Hike & Fly gear: how to choose your harness from flight hike ?
On the snow, under the sun or in the middle of autumn leaves, no matter the season, there is always time for a hike & fly session!
But for this practice to remain a pleasure, it is important to know how to equip yourself, what is the equipment that could suit you and how to choose it. Today, let's discover the harnesses specially designed for Hike & Fly!
The Hike & Fly, a practice that climbs
And we are not only talking about climbing the summits! For a few years now, the practice of hike & fly has become increasingly popular among paragliding pilots.
Walk up to the takeoff, whether official or wild, and come down under a glider delights many people. Then, everyone is free to vary the pleasures: simple walk, bivouac, cross-country... The possibilities are almost infinite!
The advantage of flight hike is that the conditions required for practice are not as demanding as for cross-country riding, for example. A healthy air mass, a bit of headwind, and you're ready for adventure!
And yes, our pilots had the pleasure of discovering that, even with capricious weather, the adventure remains within reach:
Captain Wild x Supair - October 2022
This explosion of the hike & fly is also due to the general lightening of the material of paraglider. In addition to the more modern designs that allow weight savings In addition to the more modern designs that save weight, the so-called "light" products are multiplying on the market, and the same is true for the harnesses that come in various categories dedicated to rando flight.
Which harness for the hike & fly session ?
There is something for everyone! Whatever your level or the type of practice you are interested in, there is bound to be a harness made for you. We will detail below the different possibilities to equip yourself lightly.
The harness reversible
Whether you want to start hike & fly or keep a high level of passive safety, the reversible harness is the most versatile solution in terms of light equipment.
A reversible harness is a harness that also acts as a rucksak. Simply turn the back of the harness to access the bag mode, and vice versa. Simple and effective, it saves the weight of a classic rucksak .
The advantage of these reversible harnesses is that they can be used as everyday harnesses without any problem thanks to their high level of accessorization and the large volume of the bag.
Very comfortable and without compromising on safety, it is an ideal choice if you only want to use one harness for all practices or if you are looking to start hike & fly early in your progression.
If you're curious about reversible harnesses, take a closer look at the ALTIRANDO Lite 2.
The harness modular
The harness is the solution to adapt your equipment to your current needs.
It is a harness on which it is possible to add options using a module. The RADICAL 4 is a good example of a modular harness : it is an ultra-light frame on which a module has been added that allows it to become a reversible harness equipped with an emergency pocket and an airbag.
Thanks to this option, a modular harness of this type can be used for both comfortable hike & fly session and mountain flight, which requires more lightness. Designed specifically for the mountain use, it is a harness lighter than an ALTIRANDO Lite.
The harness is therefore more or less accessorized depending on the option used. Thus, you can give the advantage to the comfort or the weight according to your needs.
This type of equipment will suit you if you are looking for a very light harness that allows you, when you need it, to keep a good level of passive safety thanks to the addition of an airbag and a removable spare pocket.
The harness string
This is the most extreme version of the light harness. String harnesses like the EVEREST 3only keep the essentials for maximum weight savings. Here, the priority is given to lightness. Used with a small glider mountain, like the EIKO 2in 16m² for example, you get an ultra-light pack with very little volume .
This equipment is ideal for hiking, trail running or paralpinism. On the other hand, it is a very specific piece of equipment that is not recommended if you are a beginner in the activity because of the absence of subcutaneous protection or any other passive safety element.
The light pod harness
Here we are at the last type of harness : the light pod harness.
This category is for pilots who want to mix hike & fly and distance flight. Cross country is not incompatible with hike & fly, on the contrary!
The pod harness light is even the equipment of choice for bivouac flight for example. These harnesses allow a huge weight saving compared to a standard pod harness while keeping a good level of comfort for long flights.
Also, passive protection is provided with, in most cases, a subcutaneous protection and a place dedicated to the rescue.
On the STRIKE2it is for example possible to replace the standard foam protection with an inflatable one for even more lightness without compromising on safety.
The light pod harnesss are often more technical to adjust and you should not hesitate to take your time to adjust it perfectly to your morphology and feel comfortable in the harness.
If this is not necessarily the best choice if you are a novice in the practice, this option will delight you if you are adept at flight distance and want to be able to walk with your cross country equipment on your back.
As we have seen, each harness is intended for a particular use. In order to make the best choice among this wide range of possibilities, it is essential to define the type of practice you are aiming at to find the right compromise between safety, comfort and lightness.
If you are not comfortable with the many models available on the market, do not hesitate to contact your usual dealer for personalized advice.