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Hiking Tips for Cross-Country Paragliding
Cross-country paragliding is a thrilling experience that can take you to new heights, both literally and figuratively. However, in order to get the most out of your flight, good planning and preparation are key. Hiking is an important part of this process as it allows you to pick your launch site and survey the terrain before you take off. In this article, we will provide some essential tips for hikers who are looking to make their paragliding flight amazing.
Hiking poles are important! You can purchase compact poles that bend into ‘zig-zags’ and fit nicely into your backpack.
Understand your physical limits before your hiking adventure. It’s not good to arrive at your launch site exhausted – you need energy and a clear mind to make sure that your flight post-hike is a fun (and safe!) one! If you aren’t as experienced in hiking and flying adventures, make sure you plan ones that are shorter in hiking length first – get familiar and understand your limits, and then build up to longer ventures over time and with more trip experience!
First hike & flight ever? It’s best to fly from a familiar setting! Use a launch site that you have used before, that way you already know the launch conditions. Hike to somewhere you have been before for your first launch. Stay away from isolated slopes in deep mountain areas and cliff faces.
If you’re taking a vario, we recommend a smaller sound-only vario to save pack space. What do we recommend? The Skybean 2 Audio Variometer is a great compact variometer to bring with you on hikes and longer paragliding cross-country journeys!
Invest in good equipment – especially shoes! You want to make sure that you show up to your launch in peak condition. Make sure you are wearing good footwear with strong ankle support. Waterproof shoes are best for keeping the toes warm and dry! You need to be able to feel your feet to make sure you get to your launch location without falling or injury.
Invest in a backpack with the right amount of space! We recommend this Supair Trek and Fly Backpack as it has a ton of space as well as organizational abilities to best utilize the entire pack!
Bring a communication device – a phone with a map is ideal. If you are entering an area without cell service, walkie-talkies, and a physical or downloaded map is important for navigation.
Bring food with you on your journey – food is fuel! Dried nuts, fruit, and energy bars are great items that pack nicely and give you awesome energy. Eat small snacks consistently to keep your mood and energy up and your head clear for your upcoming flight!
Prepare yourself for changes in weather – It’s important to remember that the weather can change drastically from the time you start your hike, to the time you reach your paragliding destination. You may start your trail with sunny, warm weather – only to be met with a crazy hail storm at the top of your launch site! Be prepared for changes in precipitation as well as fluctuations, huge drops and even increases, in temperature. We recommend always packing a light rain jacket, some hand warmers , and a balaclava could be very handy to get through the passing storm.
Leave the GoPro at home – take your selfies for social media at the beginning of your trip. It’s essential to be present and focus on the conditions and moments when you get to your launch site and start prepping for your flight.
Understand how to set up your equipment for take-off before your journey. Practice makes perfect – so we recommend setting up and taking down your gear a few times before heading off somewhere that may not have cell service to google equipment setups!
It’s important to remember that conditions may be good when you leave for your hike but they may change drastically by the time you arrive at your paragliding launch destination. It’s important to know and be familiar with setting up and using your equipment prior to your hiking & flying adventure – but it’s also important to be prepared to wait out bad weather or conditions. Always make your safety a priority – especially when in more remote and isolated locations!
Still need to better understand paragliding flying and weather conditions? Learn more about the sky, reading clouds, wind, and weather patterns with this amazing book: Understanding the Sky.
Looking for a deal on a harness? Check with our sale section for the latest deals and see what we have discounted and in stock!