CGR reviewer, Kasia takes DMM’s Puma 2 Women’s Rock Climbing Harness for a spin on everything from trad rock to snowy mountains. So what did she think?
The Puma 2 Women’s harness is DMM’s top of the range all-rounder specifically shaped for the female form. So whether you’re looking to spend a season red-pointing or ice-climbing you’ve got the comfort factor and the gear loops to deal with it all.
It’s not the lightest harness, or most packable harness on the market but you can’t expect that with a work horse harness like this which is a jack of all trades. When I first got the Puma 2 the first thing I noticed and loved was the floating waist band. At last I could wear as many or as little layers as I wanted and I could still equalise the gear loops so I didn’t end up lopsided when wearing a full rack of gear. And with me that can be a lot. I’m still one of those climbers that can often be seen taking my whole rack up a route…’just in case’. Though I have learnt over the years that I don’t always need that number 11 Hex! Having worn the harness in both summer and winter I still love the floating waistband and for me it’s one of the best features that the Puma 2 has to offer.
As for carrying lots of gear you’ve got a minimum of 5 gear loops (7 on harness sizes medium and large) and 4 ‘Hypalon’ ice patches. Two of the Hypalon ice patches are between gear loops so you can still fully rack up with your trad gear without your ice screws getting in the way. Otherwise the front two ice patches sit in the middle of the front two gear loops for when you’re climbing predominately on ice and can sacrifice the front two loops. According to DMM, “The front gear loops on either side have had their orientation shifted to reduce bunching; this is particularly helpful on slabby ground or in constricted positions.” Put it this way I haven’t really noticed my gear getting in the way when climbing so I’m going to make the presumption that this shift in orientation works!
“The waist belt is constructed from high quality closed cell foam combined with a firm spreader plate.” Having worn the harness on single and multi-pitch routes and generally for all day outings I don’t recall ever moaning about it being uncomfortable so for me it certainly wins the comfort factor. Again I think the floating waistband helps with this, as it ensures that the padding always sits where it’s meant to. The leg loops are also slightly padded and the fact that the leg loops are also adjustable with Slide Lock buckles, means you’ve got a better chance of creating a fit that suits you. The leg loop adjustability also means it’s easier to put your harness on when wearing big boots and crampons in winter.
All the buckles on the harness have been given rounded edges and a low profile to help stop them snagging in restricted climbing situations. Any spare webbing tails created when you’ve adjusted the harness can be tucked away under the elasticised retainers that have been fitted so they don’t get in the way.
So far I’ve worn the harness lots and it’s still wearing well which I’ll put down to the durable cordura fabric which DMM use. On top of this the harness’s tie in points are protected by an even tougher abrasion resistant webbing. When I said this was a bit of a work horse harness I meant it. Even the thinner looking belay loop still packs a punch rated at 25kN and its slimmer proportion is now suited ‘for better compatibility with small belay biners’.
So have I discovered any negative points to this harness? Not really, though I do have two minor gripes, which only really came into play for me when wearing this harness in winter and others may not find this. The first is that the gear loops can sit quite flat against the harness, which meant that when wearing gloves, I found it could be fiddly to attach and remove gear. I’ve found with other harnesses that this can be easier when the gear loops stand slightly away from the waist belt. Secondly the narrow leg loop elastics at the back of the harness, the clips were a bit too narrow to undo and fasten easily when answering that call of nature. Hard enough with bare hands never mind when wearing a pair of gloves where it became an impossible task for me.
Taking these points away which I appreciate might be down to my fat finger glove wearing skills, the harness is great and a welcome addition to my kit. If you’re looking for light simplicity then this isn’t the harness for you. But if you want a hard wearing all-rounder that’s comfortable to wear all day then I’d certainly take a closer look at the DMM Puma 2.
- RRP: £70
- Find out more at the DMM website.