Sooner or later climbers grow up into full fledged adults, just look at Tommy Caldwell. And just like the one-time state champion football player wants his son to follow in his footsteps, climbers want to see their kids top out their first 5.10. We have a few kids in our extended staff of testers here and decided to see what they thought about a couple of the kids harnesses that are out on the market. The brand new Camp USA Jasper Junior and the newly redesigned Black Diamond Wiz Kid harness.
The Camp USA Jasper Junior harness has been in the works for a while. Realizing that kids are not just miniature adults Camp set out to address some of the main concerns. Anyone that has children can tell you about the phenomenon of kids growing out of their clothes faster than Mayan Smith-Gobat can break her own El Cap Nose record. The main kid-friendly feature of the Jasper Junior is the sliding waist belt. If you’ve ever worn a harness that was almost too big and adjusted it down to the last inch you’ll realize the design of the Jasper Junior is genius. Go ahead and cinch the harness down all the way and the outer padding on the waist slides along on the belt keeping the leg loops and gear loops oriented correctly instead of being all off-kilter like they get with other harnesses that are cinched down. Our kid testers mentioned that this helped to make it more comfortable for them to wear. The waist belt was designed with wide dense foam to make the harness as comfortable as a quality adult harness.
Along with this feature are other nice details. A rear tab that you can use to attach a chalk bag, a gear loop on each side and easy sliding buckle (helpful for swapping around on kids or managing their constant pee breaks). The leg elastic leg straps that attach the leg loops are easily adjusted to keep the leg loops at a comfortable length and not hanging down at the knees or digging into a crotch. They can even be dropped for bathroom breaks. The Leg loops themselves are fully adjustable with traditional harness buckles, very helpful for handling legs of all sizes. The belay and tie in loops are full strength to maintain a high level of safety and durability. The recommended age/weight range is 5-10 yrs. old and up to 85 lbs.
Black Diamond recently updated their well known Wiz Kid harness. The Wiz kid comes in blue and deep purple colors. The deep purple bears a striking resemblance to the womens Black Diamond Primrose AL Harness. The girls in our test group really liked that their harness looked like the adult version, complete with a pair of gear loops. The Black Diamond Wiz Kid was also designed to grow up with a child. Although the waist doesn’t allow for leg loops and details to shift and stay aligned with the body, the overlapping design of the waist belt allows for a the waist to be cinched down very small. Black Diamond says this can fit children 35 -110 lbs., quite a wide range. The waist is wide and nicely padded, no complaints from our kid testers.
The elastic leg loops on the Wiz Kid do not adjust or disconnect. BD seems to have found a happy medium for the length. Truthfully they could use some adjustment as most kids found them to be a little long. Nothing too bad, but it was noticed. One design feature that Black Diamond has introduced is the trakFIT adjustment on the leg loops themselves. Its a no buckle system that allows you to slide the opening more tight or loose without having to pull slack in or out. Built in elastic kept the leg loops snug, but comfortable on all of our testers. This was one of the features all of the parents mentioned. Full strength belay and tie in loops keep the kids safe and will even work when they get old enough to belay friends and siblings.
More info at www.blackdiamondequipment.com