Designed on the principle that the entire structure of your harness should be load-bearing, the R320 harness from ARCTERYX uses revolutionary Warp Strength Technology to create a hyper-light, ultra-thin, and surprisingly comfortable way to keep yourself protected on the rock. Created to be a jack of all trades, this harness switches easily between trad and sport climbs.
A true revolutionary leap in the development of harnesses. Here is a brief synopsis of what makes these sick belts so amazing:
Little known by many, the beginning of Arc'teryx began in 1991 with their first product ever being a climbing harness, (not a swank and expensive jacket as they are now more well known by.) The company has expanded exponentially and now makes state-of-the-art clothing and packs. The name arc'teryx has become well known and synonomous with hip, bombproof, and expensive. Arc'teryx is a true climbing company and focuses their development of gear for climbers. This new leap in harness technology has been long awaited and is a giant advance.
Now, for the 'Warp' drive behind the belts, rocketing them into the new age. Warp Strength Technology is in reference to the lengthwise fibers in any woven fabric (as opposed to the “weft” fibers which run perpendicularly). It is in the actual weaving of the fabric that these new harnesses differ from the rest. Most harnesses have nylon webbing that wraps around the swami belt and provides load-bearing structure to the harness. Added to this is all of the comforts provided by foam and nylon padding to makes sure you are not cut in half and that the webbing does not dig into your skin.
Arc’teryx, on the other hand developed a technique to remove the vertical “weft” fibers from a piece of ¾” webbing, leaving only the horizontal “warp” fibers. These fibers are laminated to a piece of breathable mesh fabric on the inside and Schoeller stretch softshell fabric on the outside. This process essentially removes all of the padding seen in traditional harnesses.
Swami belt and gear loops.
I have been lucky enough to test this harness in Rifle and am now a proud owner and plan to do much more 'testing' ;) With my little time testing the new harness I immediately noticed how light it was, or rather, I did not notice I was wearing a harness at all! Very light and thin. Kind of felt like wearing a thong for the climbing world. That being said, it is also surprising comfortable and feel great while climbing. Hang-dogging felt as comfortable as it possible can, not too much a difference from my older harness.
Belay loop closeup.
Like many of the harnesses recently developed, Arc'teryx has taken the best design from those such as molded plastic gear loops (which can be reversed or even removed), a self locking buckle, and orange wear safety markers.
Bottome line, awesome harnesses that I guaruntee you will love climbing with.
Harness and box.
Different Arc’teryx WST Harnesses
The belts are descrbied by a letter and number (the latter of which refers to the weight of the harness in grams). The lowercase “a” designation indicates adjustable leg loops: The capital letter before the description states what the harness is best designed for (X-mixed, A-alpine, R-all around, S-sport.)
X-350a: An all-round harness with adjustable leg loops, four gear loops, a drop seat, haul loop, and slots for racking ice climbing gear. MSRP: $149.
A-300a: A mountaineering/ski touring harness with adjustable leg loops, two gear loops, and a drop seat. MSRP: $135.
R-320: An all-round harness with elasticized leg loops, four gear loops, a drop seat, and haul loop. MSRP: $125.
R-280: A women-specific version of the R-320. MSRP: $125.
S-240: A minimalist, high-end redpointing harness with more traditional leg loops (non-WST) and only two gear loops. MSRP: $99.
Harnesses are shipping out now and should be in mountain shop by later Feb, 2008.
Features-For an ultra-strong, seamless harness that distributes pressure over the entire harness area, Warp Strength Technology uses only the horizontal fibers of fabric
-Feel like you're wearing practically nothing thanks to Schoeller Dynamic and Spacermesh linings
-Suit up and go - the self-locking aluminum buckle secures quickly
-Get the perfect fit without worry in the elasticized leg loops
-Know it's time to replace your harness when orange Wear Safety Markers show through
-Hang the gear you need off of the four injection-molded, reversible, removable gear loops
-Take care of business easily thanks to the drop seat
-Pack away your harness safely in the included storage bag
Specification for R320Weight: 11.4 ounces, aka 320 grams (hence the name)
Haul loop: yes
Gear loops: 4
Padded waist: yes
Padded leg loops: yes
Droppable leg loops: yes