I’m going to start this review of the DMM Mithril Harness with an admission.


I have never been a big fan of the DMM harnesses. There it is, I’ve said it out loud, and I hope none of my friends over at DMM take this to heart. So this begs the question, why on Earth would I consider testing and reviewing a DMM Mithril harness? Instead of dismissing out of hand, I’ve taken this opportunity to test a product that I’ve so readily avoided in the past.


For me, the main reason for not being a big fan of DMM harnesses is due to not finding them a good fit for me, or being particularly comfortable, again, for me. Let's be honest, it’s not a purchase you have to make very often, especially a predominantly bouldering-inclined climber, such as myself. So, if it doesn’t meet those criteria, why dwell any longer?


To understand why I would be interested in trying the DMM Mithril again, I’m going to bore you with what I look for in a harness.


Most of my routing focus is on sport climbing, as it's pretty straightforward and faff free. I really like pushing myself quite hard with as little fuss as possible. No surprise I’m a boulderer? This means that I favour having a lightweight and no-frills harness. Once you have narrowed your selection down based on end use, there is only fit and comfort (and sometimes price) left to consider.


Last time I was in need of a new climbing harness I remember trying the DMM Maverick* and to be blunt, I wasn’t impressed, especially considering what else was available at the time. In all fairness, the main reason for this was the fit not being great on me (you might notice a theme here, or at least I hope so). On that occasion, the Petzl Hirundos won out with its simple and lightweight design. It was a great price and fit me properly. It really was remarkably comfortable when taking big lead falls, when running out routes that I was still too unfit to climb, to rest or recover on. I even ended up replacing that Hirundos with the latest version from Petzl just a year ago, but having lost a little bit more weight recently, I realised a lightweight harness with adjustable leg loops wouldn’t go amiss.


Now that I’ve either bored you or given you some rational for my testing this particular harness, I’ll get into the details.


So there is a DMM harness that fits me well, and it has some pretty big boots to fill. This harness should also prove to be a little more useful for summer trad and maybe even a little winter use, but I won’t count on a Welsh winter season just yet.


I mainly use it down at the wall and it has proved to be light and relatively breathable. It is comfy and sits in the right places. I actually think it looks pretty good too, though I would like a little more colour, but that’s all vanity and should have no business in a decision to get a harness, right?


DMM say that the harness will ‘deliver lightweight performance without compromising comfort’ which are bold words and probably very difficult to deliver on. 


The streamlined construction provides a small pack size and keeps the weight down. It actually is very comfortable, or at least more so than I would have expected. The adjustable leg loops provide a good fit when climbing in different weather conditions with different layers on. The Mithril is able to switch between summer and winter climbing with ease or, more importantly for me, when my weight fluctuates. The harness comes with the fairly industry standard five gear loops, which for myself is more than enough. It is probably worth mentioning that the fifth gear loop looks similar to a haul loop, but it is in no way suitable for weighted use.


There are also two winter clip attachment points for winter climbers who want to carry a bit more gear and access ice screws a little easier. Some further comfort comes from ventilated padding, which keeps you cool when trying hard or climbing on sun-baked crags. I have found the Mithril better than my old harnesses for this, especially for long stints on the auto belay down at the local climbing walls. I also like that the material closest to the skin feels very comfortable and the little perforated holes also help with ventilation. This is obviously very important for those ‘tops off for power’ moments that require losing even more weight for important shirtless redpoints. Or maybe I’ve just watched a few too many Magnus Mitboe vlogs. 


So, so far so good. It seems that all that DMM are claiming works just right for me and, until I have tested it for longer, I will try to reserve judgment on parts of the harness that look a little cheaper in appearance than offerings from other companies. Then again this is an incredibly well priced lightweight harness, and it needs to be when up against the likes of Arc’teryx, Black Diamond or Petzl Harnesses. I could almost buy two of these compared to an Arcteryx AR-395! I should note that the Arc’teryx harness line-up is awesome, but the boulderer in me does normally win through and would be pissed if I dropped that much money on a harness, no matter how nice it was.. and they are very nice indeed.


As mentioned earlier, I am mainly using this harness for training indoors on long sessions on the auto-belays with the odd fall when tied in on the sharp end, and so far it has performed as well as any other similar lightweight harness that I’ve used, maybe even better. Would I want to sit around in it for long periods in a hanging belay? Probably not and if I really thought this would be the case, I would have given some very serious consideration to the AR-395.


Other than being able to tell you that this harness has plenty of well placed gear loops, fits me well, suits my end use, hits the right budget and comfort levels. I guess that it really fits the bill for me. If you want something for longer days out, with more options for carrying heavier racks, more comfort in mind, then realistically you might want to pass on this. That said, if it is a compromise you are willing to make, definitely give one a try. They are also currently on a great deal in the old colour. Orange detailing instead of red and £20 cheaper, it’s probably worth getting one while you can at the current price.


If you don’t want the adjustable leg loops it might also we worth trying the DMM Trance, which comes with an extra size option and retro DMM Mamba colours of Black, Purple and Gold.


*The Maverick was the men’s specific fixed leg version of the Mithril, now superseded by the unisex DMM Trance.