Edelweiss are best known for their ropes but they also produce a variety of other equipment including a small line of harnesses. We reviewed their Strato Harness a couple of years ago and the Dart shares a similar design.
The Edelweiss Dart is a lightweight and extremely adjustable harness using a double waist belt buckle system and fully adjustable leg-loops meaning that just two sizes can can cope with a range of sizes from 69-107cm (26″-42″) waist. The Size 1 that I tested will cover 69-89cm (26″-35″) which makes it a great buy if you want a harness that will cover you for everything from sport climbing in your underwear to days on the Ben in full winter kit. Though not super lightweight the Dart comes in at a respectable 385g which is not bad for a fully adjustable harness. Likewise for parents with growing offspring this is a harness that will grow with your teenager. A bonus with the double buckle system is that it always keeps your racking loops evenly centred rather than offset depending on how big or small your waist is.
Features wise the Dart has four simple racking loops made of slightly stiffened large diameter cord. These work well enough and have sufficient capacity for a full trad rack but I found them less user friendly than the plastic reinforced loops on the Strato. When full there was a tendency for gear to bunch up in the the middle and be a little more fiddly to clip and unclip compared to more rigid racking options – though some of this may just reflect my personal preferences. There are no ice clipper slots on the Dart so it would appear the designers are not targeting the more specialist winter climber but in all honesty there are several ‘clipper’ solutions including the latest offerings from Petzl etc that do not rely on a slot for compatibility so unless you have a yearning for them it’s not a deal breaker.
I’ve used the Dart for sport, trad and Scottish winter climbing and it has proved a good all-round harness. There are no areas that it truly excels in but likewise there are no areas where it is really lacking. Comfort is very good whether actually climbing or on a hanging stance and like all good kit it tends to disappear from your mind whilst in use. It was a great harness on ‘mountaineering’ type Scottish days with a fair bit of scrambling and ridge walking the design doesn’t hamper movement or rub when walking which means it would work well in a traditional alpine environment. The keeper elastic on the leg loops is fastened with fastex buckles making answering calls of nature a possible without untying too. The racking as I have already mentioned works well enough unless you overload it with a big trad or winter rack and for sport climbing that’s a non issue. The adjustability is fantastic and this together with the low price of £40 makes it a bargain for anyone with a need for a versatile harness or one that will fit a variety of family members. This is a good harness but I feel I have to knock it down a star in comparison to the Strato because of the gear loops – otherwise it is easily worthy of four stars.
- Well Priced
- Gear loops struggle with a large rack
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!