At 224 grams, Black Diamond claims that the Vision harness is the “lightest fully functional harness.” This statement is true if your definition of fully functional is:

  • a dedicated belay loop and tie-in points (no threading the belay loop through the waist belt)
  • 4 gear loops
  • ice clipper slots

The Kailas Tabary harness has a very competitive weight at 195 grams with a dedicated belay loop and tie in points, but it only has 2 gear loops and no ice clipper slots. Though perhaps the biggest downside is that it’s particularly hard to find in US shops.

Compared to all the harnesses available, the Black Diamond Vision just barely squeeks into the top 20 lightest. Although nearly every competitor (exception: Kailas Tabary) has 1-2 tie-in points (glacier style), or it’s necessary to thread the dedicated belay loop through the waistbelt.

Black Diamond Vision Harness: A Detailed Comparison 1
The Top 20 Lightest Harnesses (screenshot of WeighMyRack taken in 2018).

The Vision is designed for alpine climbing, and therefore has 4 low-profile gear loops that won’t rub when wearing a pack and increase packability of the harness compared to BD’s standard gear loop design. Yet, these gear loops are still beefy enough that they won’t cause too much futzing with gloves on. Additionally, the Vision has an 5th fabric gear loop in the back, a haul loop, and 4 ice clipper slots.

Black Diamond Vision Harness back

The Vision will also work for ski mountaineering if you don’t find stepping through the fixed leg loops an issue. There are some lighter harnesses that will likely work better for ski mountaineering if that’s your primary activity and you want to be able to put it on with skis on — such as the Petzl Tour, and AltitudeMammut Zephir Altitude, Beal Snow Guide, and BD’s Coulior.

The Vision harness is “pro” style in that it was specifically designed for alpinists pushing the limits – attempting difficult, remote, visionary routes. One of the main testers was Kyle Dempster, who was wearing a prototype of the Vision when he went missing on the Ogre II.

To make the Vision harness, BD stripped their Xenos/Chaos harnesses to the skeleton, which just left the tri-laminate of Vectran™ — a super strong polymer that doesn’t absorb water. The material is lightweight, but can still make for a reasonably comfortable waist/leg belts thanks to the weight distribution due to the wider width.

Black DIamond Vision Harness

Black Diamond’s primary goal for the Vision harness was not comfort, but BD did have testers sport climbing in it and they found it acceptably comfortable.

With all the high-tech lightweight materials the cost of the Vision is at the top of BD’s line at $149. If price is your sticking point, you could wait until 2019 when Blue Ice comes out with their Choucas Pro harness; It’ll only be 6 grams heavier, have a dedicated belay loop, 2 gear loops, ice clipper slots, and openable leg loops (not adjustable though).

The narrow belay loop might make you skeptical in terms of how thin it looks, but BD assured us that it’s plenty bomber, as it’s made of a Dyneema-like material. In reality the belay loop could be even skinnier and exceed all the strength requirements, but BD knew that they were already pushing the limits of first impressions and assumed credibility in strength.

Black Diamond Vision Harness Belay Loop

Geeking out a bit further… A lot of the belay loop strength comes from the interesting construction technique: it essentially utilizes a single strand of fiber that’s wrapped around like a donut, and then encased in a protective sheath. This is significantly stronger than most belay loops that have a simple looped piece of webbing that’s bartacked. However, the Vision is not the first climbing product to utilize this construction. The Petzl Altitude and Kailas Tabary have similar belay loops, and the Mammut Magic sling is effectively a longer loop of the same type.

The Vision is an amazing harness for people looking for the feature set they find on a standard harness while reducing weight and pack size to a minimum.

You can see KP (Climbing Category Director at BD) show off the features of the harness in this video:


If you’re interested in the Vision harness, here are the online retailers we know who carry it (and the current prices):