The Advance Easiness 3 is a very high quality mainstream ‘hike and fly’ harness that’s also suitable for beginners, and those with more general flying experience but new to the hike & fly genre. It also provides a myriad of other possibilities, for “travel and fly” or cycling to sites, for example. If you’re interested in this sort of harness, read on…
Advance’s preamble for this harness serves as a good launch pad for this review: “Universally employable, twice as comfortable and useful. The EASINESS 3 light reversible harness can take you on the most varied of adventures – thanks to its modular design concept – whether Hike & Fly, thermaling or traveling.”
Next, their short presentation video gives a good overview. It’s nice to watch, too:
The Easiness 3 is a lightweight reversible paragliding ‘mountain’ harness. It’s ‘light optimised’, rather than ‘minimalist’; Advance have gone for an optimised balance of weight, pack volume, comfort, features, ease of use and durability.
Reversible, because the harness can be reversed into a rucksack, and vice-versa; as demonstrated in the video above, this can be done quickly and easily. Mountain, because it’s particularly well-suited to the demands of mountain use; however it’s well-suited to many other uses too (more on this later).
The Easiness 3 harness has no seat plate, and you are instead supported by a soft seating area at the rear and two individual “leg pads” at the front. This is commonly referred to as a “split-leg” harness design.
It’s a massive oversimplification to lump all harnesses without seatplates together. Each harness model should be judged individually on its own merits, and no two split-leg harnesses are the same. We need to examine the construction of the Easiness 3, and look at real life use and testing.
‘Connected split-leg’ design
A key design feature of the Easiness 3 harness, which differentiates it from most other split-leg harnesses, is that the split leg pads are actually very well connected. This has been engineered by Advance using a full strip of material which runs almost the full length of inside of the leg pads, effectively limiting the range of movement between them.
Various design aspects of the harness affect the handling, like the strap geometry. This ‘connected split-leg’ design contributes to exceptional in-flight comfort of the Easiness 3, even when flown in active air. The Easiness 3’s sturdier sibling, the Progress 3, shares this feature, and similar in-flight comfort, with a slightly more stable feel.
Other split-leg harnesses may have either just a narrow strip of webbing connecting the leg pads, limiting the range of moment to some degree, or nothing at all, making them rather unstable. This makes the wing rather unstable and suitable for flying in laminar conditions or for experts.
In contrast to most other split-leg harnesses, the Easiness 3 continues to be highly comfortable to fly in very active flying conditions, providing you’re not exceeding personal limits.
Modules & sizes
The Easiness 3 harness is “modular”, so options can be added or removed as required.
The Airbag Protector module supplied as standard can zip off, and be replaced by the more minimalist, and amusingly named “Backside Cover” module.
Unlike some other modular harness systems, Advance has made the Easiness 3 very neat and easy to use. Exchanging modules is a relatively quick and easy task. Everything is perfectly well-integrated; with either module fitted you can’t really tell that the harness is modular at all.
The Airbag Protector module has an integrated emergency reserve parachute compartment under the seat, all very neatly designed. This best suits more compact lightweight modern reserves; bulky old reserves may not suit. It’s all sealed-up by a very tidy and effective zip system, which also runs up to the shoulders for the reserve bridle attachments. It’s really exceptionally well done.
The reserve compartment of the Airbag Protector module is held securely and reliably closed by the two yellow ‘nylon wires’ of the red reserve handle passing through two flat white cord loops into neat sleeves.
We much prefer these nylon wires to the old-fashioned metal pins, which are prone to falling out if the securing loops are too loose or getting stuck if they are too tight.
The Airbag Protector reserve handle is well located next to the pilot’s right thigh; it’s easy to see, locate, grab and pull.
Assuming everything is set up and done correctly, and the reserve fitted is not too large, reserve extraction and deployment is easy, simple and low effort. We would say this was very straightforward however, as with most reserve extractions and deployments, it’s actually best done out to the side, not forwards… so perhaps we should say it’s very straightsideways? 😉
If you use the Easiness 3 with the Airbag Protector module fitted but don’t use its integrated reserve compartment then this can be closed with the provided double-ended yellow cable, kept inside the reserve compartment cover, instead of the reserve handle.
If you use the Backside Cover module and wish to fly with a reserve then you will need to a front-mounted reserve outer container. The Advance Frontcontainer ZIP Light has been designed by Advance for this, and is highly recommended.
Advance’s fifty-second features video provides a good visual overview of the Easiness 3 harness and rucksack at this point:
There are three sizes of Easiness 3 offered—S, M and L—with significant overlaps in their size ranges.
For this collaborative Flybubble team review we’ve extensively tested the Easiness 3 is the M and L sizes, both in the air and on the ground. These were configured with the optional Airbag Protector module, the default and generally recommended option by Advance and us.
Which wings and reserves suit best?
Hike and fly is about lightweight gear, but also about lower packed volumes, smaller pack sizes. For this reason, the Easiness 3 is recommended for use with all classes of lightweight wings. Flown with the Phi Viola for this review, but also ideal with the Advance Pi 3 or Advance Xi, you’ll possibly be looking at a pack weight below 6 kg (5.1 kg for all the lightest options) including the recommended Companion SQR Light reserve.
With a light helmet, inner bag and flight instruments, it should be easy to get a complete flying kit under 9 kg—and possibly less than 6 kg—in a much smaller pack than the average paragliding one.
Advance harness alternatives
Advance also offers the Progress 3, a heavier but more featured reversible harness, with a larger rucksack volume that will be more suited to a standard weight wing and, for the most hard core hike and fly pilots, a non reversible harness called the Strapless 2 with a sub 200 g weight.
There are two adjustments that can be made to the harness, one for the length of the shoulder straps and the second for lower back. Clipping in is simple, with the leg loops and chest strap secured as one by two flat buckles either side. At this point you are clipped in, there is no need for any type of “safety” arrangement, as you are either clipped in or you aren’t. There’s an additional small piece of webbing to clip together to keep the shoulder straps in place in the middle of your chest, and that’s it.
When you pull the glider up, the load is spread all over the harness, and you feel well supported. As you stand just before your take off run with the glider overhead, that comfort does not change. The leg pads are very supportive and there are no pressure points in your tender regions.
After take off, you raise your knees and sit back, and there’s a smooth and quick transition to seated with no effort.
The most important thing with any harness is what it’s like to fly in. The Easiness 3 is very comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and has balanced, well mannered feedback that inspires confidence. You’re told about the texture of the air or lift by a slight lifting of the leg pad on that side, but the movement can be ignored and the harness does not ever go beyond the slight “excuse me” type of hint about which way to turn.
It’s important to emphasise that the Easiness 3 feels very well behaved to a pilot who usually flies with a seat plated harness all the time. It is therefore a very good way to move across if you have any doubts about flying a harness with no seat plate.
The speed system
The supplied speed system goes via a high quality pulley and is light and easy to use. When adjusting it for first use, you’ll find a mark on it made by Advance, this is a very good starting point.
When you push the speed system, you’ll notice a small amount of pressure appearing on your backside which can be used to straighten out your body for less drag and to also get more travel out of the system.
The speed system works very well for a light mountain harness but isn’t quite on a par with those you’d find in a good standard weight reversible e.g. Progress 3, standard upright e.g. Axess 4) or pod harness e.g. Lightness 3, but is not far behind.
We’ve found three ways to secure the speed system out of the way before take off, there’s a magnetic flap under the front of the seat, you can use cord locks, which you set before take off to hold it out of the way, or you can use very light elasticated cord cut to the same length as the speed system when not in use in the air, and secured to toggles on the end of the seat.
To get into the bottom rung of the speed system handsfree, you could use the Advance speedbag step-in aid, or a piece of thin elasticated cord with a loop for your foot.
Harness features & use
The harness feels very good to fly in, so what’s it like for features needed for our accessories? Excellent. The reduction in weight doesn’t mean a loss of the extras needed for cameras and instruments, but the excellent finish on the harness side actually hides a lot of those features because they are so neatly done. The first example would be a camera-type pocket, underneath a zip on the left hand side of the harness, with a safety loop for a lanyard, and a zip on the inside.
That zip on the inside means that you can access the same pocket when the harness is reversed into rucksack mode, without having to unpack anything.
Moving up, you’ll find a loop fastener pad on the top end of the right hand shoulder strap, complete with a safety lanyard attachment ideal for a mini vario like the Syride SYS’One V3 (20 g).
On the subject of mounting flight instruments, for a single device we recommend the High Adventure Izipizi Harness Holder. Alternatively, you can use a leg mount that’s compatible with your vario. Riser-mount options exist, like the Syride SYS’Nav V3 (90 g). Finally, for a lightweight but full flight deck, have a look at the Supair Cockpit Lite (200 g).
The carabiners are lightweight Edelrid Foras, with a plastic tidy on the harness to ensure the webbing remains in the correct orientation on the carabiner, and opening at an angle to make it easier to insert the riser into it.
If used with an Advance wing, there is the added bonus of red and blue alignment guides to ensure the riser is correctly oriented on the harness. Advance call this their EASY CONNECT SYSTEM.
The rucksack – its alter ego
Finally, let’s flip into the rucksack mode for the features and ease of use there.
Packing away or setting and preparing for flight is quick, as the zip is undone, the wing removed, and the rucksack flipped inside out, as shown in the presentation video above. The Nylon wires that maintain the shape of the airbag pre-inflation help you here, as they pop the harness into shape, and when putting the harness back into rucksack mode you need to fold these away carefully.
The rucksack is designed for the wing alone to go inside, with everything else secured on the outside, starting with your helmet under the well hidden piece of stretch fabric (in the top pocket), and this is the manufacturer’s recommendation.
However, depending on your wing packing skills and your inner bag of choice, you might be able to get a lightweight helmet like the open face Supair Pilot inside the rucksack, and this poses no problems.
The best wings to use with the harness in terms of being able to pack away easily are lightweight wings, and this is what Advance recommends. A wing like this in a simple standard weight concertina bag Z folded with a compression strap around it can easily be zipped away, without needing to detach the wing from the harness.
Uncompromising, serious hike and fly racers and volbiv expedition pilots don’t tend to use concertina packing bags, to save weight. Those with a less hard line approach to lightweight equipment might well appreciate the convenience of a lightweight concertina bag, like the Advance Tubebag Light, which at 300 g is around half the weight of mainstream compress or concertina bags.
If you examine the rucksack carefully, you’ll see that the stylish panels that are so neatly finished are actually stretch pockets for jackets, food and water bottles, or whatever you want.
On the left hand side there’s a zipped pocket, with a safety loop for a lanyard on the inside.
You’ve also got attachment points for poles, or tent/sleeping bag rolls, or anything else you find yourself walking with, on the bottom…
… and the sides.
The waist strap has very convenient integrated pockets on either side, easily accessible whilst wearing the rucksack, even when on the move. The right side has a zipped pocket, ideal for snacks, wallet, keys etc.
The left side has a stretch pocket, ideal for temporary storing your smartphone, for example. Just make sure it’s well-stowed before you start hiking!
Carlo put together a pack with a Phi Viola S (20), Easiness 3 M (with Companion SQR Light 100 fitted), and a Supair Pilot helmet which weighed in at 6.7 kg. For larger pilots, the flying pack weighs between 7 and 9 kg, and is so comfortable at that weight on your back that the waist strap isn’t needed. It improves comfort using it, and the more you load your backpack the more important it gets. The waist strap has additional zip and elasticated rockets for storage, but can easily be removed if not required.
I gladly flew on days with no guarantee of soaring, as the walk up with the complete pack felt like no weight at all compared to my usual set up. It’s this aspect of it that would open up the possibility of cycling to sites, travelling with it where a normal pack would be excluded, and anything else where packed volume and weight are potential deal breakers. The possibilities and advantages for this harness are not limited to mainstream hike and fly.
The Easiness 3 should be high on your list if you’re looking to hike and fly with lightweight equipment, but without radical solutions to that ambition. It also has a real comfort to it that makes it a good option for long flights. The options also extend to flying mini wings, dune soaring, and other types of flying where a pod harness would actually be an encumbrance. Its abilities stretch well beyond the pigeon hole we’ve put it in with the hike and fly label. Like the harness, the Easiness 3 rucksack is top notch.
Find out more about the Advance EASINESS 3
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