The Edelrid Orion is a multi-purpose harness aimed towards both sport and alpine climbing. It’s 3D-vent technology and wide padded area promise comfort and support throughout the day, whilst the abrasion protection (at tie in) looks to provide long term durability. We’ve been using the Orion for over 3 months and think it’s about due a full write up!
Comfort & Fit
The fit of this harness is very good (A Medium fit perfectly with an 82cm / 32′ waist). The Orion features ‘3D-Vent Technology’ which lets air circulate and helps keep the harness sweat free. The leg and waist loops feature ample padding and a wide surface area that help to spread the weight evenly making the harness very comfortable to hang in. The only very minor complaint we found was that the belay loop could perhaps do with being 1cm longer just to stop the waist and leg loops being pulled together so tightly at the front (only a minor problem for taller climbers when standing upright).
The build quality is also very good, the harness holds it’s shape and each component appears well laid out and well made. The 15mm fastening straps are a little on the thin side (we suspect this is to save weight due to the generous padding) but have lasted well over the test period.
Aside from the comfort features already mentioned, the Orion caters for Alpine environments with leg loops that open to allow crampons through (this also helps customise the fit for sport climbing too). The harness also features 4 sturdy gear loops, 2 ice screw loops and different settings for the rear leg loop elastic. The belay loop is not very wide, but reassuringly thick (in depth) although this does make it a little on the stiff side.
The lower tie in point is reinforced with a well placed plastic retainer that stops your rope abrading the leg tie in point directly, we really liked this feature as it will aid the longevity of both the rope and the harness. After scraping through many off-widths and general abuse the Orion has stood up very well with little noticeable wear.
Size & Weight
Due to the luxury of comfort, the Orion does suffer with a larger size and weight. Weighing in at 400g it does tip the scales to the heavier side of modern climbing harnesses and the firm structure makes it a pain to fold away (it’s packed size is quite large, although we tended to store gear in the cavity it created).
Ease of Use
The modern buckles lock without the need to double back, so the Orion goes on and off very quickly with little faff. Instead of elastic retainers, Edelrid have used plastic hooks to stow away the excess webbing which saves time and is a feature we liked. Overall the Orion is very straightforward to use for anyone who is familiar with modern harnesses, the bold colours also help differentiate between parts (such as the belay loop and tie in points).
If you’re looking for a very comfortable harness that will be useful on both rock & ice, the Edelrid Orion is an excellent consideration. The padded and well ventilated waist and leg loops are some of the best we have tested with the only real compromise being the size and weight of the harness (which really isn’t that devastating).