Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Paragliding Kit Update

It's been over 2 years since I posted by kit, and I've made a few changes since then.

My current setup includes:

  • Paraglider:  Ozone Swift 4, size Medium-Small - 4.2kg
  • Harness:  Ozone Ozium, size Medium - 2.3kg
  • Reserve: Nervures Plum, size Medium - 1.15kg
  • Helmet:  Black Diamond Vapor climbing helmet - size Large, 200g
  • Rucksack:  Advance Lightpack - 600g
  • Instruments:  Flymaster Live SD - 220g
All total 8.67kg, or 19.11 lbs.  The glider & helment change resulted in almost 400g of savings but I gave up an additional 300 grams on the harness change.

The Ozone Swift 4 is the next version of my previous glider, the Swift 2.  Like it's predecessor, it is the light version of Ozone's flagship, top-end EN B glider, the Rush 4.  It has a sharknose profile and it is very stable and collapse resistance at speed.    I love this glider.

Every time I am tempted to move back to flying a higher rated wing, I think back those times when I was in some absolutely shitty air and the Swift keeps its shit together. It is slightly smaller glider than the Swift 2, which means a higher wind loading when I gear up with bivy equipment, but that higher wing loading helps with speed and stability in rough air.  Really happy with his glider.
Last year I moved from the Advance Lightness harness to the Ozone Ozium light weight pod.  I loved the Lightness but it wasn't the most stable harness and didn't have very much room in the way of storage.

Like the Lightness, the Ozium is a hammock style harness (no seatboard) and has an integrated pod.  The pod material is thinner than the Lightness but I can't really discern and difference in warmth in-flight.

The Ozium weighs about 300g more but includes an integrated reserve container, certified back protection and a massive amount of storage for bivy gear.  The harness feels more stable and it weight shifts much better.  The pod isn't the easiest to get into and the instrument panel required some modification but overall this was a good upgrade.

The Nervure Plum reserve is the same reserve as the Sup-Air extralight.  Nevures OEM's them from SupAir.  I went with the Nevures because my price on them is significantly cheaper than the equvielnt Supair.

I still fly with 2 varios, but I upgraded by main vario/navigation instrument to the Flymaster Live SD.  This instrument has the normal vario features, integrated GPS for navigation and airspace alerts, as well as cellular connectiveity for live flight tracking.  You can also customize the screens with the Flymaster Designer software.

I also upgraded my audio only vario to the latest from Flyte Park, the Nanao audio vario that is very sensitive.

As I wrote before, purpose built paragliding helmets are heavy expensive.  I've owned several and while they are certified, the modern ski/snow helmet offers much better protection and lighter weight.  Still, even the lightest ski helmet weights over a pound.

Last year I switched to a climbing helmet that weights under 200g (7 oz).  The Black Diamond Vapor does sacrifice a bit of protection as well temperature control due to the large vents but it is comfortable, both on my head and in my pack as I am climbing up the hill.

My rucksack is still the Advance Lightpack that came with the Lightness.  It too got the RITE dye treatment.  Its specified at 75 liters but I don't really think its that big.  I do like that it has lycra side panels that stretch.  I have no problems stuffing all my regular gear into it but using it for a longer vol biv trip will be challenging.