Cross Country Gear Guide

Cross Country Gear Guide

Cross Country Magazine's annual Gear Guide is an in-depth look at the huge variety of paragliding and paramotoring equipment that is out there on the market. Whether you are a paraglider pilot on the hunt for the best wing, an adventure athlete looking to find out more about lightweight equipment, or are taking your first steps in paramotoring, then the Cross Country Gear Guide is for you. Reliable, fact-checked and up-to-date information from one of the leading publications in the sport.

United Kingdom
XC Media
1 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the cross country gear guide 2021

WELCOME to the first edition of the Cross Country Magazine Gear Guide. Our sports continue to diversify and evolve quickly, and our aim with this gear guide is to take a broad look at what’s available out there and try to make good sense of it all. Whether you are in the market for a high-end EN B paraglider, your first reflex paramotor wing or a lightweight single-skin wing for mountaineering or trail running then we have tried to cover it in here somewhere. Putting it together, what has amazed me is how niche and specialised so much of our equipment has now become. New materials, new sizes, new technology and new demands have all helped create new products. As harness designer Yoann Chavanne explains on page 28, “We used to draw a…

1 min

Bastienne Wentzel is the author of Paragliding: The Beginner’s Guide. A science writer and assistant paragliding instructor she regularly spends time explaining the basic concepts of our sport to new pilots. She took on the task of writing many of the main features in this guide. Alain Zoller has been testing paragliders for more than 30 years. He helped set up the EN certification system and has since tested more than 1,500 gliders to the EN standard. There is literally no one better to help explain how paragliders are tested, certified and classed than him. See p24 Tom Prideaux-Brune is known as “Mr Paramotor” by his friends as he regularly flies to work on his pride and joy, a sleek, well-maintained Parajet Maverick. Known to many pilots in the powered paragliding world…

4 min
how to sound like a pro in paragliding

It’s all about the airflow Paragliders fly as well as they do nowadays because designers work hard to optimise their shape, surface and structure. A wing generates the best lift and the least drag – and therefore flies furthest – with a completely smooth surface: no ballooning cells, no creases because of stretching, fewer seams and fewer edges where airflow is turbulent. Using a technique called computational fluid dynamics, virtual prototypes can be designed and tested without having to build and fly them. Internal structure The shape of the canopy is largely determined by various internal reinforcements. Well known are rods, made of metals like nitinol which springs back into shape after bending, or plastics like nylon or PVC. Rods keep the leading edge and upper canopy in shape. Sports or performance gliders…

8 min
how does the testing system work?

ALMOST every piece of equipment we use, from glider to harness, helmet and reserve, is tested, rated and certified. Having a certification system means you can rely on the quality of the equipment you are using. It also helps you choose which class of glider to fly. But how did your equipment get the classification it has? What is tested? It doesn’t matter where you buy your paraglider, before most mass-market wings are released commercially a pre-production model of the glider is sent to a testing centre in Europe, where it goes through a shock test, load test and flight test. The shock test and the load test are done with the help of a car. In the shock test the glider is attached to a tow truck by a long line of…

5 min
how to choose the right harness

THE HARNESS is your connection with the wing. Maybe more than many realise, it influences not only your comfort and safety in the air, but also your control over the glider and the way the glider feels in the air. When selecting a harness you have to define what you will use it for. Are you a weekend pilot who stays local, or an XC-hound chasing distance? Do you always get a lift to launch or do you hike? According to Yoann Chavanne, harness designer at Supair, it also makes a difference whether you are a new or experienced pilot. “A beginner harness needs to be easy in all respects. Easy to put on with lots of hints how to do up the buckles, easy to walk with, to take-off, to sit…

1 min
the missing link: harnesses

Designer Michael Nesler and Gudrun Öchsl wrote a short book about paraglider harnesses in 2017. Called The Missing Link it is only published in German, but it’s a goldmine of information about harnesses. Top tip? “When your harness is fully adjusted, close your eyes and hold up your hands in the flying position that feels best. Hold them there and open your eyes. Are your hands just behind and close to the riser? You’re good. Are they more than a few cm back? This creates extra suspension points. “Instead of two suspension points at the karabiners you now have four suspension points. Pulling the brakes in this position results in a rocking motion. It means you have adjusted your harness tilted too far back. Try it out on a harness swing…