The Harness Files: part 1
Bastienne Wentzel

"Welcome to the Harness Files – where science writer Bastienne Wentzel explores what we need to know about paragliding back protection and why. If you’re thinking of changing, going lightweight, or upgrading your harness, then this is eye-opening stuff. Essential reading."

Harnesses don't just support us and connect us to the wing. They constitute up to half of the weight of our equipment, determine the behaviour and handling of our wing, cause up to a quarter of the drag in flight, provide space for instruments, food, clothes and the reserve parachute and, arguably most important, provide safety at various levels.
Still, most pilots choose a harness based on a few crude criteria: open or pod, weight and pack size, cost, colour and comfort, sometimes aerodynamics and maybe the type of protection: foam or air, thick or thin. In the best case you have looked up the EN test protocol and remembered the number. But do you know what it means?

This feature was published in Cross Country magazine 250, June / July 2024.