Notch Sentinel, Advice Needed

DumpyMcDoodleface

Active Member
Hello Buzzards! I'm a long time listener, first time caller~

I'll save the long winded introduction and back-story for another time - this post will probably be long winded enough without it.

So briefly, I'm Dumpy, and welcome to my dumpster fire. I'm an engineer by trade, rec climber for fun, and hack-job "tree guy" when I want to scare my wife. Just kidding, put down your pitch forks - I do a little clean-up around the house, and that's about it. I'm less of a cowboy and more of a study the heck out of the subject before doing anything, then try to do everything one step at a time in as controlled an environment as possible (see engineer).

So that brings me to the matter at hand: I've purchased a Notch Sentinel harness to finally replace the rock harness I've been using. With that said, I think it probably needs to go back - but since this is my first harness, I wanted some advice: Is this operator error, and some adjustment would go a long way? Or does this harness just not fit me? Please see attached images:

I had seen several reviews where people complained that the leg loops were too big. I'd also read some reviews where people who were on the limit (size 1 ends at 36, size 2 starts at 36) had issues with it. I'm around a 36 - but this might just work for me - right? I purchased a size 1 because I wasn't sure if that size 36 corresponded to pants size or if you wear a 36 pants, this would fit on top of all that. Hint: it's closer to pants size. I also noted the reviews about the huge leg loops and was afraid that if I got a size 2, i'd be drowning in the rest (or I wouldn't be able to tighten the harness enough).

So... if you look at the photo where i'm holding the strap. That's the excess strap for the leg loop. It's hard to see, but if I had my arm bent more, my elbow would touch the strap an inch or two away from the buckle. I've only got about 2 inches left in the adjustment.... and I'm on the max end of the size scale for this harness. And my thighs are not small.

If you can see in that picture that I have about an inch of webbing pulled on the waist belt. That buckle is a b*tch. Seriously. Because you have to hold the parts away from you push them through at an angle, then it loosens when it latches - and it's a bear to tighten once it's latched. But probably not such a big deal if the strap was long enough to grab onto (again, I'm at the MAX of this size).

So I got the thing on, it's generally adjusted close to where I'd have my climbing harness... here's where I need some help.

1) Is the waist belt seem to be positioned right? I feel like it'd be more comfortable if I could get it over my pants belt and shove it a little lower around my hips, but of course there's nothing to keep it from sliding up (besides the fat bunching up above it).
2) leg loops seem about right? This is the most comfortable I could get them - but the elastic between the legs and waist belt was maxed out and pulling them into my junk every chance they got.
3) I wonder if being at the max size means the waist belt isn't wrapping around far enough to the front. So when I hang on it, instead of pulling more to the front, it's really crushing that front section of the harness into me. I don't have a huge gut, i'm pretty uniformly distributed with a nice thick layer of cold-weather protection. Anyway, that place right there where my fat is bulging into my shirt is actually my fat bunching up and getting pinched between my harness and my ribcage.
4)Is it normal for the belt to tweak like that? See there's a pretty big gap at the top of the rearmost section that doesn't even touch my body. My back is particularly flat there though while most people's curve inward - so that might be part of it.

Finally: I'm leaning towards this harness isn't a good fit. I don't think sizing up is the answer, because I'm already running out of room on the legs to tighten them, I would imagine if they were bigger they wouldn't fit. I'm also worried that I'll have the belt on the size 2 cinched completely tight and be really pushing it. Also, it's not nearly as neon green as it looks on the website pictures. it's more of a green green.

This harness was really a little more than I wanted to pay considering it's not what I do for a living - but I didn't want to go too basic or old-school either. I'd like to have at least side D's to get stuff off the center, and somewhere to put some gear. Some other saddles which I'm not on the edge of a size:

Singing Rock Timber Harness
New Tribe Onyx (close though)
TreeMotion (S-light is in my budget, but the full one I'd have to do some soul searching - and searching for loose change probably)

Thanks in advance for the input!

Cheers and Happy Climbing!
-Dumpy
 

Attachments

misfit

Active Member
Dumpy, first, don't attach much value or significance to anything I say, because I am not a professional and have limited experience with harnesses. Plus I am biased in favor of a bosun seat and have never found a harness with separate leg pads to be anywhere near as comfortable. From the beginning, I have been using a Sherrill Tree Edge harness with a bosun seat which, unfortunately, is not available anymore, and I don't see anyone else making a bosun seat harness these days. I don't understand why everyone does not prefer a bosun seat, but that is a subject for another thread. That said, I have the Sentinel for a backup, and I have used the Onyx for a short term as well.

The Onyx was my first experience with a harness with separate leg pads, and even after spending a lot of time getting it adjusted, I always felt like I had a tourniquet around both legs, and I hated the constant crotch crushing. But over time, I also learned that there is a huge mental component to what we call "comfortable" in a harness. It's a relative term. We have a remarkable ability to adapt, and when I lowered my expectations of what it meant to be comfortable in a harness, the Onyx felt better. Each time I used, it got better, not because it fit any better, but because my expectations changed and I adapted. I still eventually sold it, but I learned something valuable about it. Later, when I got the Sentinel, my expectations were already low, so I managed to adapt to it pretty well and kept it.

I agree that the Sentinel's elastic straps that hold the leg pads in place are too short and hold the pads up too high. It's hard to tell from the picture, but it does appear to me that you are wearing the waist belt too high. Lowering it a bit should solve a lot of problems. It will help make up for those too-short leg pad straps, and the waist belt should not be jamming into your rib cage.

I also agree that the buckles are a bit awkward and annoying at first, but they do work and in time you will adapt. Other than all that, I don't have much to offer except to suggest that you give it some time to see if you adapt to it. I think the Sentinel was a good, reasonable choice considering your situation, but if you decide this is not the harness for you, then sell it and try something else. I imagine most here would suggest the TreeMotion Light for your next try.
 

Crimsonking

Well-Known Member
Hey, Dumpy!

Color- they just changed the color scheme, but haven’t updated the photos.

Buckles- the buckles work much better with excess strap available;so yes, your main buckle issue is the saddle’s size.

Waist- size two would be a much better fit.

Leg fit- normally, you don’t want your leg straps to be tight on your thigh, so the added room of the size 2 shouldn’t be a problem.

Overall- saddles come down to adjustment (and sizing). There are threads that go over the adjustments for different saddles, but most of them work the same way-

• leg loop pad should be just above the back of your knee.
• leg loop doesn’t need to be tight, but shouldn’t be loose enough to fit your fist beside your thigh when buckled.
• waist belt should sit just above or resting on your hip bones

Personally, I like a larger size to bring the side Ds forward from my hip bones.
 

DumpyMcDoodleface

Active Member
Thanks for the input @misfit and @Crimsonking~

There's no way to get that waist belt lower and over my pants and belt unless I up a size. Leg loops behind my knee is never going to happen with those elastic things. I wondered about how loose they should be, because i figure if you're sitting in it like you would a swing (or a bosun seat for that matter), it doesn't have to be cinched down.

as for lowering my expectations - I just want to point out I'm coming from a rock climbing harness... While I definitely had the expectation this should be night and day different - at the moment and the way it's set up now, I can't say it's not better - but it's definitely not $400 better.

I think based on the input so far, a larger size might alleviate a lot of my issues. I really think the attachment point feels too far around my side and not forward enough. I'd like to see if there's any other advice, and try to re-adjust and re-hang to see if I can at least get the legs good. I think it might be worth it to look into a saddle where I'm not so close to the extremes of the size range though.
 
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DumpyMcDoodleface

Active Member
@misfit Petzl makes a seat to be used with some of their harnesses, and The Notch Sentry models seem to be a bosun seat with some small straps to keep you in it.

I'm mostly interested in the fancier harnesses because I feel like it gives me more flexibility to monkey around in the tree, and do work when needed.

I actually really like the idea of the Sentinel, but I think i'm just too close to the extremes of either size for it to work well for me. Might be something @bonner1040 can feedback to Notch. It really seems like it would be better to have more overlap in the size range, like size 1 goes up to 38 or size 2 goes down to 34 or something. That and the giant leg pads and the short elastic. That seems to be a common problem for many, and I've now experienced it myself. Or maybe you can give me some advice on moving forward? try Sentinel size 2 or try a different brand? I bought it at treestuff :)
 

misfit

Active Member
Dumpy, yes, I know about the Petzl so-called bosun seat add-on, but that looks ridiculous to me. It is intended to be used in addition to the separate leg pads which, of course, defeats the purpose of a bosun seat. I have never seen it or tried it, but I don't have any intention of trying it. The Notch Sentry model looks extremely uncomfortable to me, but, again, I have never tried it and see no reason to do so.

I can see that it would be a problem for you to max out the waist belt on the Sentinel, so, if whatever features attracted you to the Sentinel in the first place are still in effect, then it may be wise to exchange it for the larger size. You will have to talk to TreeStuff about how to handle the return or exchange. If you are more inclined to try another harness, I know many pros here use the TreeMotion and TreeMotion Light, and many prefer the Light over the more expensive model even though they could well afford it. I have never used either. There are other threads that talk about harnesses, so you might try searching for more info there.
 

DumpyMcDoodleface

Active Member
Dumpy, yes, I know about the Petzl so-called bosun seat add-on, but that looks ridiculous to me. It is intended to be used in addition to the separate leg pads which, of course, defeats the purpose of a bosun seat. I have never seen it or tried it, but I don't have any intention of trying it. The Notch Sentry model looks extremely uncomfortable to me, but, again, I have never tried it and see no reason to do so.
I think it's just meant so you can sit in it when you're sitting/hanging, but you can work/climb as with a separate leg style one. I've often thought of making something like this on my own - sit in it for comfort when i'm sitting/hanging - but ultimately the life support comes from the harness? As for the Sentry (there's two different ones) yeah - the price was really appealing, but in the end it didn't seem like it would be much of an improvement from what I have going now.

I can see that it would be a problem for you to max out the waist belt on the Sentinel, so, if whatever features attracted you to the Sentinel in the first place are still in effect, then it may be wise to exchange it for the larger size. You will have to talk to TreeStuff about how to handle the return or exchange. If you are more inclined to try another harness, I know many pros here use the TreeMotion and TreeMotion Light, and many prefer the Light over the more expensive model even though they could well afford it. I have never used either. There are other threads that talk about harnesses, so you might try searching for more info there.
Well, I'll have to say my first disappointment was when I pulled it out of the box and it was green and not neon green~! But seriously, I still do like the look of it and the features overall, but I'm just really wary after seeing how close the sizing is - With my size at around 36 being at the absolute limit of the small one fitting me, my guess is that if I go bigger, it's going to be at the absolute limit on the other side since there's no overlap. Otherwise, it'd be a no-brainer, I'd just size up and go from there.

From my understanding, the differences between the TreeMotion and the S-light is 1) buckles vs. slides, 2) rated vs. non-rated connection on the rear, and 3) better back pad vs light back pad. The only thing I care about there is the better back pad - but by the time I upgrade i may as well just go with the TM and benefit also from the convenient buckles (I still don't know why you'd need a life support rated ring on the back).
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
A bosun seat harness is plain rediculous for the working arborist. We not sitting in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G....we are flying from station to station doing tasks. Bosun seats are for rigging on masts on sailboats. That out the way. The sentinel is overpriced and bulky. The TM light is a boss harness. Regular is on sale at Sherrill for 450 old style not evo. Send that POS back and get a TM either light or Reg. If you want more reason's just ask. But I will have a long checklist....
 

Jonny

Well-Known Member
Hi Dumpy,
Just out of curiosity, are the rigging plates for the bridge marked? Just wondering who they’re made by for the Sentinel.
How’s it feel when hanging from it? That at least should be a night/ day difference, if you’re coming from a rock harness.

The Timber3D looks really nice to me, @ATH did a review about it here http://www.treebuzz.com/forum/threads/rec-harness.40147/page-3#post-617120
You’d be hard pressed to find many negative points on the TreeMotion Superlight besides having to step into the leg loops. Probably a little awkward at first, but anyone will get used to it quickly and be able to don it quickly after a few times. I’m on an older TreeMotion, I am head over heels in love with the lower forward Ds for lanyard positioning.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
From the perspective of another former rock climber turned tree guy, try out a Petzl. I climb in a Sequoia, and love it. It’s similar enough to the rock harnesses I grew up in, and really light weight, but still comfortable enough to ride all day.

If you’re on the line between sizes like me, go up, the straps from the waist belt to the leg straps get longer as the sizes go up, and that makes a big difference to the “man parts” that don’t much like being squished all day.
 

misfit

Active Member
Just a quick defense of the bosun seat harness, specifically the Edge: There is nothing about the bosun seat that prevents a working arborist from flying from station to station. It does not restrict your movement in any way, and it's no heavier. When I sit in it, my legs don't feel squeezed and my crotch never gets crushed. And for those times when I do need to just sit for a while, why not be comfortable? Plus it is super easy to step into and put on. I just don't see any disadvantage to it at all. It's a perfect fit for me, and it would be foolish of me not to use it.
 

Jonny

Well-Known Member
I flew a Traverse with bosun for a long time, I loved it.

I was expecting to miss it when I got a TreeMotion. I thought I would really feel those leg straps on the TM. I was wrong, it’s every bit as comfortable to sit in as a bosun, and much more comfortable when using just a lanyard.
The leg pads aren’t just cushioned, they’re kinda rigid, like a more flexible little bosun on each leg if that makes sense.
 

DumpyMcDoodleface

Active Member
Hi Dumpy,
Just out of curiosity, are the rigging plates for the bridge marked? Just wondering who they’re made by for the Sentinel.
How’s it feel when hanging from it? That at least should be a night/ day difference, if you’re coming from a rock harness.

The Timber3D looks really nice to me, @ATH did a review about it here http://www.treebuzz.com/forum/threads/rec-harness.40147/page-3#post-617120
You’d be hard pressed to find many negative points on the TreeMotion Superlight besides having to step into the leg loops. Probably a little awkward at first, but anyone will get used to it quickly and be able to don it quickly after a few times. I’m on an older TreeMotion, I am head over heels in love with the lower forward Ds for lanyard positioning.
Bango, the plates have no markings, but the harness I believe is made by Edelrid if that points anywhere.

I really like the sit position feeling over a rock harness, but the fit of it or at least the way I have it set drives the top edge of the harness into the bottom edge of my ribcage which is on the line between discomfort and actual pain. The leg loops, meanwhile, keep working themselves upward thanks to the very short elastic positioning straps. My rock harness sits up near my junk but at least it's shaped to be there. These leg loops aren't really shaped to ride so close.

Timber 3D is really tempting to be sure. Lack of buckles I can live with (not climbing daily and my rock harness I have to step in and out of) on the s light. @swingdude mentioned the full blown TM is on sale at Sherrill, so I might just bite the bullet. Without the ability to try on bunches of stuff, going with something that I basically never hear anything negative about seems solid.
 

Joeybagodonuts

Well-Known Member
Lower Ds are what makes the new sequoia and a TM the kings of harnesses.
For an arborist.. i completely agree..
I really wish other manufacturers would get on board with big dedicated lower suspension D's.. Rig plates are cool all, but you can't beat getting two Bridges + 2 big suspension points to hook into all in the same peice of hardware & without having to Mickey Mouse these features on afterwards only to find out that what you just added compromises some other aspect of the saddle.. then of course there's the guessing game if whether or not what you added after the fact is safe... just because an addition works smooth, don't mean it's legit.

Been seriously considering dumping my MB for a TM or Sequioa.. just for the Double bridge + big D factor being Factory/OEM.

Petzl used to have this 4+1 rigging paw that looked like it could give 2 Bridges + Big Suspension D's, but it's disco'd..
 

DumpyMcDoodleface

Active Member
A bosun seat harness is plain rediculous for the working arborist. We not sitting in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G....we are flying from station to station doing tasks. Bosun seats are for rigging on masts on sailboats. That out the way. The sentinel is overpriced and bulky. The TM light is a boss harness. Regular is on sale at Sherrill for 450 old style not evo. Send that POS back and get a TM either light or Reg. If you want more reason's just ask. But I will have a long checklist....
I don't really think the Sentinel is over priced. As far as features go it's on the low side of feature rich harnesses. The quality of it really seems very good, though I have some questions about the size and shape of the person they designed it to fit...
 

Nickstulz

Member
Dumpy
I got into climbing for all the same reasons and along the same lines as you. I’m two-three inches smaller than you now. I burned off the fat and kept it off. Still 73” tall but now 180 instead of 210 lbs. I say, having tried on the size two sentinel, that it is what you’d need. I chose the mb tho as there was one of those there too and I liked it a lot better. I hope someday to try on a tm just for shits and giggles. But for me for now the mb is fantastic. My experience is very green/ limited.

Get the bigger sentinel or get the old tm or tm lite. Nearly everyone says it’s the best they’ve used.


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