Gear Review – SkyLIGHT Tourist 2 Harness & Anakis Update
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Gear Review – SkyLIGHT Tourist 2 Harness & Anakis Update

At my home paragliding site I’m well known for exactly two things; My cat-ear helmet, and my penchant for doing long hike and fly’s in unbearable summer conditions while hoisting more than half my body weight up the hill. ūüėČ

Despite how ridiculous this sounds, hike and fly has always been my favorite paragliding activity.  Summiting a mountain and then flying from the peak relying only on myself and what I can carry; it just brings me such an incredible sense of freedom, as if I can go anywhere and do anything, as if the entire world is somehow more within reach.

Due to the paragliding kit I’ve been carrying, however, my reach has¬†certainly been quite slow and laborious over the years. Although I loved my Ozone Mojo 4 glider and my Advance Access 2 harness, put together, they were a heavy combination and not really suited to hike and fly. ¬†I was also quite light on my Mojo, so¬†in order to fly comfortably¬†on turbulent or windy days,¬†I often needed to heft extra¬†ballast up the hill as well. ¬†Depending on the conditions of the day, this put me anywhere between a 40-60lb kit, which is a pretty staggering weight for somebody my size.

But I made do, limping and slogging my way up to¬†launch on most weekends. ¬†I debated¬†for a long time about getting a new kit, but finances were tight and I struggled to find a¬†light weight glider/harness combo that I felt comfortable with and really wanted to invest in. Light weight, but with fully sheathed lines. Better performance, but with plenty of passive safety. A weight range that would allow¬†me to use a light harness and carry no ballast. A light, reversible harness that still had¬†solid construction. (I’ve seen so many busted zippers on reversible harnesses!)¬†¬†It was a tricky combination for sure!

A few weeks ago, however, I finally made that long debated switch to a new hike/fly kit, and I’m extremely happy to report that so far, I’m just having the BEST time with it!

I’ve been flying the Sky Anakis 3 glider and the Skylight Tourist 2 reversible hike/fly harness. ¬†Though the weight range on the XS Anakis is the same as the XS Mojo, the¬†much improved speed and performance of the Anakis¬†allows me to feel comfortable¬†in wind and turbulence even¬†with a light harness and no extra ballast.

  • Anakis 3 (XS)¬†= 3.85 kg
  • Sky Lite Reserve (M) = 1 kg
  • Skylight Tourist 2 Harness (M)¬†= 1.39 kg

 

This puts the all up weight for my new gear at¬†6.24 kg = 13.7 pounds. ¬†Add in water, snacks, helmet, extra clothing layers, radio, variometer, etc. and I’m still coming in at less than¬†20lbs. ¬†And it is AMAZING! ¬†20lbs¬†feels almost like carrying nothing at all!

Before...
Before...
After!
After!

The world definitely seems far more within¬†reach now and the past few weeks I’ve been quite literally scampering up mountains around SoCal, shaving hours off my hiking times and getting some fantastic flights in! ¬†I’ve explored two new hike and fly sites, as well as enjoyed some beautiful flights at my home site. I’ve been having a blast, so I thought I would do a little follow up review here on the Anakis, as well as give my initial thoughts on the Tourist 2 Harness.

As for the Anakis 3, I am still loving this wing. ¬†I’ve finally been getting into some good mountain flights, and I continue to find that the Anakis shines! ¬†This is a quick little wing, and I’ve had far less trouble handling windy conditions than in the past. ¬†I’ve launched into winds up to 15mph and had no issues penetrating, even without bar. On every flight I’ve also been impressed by the ease of turning and the great glide. ¬†Even on relaxed days when I’m just puttering around, I’ve had consistently longer flights than before, and often find myself higher than other pilots. ¬†In fact, my only complaint at this moment, is that the glide is always better than I expect and¬†I’ve been having a bit of trouble judging my landings. ¬†Otherwise, my launches, both forward and reverse, have been easy and all my flights have been great. I just need to dial in on that glide a bit more!

I have also quickly fallen in love with the Tourist 2 Harness.  More than just being light weight, I also find the design to be smart and comfortable, both in flight and rucksack mode.

Rucksack: ¬†In rucksack¬†mode, the Tourist 2 is very comfortable. ¬†There are three adjustment areas (shoulder, waist, chest) which keep the harness in close to the body, making for easy carrying. ¬†I’m using the smallest size available (M) and find that it fits almost perfectly. While the shoulder straps and chest strap fit great, I find that¬†I could perhaps use another inch or two of adjustability in the waist. ¬†But as a very tiny person,¬†I think I am definitely the exception in this case.

Other smart features that I like are the zip-up extendable panel, which allows you to increase or decrease the size of the rucksack depending on what you’re carrying that day. ¬†Adjustable straps on the side of the pack also allow you to cinch everything down tightly¬†and make the kit very compact, which is, again, great for keeping the weight close to the body, and also very useful¬†for travel.

The overall construction, despite being light weight, is¬†very durable¬†and solid. ¬†Even at the end of the day when I’ve been lazy and just stuffed everything I can into the harness,¬†I’ve had zero problems with the zipper, which is quite heavy duty! ¬†I think¬†the only thing I would change, is perhaps the addition of an exterior pocket for storing such things as keys and phone.

In this pic, the extendable panel is open, giving me room inside for 2 Liters of water, extra clothing layers, some snacks, and a bag with wallet, keys, phone, etc.

Harness:¬†While flying, I find that the Tourist 2 fits well and is¬†extremely comfortable, actually much more comfortable than I¬†imagined when I first ordered this harness.¬† I was initially¬†worried about flying in something so small and maybe feeling exposed and insecure, but the deep, split leg design is super comfy, like sitting in a hammock,¬†and also lends itself to a nice “enclosed” feeling. I also like this hammock style as it gives me a lot of feedback from the glider and helps with weight shifting. ¬†In all of my previous seat board style harnesses, the board¬†has been too¬†wide for me (Even in size S), and I¬†often found myself sliding¬†side to side, making it difficult to weight shift effectively. So The Tourist 2 is great for me in this regard!

As a travel and hike/fly harness, the Tourist 2 does have more minimalist construction than a regular harness, and it lacks either an airbag or foam back protection. ¬†This makes the harness most suited to pilots who are confident in their launches and landings, and who don’t have the habit of sitting¬†down too early on launch! ¬†Not only could this result in some bumps and bruises, but it could also result in the accidental deployment of the reserve, which is located under the seat.

Adjustments¬†while flying include the waist strap and shoulder straps, as well as a small adjustment between the split legs that lets you determine how close together these are set. ¬†The legs themselves are not adjustable and there is no secondary chest strap as you might find on a typical harness. ¬†Despite this,¬†I’ve always felt very comfortable and secure in this harness due to the deep seat.

While flying, there is¬†ample storage in the rucksack portion and I can easily fit everything that I carry up with me. ¬†Again, this is when it might be nice to have an integrated side pocket¬†so that smaller things aren’t jangling around in the larger pack, but I’ve made use of a little flight bag, which is working well.

In conclusion, I am enjoying both the Anakis and the Tourist 2 Harness immensely! ¬†The wing is great, the harness is comfortable and practical, and the combination of the two¬†has definitely made it easier to explore new sites. ¬†I’ve got several trips coming up in the next few weeks and I am really excited to get out there and explore even more!

Updates to come!  In the meantime, Happy Flying Everybody!

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