foam” in a way that reduces pressure points and aids in weight distribution. Is it as comfortable as a 3 pound big wall harness when at a hanging belay for an hour? No. Is it extremely comfortable for a harness that weighs less than a pound? YES! I also found the mesh to be breathable and quick drying even when the humidity was high.
The stretchy fitted leg loop material is more comfortable to me than any “adjustable” metal buckled leg loops I have ever used, and has enough range of movement that I have no concerns about adding some long underwear and some soft-shell ice climbing pants to this outfit for some ice climbing this winter (is it winter yet?).
The “DoubleBack HD” buckle provides quick secure on/off adjustment of the harness. While double-back buckles have become standard in this category this small profile buckle adjusts more smoothly than larger style buckles that are in common use.
As typical of this style harness there are 4 gear loops but Petzl has put more thought into them then just adding 4 loops. The front two are rigid, allowing easier clipping and un-clipping of quick-draws and protection. The rear two are flexible and soft which makes wearing a full size backpack a bit more comfortable (and aids in the compress-ability of the harness for packing).
There are two integrated CARITOOL screw/tool holder slots so I’ll definitely be using this harness once the ice season starts (is it here yet?) If you ice climb you should definitely pick a couple of these up:
Rounding out the features are detachable rear buckles that can help with sorting a tangled harness (and answering nature’s call) and the inclusion of high-tenacity polyethylene (instead of just regular nylon) at the tie-in points that helps reduce abrasion and wear at a high stress point.
After 4 months of climbing sport, trad, and alpine I can give this harness a hearty endorsement. It’s light, pack-able, comfortable, and well thought out. If you’re looking for a new rig check this harness out here!
If you want to to see some people throw down on sick stuff while wearing this harness check out Petzl’s video here:
If you liked this review or want to plug YOUR favorite harness please do so in the comments below!
See you in the mountains,
Northeast Alpine Start
Disclaimer: David Lottmann bought this harness with his own money. This post contains affiliate links.