How to... turn a paraglider into a tent

Dave Turner often flies where there’s no houses – or hotels. Here’s how he bunks up for the night.
By Josh Sampiero

Cross-country paragliding is all about living light. Lightweight wings, lightweight harnesses, and of course – less in your backpack. That means no tent. So how does one deal with the occasional overnight in the outback? Simple. 24sqm of paragliding wing provides a lot of fabric. Why not just turn your wing into a tent?

Watch this wing become a tent.

"It's super easy," says Dave Turner, Red Bull X-Alps athlete and frequent flyer of the Palisades region of the rough-and-tumble Sierra Nevadas, where he's set up a tent like this anywhere from 3,500m above sea level to way out in the desert after a longer-than-planned flight. "I generally can have it set up in 4–5 minutes."

And all the tools required? His wing, trekking poles, a bit of string, and some sticks collected from the surrounding area. Watch the video above to see exactly how it works.

Red Bull X-Alps competitor Dave Turner rigging a paraglider into a tent
Dave Turner, doing magic. © Lukas Pilz

So what are the benefits of this makeshift shelter versus, say, sleeping outside? Shelter, and believe it or not, warmth. "It's easily warm enough to spend a night in freezing temperatures," says Turner. "The fabric isn't made to ventilate, so in fact, you can occasionally wake up a little too warm!"

And does the ground damage the delicate-looking fabric? Not at all. "It's more durable than people give it credit for," Turner says. "It's made out of rip-stop nylon, and even the lightweight, 27 grams per sqm is quite strong."

Paraglider and RedBull X-Alps competitor Dave Turner in his tent rigged from a wing
Dave Turner gets cozy for the evening in his wing. © Lukas Pilz

So will he be using this set-up during this year's Red Bull X-Alps? "I hope not, but it's great to know I have it with me all the time and that I can get it up in five minutes. No matter where you are in the wilderness, home is where you make it!"

Get constant updates from the Red Bull X-Alps here or follow the racers on the live tracking page at Redbullxalps.com.
 

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