Petzl Selena Women’s Harness
Size Tested: S
Waist Belt: EndoFrame construction
Leg Loops: Fixed
Buckles: DoubleBack Light buckle on waist belt
Gear Loops: 2 rigid gear loops in front and two flexible gear loops in rear
Designed For: Sport climbing
Reviewer Info: 5’1-3/8” (the 3/8″ is very important), 107 lbs.
Time Tested: 20+ days
Test Locations: Shelf Road, South Platte, Castlewood Canyon, Old Stage Road, Jackson Falls, CO; Indian Creek, UT
At first glance, the Selena harness is a bright, stylish, simple harness that seems perfectly at home in the gym or at a sport crag. And I was surprised when I found that it performed well in trad and multi-pitch settings, too.
As soon as I put on the Selena, I noticed Petzl’s new waist belt design.
As Matt Pincus noted in his review of the men’s Petzl Sama harness, the waist belt is widest at the sides rather than the back. I found this to be very comfortable, particularly as a female climber.
I have worn three other women-specific harnesses—the Black Diamond Primrose AL, the 2011 Black Diamond Iris, and Petzl’s older Luna (similar to the Selena, but with adjustable leg loops). Although all three of these harnesses have a woman-specific “bull horn”-shaped waist belt, the Petzl Selena is by far the most comfortable. And I think this is primarily due to Petzl’s new EndoFrame technology.
Instead of a single interior strap, the Selena harness now has two—one that follows the top of the waist belt, and one that runs along the bottom of it. Petzl claims that the EndoFrame technology helps distribute weight more evenly across the waist, and after wearing the harness on several climbs, I absolutely agree.
Petzl rethought the traditional seam placements in the waist belt as well, and moved them to avoid pressure spots and chafing. Personally, I haven’t found this to make a noticeable difference. I previously climbed in the old Luna, and never found the waistbelt to cause any hot spots or pressure points, even though it didn’t have the updated seam placements.
I have one minor gripe with this waist belt. I noticed that when I wear a belt under the Selena, it presses uncomfortably on my hipbones. I think this is caused by the EndoFrame technology, since it’s wider at the hips and distributes weight more evenly than any other harness I’ve worn. While other harnesses, like the Wild Country Boost, tend to dig in at the waist more, they only do so along the top of the waist belt—above where a normal belt would sit. But this is an issue easily avoided.
Overall, I think that the EndoFrame technology is a huge step forward in harness comfort and design.
Sizing / Fit
I tested the Selena in a size S, which is the same size as my old Petzl Luna. While the Luna and the Selena are very similar in design, the Selena comes in sizes XS through L, but the Luna only comes in sizes S/M, M/L, and L/XL. The Selena XS accommodates waists ranging from 58-69cm, while both the Selena S and the Luna S/M accommodate waists from 60 to 71cm.
So the Selena comes in a whole size smaller than the Luna, presumably because the Selena is marketed as a sport climbing-specific harness, designed to be light and versatile. The Luna is marketed as an all-mountain harness, designed to handle alpine conditions where more layers are required.
I was frustrated in the past with the Luna harness because, although I owned the S/M, I’d just about maxed out the adjustment straps. (For reference, I have about a 63.5cm or 25in waist.) And as the Selena S is exactly the same size as the Luna S/M, I still have to tighten down the waist strap nearly all the way when I don’t have bulky layers on.
So while I appreciate the large range of adjustability in the Selena waist belt (I can adjust it to accommodate all types of layering), I would go with an XS if I bought another Selena. If you’re much smaller than me (which, granted, you probably aren’t), you might need to look at another harness.
As I mentioned earlier, the leg loops on the Selena are not adjustable. As Matt noticed with the Sama harness, the leg loops feel a little tight until they’re broken in. I found that it took about two weeks of climbing before they loosened up a bit, and while they were never painful, they are certainly more comfortable after that break-in time.
One final note on sizing—I definitely recommend trying this harness on before buying it, because, although I need to tighten the waist loop almost all the way down, I fall in the middle of the leg loops range, which accommodate thighs 47-52cm around.
NEXT PAGE: Gear Loops