We are registered dealers for Sunrise Manufacturing, the makers of the Wings series of containers. This guide relates directly to the Wings Vision. If you are looking for a Wings student, the older style Wings (Classic) or Wings Tandem, please get in touch directly.
Which options do you want / need?
This is the hardest part as it usually conflicts with the budget you have. We suggest that you break all the options you would like into three categories; Essential, Should Have and Luxury. To do so, you'll need to know what some of the options are and what they do - so here's a handy post to help you out!
Before You Start
Know your canopies!
You'll need to know what make and size the main and reserve canopies you want are, and if the main canopy will be using Microline or Dacron. The manufacturers specify this as there can be a significant pack volume between the same size models of canopy. If you are unsure what canopy you should have, then seek the advice of someone that has watched you jump and fly your canopy that can advise you on what is suitable. If in doubt, speak to your local CI.
Get someone that's familiar with the measuring process to measure you - Do not attempt to measure yourself as you are likely to end up with incorrect measurements. Better yet, if you're in the North East, drop us a line and tell us when you are next at a DZ near us, and we'll try to head over to measure you up ourselves.
The Options Explained
This isn't a wings harness, and is for reference only.
Note that the standard harness doesn't have the articulated rings, which cause the connecting section between the back of the container and the laterals for the main harness and leg straps to twist out of shape.
Adding the articulated option is the most popular first option and increases both the comfort and flexibility of the user.
The articulated harness has metal rings on the hip sections which allow the attachment points for the leg straps to move without distorting the side laterals. It adds a moderate level of comfort to the rig, and also adds value to a subsequent sale at a later time.
If there is only ONE optional extra you pick - then this needs to be it!
Articulated Freefly Harness.
The articulated freefly harness is an upgraded version of the articulated harness featuring the rings at the chest.
Having the rings fitted here will enhance the harness fitting, which means the harness is closer to you and more comfortable. It also reduces the movement of the container on your back.
Reserve Boost or RSL?
The reserve boost option is a system where by the main canopy can act as an extraction device for the reserve canopy. It is a similar system to the 'skyhook', and we encourage the jumpers that are looking for their first rig to seriously consider selecting this option.
The system can deploy a reserve canopy faster than most users can operate their reserve drills, and will pull the reserve out faster than the traditional spring loaded pilot chute.
The video shows the system in action during an intentional "Bag Lock" malfunction.
The alternative is the RSL, which if you trained in the UK you would have seen attached to the riser on your student gear. The RSL is attached to the riser and during a cut away will pull the reserve pin.
Midflap stripes are the different colours used in the section just above the main pin cover.
This is an optional extra that only affects the visual appearance of the container rather than adding major resale value to it.
There are 5 midflaps that can each be individually coloured, starting from the left they are listed as Option 5: a,b,c,d,e respectively.
Midflaps and Pinstripe
The Midflap and Pinstripe option takes the midflaps option and adds a thin line of material to outside edges which can add a nice contrast to the design. Again like the pinstripes option, this is a purely aesthetic option.
Shown here are the midflaps which are all in yellow, the reserve top in red and the main pin cover in green. The sides are in orange.
Pinstripes are all individually customisable and Midflaps pinstripe are named from left to right 5: a,b,c,d respectively. The side pinstripe is a single option which will be duplicated on the opposite side.
Quilted Back Pad
The quilted back pad adds a great deal of comfort to the wearer by adding a soft spongy layer between the user and the compacted fabric of the main and reserve canopies.
Having the quilted back pad adds a small amount to the re-sale value of the rig as it adds a degree of comfort to the wearer.
We would however urge you to consider the spacer foam on the back-pad and leg pads, as the leg pads are often the most uncomfortable part of any harness. Adding extra comfort layers makes this a much more sought after option when selling kit on.
Spacer Foam Back Pad & Leg Pads.
Spacer foam back pad and Leg pads adds a much greater level of comfort to the wearer and is one of the options that holds its resale value and makes selling the kit substantially easier.
Spacer foam also has the unique advantage of allowing a little breathing space between the back of the wearer and the container itself - great for summer jumping in shorts and T-Shirt!
We would suggest that you take the option of the spacer foam on the back pad and leg pads over just the quilted backpad if your budget allows.
WINGS CONTAINER WITH NO CUT-IN LATERALS
What are Cut-In Laterals, and do you actually need them?
The first images show the Wings container without the Cut-In Laterals.
These are a recent development to the sport (now becoming much more mainstream) but what do they do and do you actually need them?
The benefits often outweigh their drawbacks, but there are scenarios where they are generally not wanted. Your selection depends on what you plan on doing with the harness later down the line.
Cut-In Laterals effectively reduce the amount of movement the container can make on your back to near zero, and this applies event to those with the large pack volume main canopies. If you're struggling with this one - consider what it might be like putting on an older training harness - would you be able to shift the container left and right across your back?
By holding the container tightly against your body, you'll feel much more secure, and when transitioning between head up and head down, the container should barely move. The FS discipline have noted that the use of Cut-In Laterals on a container adds to the comfort of the equipment as a whole, but also allows a greater range of movement. It's not going to instantly turn you into a skygod, but will help you in the upper reaches of your performance.
So - Comfort, Tight Fitting and Performance during actual skydiving are general characteristics of this mod, but there is a down side. If you intend on doing a lot of canopy work or high performance landings, you'll find it harder to initiate a harness turn using Cut In Laterals. This is because the leverage point is closer to your central mass - which in turn makes any turn in the harness require proportionally more effort than containers without it.
Your decision to purchase or not to purchase the Cut-In Laterals option should be based entirely on what you want to spend most of your time doing. If you want to use a smaller canopy and get the faster landings, then forego the laterals, but if you want the extra comfort during the skydive, consider getting them.
Lastly - The effect of Cut-In Laterals is most notable on equipment with larger main canopies on small bodies. A petite person with a large 190 type (example) main would see significantly more movement of the container on their back without Cut-In Laterals than the same harness on someone who is much more bulky.
If you need help with this or any of the options, send us an email - we'll do our best to help!
Cadmium is the standard option for all the hardware on the harness - that is the articulated rings (if present), the 3 ring release and the leg strap fasteners. Cadmium is a dull coloured metal that is used to coat the metal and provide a protective later guarding against corrosion. You'll often see this hardware on the much older containers before Stainless Steel was adopted.
Stainless Steel Hip Rings (Left) and Stainless Steel Leg Strap Adjuster (right) *Note Leg Fastener in Stainless Steel is the Deluxe*
Stainless Steel (Standard) is by contrast, bright and shiny and usually smoother in finish. The 'Standard' option is for Stainless Steel hardware on all metalwork EXCEPT the leg strap fastners. Stainless Steel (Deluxe) is as above, however it includes the leg strap fasteners.
Main Pilot Chute - Kill Line \ Collapsible or Regular?
IMAGE PLACE HOLDER
The default option is to have a non-collapsible pilot chute and bridle fitted, however it's recommended to upgrade to the collapsible version. The regular version will work perfectly well as an extraction device, however it will cause parasitic drag on the main canopy and pull, possibly deforming the canopy. A collapsible pilot chute will collapse after the main canopy has been pulled from the D-Bag and cause significantly less drag.
If you opt to take this option, it will automatically come with the Hackey Handle and not the PVC pipe (See 'Main Deployment Handle')
Main Deployment Handle - PVC, PUD or Hackey.
The default option is a PVC pipe (left) attached directly to the pilot chute, these PVC handles are commonly seen on UK AFF students and Progression students on their dummy handle drills. The PVC handle creates very little drag and generally doesn't work its way out during freefall.
The upgrade options are either a "Hackey Handle" (middle) or a "Freefly Handle" (right). The Hackey is a rounded leather type ball, generally made of two pieces of leather (you can select the different colours for this if you want to) that are stitched together and attached to the pilot chute. The FreeFly handle is more of a pad shape that sits quite flat against the bottom of the container in the BOC pocket.
It's normally personal preference as to which option you want to use. Both upgrades are commonly accepted as mainstream deployment methods, although the PVC handle is less often seen as it's not quite as aesthetically pleasing.
Hook Knife on Front Flap.
This is a simple modification that fits a pop stud on the outer material on one of the legs. It's quite handy to have a set location for putting a hook knife as you'll not need to ensure it is present on the chest strap prior to each jump. This use of this option is down to personal preference - but if you do get it - you do get the hook knife too!
Reserve Handle Type - D-Ring or Soft Pad.
A stainless D-Ring is the default build option. However, if you prefer a Soft Pad Reserve Handle (similar to the Cut-away Handle) can be made in the colour that you want. It's personal preference on what you choose. If you have recently qualified and were used to the D-Ring, it's worth asking an instructor to go through some drills with you, and then locate the handles when you are under canopy to get used to them.
Dynamic corners are used mostly by people who want to get into wingsuit flying. Some of the more modern wingsuit courses will insist that you use a container with dynamic corners.
But what are they? - Put simply, they are a modification done to the base of the container that allow the D-Bag to more easily move free from the container during deployment. A very tight fitting D-Bag has the potential to rotate as it's pulled giving the unfortunate wingsuit pilot a number of twists to deal with. Worse yet, the D-Bag could become stuck if the pilot chute can't create enough drag. (Possible if the pilot chute is directly in the burble of the wing suit flyer)
If you're going to go wingsuit flying, then you'll probably want to use this mod.
When the container and harness are assembled you'll see that the binding tape is stitched into place using the same colour thread as the tape. Contrast stitching can add a nice and refreshing look to a container design by using a contrasting colour to make the stitching stand out instead of blending in.
Contrast stitching is a purely aesthetic option and is down to personal choice.
Magnetic Riser Covers (DISCONTINUED).
The magnetic riser covers were used to help solve a problem where the risers tab that was tucked under the main risers would bend and deform over time. Once it had bent out of shape it was harder for the flaps to stay closed.
Magnetic risers simply used a series of small magnets to hold the riser covers on the top of the container until deployment when they would simply release. They have since been discontinued for a number of reasons and replaced with the Wings upgraded Tuck Tab which is specially formed and doesn't deform over time.
Risers & Chest Strap.
For the risers you have two choices on the webbing (material that the riser is made of) for your container. Type 17 and Type 8. Type 8 is the wider material, commonly seen on the student equipment and is about 1" wide. Type 17 is much narrower and around 1/2" wide.
'Mini Rings' can be fitted to either size of webbing, however 'Large Rings' can only be fitted to the Type 8 (Wide) Webbing.
The majority of experienced skydivers elect to go with the narrow option (Type 17) with the mini rings as it looks better.
Magnetic Slider Keeper.
If you plan on using higher performance canopies, then you'll want to stow the slider behind your head to improve the flight performance. As you progress, you may wish to move up to an RDS (not covered in this post). The Magnetic Slider Keeper attaches to the container and holds the slider down behind the neck of the canopy pilot. By doing this it allows the canopy to open more fully and achieve better flight characteristics. A Magnetic Slider Keeper can be added at any point after as it is interchangeable.
The default option for the D-Bag is the Wings "Anti-Line Twist D-Bag" which has more stows in the central section of the bag than most other D-Bags. This in turn reduces any effect of uneven stowing on a single bungee.
You can upgrade to a Semi Stowless D-Bag which uses a few eyelet closing points like regular D-Bags do, but stores the remaining lines in a series of S-Folds in a pouch built onto the side of the D-Bag.
Swoop Riser Option.
If you plan on using the container for your swooping (high performance landings) consider the Swoop Risers option.
Swoop risers usually have the central part of the riser sewn over onto itself which reduces the wind resistance. The front dive loops are further up and are also larger, allowing for greater range when used. Finally, there is sometimes an addition guide ring on the rear riser, which helps when transferring between risers and toggles.
Freefly Belly Band.
The Belly Band is often used by swoopers who wish to loosen the chest strap, or remove it completely. It allows them to remain restrained in the harness, but to lean forward and alter their profile and increase the efficiency of the swoop.
Rush Order (Not always available).
This is as it sounds. If you really want your brand new container fast - you can jump the queue and go straight into immediate production. Rush orders are not always available as it depends on the number of others also wanting rush orders and current workloads.