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How to Choose the Right Paragliding Harness

It can be a bit overwhelming to choose among all the different paragliding harnesses types available on the market. How do you compare them when there are so many brands, so many features, and so many different styles?

We set out the fundamental principles of choosing the right paragliding harness so you can develop a clear sense of what suits your flying skills and aspirations. You need to work out what style of paragliding harness to look at and that can depend on what environment you fly in.

At Overfly Tenerife, we offer you the best tandem paragliding experience in Spain. You can find us in the south of Tenerife, in Costa Adeje. As we take care of every single aspect of the flight, you won’t need to worry about anything, not even bringing your own paragliding equipment. Hence, we encourage you to enjoy our paragliding tandem flights.

Paragliding Harness Considerations to make the right choice

Every paragliding harness is similar and does similar things, but it is now possible to buy lots of lateral and back support or go more minimalist and lightweight. Let us explain it by breaking it down into the main paragliding harness considerations:

Back protection

You can choose the type of back protection for your paragliding harness, airbag or foam, sometimes a mix of both of them.

Paragliding harness airbag vs. foam

  • Airbag options

Airbags provide good protection against impacts. Nevertheless, they will be useful only on the first impact — if you suffer a paragliding accident, you will have to change it. They are quite effective in landing fields and launch sites, but they are not really effective if the impact surface has pointy bits.

Modern airbag paragliding harnesses have a pre-inflation system that expands the volume of the harness before the flight, so you are protected even during the launch phase. Airbags help to reduce harness weight, especially when they are incorporated into a reversible design that produces a convertible paragliding harness-rucksack. You must be very careful not to puncture the bag, which is quite easy if you use it on rocky launch sites.

  • Foam options

Foam options come with a physical cushioned insert in most cases between 16 and 20 centimetres thick. This is in order to protect your lower spine. Although they are not very heavy, they are quite voluminous — so they end up making a larger backpack.

It is the favourite one of new paragliding pilots, due to they consider that it offers a greater level of protection. So, if you are a newbie and you have just gotten your paragliding license, foam is probably the best option for you!

Paragliding harness size

There is a wide range of paragliding harness sizes. Most of them come in the typical formats — small, medium, large and extra-large (XL) Every paragliding pilot is different in shape and every harness needs its time to set up to your shape and inflight comfort irrespective of how much money you have spent. For example, if you are medium weight but you have very long legs, then you need an XL size for your paragliding harness.

Reserve fitting

Everyone needs a reserve fitting for flying a paraglider. Most of the paragliding harness comes with an under the seat or a lower back option. They can only be reached with the right hand in general, but there are some brands that offer a left and right-handed option.

There is another option which is supposed to be the safest, although it is less convenient. This option is the front mounted reserve, the one which allows you to reach it with both hands in of emergency. Nevertheless, we think that this option adds more troubles for paragliding pilots as they have to be sited on their laps during the flight.

Chest-strap settings

Chest-strap settings are strongly recommended by manufactures for reaching a better use of their gliders, and they are given out online or with a manual when you buy them.  The passive safety characteristics of a paraglider wing can be compromised by deficient harness strap settings.

Pod paragliding harnesses

There is no reason why a newbie paragliding pilot should buy one of these pod harnesses. When they have just finished their paragliding lessons at the Paragliding School, there are many other options. These harnesses with a speed bag are particularly useful for ambitious competition and cross country pilots.

It is a fact that a pod harness helps to reduce the resistance of the wind and keeps you warm. Nevertheless, it is more difficult on the ground, because it is harder to run with something hanging around your feet. Furthermore, it is more susceptible to getting twists in extreme situations.

The paragliding harness can include the speed bag as standard or as an optional extra. You will find a great deal of choice in pod harnesses. The design of many of them have evolved to be lighter and lighter. Even so, you must think about the pros and cons. Obviously, you have to bear in mind that the lighter it is, the less back protection you get.

Reversible paragliding harnesses

These reversible paragliding harnesses are relatively new, and they have their pros and cons. This kind of harness offers a smaller packing size as the wings efficiently fold into the centre of the harness when it is reversed out. If you do this, the harness will be a stowaway in a quite reduced space, so you won’t need the traditional and huge bag. That means that you will have to carry less weight. This fact makes them more comfortable to carry them up hills.

Another advantage of these harnesses is that it also comes with an option of seat hammock style! Remember that you can also buy a regular airbag harness without the reversible option and you will still get the smaller pack. The options are almost endless!

Our team has been flying for more than twenty-six years, so we appreciate the importance to find the right paragliding harness and the right paragliding equipment (paragliding helmet and so on) — the one that suits you and your flight the best!

Do you know how to choose a paragliding harness now? We hope that we have solved all your doubts! If you still have any, if you need more information, or if you are interested in our services don’t hesitate to contact us. 📞 We will be pleased to help you!

Do you need more information about paragliding? Do you want to read more post about this topic? Then, we strongly recommend you to take a look at our blog. There, you will find lots of information related to the paragliding world. These are some examples of the articles that you can find:

We want to fly with you; we want to be your wings.

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Judith Escudero

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Judith Escudero

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