Black Diamond Chaos Review

Some of the best climbing harnesses have great stability, super comfort, and offer superb versatility. For the Black Diamond Chaos climbing harness, we will look at all of these areas, plus a few more, to help you make the best possible decision on whether to add this harness to your collection or not.

This may not be your primary climbing harness, you may want to just use it as a backup for your other ones. Or you may be a beginner who just needs to know the intimate details of your first climbing harness.

Whatever the reason you need to know more about the Black Diamond Chaos Review, the climbing harness, this guide will give a great look into the finer details of this harness and hopefully help you make a well informed decision.

Black Diamond Chaos Review Climbing Harness Score

Black Diamond Chaos Review
  • Versatility – 6 out of 10
  • Belaying Comfort – 7 out of 10
  • Standing Comfort/Mobility – 7 out of 10
  • Features – 8 out of 10
  • Hanging Comfort – 5 out of 10

How Well Does the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Actually Perform?

Large Amount of Gear Capacity

When looking for great performance in a climbing harness, you will most likely want to zero in on the amount of gear that you can carry on your traditional or crag climb. This will allow you to be more prepared for the various situations you will face on your climb. Many more advantages and features are mentioned in this Black Diamond Chaos Review article.

The Black Diamond Chaos harness offers some advantages when considering the amount of gear that you can carry. Its gear loops are really oversized. You can actually measure the difference between other Black diamond harnesses. 

Having a large amount of space is really important to be able to do different types of climbs, either long and harsh ones or just short and sport like ones. You want to have loops big enough to allow you the option of going on either kind of climbs.

Smaller Gear Loops

However, when comparing the Chaos harness to other large gear looped harnesses that claim they have large loops made for carrying copious amounts of gear, the Chaos harness didn’t measure up to them as much. Harnesses like the Petzl Adajama or the Arc’terx AR-395a had larger loops than the Chaos harness. 

So while they may not be exactly true to their name of oversized gear loops, they are still pretty large compared to smaller loops on other Black Diamond harnesses, but maybe not so much when compared with other brands of oversized gear loop harnesses. 

Is the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Comfortable When Hanging?

Even Weight Distribution 

When you are hanging for long periods of time, you will want your weight pretty evenly distributed across the whole of your harness. 

You don’t want strain to be felt in one particular area, as this feeling will let you know that most of your body weight is bearing down on that particular part of your climbing harness. 

Sometimes it may be hard to tell which part of your body is feeling more strain than another, so you may need to use the harness several times before you really get a good feel for if it’s distributing your weight pretty well or not.

With the Black Diamond Chaos harness, you will find that you can feel about half of your body weight in the leg loops, and the other half of your body weight in the belt of the waist. This is a pretty even distribution across your harness. 

Even distribution of weight is necessary not only for total comfort, but also because your harness will wear out faster in one area if more stress is on that area. But if the harness can take your weight and spread it out, the harness will last a whole lot longer. 

Fixed Leg Loops

The fixed leg loops with their elastic band keeps them firmly in place around your legs. This helps take a good bit of your weight while also being comfortable. 

The waist area is great as well because it has a good amount of  cushion in that area, and it also featured a nice mesh backing that will keep you cool and comfortable during the climb. 

Like with some other climbing harnesses however, you may feel it riding up a little and putting a little pressure in your kidney area. 

There are a couple of more comfortable harnesses by Black Diamond, but this one doesn’t fall too far out of range of those, so if you are looking for a middling comfort harness, this one will do the job. 

Does the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Let You Be Mobile and Comfortable While Standing

Great Standing Comfort

This harness’s padded waist area definitely makes it a great one to just stand in for longer periods of time. And it still has a really good comfortable fit that doesn’t make you feel squeezed but also doesn’t give you a loose feeling either. 

This in between feeling of not too tight and not loose is very important for your safety, as you don’t want to be sliding around in your harness while climbing, and you definitely don’t want your movement overly restricted as this may cause your reflexes when trying to get yourself out of danger. 

This will also add to its feel when weighted down by a larger amount of gear. You want your climbing harness to not only be able to handle the amount of gear you need to have a successful climb, you also want the gear to feel comfortable for a longer period of time. 

The Chaos harness does a good job of also not giving you a sagging or dragging feeling while climbing or hanging.

Comfortable and Thin Padding

Another great feature of the Black Diamond Chaos harness is that it is padded, but it’s actually thinner than some other just as comfortable harnesses. This means that it will fit a litter bit better underneath your backpacks hip belt, adding to your overall comfort level. 

Also, since the leg loops are fixed you can’t adjust them, so if you have to wear thicker clothing on your climb, you might feel them becoming a little too tight. 

An option is to only use this climbing harness in warmer weather, however that will limit your climbing options and also weather may change during your climb depending on what time of day you’re going and you may want to change your outfit based on the changing temperature. 

Good Mobility

As for moving around while in your harness, this one gives you a pretty solid amount of mobility. Though the leg loops are fixed, the elastic gives you plenty of give while going side to side or up and down. 

Does the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Have Lots of Features?

Not As Numerous Features, But Solid

Again, the features on the Chaos harness aren’t necessarily impressive. They aren’t as numerous as say the Petzl Sama and even some other Black Diamond models of harnesses. 

You want your harness to be pretty versatile, able to do different climbs and having as much safety gear as possible. Number of features is really important for this. However, some people like it when there aren’t too many bells and whistles as it takes away from the integrity of the harness at times.

Great Auto-Lock

That being said, at the waist there is actually a buckle that has an auto-lock feature, which keeps you very secure in the harness and will automatically adjust to keep you inside. 

Good Leg and Gear Loops

Gear loops on the Chaos are all pretty stiff because of the plastic nature of them. This makes it super easy to quickly clip and unclip gear. These won’t get bunched up together like softer gear loops tend to do. Similarly, its haul loop is rigid and very easy to clip things on to.

And uniquely, the leg loops can actually be removed if you are wanting a much more comfortable bivie climb. 

Small Rear Gear Loops

A problem with the rear gear loops however somewhat takes away from the rating of the Chaos harness. They are pretty small. You won’t be able to hang much equipment from them and for a long, free route, you’re going to need a good amount of space. 

This seems like a little bit of a waste, since there is actually a good amount of space right beside each strap where they could have enlarged it at least as big as the front loops. 

Also, there isn’t any space dedicated to an ice clipper loop.

Is the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Comfortable When Belaying?

Middle of the Road Belaying Comfort

This Black Diamond harness is of pretty middling belaying comfort when compared to some others. When you are belaying, the weight of your partner is usually concentrated on your leg loops rather than your waist. 

They are definitely not uncomfortable for sure, and other climbing harnesses, like the Edelrid Zack, were actually a little painful when belaying. So this harness is still a good choice for belaying. 

Obviously the best way to test the comfort level of the harness while belaying is to just use it, especially since everyone’s body type is a little different and some may feel more or less stress when  holding another person’s weight for a longer period of time. 

Is the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Versatile?

Not Much Versatility

A good middling harness, it doesn’t really allow for much versatility. There aren’t any ice clipper spots and since the leg loops are fixed there isn’t any way to adjust to your liking. 

They are either going to be too big or too small or just right. There is a certain amount of versatility you will want, but at the same time many climbing harnesses that are geared toward one or specific climbing scenarios may cater better toward only having a couple of different features made really well. This is preferable to some people. 

Pros and Cons of the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness

Pros

  • Large gear loops
  • Comfort

Cons

  • Ice clipper slots not available
  • Too few gear loops

Does the Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness Have Good Climbing Application?

Good for Single-Pitch and Gym Climbing

Practically, you could really use this harness if you are going to be climbing in the gym or if you are doing a more traditional outdoor climb. A single pitch climb would be suitable to do for the Chaos harness as it does still have good space in the front for gear, but not enough in the back for a multi-pitch climb. 

Not Good for Ice or Mountaineering Climbs

Also, you can’t really use this for ice climbs because it doesn’t have an ice clipper slot, and you also can’t really do a great mountaineering climb because of the fixed leg loops.

If it is not important to you to do either of these kinds of climbs, either because you are wanting to use this harness for one or two specific kinds of climbs, or because you are a beginner and aren’t really concerned with having a super versatile harness at the moment. 

Does the Black Diamond ChaosClimbing Harness Have Good Value?

It’s Expensive 

The Chaos harness ends up being pretty expensive, especially since it’s not exactly a spectacular climbing harness, but more of a run of the mill type item. 

What’s the Verdict on Black Diamond Chaos Climbing Harness?

Well Built and Great for Free Climbing 

If you are looking for a harness that is really built well and specifically built for either long free climbing routes or more traditional cragging, the Black Diamond Chaos Harness is one of the best climbing harnesses for you. 

This doesn’t have to be your main climbing harness. It may be a great one to have in your slew of climbing harnesses, or you may want to use it as your main harness. Knowing the details will be very important to find out how you are going to use this harness and have the best climb possible. 

Great Weight Distribution

Most other harnesses use several strips of webbing to try and disperse your weight around so that your climbing harness will be more comfortable. 

But the Chaos harness takes it to the next level. It actually uses what’s called Vectran fibers sown into their Kinetic Core construction technology to do an even better job of distributing your weight. 

Large Front Gear Loops

The gear loops are pretty large, larger than some other gear loops from the Black Diamond selection, and also the leg loops are fixed for a much more comfortable climb. Also, you probably won’t find too many other climbing harnesses that can hold as much gear as the Black Diamond Chaos harness. 

That being said, this harness comes at a pretty steep $125 price and isn’t as feature filled as some other really great harnesses. 

Still, comfort and stability really play well together in this climbing harness.