Dave tests out the lightweight adjustable Mithril from DMM and ponders if it is really …’one harness to rule them all’
The Mithril is the perfect lightweight all-rounder. Sharing the same lightweight construction as the Maverick 2, but the addition of adjustable legs opens up the possibilities to use this harness all year round.
The DMM Mithril is the adjustable leg version of the new Maverick 2 harness. It’s made from the same lightweight materials and has the same build quality. The only difference, as I’ve said, is that The Mithril has adjustable leg loops, which have always worked well for me as I like a harness that I can wear for all my climbing activities. This doesn’t mean you have to compromise on weight, the Mithril harness felt very light on, the stated weight of a size medium is 365g and my harness weighed 360g on the trusty CGR scales.
Professionally I still prefer the DMM Renegade 2, which in my opinion is the best harness for instructing I’ve ever used. The Mithril, however, is much lighter and feels a more streamlined performance harness. I’ve been using it for most of the season, from August through to November for all my recreational climbing from sport climbing, indoor climbing and trad. The harness has performed great in all these activities.
The construction is very supple and feels great on. Stiffened with foam padding and with great ventilation the Mithril felt a joy to wear. I hardly noticed it was on when I was climbing and I could wear it all day with no red marks appearing on my skin, even after plenty of hanging belays in it.
The supple nature also meant in packed down tight so taking up less space in my pack and was easy to cinch the polished stainless steel buckle up as it slid across the tape very smoothly. The excess waist tape was tucked away with the nice, easy to locate waist loop as well as two elasticated loops, so they was very little excess waist belt tape dangling around.
The leg loops had the same supple feel about them and were easy to put on. The beauty of adjustable leg loops is that it extends the use of the harness into winter as you have more layers on and a fixed leg harness can be a total pain when wearing two leg layers. Again the loops were easy to adjust on the smooth, supple feeling leg loop tape.
The all-important tie in loops are well made and easy to locate. They are made from double thickness and very stiff webbing and feel like they should last another few seasons. I can’t emphasize how important it is to regularly check the tie in loops on any harness for signs of wear. DMM have made this area of the harness supremely burly with plenty of chucky stitching and the whole area feels very reassuring when tying in.
The gear loops have been a standard construction for some time now and I commented on them in my review of the Renegade 2. There are 4 main loops with the slightly larger rear ones being able to hold a little more. There is also a small taped rear loop that is big enough to hold prussicks, ab tat and other rescue stuff. If you must (although I would never recommend it) you could clip your chalk bag into it.
They have worked well enough and most importantly the first two loops do not throw gear over my thigh when climbing which is great as that is infuriating when it happens. The larger, rear gear loops were good for a huge amount of kit if I needed it, although I’ve been working hard at minimizing my rack for the type of climbing I’m on.
The rear seat clips were easy to clip undone for those (hopefully infrequent) toilet stops, the plastic clips were OK to work with in light gloves but not full climbing gloves. The Hyperlon ice clipper slots were placed well and it was nice to see DMM placing them in the correct place and only committing to two. Some harness has four which is way too many as the rear ones are next to useless. For clipping up you should have no more than three ice screws on each clipper side and then load up others from the loops when you can. So the systems works well, I have commented on the durability of the ice clipper slots in previous reviews but I can only assume it must be me as DMM have kept the design for several years now.
UPDATE – I have now tried the harness out in winter conditions on several occasions and found the Mithril harness perfectly fine for general UK winter climbing and mountaineering conditions. I have found that although the Hypalon ice clipper slots are well placed the capture loop is still a little to thin the hold a ice clipper really securely. The clipper has a tendency to drop right down when loaded up with screws or kit. I still beleive that sleeves would do the job better.
So, is the DMM Mithril a true all season harness and one harness to rule them all? Well I think the answer is yes. If you want a lightweight harness that you can use for summer rock, multi pitch days out, Alpine fun and winter gnarl then the DMM Mithril isn’t going to disappoint and it’s well priced too, oh and I forgot to mention British made which alsways gets our thumbs up 🙂
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA, working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects of climbing and mountain sports, whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!