Climbing Harness Haul Loop: Everything You Need to Know

So you’ve decided to take up rock climbing.

Good choice!

But before you take your first climb, you must have a solid understanding of the different equipment that you will be using.

For those who don’t, the consequences often prove fatal.

Today, we’ll be talking about one of the most important pieces of climbing gear available: the climbing harness.

But don’t worry.

Many find climbing harnesses quite complex, so today I only want to talk about one specific part of it.

That’s right! Today, I only plan to explain everything you need to know about the climbing harness haul loop.

What is a Climbing Harness Haul Loop?

Located on the back of the climbing harness, the haul loop serves one important purpose.

Namely:

climbers use the haul loop to carry extra items with them as they climb.

We’ll go over these uses in more detail shortly, but for now, I want to focus on some key information about the haul loop.

Of note, companies manufacture the haul loop from three main kinds of material: plastic, cord, or webbing.

Because of this, different haul loops vary in terms of strength. This means that the strength of your haul loop will depend on the climbing harness that you buy.

Haul loop climbing harness circled

For those looking to utilize the haul loop’s added functionality, harnesses with strong, sewn-in cord or webbing prove to be the best options.

Keep in mind that manufacturers place haul loops on the back of harnesses, making them difficult to reach during the climb.

For this reason, climbers typically don’t place anything they’ll need mid-climb on the haul loop.

How Important Is a Climbing Harness Haul Loop?

So, just how important is a haul loop?

It depends on whom you ask.

Several climbers, for instance, find the haul loop to be a useful tool that effectively allows them to carry more gear during the climb.

Still others, however, note that the haul loop serves no important function for them.

Moreover, these climbers typically point out that they don’t like the feeling of carrying swaying gear on their backs.

Keep this in mind if you plan to use haul loops for yourself.

This becomes even more important when considering the weight of the gear. Depending on the type of climb they’re doing, many climbers prefer to cut unnecessary weight.

This means that they often choose not to use their haul loops. By doing so, they’re able to cut down on weight that may otherwise hinder the climb.

With that being said, however, more climbers likely use their haul loops. Because of the added functionality they bring to the table, haul loops prove a popular tool for many climbers.

What Can I Use My Haul Loop For?

The proper use of a haul loop protects climbers while giving them more flexibility.

In short, many climbers use haul loops to carry extra rope and other forms of aid. For this reason, haul loops prove critical to providing extra safety.

For those wishing for increased security, using the haul loop remains an effective option. By allowing climbers to carry extra rope and other important gear, haul loops add another layer of security to the climb.

Many climbers find that having extra rope often keeps them from serious trouble. Rope failure, for instance, often leaves many climbers stranded. By having a second rope handy, climbers safeguard themselves from unnecessary trouble.

Just keep in mind that the added weight may affect your climb. This tradeoff, however, often proves necessary.

Additionally, make sure to not overload the haul loop. This proves especially true when considering those made of weak plastic.

In reality, putting too much weight on the haul loop poses serious risks, as it may break or tear under pressure.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at one final question:

How Can I Safely Use My Harness Haul Loop?

Despite its utility, the haul loop poses serious consequences if used incorrectly.

For this reason, I want to emphasize some critical information that everyone should keep in mind when going climbing.

First, no haul loop, not even those that are sewn, boast weight-bearing capabilities. Manufacturers design haul loops to carry extra light gear.

Climbers who tie their belaying rope into the haul loop risk losing their lives. In the event of a fall, the haul loop cannot bear human weight and will break under the pressure.

This puts climbers at risk for serious, if not fatal, injuries.

In this way, every climber must take proper precautions when using the haul loop. For starters, make sure to never tie the rope into the haul loop.

Also, many climbers find it to be in their best interest to not overload the haul loop with heavy gear.

To do so, they first inspect their harnesses to see what kind of haul loop they have. Plastic loops give out more easily than cords or webbing.

Many climbers find that their harnesses don’t have haul loops. If this is the case for you, don’t worry. While beneficial, haul loops are not necessary.

If you haven’t bought your climbing harness yet, consider whether you will use the haul loop. If you plan to use it, purchase a climbing harness that has a strong haul loop. Though, again, it should never be used for weight-bearing purposes, a strong haul loop provides perfect support for carrying chalk bags, extra rope, or even a bottle of water.

The Bottom Line

It takes time to fully understand the many components of a climbing harness.

For today, simply understand that the haul loop provides wonderful utility to those looking for a way to carry extra lightweight gear on their climb.

Additionally, keep in mind that many climbers choose to forego the use of their haul loop—and you can too.

If you do plan on using it, never use it as a weight-bearing loop, as this could pose severe risks to your health and your life.

By properly using haul loops, climbers enjoy safer and more-convenient climbs.

Climbing Blogger

Zealous boulderer, gear geek and editor. Typically has more flappers than fingers on his hands. Occasionally enjoys the feeling of being scared of heights. Mostly prevents looking down too much, though, and cheers at the invention of climbing chalk.

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