RidgeGear RGH16 – Safety Harness
This is a review for the RidgeGear RGH16 – Safety Harness, or we should say the RidgeGear RGH16 – “Multi Task Comfort Safety Harness”. They very kindly gave us their new RGH16 harness to trial and asked for our feedback. We do not receive money for this review and our intention is only to share information about quality safety products.
We’ve had the RGH16 on test at our training centre for the past month and during this time it’s been used by five of our instructors. Some have worn it all day, some just for a few hours but they’re all very different shapes and they’ve used it for very different tasks. It’s been used to teach work positioning, work restraint, fall arrest and even some positioning for work on steep slopes.
Our instructors are very used to wearing harnesses for long periods of time and there can’t be many makes and styles, that between them, they’ve not used.
When they gave their feedback one comment kept being repeated… “it’s very comfortable”.
Development of the RidgeGear RGH16 – Safety Harness
RidgeGear say they’ve been developing this new harness for years and we know this is true because we saw a prototype over 18 months ago, it’s moved on significantly since then.
They’ve clearly done their research, listened to feedback and tried to produce a harness which provides the user with everything they need.
They’ve started with the best ideas from their own previous harnesses, added good ideas from other harnesses and then finished it with some very clever, brand new, features we’ve not seen before. In the new grey and black colours it looks great but, is it up to the job?
It’s a five point harness with the usual front, rear, side and ventral attachment points which allow the harness to be used for restraint, arrest and positioning so it ticks the “multi task” box. What we like is the separation you can achieve between the front (sternal) attachment and the ventral (waist) attachment point. This is achieved with an adjustable quick release buckle on the chest strap which not only helps with comfort but allows the front attachment point to be positioned in the correct place for both tall and short users.
RidgeGear have also added additional adjustment to the rear of the waist which is very clever. This allows both the waist size to be adjusted or the repositioning of the side D rings to move them forwards or backwards around the waist.
The side D rings fold back out the way, when not in use, which we’ve seen before on other harnesses but it’s a feature we like and another added extra.
This is where the new RGH16 really comes into its own with some great design features.
The harness is available in two sizes (standard and large), we have the standard and the size variation is incredible with the chest, waist and hips all adjusting by 14” (36cm).
With eight adjustment points, including three on the waist, you can make the harness fit very snuggly without it being restrictive and this is always close to the top of most people’s harness wish list.
The quick release buckles on the legs and front allow you to leave the RGH16 set to size meaning very minimal re-adjustment is required when you put it back on.
We did feel it would have been the icing on the cake to have had some adjustability on the rear leg strap. A buckle to adjust the length of the rear leg loop strap or even to have had it slightly elasticated.
The leg pads are thick without being bulky and both the extra wide waist and the back pads provide amazing comfort while supporting you exactly where you need it.
One of the most impressive things about the new harness, and one of our favourite design features, is the back articulation. With the webbing running in an adjustable loop at the back and the same at the front, as you bend or twist from side to side, the harness moves with you.
The result of the eight adjustment points and the ability of the webbing to move with you is a harness which remains in contact with the user in all the important places without having to be too tight.
For a harness to be safe it needs to be a snug fit and stay in the right place. To achieve this usually means it’s restrictive and uncomfortable but not in this case.
We even found the dreaded loose shoulders, when suspended from the ventral attachment, was far less prominent than with other harnesses due to the additional front adjustment.
All RidgeGear equipment is made in the UK, they even make their own webbing so we know quality isn’t an issue. The quick release buckles have the “Green Dot” so you know they’re connected properly and they haven’t forgotten to add their “Fall Indicator” to the rear straps. We’ve not seen anything on other harnesses which could have been added to the RGH16 to make it any safer, it’s ability to do it’s job is beyond question.
Backpad and Loops
The back support pad isn’t an afterthought either. It works as part of the harness to provide extra comfort, to keep everything in place and to help the shoulder webbing move with you.
RidgeGear make a lanyard parking loop which can be fitted to any harness but some of our instructors thought it would have been a great little extra to have them built into this harness like certain other manufactures do. The retro fit ones do work very well and they can be fitted to any webbing on the harness, so more choice of location, but having a couple built in to the sides or the chest would have been a “nice to have” extra.
The tool loops also caused a split between our instructors as some thought it would have been useful to have had a third loop at the rear; but this is clearly down to personal preference. The two loops on the harness are large and angled which allows for a lot of equipment to be hung on each loop. The angle means that as you take equipment off; what’s left on the loop slides around to the front, simple but clever.
Tail Tidies and Buckles
Another simple, but very clever, added extra are the tail tidies. The tail end stop has an elastic loop, with a toggle on one end, stitched through the webbing. The lose tail end can be rolled up and the elastic looped around the back of the webbing and hooked over the toggle.
No threading, no tucking, no ends of webbing whipping around in the wind, this solution is quick, simple and effective – we really like it!
We’re not sure if it’s the RidgeGear webbing, the buckle design or an added advantage of the tail tidy but we didn’t notice any webbing creep. This is something lots of harnesses from other manufactures suffer from, especially on the shoulder and leg straps.
The RGH16 is easy to adjust but it also stays where you’ve set it and this isn’t just less annoying, it’s also more comfortable and most importantly, much safer.
Verdict of the RidgeGear RGH16 – Safety Harness
We really like the new RGH16 Multi Task Comfort Harness as it’s clear that RidgeGear have given a lot of thought to what users really need their harness to do. There are some very expensive harnesses around which may perform a specific function slightly better but can’t compete with the RGH16 as a multi task harness.
We’ve highlighted a few small additions that we’d like to have seen but these are extras and we’re very aware that other users wouldn’t want the same things we do. However, nearly all the people we train want a cost effective harness that’s quick and easy to put on, simple to adjust, will do everything they need and they can wear all day. This harness does all that, has some added extras that even the most expensive harnesses don’t have and is the most comfortable harness we’ve ever used.
The RGH16 can compete with and, certainly for comfort, beat its rivals but when you consider this harness is made in the UK and retails for almost half the price of its competitors, it starts to look like a very good choice.
A few years ago you could buy an expensive harness or you could buy a cheaper harness and put up with some small problems and a lack of comfort. Now you can just buy the cheaper one and smile to yourself while you work in a safe, well designed, well manufactured and very comfortable harness.
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