“The Skywalk BREEZE is a recreational harness with a simple design that fulfils the most diverse demands. Comfortable, safe, lightweight and modular!” So says Skywalk. Like the harness itself, the description is absolutely spot on. I can’t present the BREEZE in a better way.
This modern semi-reclined harness features an inflatable crash protection, which helps to reduce the weight and makes the packing size tiny. It has an integrated reserve pocket, split leg support (without a seatplate) and a lot of storage space in the rear pocket. What makes it really unique is the modular approach that allows you to zip off the protector and reserve and reveal an ultralight mountain harness.
Far from being a ‘string’ offering like some harnesses in this class, the mountain harness is fully featured, retaining the speedbar and offering a reserve strop attached to the shoulder points with an integrated channel and a small back pocket, adequate for a light backpack and snacks.
The quality of manufacturing and attention to detail is outstanding.
Skywalk BREEZE: Setting it up
The standard adjustments for shoulders, lumbar support and thighs give you enough freedom to make it fit nicely. Skywalk provide a detailed sizing guide but I found that although the leg measurement was close, the shoulder straps were way longer than necessary in my recommended size. Get a hang-test to ensure you’re getting the right match.
Switching to the PURE line (minimalist harness) takes a few minutes but is simple to do. If you detach your reserve parachute (at the main maillon) there are only four clips and a long zip to deal with. Then you can stow the reserve strop in a special pouch, and enjoy your ground handling practice / beach soaring or peak descent. If you decide to keep your reserve parachute attached, you’ll need to buy a chest-mounted reserve pouch (not included) which will also mean repacking your reserve.
On that note, the BREEZE comes with a dedicated reserve bag that is sewn onto the deployment handle. This means that when you transfer your reserve into this harness, you must remove it from its existing nappy (usually the one provided by your reserve parachute manufacturer) and place it into the orange BREEZE bag. This ensures that it forms the perfect shape for an optimal deployment.
Skywalk BREEZE: On the ground
Some pilots worry about the ‘get up’ system (the two legstraps form a V and connect to the chest-strap near the carabiners) because it can cut into your groin. That is mostly due to poor launch stance – see our video for more help on this. If you stand upright during your launch run you may well encounter unpleasant pressure in your groin area, on many harnesses. If you launch correctly with your chest-strap taking your weight, you will discover a very comfortable harness that allows you to slopeland, topland, and generally mess around and have fun (even while dangling in the legstraps).
It’s fantastic for running around on the slope, because there is no seatboard slapping against your thighs (or pod footplate hitting your calves). The BREEZE stays close to your body, and the comfort is noticeable.
Skywalk BREEZE: In the air
My instant feeling as I lifted off and settled into the plush comfort of the BREEZE was delight. It is a wonderful blend of agility and steadiness, the best of the split-leg geometry comes through. It requires very little wiggling to ‘get in’ and the position in flight is optimal. Due to the lack of a seatboard, it softens the feedback from the wing, but you can still feel plenty. If you roll into a corner it supports you. If you want to tighten up on a core, you can tweak it around by straightening your inside leg. It does not provide heavy resistance or too much security. It’s balanced and playful.
On speedbar you will notice the speedbar pulleys are centred on your hips, and they pull the base of the harness tight against your lower back, so there is a kink in the back support. As soon as you release the bar, you notice the full comfort returning.
Skywalk BREEZE: Instrument panel
This is outstanding, and it is fairly rare to find in the lightweight recreational category. Instead of having to come up with your own solution, Skywalk provide you with a simple and incredibly functional panel and pouch. I found it tipped the instruments out of the way during forward launching and flipped back into a good position in the air. Unlike most integrated panels, this one is adjustable in flight – you can tilt the whole panel by pulling the securing strap, getting rid of screen glare!
It’s big enough for a water bottle, camera, snacks, keys and battery pack, with clever pockets and clips designed for those. On top I comfortably mounted a large phone and the Skytraxx 2.1. When you unzip the pouch to get your snacks, the weight of the instruments opens the pocket for you. The whole thing is removable, with a bit of fiddling.
Skywalk BREEZE: Safety
Despite being wary of inflatable toys, I give the back-protection top marks. It is inside its own protective pouch, and the base of the harness has durable fabrics, so there is some hope that it will last. You should be extra careful about where you dump this harness down on the launch site, and certainly don’t sit down on the rocks while you are waiting to fly. If you puncture the inner bladder, the air will come out, ssssssilly! But the advantage of this system over a conventional ‘airbag’ is the full impact protection it offers on launch, and the way it stays in position. It isn’t so easily pushed aside.
Get familiar with the position of the reserve handle during flight – it’s far forward and might surprise you. The reserve pocket is great, and I found the deployment easy, fast, and tolerant of a wide range of angles.
There’s a Recco reflector sewn into the harness (safety rescue system used in the Alps). It’s not necessary, but it is one of those little finishing touches that lifts this harness above the rest.
Skywalk BREEZE: Packing
You can fill the protector in one scoop using the supplied bellows bag. After landing, simply unplug the tube and the air comes out, allowing you to fold the BREEZE down really flat (with a large bump – your reserve). It’s designed to be paired with a light backpack like the HIKE 80 from Skywalk (for standard sized wings). I found that with careful packing I could fit the BREEZE and a small ARAK (plus flying gear) into a HIKE 55, for an ultra-compact hike-and-fly setup.
Skywalk BREEZE: Who is it for?
Inflatable Hike & Fly freedom has arrived! For pilots who don’t want to be enclosed in a pod harness, the BREEZE offers a fantastic solution for recreational flying, dune flying, mountain ascents and volbiv adventures. It is incredibly versatile, very comfortable, and superbly designed. If you want your flying to be simple, light, and really compact, the Skywalk BREEZE is a brilliant choice!
Skywalk BREEZE: Review video
Join Greg for an extended analysis of the Skywalk BREEZE harness.