The front two gear loops on the Selena harness are rigid, which keeps them a short distance from your body when you’re wearing the harness. I found this very helpful for racking gear since the loops stay fixed in the exact same place.
The back two gear loops are flexible—they hang down flat against your body when you’re wearing a backpack, but can still be used to rack gear when climbing. Because of their flexibility and where they’re placed, the back gear loops are definitely harder to clip gear to and from. While this issue isn’t a deal breaker, I would have liked to have rigid loops on the back, since they’re simply easier to use. Yes, they are more comfortable when you’re wearing a backpack, but I honestly can’t remember the last time when I needed to wear a pack over my harness at the sport crag.
My Black Diamond Iris has four rigid gear loops, and the rear ones are placed on the sides of the harness rather than on the back. This set-up works better for long climbs or those requiring a lot of gear than that of the Selena.
All that said, the front two gear loops of the Selena are very large and can comfortably hold a pitch’s worth of cams. (The rear loops will just barely hold three cams.)
Petzl’s new designs for their four staple harnesses—the Selena, Luna, Sama, and Adjama—all have an updated belay loop design. Petzl has beefed up the standard nylon belay loop and hard points with Dyneema to minimize friction.
Although known for its low melting point and poor ability to handle static loads, Dyneema is also a very slippery material. And while this makes it nearly impossible to tie knots with, it also means that it keeps friction coefficients very low.
Petzl has added Dyneema here to keep the friction from knots rubbing against the harness as low as possible in order to reduce wear. While I don’t have enough time in the harness yet to tell you if this is effective or not, the belay loop and hard points feel just a bit stiffer than the previous generation of these harnesses, making tying in just a bit easier and smoother.
The single best part about the Selena’s performance is the comfort it provides. Although I wouldn’t want to take this up a serious big wall aid line, it’s pretty darn comfortable for everything else. I’ve been the test dummy for a few 45-minute rescue drills, and have spent a few days on long multi-pitch routes in it. It’s still a harness, but a very plush-feeling one.
Overall, the combination of comfort, ease of use, simplicity, large front gear loops, and (perhaps) new belay loop technology make it a very solid piece of gear.
The Selena weighs 340g, while the Luna weighs 390g. The Black Diamond Primrose falls in at 350g, and the Iris at 368g.
While I didn’t notice the weight difference, the new Selena is noticeably less bulky than all of those other harnesses, and it packs very well.
So far, the Selena is holding up very well after more than 20 days of climbing in it. This harness has now seen a couple of off-widths, several days in the desert, a few towers, some sharp granite, some rockaneering, and a good deal of gym climbing.
As I mentioned above, the leg loops have broken in (a good thing), but otherwise, the harness still looks new. The Selena has a durable outer material on the waist belt, unlike other harnesses that have more intricate designs that get beat up quickly in chimneys and rough climbing.
These updated Petzl harnesses do away with the old mesh and foam design in the leg loops and waist belt. While this may reduce breathability slightly, I didn’t find this difference to be very noticeable when climbing. When you’re climbing hard, you’re probably going to sweat a little bit, and this harness doesn’t seem to make you sweat any more than another harness would.
The new Selena has several great improvements from the last model. Other than the very similar Luna, this is by far my favorite harness. It’s very comfortable, and it excels at the sport crag. It actually did pretty well in a variety of other settings too—from easy ice, (it does have loops for ice clippers) to warm weather multi-pitch, to long days of trad—though you’d want adjustable leg loops for true alpine climbing and mountaineering.
If you’re concerned about shaving weight, this harness is a great option, especially for intense single pitch sends. And the other features of this harness make it highly versatile and a great one-quiver tool, if you don’t need adjustable leg loops.