Petzl - Aquila Harness

Don Whillans, HVS, Sloth, Roaches, Petzl
The Petzl Aquila on test on the Don Whillans classic; The Sloth, Roaches

Star Rating: *** (3 Stars)

Recommended Retail Price: £90 from Petzl

According to Petzl, the Aquila is a high-end model ideal for technical and alpine climbing. It comes in at a modest weight of 345g for the Medium size, has adjustable leg loops, 4 gear loops, 2 integrated ice screw holder slots, a rear haul loop and uses their Fuseframe technology which claims to offer excellent weight distribution without causing pressure points.

The harness is definitely competitive with regards to weight, entering itself into the lightweight range for a fully featured harness. The 4 gear loops and 2 ice screw slots make it ideal for all climbing activities (with maybe the exception of Aid climbing). The harness claims to be comfortable without pressure points which we have found to be accurate after hanging around in it on sport climbing routes. The harness also has the great advantage of folding away neatly when stuffed in a rucksack.

Aquila on test on a dry-tooling route, Newtyle Quarry

We did, however, note some negatives. Namely is the durability of the harness, after some use we have noted that the two rigid gear loops are easy to break rendering them floppy. The stitching of the harness has also given way in a couple of areas. Upon contacting the distributor, we were simply informed that the harness was safe to keep using as the areas were not safety critical. This is arguably quite disappointing from a customer service point of view. The size range of the harness is not great if one sits in between two sizes with one size resulting in a full closure of the straps and another resulting is a de-centred harness.

Poacher Falls, Liathach
Petzl Aquila on test on Liathach, Torridon

In summary, a good harness with respect to its flexibility with a low weight, relatively good value for money and comfort but let down by its lack of durability and poor customer service from the UK distributor.

Things we like: Functionality, versatility, weight.

Things we don't like:  Size options, durability, customer service.