Paragliding Harnesses


What are the types of paragliding harnesses?:

Paragliding harnesses are easily as important as the actual paraglider so it is vital that acquire the right choice for the wing and the kind of flying that you will be doing. There are three main kinds of paragliding harnesses; standard, reversible and pod. Standard paragliding harnesses, however, can come in different weights and builds from the older type of heavy duty designs to the new lightweight types.

What do I need?:

If you simply want to keep down the price, the simple standard harness will be the way to go. Performance and warmth for cross country flying are the most important things to a lot of pilots so the pod will be the obvious choice. If you want lightweight together with a very compact package which will be suitable for hiking and travelling, the reversible is probably what you are looking for.

How heavy are they?:

Super lightweight paragliding harnesses can be as little as 1kg but offer little in the way of protection. Most harnesses these days tend to fall between 3kg and 4.5kg and this would be our recommendation. These are easy to carry up the hill whilst still offering a reasonable level of back protection. The heavier duty standard paragliding harnesses can be as much as 6kg and tend to be cheaper as a result. Some of the full race competition pod harnesses are still as much as 11kg but the market is extremely limited for these highly specialised products.

Is the sensitivity the same on all harnesses?:

Not at all. Sensitivity is based on two factors; the distance between the karabiners and the distance between the karabiners and the seat plate. A short karabiner to seat plate distance will give you more sensitive weight shift control authority but the downside is that in turbulent conditions, you can get a situation of the tail wagging the dog. The same can be said for slacking off the chest strap to increase the distance between the karabiners. It should, however, be pointed out that this distance is set by the manufacturer of your glider and the certification reports and reactions are based on this setting. This distance is often 42cm to 45cm but will be stated in your gliders manual.

Want to be a test pilot?:

Any setting outside of the specified range will invalidate the gliders certification for some manoeuvres and you effectively become a test pilot. Most harnesses are well balanced but it should be remembered that a change of only a few centimetres to the distance between the seat plate and karabiners will give a completely different experience.

How much protection do they offer?:

Most harnesses will have an element of back protection with the exception of the lightest of designs. The problem that we had in the past was that if you wanted a high level of protection it was going to make the harness extremely heavy in the process. With the arrival of the largely closed cell protection systems, we now have back protectors with up to 20cm of protection but in a very light package. Some harnesses also have an inflatable airbag that adds almost nothing to the weight of the harness. The problem with these on their own is that you usually have little protection for the first couple of seconds of flight as you wait for the protector to inflate. Manufacturers have now got around this issue by offering a combination of both within the same harness or pre inflation wires that hold the harness into shape.

Why are some harnesses so expensive compared to others?:

This will come down to the amount of work involved in construction, how much material is used and the final weight. Strangely in our sport, the lighter things are the more they cost. This also goes for lightweight paragliders. The more you pay, the less you get!

Any questions?:

As always, it is encouraged that you ask a question if you need clarification on anything that is written above using the form at the bottom of the page. If something is puzzling you, it is guaranteed that you will not be on your own. By putting your questions on this page, other pilots will also be able to learn.

Free Rescue Parachute Fitting

We offer a free parachute fitment with every new harness to save you having to do it. Some new harnesses require that you use the deployment bag that it is supplied with, so your rescue parachute will need to be removed from the one you currently have. If you would like us to do this for you, just post down your rescue parachute with connector link and send a message letting us know. If you do, we’ll hold onto your new harness until then and send it back to you by return post, free of charge.

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Here to Help

I have been involved in paragliding full time since the very beginning of the sport in the UK. I have been instructing full time since 1993 until 2017 and available to help you with advice whenever needed. Helping paragliding pilots new or old is my way of putting back into the sport which has given me such incredible experiences all over the world and I want you to be able to share in that. If you need any help, just write in the chat box found on this site and I’ll get back to you either immediately or when I’m back in the office.

Good Flying! Paul Williams




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