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Arborist Harness vs Climbing Harness

arborist harness vs climbing harness

A harness is an essential piece of equipment for every climber as it ensures you will not hit the ground if you accidentally fall or trip during the climb. But not all harnesses are made equal as they are built according to their specific purposes, such as tree climbing and mountain climbing.

So, what is the difference between an arborist harness vs climbing harness? The purpose of these harnesses makes them unique from one another. The weight of the saddle, the position, and other key differences will be discussed in the article below.

Features Arborist Harness Climbing Harness
Weight Heavy Light
Position Working Position Safety
Purpose Support/Hang for a Long Time Protection from Fall
Parts Thick Thin
Appearance Bigger Smaller

Weight of the Harness

The first difference between the climbing harness and the arborist harness is the overall weight. It is heavier because it is created to support the extra weight, especially the equipment you need when climbing trees day in and day out.

On the other hand, the climbing harness or any other recreational harness is created without the extra weight since it is only built to support the climber and the gears they bring during the climbing activity.

Position of the Harness

arborist harness
Arborist harness

Another difference between an arborist harness and the climbing harness is the type of position that they provide to every user. An arborist harness is considered a sit harness where the climber will be in a sitting or working position.

An arborist harness is designed to support the whole weight of the user while working with both hands in the tree. You will also find that the leg loops and the back pad are much wider to allow you to spread the weight while you are working.

On the other hand, the climbing harness position is different from that of the arborist harness. A climbing harness is built to support and provide protection to the climber during the climb. It is not built to support for a longer period like the arborist harness.


Another difference between a harness for arborists and a harness for climbers is the real purpose during the climb. The climbing harness is designed to protect the climber from accidental falls or trips.

Unlike the arborist harness, it is not designed to hang for an extended period of time. It is not designed to be used for a long time like the arborist harness. You will also find that the arborist harness is more comfortable compared to the climbing harness because it is designed to hang for a longer time.


climbing harness
Climbing harness

Another obvious difference between the two harnesses are the various parts and the way they are being built. Since harnesses for arborists are built to hand for a long time, the back and the led pads are much thicker and wider for the comfort of the user.

On the other hand, you will find that the padding is very thin, while some have no padding at all. Also, the D ring attachments are built sturdier so that they will last for a long time. The loop is also made sturdy as it is also designed for longer usage.


Another obvious difference between the two harnesses is how they look or appear. The arborist harness looks bigger compared to the climbing harness. But what they look or appear is not an indicator of their quality or the amount of protection they provide to the user.

Other Related Information

Climbing harnesses are made to be light. This is why you will see the climbing harness smaller than the arborist harness. The climbing harness aims to catch the user should the climber accidentally fall during a climbing activity.

Sitting in a climbing harness for a long time will not be suitable for the user because they are not designed for more extended usage. The effect of hanging with a climbing harness for a long time is the loss of blood circulation in the body.

The climbing harness also has some appeal when it comes to providing advanced features and systems that can be used for climbing. Features such as gear hauling, chest harnesses, and ascension systems can be found in climbing harnesses.

On the other hand, an arborist harness is more suitable when climbing trees and is usually fitted to the user. You will not find any loops to tighten the straps or adjustable straps because you will find no pressure on the chest or the shoulder of the user.

You will also find that the arborist climbing harness is made of soft materials compared to the climbing harness. The purpose of this is to comfort the user when hanging the tree for much longer. But you will find an adjustable buckle when using an arborist harness.


There are a lot of differences when comparing arborist harness vs climbing harness. The way they are built and the purpose of each harness are entirely different. One is designed to hang for a long time, and one is built to protect the user during a fall. Depending on what climbing activity you are involved with, just make sure to choose the correct harness for your protection.

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