When do I need a full-body or a chest harness?

Nowadays a full-body harness is nearly exclusively used in via ferrata or alpine mountaineering when there is a danger of falling down with your head first because of a heavy backpack.

Full-body harnesses are also used in ropes courses, as safety device in craftsmanship and in industrial climbing and rigging.

Not usually used and not commonly recommended are full-body harnesses for sport climbing, ice climbing, high-altitude mountain tours, mountaineering with day packs and canyoning etc.
This is also relevant for the well-known chest-sit harness combination, where the sit harness gets connected with an additional chest harness.

Even for children full-body harnesses are only limited suitable, because children grow fast out of them and often don’t need a full-body harness because of their build. The manufacturers have special sit harnesses in their product-line.

The use of an additional chest harness can be necessary, if a person has no waist (special body composition or very small children).


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