Watch This Paraglider Become a Tent

If you paraglide off the beaten path and need a place to stay, your wing can become a shelter.
By Josh Sampiero

For cross-country paragliders, every pound counts. It's all about cutting weight: lighter wings, lighter harnesses, less in your backpack and no room for a tent. This can be a problem during isolated nights in the outback. But when you have 258 square feet of paragliding wing fabric to work with, why not turn it into 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. Turner has set up tents like this anywhere from 11,500 feet above sea level to the middle of the desert after a longer-than-planned flight. "I generally can have it set up in four to five minutes," he says.

All the tools required? His wing, trekking poles, a bit of string and some sticks collected from the surrounding area.

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

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 square meter [fabric] 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," says Turner. "No matter where you are in the wilderness, home is where you make it!"

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