The Sitta is Petzl’s newest, lightest and highest-tech harness. It packs a lot of high-end features into little weight, all of which stows down into a tiny package.
There are two things that continue to annoy me about the Sitta, but I also find myself using it more than any other harness I have, so I guess I have to concede that they are not such big issues?
First off, there are only two ice-clipper slots, and they’re positioned overtop of the forward gear loops. I cannot fathom who would design a harness where the ice clippers obstruct access to the gear loops?! The saving grace is a movable separator thingy on the gear loop that can be set up so as to prevent gear from sliding underneath the ice clipper. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s workable. Still, I’d prefer four ice-clipper slots, ideally situated so they don’t interfere with the gear loops…
Second up, the rear gear loops don’t have much structure — they’re soft and supple on purpose to minimize pressure points when wearing a pack, according to Petzl. I don’t generally find that more rigid gear loops to interfere with a pack, so this is a null point for me, but I do find the Sitta’s flexible, flat-sitting, loops hard to clip stuff to and I wish they stuck out just a bit more. I can see the point, but for me it just doesn’t work.
However, both of these downsides are heavily outweighed by the Sitta’s incredible comfort, high wear-resistance and tiny packed size. I find myself reaching for the Sitta time and time again, leaving my beloved BD Xenos, my favourite ice-oriented harness, and Arcteryx M-270, about the nicest hard-mixed and sport harness around, on the wall, unused for months…
The Sitta is, without doubt, the most comfortable harness I’ve ever used, and I do not say that lightly. There’s not much to it but the Wireframe technology is supple and effective, the Spectra fibres used in the construction of the waistbelt and leg loops distributing weight incredibly well. There’s next to no padding near as I can tell, making the level of comfort this harness offers all the more remarkable.
Because it’s become my go-to harness for everything, the Sitta has seen a lot of use. Other than a whole lot of dirt — it’s gone from a bright, shiny orange to a subdued, browned, pastel orange — it has yet to show any wear. The tie-in points have also changed from a bright white to a dull grey, but again show no discernible wear.
In addition to the minimal Wireframe tech through the waistbelt and leg loops, the Sitta is minimalistic throughout. The tie-in points are all smaller and narrower than most other harnesses, and the waist belt strap is narrow as well. Basically, everything is as small as possible, and it all adds up to a very small packed size. One caveat, though: it’s not so tiny when equipped with ice clippers, though it still packs down well and stuffs into the smallest of crevices in your pack.
My size medium weighs in at 272 grams, which is a scant 2 grams heavier than Petzl claims: well within manufacturing tolerances. The msrp is a heady $160 USD, which is right up there among the most expensive harnesses (ever?!), though I’ve seen it as low as $120 USD online (approx. $150 CAD). Prepare to shell out an insane $190 in Canada, however.
Do you get what you pay for? That’s a hard question to answer, as Petzl’s excellent Sama / Selena harnesses are less than half the price ($50 USD, $75 CAD), though they do weigh an additional 100 grams or so, and add a lot more bulk. However, for those seeking the most comfortable, lightest, highly packable and very durable harness, I can’t think of any better. The Sitta is a standout harness and my current go-to absolute favourite, even if it’s got some quirks I’m still in contention with.
Pros: comfortable, light, packable, durable
Overall: The most comfortable harness I’ve ever used, and also one of the lightest, the combination of which makes it feel almost as if you’re not wearing a harness at all. Highly recommended, though it has a couple of quirks that may not be to everyone’s preference.