How to Make a Body Harness

Written by jennifer dick
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How to Make a Body Harness
Proper harnesses are an essential part of climbing gear. (climbing image by Pershing from

Three basic types of harnesses are typically used for vertical climbing adventures. The lower-body harness, the upper harness, and the body harness all have different merits of support for a climber. You can purchase premade versions of these harnesses, or with a little time and engineering you can craft your own out of tubular webbing or rope. A homemade body harness consists of both the lower body harness and the upper body harness linked together with a third measure of rope.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 36 feet of tubular webbing or climbing strength rope for an average-sized person
  • Climbing strength carabineer

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    Lower Body Harness

  1. 1

    Measure and cut 25 feet of the webbing or rope.

  2. 2

    Find the centre of the rope and to one side of the centre use overhand knots to create two leg loops approximately six inches apart. The six-inch distance will allow the legs freedom to move, but will also be essential to linking the two harnesses together.

  3. 3

    Place legs into these leg loops with the knots centred on the front of the upper thighs.

  4. 4

    Adjust the leg loops to be taught against the skin. This should be a tight fit but should not cut into the crotch or upper thighs.

  5. 5

    Wrap the remaining webbing or rope from the leg loop side around the natural waist. Do not wrap this measure around the hips, as that will create a lower centre of gravity for the harness.

  6. 6

    Bind the rope around the body with the remaining free rope by circling the body in the opposite direction until the two ends of rope are on the same side of the body.

  7. 7

    Secure ends of webbing or rope together with a water knot and cut any access length off the ends. The webbing or rope should fit close to the body, loose webbing or rope will not keep you in the harness.

    Upper Body Harness

  1. 1

    Measure and cut 10 feet of the webbing or rope.

  2. 2

    Tie the ends of this rope together with a water knot.

  3. 3

    Lay the circle of rope on the ground and create a figure eight shape with the rope by rotating one of the sections over the centre. Make sure that the water knot is contained on one end of the figure eight and not in the centre.

  4. 4

    Insert one arm into the end of each loop with the middle of the eight on your back, not your chest. The water knot should be visible on either the left or right side of the chest.

  5. 5

    Connect these loops across the centre of the chest with the carabineer. If the chest harness is not secure and tight at this point adjust the water knot to create a close fit and cut the access webbing or rope.

    Making Two Harnesses into One

  1. 1

    Weave the remaining rope around the bottom of the seat harness crotch and stretch the length upward to the intersection of the arm loops on the chest harness webbing or rope.

  2. 2

    Secure the harnesses together by tying another water knot on the ends of this rope. This rope should not interest the carabineer.

  3. 3

    Tug on the harness to make sure it is secure before attempting to ascend or descend.

Tips and warnings

  • Use caution when climbing to avoid serious injury.

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