Are you thinking about taking on some via ferrata routes? Maybe you are a regular mountaineer and don't want to rent gear anymore. Either way, this guide on the components of a via ferrata set is for you.
I've done all the groundwork to help you find the best gear to suit individual requirements. Here you will find some useful information on what to look for in via ferrata gear. This is followed by a brief review of some of the best and most popular via ferrata equipment on the market.
Lets jump right in!
What To Know Before Buying Via Ferrata Gear
The Equipment Must Be Graded Mountaineering
Via Ferrata gear should be graded according to the EN 958 Standard Equipment. Make sure that the equipment you buy is certified for/specifically for climbing and/or via ferrata.
Particular when buying a Lanyard via ferrata, it needs to be the real deal. There are a lot of cheaper, double-armed lanyards available on Amazon but these are mainly for construction sites.
Important: Construction safety gear usually attach the lanyard to the harness with a third carabiner. A Via ferrata lanyard attaches with a hoop. In some places, particularly via ferrata routes in the USA and UK, rangers will not allow you to proceed without proper gear.
What are the straps etc made out of. Materials need to be well-enforced and durable. Look for products with patent technology and design. As a general rule, brands that are well-known and have been in the climbing industry for a long time have a better trust index.
Confirm that the harness will fit comfortably on your waist and legs. You also want lanyard arms that are long enough to give you room to move but not get tangled.
Poor sizing is going to result in long uncomfortable hours and possible chafing. For children under 12, opt for gear that is specifically designed for kids.
This may seem strange for gear but climbing equipment has a lifespan. For safety reasons, most mountaineering equipment has a maximum shelf life of 10 years. This is reduced to 5 years or less when it is used regularly.
If you buy gear that was manufactured a few years back, it already has a shorter useable lifespan
What Is In a Via Ferrata Kit?
A full Via Ferrata Kit should include a via ferrata lanyard, a harness and a safety helmet.
Via Ferrata Lanyards
Double armed lanyards for via ferrata need to have two carabiner attachment points. This is so you are always secured by at least one carabiner, even when changing lines.
The following are recommended via ferrata Lanyards
1. Petzl Scorpio Vertigo via ferrata Lanyard
This lanyard set is durable and a great investment for via ferrata enthusiasts. Petzl uses patent shock-absorbing technology in an accordion-folding strap design. The spring release on the carabiners is quick to use and very secure
The loop that connects to the harness has purposely been designed shorter so it doesn’t irritate you when walking. The downside of this is it’s more difficult to attach to the harness, it may not fit all harness types.
When extended, the long arm is 108cm and the short arm 32cm. It has a
weight capacity of 40 -120kg.
2. C.A.M.P Kinetic Gyro Windpro Via Ferrata Lanyard
The patent gyro swivel system on this C.A.M.P lanyard keeps the straps from twisting and tangling. It’s a very useful design feature as you will spend less time checking on and rearranging these straps. The 22mm webbed fabric retracts out of the way but stretches to give extra length when you need it.
The carabiners are a squeeze-open design. They are very smooth and easy to use.
3. Salewa Set Via Ferrata Premium Attac Lanyard
This SALEWA lanyard is the most affordable of this type of product on the market. It can hold from 40kg all the way up to 120kg.
One complaint people have about this lanyard is with the carabiners. They are a little small and can be fiddly to open and change lines.
Overall, this is a good value product that is safe, lightweight, and gets the job done.
Seat harnesses are used via ferrata. As you are not usually putting your full weight in them, the fit and padding will not be as much of an issue as it is when climbing. However, this harness must be secure and hold your body + gear weight in the case of a fall.
Here are some great mountaineering harnesses:
1. Petzl Corax Climbing Harness
This harness only weighs 275 grams and can hold up to 100kg / 210lbs . This makes it great for via ferrata routes where you need to also walk comfortably in between cable sections. It comes in two sizes options which will fit most people.
It has dual buckle adjustments so you can perfectly centre the attachment point. What this harness lacks is some padding under the buckles. luckily this is not too bad for via ferrata where you will not be resting your entire weight against this part.
2. Black Diamond Men’s Momentum Rock Climbing Harness
This is a comfortable and good quality climbing harness suitable for via ferrata as well as more serious climbing and mountaineering.
Even though its a men’s harness, the Black Diamond harness comes in different sizes that will fit most people, including women.
3. PETZL Macchu Kids Climbing Harness
If you are doing via ferrata with younger children, it is better to invest in a kids climbing harness like this one from PETZL. These are designed to hold up to 40kg/ 88 lbs. They have more padding on the legs and waist and fit more comfortably than adult harnesses.
The adjustable waist (54-64cm) and legs(34-44cm) means you can change it to fit your child as they grow.
Also check out our other climbing harness recommendations.
Helmets And Other Via Ferrata Accessories
Helmets are important to protect your head. This is in case of a fall but, more likely, to protect you from loose rocks tumbling down from above. It is also nice to have some padded gloves and a small backpack for via ferrata.
1. Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet
A helmet is often non-negotiable on via ferrata routes. I like the I Black Diamond helmet because it is ultra-lightweight and comfortable. It is lined with EPS impact foam which provides good shock absorption. It is also about as attractive as you can hope for when it comes to helmets! This helmet is available in two sizes: S/M and M/L. Plus, the headside is adjustable at the back and on the chin strap. It is easy to fit it securely to any head size.
Find more good climbing helmets.
2. Black Diamond Crag Climbing Gloves
Another great product from Black Diamond. A pair of climbing gloves like these provide some extra grip on rocks and ladders on a via ferrata. Gloves can also protect your hands from hot cables. Cables on the Half Dome in Yosemite National park get particularly hot over the summer.
The open fingers leave you with enough maneuverability to easily open and close carabiners or make adjustments to your harness. These gloves are great value for money.
3. Osprey Daylite Daypack
When doing via ferrata, you want a backpack that is not so heavy as to upset your balance. The Daylite Daypack by Osprey is perfect for this purpose. It is a small bag (13l) but will be sufficient for day outings if you are not hauling camera equipment.
Inside, the bag has a sleeve space to fit a hydration pack. You can also store bottles securely in the elasticated mesh side pockets. I love that there is a key clip so you will never have to worry about your car keys falling out and down the side of a cliff!
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