Finding a suitable harness can be like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. This means that you need to start with the question – personally, what do I actually want? My new harness needs to be:
- Lightweight especially for hike & fly tours.
- Easy to carry as a rucksack.
- Already have full back protection when ready for take off.
- Comfortable in flight.
Translated from a German article by Gemeinsam-Fliegen (Read it here)
When testing different harnesses, they fulfilled some of the criteria, but I didn’t find one that matched all of them. The Roamer 2 did tick all the boxes.
When I tested it, I carried the rucksack up Monte Valinis, an ascent of approximately 700m and I barely noticed it on my back. This makes the walk itself fun and it isn’t just a means to an end – a good prerequisite for Hike&Fly tours. The rucksack has been well thought through with many details – from the easily reachable mobile phone pocket on the waist strap to the bungee cord for a jacket; the drink bottle holder to the helmet attachment mesh. The material, including the zips, seems robust.
With my complete equipment, my pack weighed in at 6.5 kg. The reversible harness weighs just 1.4 kg.
When I put on the harness initially it felt a bit flimsy, which wasn’t very reassuring. However, I do know that the additional back protector with nitinol rods, which ensure that the airbag is pre-inflated before launch, will protect me.
In my enthusiasm for testing the harness, I forgot my little vario and start my take off run – my goodness, it’s so easy! No having to wriggle into the harness, despite the winter clothes – just launch and fly.
So that was the first “Aha!” moment. From the second I launched, I knew the wing and harness were a match. The wing and harness allowed me to fly easily and playfully and I climbed even without the vario beeps. The harness responds to the wing immediately and instantly converts weight-shift. What fun having this much agility, it’s effortless. Ooops, the wind strengthens as I climb, but I can reach the two-step speed-bar without any problems. So that also fits.
Top landings are also easier than usual: just stand up and land – fantastic. I did have some qualms about manoeuvres as the spiral dive. But no, I (1.70 m, 60 kg) fit into the harness so perfectly, that everything acts through my body’s centre of gravity. It means I can use my legs, backside and arms without bending the back protector.
Roll and pitch are even more agile on the Roamer 2 than with other harnesses, but without ever feeling unstable.
Next time I will attach my parachute container, which also fits into the rucksack. This will make it one kilo heavier, but makes it a fully functioning harness. I am now really looking forward to my Hike&Fly tours in the coming season!