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  • Andy B

VolBiv Gear List

So after some posts on equality and some thoughts on the war in Ukraine we have to concentrate on our project again. Only 50 days from now. Crazy! I remember beginning with paragliding; fascinated by VolBiv I was in desperate search for some gear lists. And there were none. Nowadays, you'll find some YouTube videos and 1 or 2 lists on the internet. But mostly it's some super enthusiasts who do nothing but VolBiv or are rich enough to get 2-3 different sets for flying. I don't. So my list is of course a compromise between XC Flying, Competition Flying and some VolBiv. It sure isn't the lightest gear. But it'll do. I'm not sponsored, and I'm not a professional paraglider. This is just my choice. I tried to do an independent search on all the items. But of course you're always biased by your friends, your icons and advertisement. But none item on the list is there because I got paid or talked into putting it there. :-) Maybe you have some inputs? Some things are not decided yet and might change. But that's what I have so far: Paragliding Wing: Skywalk Arak - My first EN-B wing. I stepped up from the school wing in 2019 and still love the wing so much. The weight is ok with 5kg - not at all a lightweight - but the passive safety's so good. Still you have the XC potential. Harness: Apco Kitto - a superb lightweight harness with not too much but enough space to pack all the things. Weight 2.2kg without the foam protector. You can fly circles only by weight shift. This is special for a hammock harness. Rescue: Skyman UltraCross 150 - 1.6kg. Not the nonplus ultra. But still good enough. It does have quite some horizontal speed. But the sink rate is reasonable, and it's a square. If I had the opportunity to switch, I'd choose the X-Two by X-Dream-Fly. But it comes only in a 130kg size. That's a bit too small for me. Don't forget to count an extra 20-30% on your take-off weight if you fly the alps. Rucksack: Flugsau 90lt, ca. 800gr, A custom-made bag, a bit expensive but c'mon... for all this weight it's worth the extra bucks! Stuff: Gloves: Basisrausch; Helmet: Petzl Meteor. Sunglasses: Decathlon adaptive glasses (photochrom). Hiking poles: Decathlon. Camping Tent: 3F UL Lanshan 1. Probably the tent most used for VolBiv. It packs into a tiny bag and weights just 800g. It's excellent quality for the price. I used it in Norway in storms and was surprised how good it is. Maybe the normal version is better for the alps then the pro version. But I have, what I have... Mattress: Therm a rest NeoAir Xlite. Super light and still very warm. I used it in a Winter VolBiv to see the isolation. And was surprised. And it's still very comfortable. The Uberlight version is too light and too fragile for a 2 week trip I think. But I have never tested it. Sleeping bag: In Norway, I got myself a Marmot Sawtooth 650. It is filled with down, and it's very warm. My friends got a Western Mountaineering Apache. A very good choice. Probably the best nowadays on the market. Although it is not cheap, I think it's worth the value. Since I have one, I'll use mine. It's heavier. But still ok with 1kg for a super warm sleeping bag.

Electronics Mobile: Samsung Galaxy A52: Reasonably bright display, good battery life. A bit heavy tough. Maybe there's something lighter... But it's ok. Vario: Skytraxx 2.1... I know most of you will use the XC Tracer. And it must be fantastic. BUT I really like separating things on the deck. One device for Altitude, Glide Ratio, Vario and one device for navigation. My brain is not ready to swipe between the displays on one device. Radio: We use PMR radios in Switzerland. We'll use them on our trip. I have a Midland G9 pro. The good thing is you can operate it with regular batteries. But it is heavy and big. Powerbank: I'll bring two powerbanks, 1x20'000mA and 1x10'000mA. And Luis will always charge the one while he'll drive the car. With this solution, I hope to solve the energy problem. In my last VolBiv the 20'000mA lasted for 4 days with charging Mobile and GoPro. Camera: The GoPro Max is the 360° camera from GoPro. It's a bit heavy, but it makes good pictures and the batteries hold for some time. The difficult part is the fixation on the harness. I use a selfie stick. During takeoff, I have it in the pocket. Later I can take it out, hang it in the shoulder strap or let it hang below me on a wire. Giving a funny frog perspective. But sure, it's not as fancy as some other solutions out there. But I don't want to compromise on safety for some "stupid" pictures. Stuff: Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Sense, Head Lamp: Mammut, Compass: old-fashioned analog compass. Apps: For navigation I use the XC-Track app. It's so good. For wind in flight I use Amazing. So easy and so fast. For hiking: Gaia App. I heard about it in Gavin McGlurgs Podcast. It costs 20.- a year and it's worth it. For Live Tracking: Zenit. A Swiss app for Competitions. Reliable and a friend of mine is the developer. Clothing This really depends on the season and the region. I will decide what I'll take with me 2 days before we leave, depending on the weather and the region. But what I can say: Merino is the way to go! I was very skeptical if the price is worth it. And I have to say it's worth any penny. After 1 Week it's still very comfortable, and it doesn't smell. So if you have the extra penny, go for it. If you don't: Any kind of clothing does it. Right. And if you stink, you'll keep away the mosquitos. :-) Shoes: OMG. So many discussions on the right shoes. This year I got myself the LaSportiva Stream. Very light, comfortable and still robust with a good sole. Let's see how it goes. Beauty Case: Biodegradable Soap for all purposes (skin, dishes, clothes). Deodorant, Hanker Chiefs, Lenses, Sunblocker, Toothpaste/brush, urinary condoms and 1 tube, ultralight towel, Swiss army knife, salt/pepper, 2x lighter Some doggy bags. You can use them for everything. To store cheese. As trash. For small items. Etc.

Emergency Safety Sheet: All of us made a safety sheet on which you'll find relatives to call in the case of an emergency. Medical informations (Allergies, regular medication), Accident and Health Insurance numbers, Air Rescue Membership, COVID Vaccination, Address and Phone Number of the workplace. Emergency Set: Painkillers, Nasopharyngeal Tube, Tourniquet, SamSplint, Bandages, EmergencyFoil, Blister band-aids. Tape (on the hiking pole), Needle and thread, RipStop Tape, Wallet: ID. Bank Cards. IPPI Card. Accident/Health insurance card. Air Rescue Card. Reliability Insurance Card, if you have: train cards etc. Water Filter: Katadyn BeeFree. It's very light and totally sufficient for the alps. I used it already many times. Never got sick. :-) Camel Bag: I use a 3lt CamelBag from Decathlon. It's a good choice, although it's already the 3rd bag since the other 2 broke. And then you have wet gear. Not so funny. Next time I'll get a quality product. Not decided yet: Poncho 3F UL Tarp: You can use it as a tarp as well.. Really handy, but a bit heavy. Maybe I'll get a new one. Used it instead of a tent in my first VolBiv 2019. Sleeping Bag Silk inlay... hmm I don't know if it's worth the extra 150g? Shokz Aeropex: Bone conduction Headphones. We just got them and will test them in the days to come. Very curious. Markus Anders used them in his 2021 X-Alps race. Solar charger: For this trip, I hopefully won't need it. But if I needed one, I'd definitively get the sistech solarflex 10W. It is expensive. But it's so incredibly light. If ever I should go off the grid, that would be my choice. GPS Tracker/Satelite communication: Ok... difficult topic. But we decided against a Satelite communication. For some reasons: We are 4 people. Using Live Tracking with FANET and GSM. The possibility that both fail in the Alps are very low. And if so, we still are 4 people. Making it possible for one to get help. In any other region in this world, I think it's mandatory. Even in the alps if you're alone or only 2 people, I think it's still very important. We know we take some risk without the device, but all of us believe it's a calculated risk. Cooking gear: In the alps you'll find every few km a hut with delicious food. So if we have good weather for the alps, we won't take any cooking gear. But of course some cold soluble coffee. :-) So what do you think about the list. Anything forgotten? Any other thoughts?

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