Paragliding is an exhilarating excursion that all thrillseekers love. It involves you soaring the sky while being attached to just a paragliding wing via a harness. Given the high stakes involved in paragliding, it’s important that paragliders have the right equipment.
The very first thing you will need is a paragliding wing, which is also known as the glider, parachute, or canopy. They come in a variety of shapes, fabrics, colors, and sizes. Out of all these aspects, the only thing that doesn’t affect your paragliding experience is the color of the wing, so you can choose any color you love. So, even if you are a beginner, you can go for any color.
However, the fabric, size, and shape matter a lot. When you hit the market to buy a wing, you will see that some are very wide while others are very slim. Both of these are specifically designed for different purposes.
Wider wings are safer since they take up a wider area and provide greater strength and stability. Therefore, they are the best for beginners. Plus, the wider design of the flight provides greater control and allows your flight to go slightly slower.
Since wide paragliding designs are made for beginners, you probably have guessed who the narrow wings are for. Experts and those that take part in competitions prefer narrow wings, primarily because they provide more mobility and allow you to fly faster. So, you should use a narrow wing only if you are confident and comfortable with your paragliding skills.
So, when it comes to the shape of the wing, the bottom line to remember is as the size of the wing decreases, the performance gets better.
Another thing to take into account when buying a wing is the size. Your size will determine the size of the wing suitable for you. So, make sure you buy a wing designed to sustain your weight.
The next factor to consider is the fabrics. You will find different manufacturers using different fabrics for their wings. Paragliding wings are hardly made with just one kind of fabric. Instead, three to four different kinds of fabrics are combined to make a durable wing.
It is important that you see how wings by different manufacturers perform. Some are known to be weak, some pick up more dust than others, and some are perfectly durable. So before you buy the wings, make sure you search the company and its reputation in the market.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the price of the wings. When looking at the different options, you might come across wings available at a discounted price. Make sure you disregard those because, most often than not, the wings available at discounts are an older model, and there’s a reason why manufacturers have taken out a new model, such as improved security and stability. So, it is worth spending a little bit more to ensure safety. Generally, you can expect paragliding wings to cost you from $500 to up to $5000.
Now that you have decided on a suitable paragliding wing, the next thing you will need is a paragliding harness. Despite it being just a simple harness, it is not easy to purchase one. This is because you need to focus on a few factors before making the purchase.
One of the essential factors to look for in a harness is back protection. In some cases, it can happen that when you’re getting ready to descend a high altitude area, you are picked up a few feet and then dropped by the wind. However, if you have a hardness with adequate back protection, you can save yourself from a lot of pain. Back protection also ensures greater security and keeps you comfortable while flying.
Just like paragliding wings, you can also find older paragliding harnesses available at a discounted price. However, the low cost often comes with a catch. For example, the discounted harnesses might not come with back protection, which can be quite harmful.
Another thing to look into is the connecting system. You must make sure that your harness is the right connecting system. Most harnesses come with a carabiner system, which is what most people prefer. However, there are other options available as well, and you can choose those based on your experience and what you prefer during your time in the sky.
Apart from that, the other requirements of a paragliding harness are quite basic. For instance, it should be able to sustain your weight.
You can also find some extras in harnesses. While these are not necessary, they can still be quite nice to have. For example, some harnesses come with pockets that you can use for safety gear, snacks, or drinks, a container for the reserve parachute, or a storage area. So, it’s up to you if you want these things.
While most paragliders usually know the weather outlook and if the conditions are favorable for flying, they also have a tool known as a variometer. Despite being a basic tool, it’s quite important since it shows a number of things, like the rate of descent and ascent as well as the altitude. So, having a variometer makes sure that paragliders are flying adequately according to the conditions.
As you would expect, a radio is needed to get in touch with other pilots as well as assistants to paragliding. In some cases, pilots use the radio to talk to the air traffic controller or the airport control. Similarly, advanced paragliders usually have a radio since it lets them get in touch with other flight services or the pilots.
When buying the radio, make sure to look into the range of frequencies. Different countries use different ranges depending on the system. So, make sure you buy a model that works on the frequencies you are going to use during the flight.
Another essential piece of equipment to have while paragliding is a GPS. A Global Positioning System or GPS helps the pilot check the area geographically. It also lets pilots track each other’s movements, which helps them keep track of each other and learn their movements.
Having the right clothing is also important. As you ascend to the sky, you can expect a difference in the temperature and wind, which is why it’s important you gear up appropriately. Some things you should have are:
As the name suggests, a flying suit is designed to use when flying. In particular, flying suits help your body to adjust to extreme temperatures. If you tend to paraglide in different exotic places, it’s better to buy a flying suit to keep yourself safe.
It’s essential that you use a helmet, even if it is a short or easy flight. Some paragliders prefer a hard shell helmet that motorcyclists often use. While it is better than flying without a helmet, it’s better to go for a helmet specially designed for the activity.
Paragliding helmets are made with a special type of fiberglass that provides the most safety for the head. A head injury can be fatal, so it’s better to be safe.
In paragliding, the most common injury is to the ankles. It’s important to protect them, which is why you should consider getting high top boots. Remember, the boots you use for paragliding should not have lacing clips since they can snag the lines around the harness.
Gloves are also nice to have since they prevent your hands from frostbite and line burns.
While all the essential paragliding equipment has been listed above, there are a few other accessories that paragliders prefer to have. These items include the following:
Front Reserve Containers
A reserve container is essentially a container used to hold a piece of fabric that is shaped in the form of a hemisphere with a hole present at the center. This piece of fabric is known as the reserve container and should be your last resort in the case of emergencies. This folded parachute is packed in the pod and placed in the deployment bag. It is then placed in a compartment on the side of the harness, known as the container.
Speed Bars & Foot Rests
A speed bar is basically an accessory that helps you increase the speed. It is basically like a foot control or strap and is attached to the harness or risers. It is also connected to the wing, so you can control and manipulate its position and adjust it accordingly.
A footrest is also nice to have. It can help you keep yourself stable, especially if your leg straps unbuckle while in the air.
Bags & Rucksacks
While you don’t need bags and rucksacks to fly, they come in handy afterward. Once you land, you can stow the equipment into the bag so that you can take it back to the launch site easily. In other words, it helps to get your equipment from one place to another easily.