newbie looking for comfortable recreational harness

I am new to recreational tree climbing. I took a two day course at Cornell so as not to kill myself. I bought a newtribe twist because it looked pretty comfortable. Turns out it bites me in the legs and hurts my back and kidneys. Any suggestions for a more comfortable harness would be appreciated. Do i really need to spend $500 on a Tree Motion or Monkey Beaver harness to get comfort?


Well-Known Member
Probably. Call New Tribe though, they are great people and will walk you through some tips that may help. The Onyx is nice but is also in the $5 range.


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I have a Twist and I had some lower back issues with it also. I bought a replacement wide back pad for a TreeMotion saddle from WesSpur and hand stitched it in place on the Twist. It helped a lot. There are a number of adjustments on the Twist. I had to play around with them for a while to get it dialed in. I also have a Yellow Jacket which is somewhat less adjustable but still a nice saddle for the price. Neither of these saddles have a rope bridge unfortunately but the price is half that of a MB.

Stephen Moore

Well-Known Member
You can use a rock climbing saddle too if you don't need to pack gear like a saw. Normally less expensive, lighter and you can find some that fit remarkably well! Perhaps a trip to MEC?

Bob Bob

Well-Known Member
So many factors in choosing a saddle...weight, main use (work or recreational), type (bridge or central tie in point) and storage needs. Comfort is subjective of course.

The Tengu might be a good choice at $245. Many other companies also offer saddles less than $500 including the Petzl Avao ($300), Tree Austria 3.2 , treeMotion light ($375) and Weaver Cougar ($262).

You may find a saddle that sits lower on your hips to be more comfortable, the twist does have a tendency to ride up.

You could also look for a good used saddle on the treebay section of this site if you're comfortable using used gear.

My current saddle is a used, discontinued and modified 1st generation New Tribe Aero. My semi-retired saddle is a 1st generation New Tribe Nikosi. The Nikosi is way more comfortable but is heavy and bulky. The Aero has no padding simular to the Yellow Jacket but is very light and packs well into the backcountry.

I've seen the cost of saddles increase greatly over the years since I started climbing in 2009 which can be discouraging to a new climber. But as with most things you get what you pay for.


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One thing I like about my Yellow Jacket is how small you can wad it up into a backpack if you have to hike any distance. For rec climbing at my age (65) keeping the weight down saves my energy for when I get to the tree. The saddle, BDB, 90 foot piece of rope, SAKA and MiniSAKA, a few biners, and my chest harness all fits into a normal backpack I wear when hiking or biking. It is surprisingly comfortable given how little padding it has. The Twist was not that comfortable until I added the wide back pad, but I like how the Twist has adjustment on the leg straps and the single point tie loop.

Stephen Moore

Well-Known Member
I think there is a big difference in harness choices for rec climbers than tree workers. Mainly because tree workers need to carry a lot of weight like a medium power saw that puts pressure on hips. The need for more gear on the Dees adds to the more robust and heavy construction. I don’t see it as being that important in a rec harness to be beefy! Light and comfy. Perhaps there is a rec tree climbing community on the web that can share their experiences. To be honest, the demands are totally different.


Well-Known Member
...snip.... Do i really need to spend $500 on a Tree Motion or Monkey Beaver harness to get comfort?
I only rec climb, but I do comps as well. I saved up and got an Onyx. Very pleased I did. It was that or TM. Money well spent.

Otherwise, I'm impressed with a Singing Rock Urban II I got for my kids. I've used it's with adults up to 90kg and it worked well. Very light compared to a pro arb saddle, but it's still a sit harness and reasonably comfortable.


Active Member
My thoughts as a rec climber. Spend the money once and be done. I went through several lesser saddles and regretted every one! I spent more on the three cheap saddles than I did when I finally bought my monkey beaver. There really is no comparison when it comes to your saddle as far as comfort. When I get in a tree, I am usually there for several hours. Albeit suspended or lanyard off standing on a limb. In those lesser saddles it just plain hurt!
yes these guys are right... look many folks think nothing of spending 200 on some funky Oakley sunglasses. Some things you really shouldn't cheap out on. A harness, the rope, the foot wear, Biners and gear... Only buy the best. For one thing it's your life you are suspending at lethal heights and if you are gonna do it you may as well feel confident your gear is up to the task! Also cheap shit feels and works - shitty!