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Choosing the right lightweight equipment

You can essentially buy any paragliding gear from wafer thin to full fat.

05th May 2017

Choosing the right lightweight equipment

This is aimed at new pilots, by the time you are feeling more seasoned the pros and cons of lightweight gear will be more apparent.

You can essentially buy any paragliding gear from wafer thin to full fat. The concept of taking purely hand luggage onto a Ryanair flight is easily achievable. The main pro is the size…its just so James Bond and minimalist by comparison to other outer toys

The downsides are less obvious, lightweight means often less robust, slightly less performance and less practical in some ways. 

New pilots, I find want easy to recognise risers and lines, simple harness configurations and generally some back protection.

So the choices go from pure lightweight wings where the riser distinction from lines to risers is very subtle to full-fat wide risers all colour coded etc.

There are teasingly some halfway houses, some manufacturers offer a range of lightweight wings, some mostly for a simple top to bottom flight, others with a performance that would allow you to thermal up and go Xc with your friends.

Many of these same manufacturers offer a riser option, they add little in truth to the all up weight but add less concern on take off if you are worried about twisted looking risers etc.

Harness options come in both full fat with back protection and seat boards as the norm to worthy airbag alternatives and reversible harnesses for smaller packs to skimpy harness options which suggest they could be better used for a child's swing. 

The lightweight options generally offer no or limited back protection. That is all good if you are aware of the implications re back protection and safety. Some lightweight gear means they can offer either too much feedback or not enough. Everyone is different and we all have different needs.

If you just want a lighter pack to carry up hills then a reversible harness and lightweight reserve will mean your pack weight drops from 15 kg to nearer 12. Change a full-fat wing like an Ozone Buzz to a Geo 5

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