Published on: 10/22/2022The Black Diamond Momentum is an entry-level yet sturdy and comfortable harness for beginners and beyond.
This is a highly comfortable harness, thanks mainly to the Momentum’s generously padded waistbelt. It’s also slightly lighter than just about all of its competitors, making it a no-brainer for more modern sport climbing. Thanks to its trakfit system and pre-threaded Speed Adjust buckle, the Momentum is lightning-quick to put on and offers excellent adjustability.
Boasting four gear loops and a haul loop, the Momentum can be enough to make the bridge with more gear-heavy climbing styles until you decide to upgrade. Most climbers will appreciate the flexibility of the Momentum, as well as its durability both indoors and outdoors.
While marketed as a year-round climbing harness, the Momentum does lack winter-friendly features like ice clipper slots. Still, this is a super comfortable, all-rounder harness with almost all the features of many other models that cost twice as much.
- Reasonably lightweight, weighing in at just 10.6 oz
- Great build quality and clever design for an affordable price point make it an excellent value
- Relatively comfortable thanks to the generous padding on the waistbelt and adjustable leg loops
- Decent versatility – suitable for a variety of climbing disciplines
- More of a generalist harness – experienced climbers will likely prefer something more specialized for their chosen discipline
- Less suitable for use in warmer climates due to the waistbelt’s thick padding
- Some testers felt that the Momentum rides up excessively when hanging/top-roping.
Beginners or any climbers looking for a budget-friendly, versatile harness should consider the Black Diamond Momentum. And yes, it shares the same name as a popular entry-level shoe model of the brand, so we can assume Black Diamond wants us to pair them!
This comfortable hardness lends itself well to multiple climbing styles, featuring four gear loops and a haul loop, a hardy nylon shell, Black Diamond’s Dual Core construction, and trakfit system.
In this Black Diamond Momentum review, we discuss what makes this harness so great and its weaknesses and drawbacks.
Differences Between the Men’s and Women’s Models
The BD Momentum comes in both men’s and women’s fits. While not hugely dissimilar, the two have some differences in fit and sizing. For one, the women’s version of the Momentum is available in sizes XS-L. On the other hand, the men’s Momentum goes from XS right up to XXL.
There are also minor variations between the men’s and women’s versions, like the women’s model having a wider leg loop relative to its waist belt than the men’s Momentum. Additionally, the women’s version of the Momentum has a different, more elastic rise for greater adjustability. The women’s and men’s Momentums also come in different colorways.
One of the Momentum’s greatest strengths is how comfortable it is. This is primarily due to the model’s Dual Core build, with webbing for better breathability. Thanks to the generous foam padding on the Momentum’s waist belt, it offers excellent hanging comfort. The waistbelt distributes weight evenly throughout the harness, and the foam padding helps it mold itself to different body shapes effectively.
The Momentum’s waist and leg loops are, for the most part, easy to use and accommodating. Black Diamond’s trakfit design makes adjusting the leg loops quick and straightforward. However, the leg loop design on the Momentum offers less flexibility than what you’d see on most harnesses (you get roughly two inches’ wiggle room, whereas other models would give 5-7).
As such, if you have (relatively speaking) bigger legs or thighs, you might want to opt for a harness that offers greater adjustability in the leg loops than the Momentum does. Also, due to the Momentum’s generous padding, some climbers may find it too hot to wear in warmer climates/weather.
Still, despite these relative shortcomings, this is easily the most comfortable budget-friendly harness we’ve tried to date. Add in the fact that it’s remarkably lightweight, and the Momentum is easily worth considering for any climber who prioritizes comfort in their harnesses.
The Momentum’s leg loops have enough padding so that belaying doesn’t place excessive pressure on the groin. You will feel most of your body weight in the leg loops of the harness, so sufficient support in this area is necessary. A hanging belay is also made comfortable by the Momentum’s cushy padding and Dual Core system, which ensures that weight is distributed evenly around the waist belt.
One issue that some testers mentioned was that when top roping, the Momentum would occasionally dig into certain pressure points in the abdomen due to it riding up. This primarily seemed to be an issue for male testers and was eliminated by dialing in the Momentum’s fit before climbing.
Thanks to its build quality and durability, we felt that the Momentum, like most modern harnesses, is safe and reliable. Despite being a budget harness, the Momentum is well-made and rugged. It uses 210D ripstop nylon and 400d ripstop polyester, materials that truly stand the test of time and can take plenty of wear and tear.
If you start climbing and rent your harness, chances are it will be the Momentum!
Use in Different Climbing Styles
Simply put, this is an excellent harness for sport climbing. The Momentum is one of the lightest harnesses, so that it won’t hold you back on modern sport routes. It’s also reasonably breathable, thanks to the webbing on the waistbelt, though the thick padding means the Momentum can get hot if worn in warmer climates. And the lack of bulkier gear loops keeps the Momentum streamlined for sports routes.
Lead climbing is another area where the Momentum shines. Again, it’s light enough that it doesn’t weigh you down excessively. The Momentum provides excellent support overall and makes hanging belays incredibly comfortable thanks to its generous padding.
Also, the gear loops on the Momentum provide ample room for carrying a reasonable number of quickdraws. The gear loops are reinforced, making them both hardy and easy to clip gear onto and off because they protrude from the Momentum’s waist belt.
On the whole, the Momentum holds up well when worn on multi-pitch trad routes. Most trad climbers will likely find that the Black Diamond accommodates sufficient gear for longer routes. The Momentum’s pressure-molded gear loops are stiff and stick out from the sides of the harness; this makes clipping gear on and off quick and easy. Also, this model features a sturdy haul loop, which makes hauling your climbing gear.
One strength of the Momentum for trad climbing is how comfortable it is; this makes hanging for long periods viable, which is a huge help when trying to figure out the beta of a project. Also, the harness’ fixed leg loops are adjustable, making adding or removing layers during a longer climbing session quick and simple.
Proper trad harnesses tend to have five gear loops or more, which the Momentum lacks. The Momentum also features somewhat smaller gear loops. Some climbers might struggle to carry as much gear as they’d like on trad routes.
Value for Money
It’s hard to critique the Momentum in terms of its value for money. Providing excellent support, comfort, versatility, and build quality, we feel the Momentum represents excellent value for money. Not only is it well suited to beginners who want to try different climbing styles, but plenty of veterans favor the Momentum, too, thanks to its ease of use and how comfortable it is for longer sessions.
We consider the Momentum one of the best climbing harnesses on the market at its price point. Beginner climbers should be able to get a lot out of this versatile, well-made piece of gear, especially if they favor sport or trad climbing. The Momentum is also comfortable enough for longer sessions without being overly heavy due to excessive padding.
However, more experienced climbers, or those who prefer more specialized harnesses, may find the Momentum overly generalized. It’s not so appropriate for mountaineering due to its lack of loops for ice clippers and similar features. But if you’re looking for an affordable, user-friendly, and reliable harness, consider the Momentum.
Reference: Black Diamond‘s official website
Where to Buy It?
We buy most of our stuff from REI.com. Their service is great, and it’s a co-op, so they treat their employees well and answer to their members, not shareholders.
Note: we receive a commission when you buy through us. This keeps our team of writers/climbers going!
Not convinced by this model? Check out our selection of the best climbing harnesses of 2023.