Knot of the Week: Hasty Webbing Harness - ITS Tactical

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Knot of the Week: Hasty Webbing Harness

By The ITS Crew

Hasty Harness

This week’s Knot of the Week features two different ways to tie a hasty webbing harness that can be used as a backup rappelling harness in case of an emergency.

Tied with 1″ Mil-Spec Tubular Webbing, these featured harnesses have a rating of 19 kN or 4,200 lbs. Tubular Webbing is commonly used in climbing and readily available in either Mil-Spec or Climb-Spec. You’ll find that these are very similar and maintain roughly the same 19 kN rating.

If you’re looking to source 1″ Tubular Webbing, here’s a  great resource that aggregates pricing and availability from popular online retailers like REI, Amazon, Summit Hut and many more.

Method #1

Hasty Webbing Harness 01The first way that we’ll show to tie a Hasty Rappelling Harness is very similar to the Swiss Seat, but as the name implies, hasty. There are ways of reinforcing this harness with tape knots, which we point out in the video below.

This first harness example is tied with 18 ft. of Tubular Webbing and is easily stored in a cargo pocket. One of the main benefits of this harness is that storing the webbing coiled and flat minimizes space and takes up much less room than 18 ft. of rope. Tubular Webbing is also more comfortable to use as a harness, but the purpose of backup harnesses like these is for emergencies, and comfort really shouldn’t be a concern in those situations.

Method #2

Hasty Webbing Harness 02The second method we’ll show to tie a Hasty Rappelling Harness is something we’ve come up with recently. It utilizes 12 ft. of pre-knotted Tubular Webbing (a Tape Knot that’s been backed up) to make a runner of sorts that can be easily donned in a hurry. This method is much faster than the first example and uses less webbing.

It’s not as secure as the first harness, but if seconds count, it will get you down. It’s also more compact and easier to store than the first, and as you’ll see in the video, it fits very nicely into the flashlight cave of a TAD Gear Fast Pack in conjunction with their Cable Retractor.

What really makes this method shine is its ability to augment a Rigger’s Belt. As you can see from the picture to the right  it would be very easy to clip this into the loop. When used in combination with the Rigger’s belt you’ve truly got a bombproof backup system. No leg support has been a common complaint with a Rigger’s Belt, but when used in combination with this method, it will be sure to satisfy.


Both of these harnesses utilize Rigger’s Rubber Bands to hold them together for quick deployment when needed. Here’s a link to an article we wrote on Rigger’s Rubber Bands, they’re definitely the right choice for this application.

Always use a locking carabiner when tying these harnesses and remember to “Screw Down, so you don’t Screw Up.” That’s something helpful to memorize so that you’re always screwing the locking gate on a carabiner “down.” If gravity comes into play it will rotate the carabiner closed, not open.

Hasty Webbing Harness #1 » Misc.

(Strength: 2/Secure: 3/Stability: 2/Difficulty: 3)

Hasty Webbing Harness #2 » Misc.

(Strength: 2/Secure: 3/Stability: 2/Difficulty: 2)

Please refer to our  Knot of the Week introduction post for a description of what these ratings mean.


  • Hasty emergency rappelling harness for you or a victim
  • Transporting an injured victim to safety

Tying Instructions:

  • Please refer to the YouTube video below for instructions

Rappelling is inherently dangerous. This information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not replace training from an experienced guide.

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  • Great video, you make it look too easy.

    • Thanks brother, but it really is that easy LOL…

      ~ Bryan

  • Good one!
    When I was young and dumb we would go out to the cliffs in Dahlonega, Ga and repel. Not being able to afford “fancy” gear at the time, I often used tubular webbing to make a “swiss seat.”
    This is good one to know. In a pinch you can make it out of just about anything. So a good twistlock carabiner is good to keep in your BOB.

  • Dustin

    Awesome video. Thanks for the demonstration and I’m looking forward to more relating to this topic.

  • Rusty Gray

    We used to tie up a seat very similar in the 80’s called a French seat. It was far more comfortable than a swiss seat for extended ops in the rocks.

    I use a similar seat now but use bright yellow high strength webbing.

    Very cool. Love this site.

  • Tango7

    Good tips guys. I’ve kept a prefab loop and 50′ of 3/8″ Nylon kernmantle on my belt at the Fire Department for a few years now in case I get stuck somewhere.

    “As long as it works, it ain’t stupid”

    • Very true Tango 7. Its about what works, and nearly anything will work in a pinch. It’s good to have the knowledge though to be able to turn that rope into whatever the situation calls for.

      Thanks for the comment,

  • runnningdog8

    Great post and a very well done video!

    • Thanks brother, Glad you liked it!

      ~ Bryan

  • Mike

    Would someone point me to the cable retractor mentioned in this post? I’ve looked through the TAD site and can’t seem to find it.

    • Mike,

      I took a look too, and it appears to be sold out or removed from their site.

      ~ Bryan

  • Cdt Gillies

    You can also use a tubular webbing sling, you put it behind you and feed it around both sides and between your legs, then connect the 3 points withe a carabiner. This is really emergency only, but it’s by far the quickest

    • Gillies,

      That’s close to what we did here, but the second method shown is superior to that, as it leaves two points of contact for the carabiner, not two. That method we show will also move the leg loops further away from your junk.

      ~ Bryan

  • Daryl

    Daisy chain another snaplink in there and you’ll save wear and tear on your tubular nylon and possibly prevent a burn through.

  • TFA303

    Great ideas here.
    The link to the Rigger’s Rubber Bands site doesn’t appear to be working.

  • ZenEngineer

    It’s interesting that the still photos show the person wearing a “riggers” belt while also using the improvised swiss seat. Could a shorter piece of 1″ tubular nylon be prepared with leg loops to be used in conjunction with the riggers belt?

  • Waykno

    Make your own “rigger's rubber bands.” Buy a bicycle inner tube and cut it to whatever width you like. Granted, they aren't as flexible (stretchy) but they work for their limited application. Much cheaper too.

  • Definitely not as strong, but great tip to add!

    Thanks for the comment,

  • David

    New favorite site.

    I’m having a hard time figuring out what you’re doing in the video around the 6:50 mark. How do the “2 loops” that come around your waist attach to the crotch loop before you hook the carabiner to the two loops?

  • David H.

    I cut seat belts from totaled cars. (Seat belts not damaged) but I cut the whole lenght of each. Would a seat belt suffice? I know these have to be rated as one of the strongest items out there in order to ensure the safety of drivers. I use them for strap attachments etc. But could you use em for this harness?

  • Justin

    My nutz hurt after watching this. Thx for sacrificing yours to make the vid

    • Common Sense

      A properly tied harness is just a bit uncomfortable when tightened. You literally have to lift and move your nuts, then tighten the harness. You will have a strange looking bulge in your pants, but that means that nothing is under the webbing itself. Properly tied, this harness won’t cause a lot of pain if used for straight forward rappelling.

  • doooooood

    curious if you actually tested your hasty harness set up to 19 kN as stated?

    I would guess not or at least not to standard as my testing revealed much lower numbers for this configuration.

  • JoeHisey

    Would this function the same with 2″ webbing if that was the size I happened to have?

  • @doooooood Everyone at this years Muster made their own harness and ascended and rappelled with it. No issues what so ever. As far as testing the webbing to its limit, no we have not done that.

  • mdethloff

    @doooooood Coming from the Fire/ Rescue service, both of these are commonly used for “victim pick-off” operations such as cliffhangers where the person does not need to be lifted in a Stokes basket such as from a traumatic injury. As to your statement regarding the 19kN strength, a rule must always be obeyed with regards to rope rescue systems: A straight from factory rope/ webbing/ carabiner/ figure-8-plate, etc. will meet or exceed the necessary rating it receives (such as 19kN for the stated webbing). As the hardware or rope/webbing is used, it will degrade (notably hardware from impacts such as being dropped onto the ground or from incorrect loading, and soft goods by shock loading or incorrect weather exposure/ storage) and will decrease in strength. In rope and in webbing, any time a bend, loop, bite, or especially a knot is added into the system, the rope loses strength. For example, one of the reasons that a Figure Eight on a Bight is preferred over a Bowline variant as an anchor knot is because the Figure Eight knot will decrease the entire systems strength by roughly 25%, whereas the Bowline will decrease its strength by up to 40%. By introducing the Factor of Safety (a given number, in this case weight, that can be loaded on the system that is by far below the maximum capacity of the overall system to prevent failure during any – including emergency – situation) into the equation, an operator must understand that their usable system is going hold a much lower kN number than the maximum potential of any one component. A hasty harness such as these (the first one being preferred in rescue systems) will likely only hold something like 12kN (due to the gradual bends, this is almost entirely due to the “Water” or “Tape” knot in the system = ~30% reduction). Regardless, as the harness is so far down the system from the anchor point the entire system will have a certain amount of stretch by that point, so that even if a climber were to fall and shock load the system, the likelihood is that if something broke, it would be much higher in the system, usually a weak anchor failing. Not meaning this in an “Ah ha!” way, just thought I’d share some information that hopefully a few people will see and that can help lay some understanding into rope systems.

    • mdethloff Thanks for adding your thoughts, great information.

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