Equipment tips and tricks to make your flying safer, more comfortable and more fun.
Wicking under layer
When you have to kite or slog back up the hill, all that high-altitude clothing causes overheating. Rather than landing after 40k due to a freezing layer of sweat, always wear a wicking under layer to get rid of that sweat and therefore stay dry and warm in the air. Use something like the Advance Tech-Shirt, which offers ‘Dry Comfort’ technology, fantastic for flying! This also applies to socks (get wool socks).
Don’t walk like Quasimodo, move 3kg from your back to your front by wearing a small, light backpack (such as the Advance Lightbag) on your front and voila, that’s a 6kg change in balance that allows you to walk upright again. Like a man.
Read our Advance Lightbag review.
Taking off into a strong wind is no time to discover that the Brummel hooks connecting your wing’s speed system to the harness have come undone… use Brummel grommets to keep those pesky hooks in place instead. There are many ways to stop Brummel hooks coming undone. Use soft material Brummel Covers (our preferred solution), Rubber O Rings (see images below), slide soft silicone tubing over them (effective but fiddly in practice), tape them closed (effective but sticky), or remove them altogether and use a lark’s tongue knot.
Battery Heated Gloves
Yes, they are expensive, heavy and are yet another thing to keep charged, but after buying battery heated gloves you’ll wonder how you ever managed without.
Which are ‘the best ones’ for paragliding, we hear you holler? First, as with all kit, there’s no one answer to that question for everyone. Second, there are more and more battery heated gloves coming on the market all the time. So sorry but we can’t give an answer to that here.
What would be really great is if one of the top paragliding manufacturers made some really nice ones that were specifically designed for the quite specific needs of paragliding (hint hint).
Full face helmet
This is my personal preference, but a full-face helmet is not only safer, it is much warmer, quieter and provides the option of a tinted visor, all of which make life more comfortable in the air. And my Charly No Limit helmet looks cool – the question of ‘Are you the Stig?’ posed by a child when I landed in a school playground really made my day!
Nancy at Flybubble flies with an Icaro 4fight Cut Integral which, as well as being incredibly strong yet light, has the advantage of removable, washable interchangeable internal paddings. The built quality is excellent, and it looks great too!
Speedbag bungee cord
Many pods can be tricky to get your feet into. My Ozone Ozium is perfectly adjusted but the footplate and pod is so light it simply blows backwards, requiring me to take my hands off the brakes to get into it. A bungee cord which attaches to my shoelaces (like the Ozone Foot Elastic with Ball) makes it easy to get into the pod without even thinking about it, valuable when full attention during take-off is paramount.
Also see our guide on getting into pods.
Rose or orange tint to a sunglass lens makes cloud definition easier to read, helping you avoid those sneaky ‘dead’ clouds that should work but don’t. Polarised lenses provide intense clarity, but are incompatible with most flight instruments screens. I can’t prove it and it may just be that wearing tinted shades makes me more cheerful, but that’s still a plenty good reason in my book. Some freeflight helmets have orange or brown tinted visors, which are particularly good for cloud definition.
Riser mounted Vario
Your riser really is the perfect place to mount a vario. With an option like the Syride series, mounting your vario here puts a lot of highly relevant information where you need it, right in your line of sight. Almost as good as a head up display, but without being so annoying.
Have another great paragliding hack to add? Send your suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org
More hacks from pilots
Adding a ball (wooden beads, plastic rope floats, drilled star knob or bars) to the brakes increases the sensitivity and tiring of fingers is delayed. Berkhan Bayraktar / Sam Smith
Flybubble: Check out the range of brake handles we offer, some of which include balls, bars, and other additions designed to increase sensitivity and reduce the load on your fingers! We especially recommend the High Adventure XC-Griff handles!
It is very annoying to walk with the speedbar in between your legs. I simply tied a light rubber rope on each side of the bar, lead it along with the line of the speed system and tied it on my harness up high. It pulls the speedbar to position all the time, but the rubber is light and long enough to make no difference in the force needed to push the bar. Balint Komjati
Flybubble: Most good modern paragliding harnesses now include a ‘speedbar hold-back system’ like this as standard. For example, the Advance SUCCESS 4, the Gin Gingo 3, the Supair Evo XC 3 and the Woody Valley Wani2 (shown below).
A short piece of garden strimmer wire (200 mm length) is useful for rethreading a reserve handle into its loops, and – unlike accessory cord – it will not cause a friction burn to the retaining loops when it is removed. Sam Smith
Boots that fit
Get a professional fitting with your boots: the right choice in a perfect size means I have never had issues with wearing mine for long days and hikes. Phil Clark
I am never ever without my Buff: scarf, hat, face mask, sunblock – does the lot! Phil Clark
Flybubble: We also offer a range of and bandanas and balaclavas designed for freeflight!
You know the little tell tales that come with Advance wings? I got a telescopic stick for mine so I can hold it a 1 m higher to check the wind before flying. The added height raises it out of the turbulent or sheltered air close to the ground. Phil Clark
Write five phone numbers on a piece of paper and leave it in your paraglider bag top pocket. It’s amazing how quick your smartphone dies when you walk out and have the phone running Sat Nav, messages, selfies, xcrt.aero, livetrack, etc. in the middle of nowhere. Phil Clark
Invest in large capacity power bank (portable battery to charge up your electronic devices). Mine is 300 g, waterproof, cost less than £30 and has in excess of 10 Ah capacity. Phil Clark