Apr 10, 2001, 6:17 AM
Post #1 of 7
Articulated / ringed harnesses
More conservative jumpers seem to shun ringed or articulated harnesses, because of an alleged greater chance of harness failure. As I understand it, a 'traditional' harness is made from a single length of webbing, with no load-bearing joins in it.
So - the simple question is - is there any substance in this view? Have ring harnesses ever failed? I've never heard of it.
The only container that I know of that uses "ONE" single length of webbing throughout the harness is a RACER. The Racer is the ONLY rig that I know of that is truly "Failsafe", I admit to not knowing the specs on the newer containers..
It is probably more likely that your risers would fail where the rings are attached.
Wouldn't these be two different problems? If a riser fails, you cutaway and deploy your reserve. But if a harness ring fails, you might come out of your harness , making the reserve kinda useless.
If you want to be really nitpicky, it does increase the likelihood of failure simply because it increases the complexity of the system. More pieces = more pieces that can be misassembled, or more pieces that can come from a bad batch.
That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a ringed harness. All that is just theoretical, and I have enough faith in container manufacturers to trust that they will QC everything even before it gets onto the assembly line.
I've never heard of a ringed harness failing, and incidents of straight harness failure are also extremely rare. You have a better chance of falling out chest first - because you forgot to fasten your chest strap- or falling out butt first - because you borrowed a harness that was too big - than you do of tearing a harness! My 17 years of rigging experience includes 5 years in parachute factories including 3 years in the Customer Service Dept. at Rigging Innovations. If you remember, R.I. introduced ringed harnesses to the skydiving world in 1991 and during the mid-1990s we were starting to see wear patterns on ringed harnesses. After a few thousand jumps in the desert, straps were starting to fray where they rubbed together at hip rings. We also replaced a few harnesses because of elongated hip rings. These elongated harness rings would probably have lasted thousands more jumps, but we were perfectionists. The elongated stainless steel harness rings were part of the learning curve involving heavily loaded 0P canopies, tiny spectra suspension lines, loose Tube Stows and sloppy packing. R.I. switched to harder, cadmium-plated hip rings, and we all learned a lesson about packing neatly. In conclusion, all harnesses are built way stronger than needed. QC at factories is tight. And your only chance of tearing a harness at opening time is if you choose to jump a harness that is already damaged.
Actually, I believe that more "conservative" jumpers shun ringed harnesses due to the excessive cost. I am not conservative by any means, but my new Odyssey is the first fully articulated rig I have owned in my 20 years in the sport. Nice, but very pricey.