Base vs Skydiving reserve for cutaway harness

I have a new 2015 Avasport Acro Base harness and need to get a canopy for it. From talking to a few people and reading up, it seems that a large skydiving reserve may be suitable as an alternative to a BASE canopy. I would like to know what considerations there should be in making this choice, particularly what the disadvantages of using a skydiving reserve are. This is my current understanding of the pros and cons of a skydiving reserve:

Lighter & smaller pack volume
Cheaper and easier to find

May not be rated for as many openings (but probably still several dozen?)
Slightly slower inflation?

Specifically, I'm interested in this offer, but would like to know if it is an appropriate and wise choice:

For reference, I am 185lbs (84kg) naked and have been told to look for a canopy around 250sqf. I do not have skydiving or base experience, though I have friends from which I can learn to pack safely.

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Jai's picture

Hi Mike,
I also am wondering what your saying about always remove your death band?
It would be great if you could answer that question pacifically.
Right now I’m also searching for a good canopy, and am tending for the Apexbase - Lobo which comes delivered with a tailgate.
This video explains the tailgate and it’s function.

Info’s I have obtained: Reserve canopy’s aren’t made for slider off or down applications and most all come delivered with spectra lines. Ideally we need to use slider off for quicker openings with Dragon lines, which last longer, stay in trim and are elastic for softer openings.

KrisH's picture

I ended up buying a Tempo 250 sqf skydiving reserve, and I'm 185lb naked, about 230-240 all-up (including wing). Tested it for the first time and it opened beautifully, though the momentary free fall sure was exciting. Reserve ride was a bit faster and required more toggle to turn than I expected (not that I had any baseline to go off of). I had read warnings that the flare on the tempo was poor, and while it was not very strong, I found it adequate even in no-wind conditions, managing to land on my feet with a bit of a run-out, due to starting the flare a little too early.

I consulted many different packing resources, but this video became the basis of my packjob:

I did have to make my own tailgate (as here: to install on the reserve, which i attached by finger-trapping a 1/8" piece of spectra into one of the inner C lines, and bar-tacking that spectra in place by hand.

flying squirrel's picture

Hey Yarich, any chance I could call u as I do have an ava base harness (olfer team Liischer one). Got a couple of questions ... Many actually. Please send an email to ''. am in organya at the moment but can call u anywhere in EU +others. Your swift response would be apprecisted !

Yarich's picture

Mike, could you please comment on this one:
"*always, Always REMOVE YOUR DEATH BAND, and put in a TAILGATE: Brake lines and Inner B's."
Due to my English I don't really understand, but it really want. Can you make these somehow more clear?

There is not that much left to add to what your wrote :)
Except my personal experience. I use Aerodyne Smart 220 ft. I'm 92-98 kg naked and I landed this reserve once even with light tail wind - no issues. 8 deployments so far and I really don't see the reason to go for bigger size even with my heavy weight. However I like to pack Troll morem than this reserve.

P.S. check Ava carefully. There are several issues rgd 2015 version:
1. Use round rings
2. Check alert at ava website - check 3-ring loops
3. Back support is not designed well. Mine got broken during assy sat this year in Organya and I found my self in deep spiral at exit due to huge weight shift. This happened to light pilots as well.
4. Check second rescue handle - loop that you attach to reserve can be too short and malfunction.

mikesm08's picture

As far as I know, not being a skydiver or base jumper but gained info when I was heavily involved with the Ava harness 2014-2015:
*you need a 7 cell canopy (there's canopies with more than 7?).
*try get spectra lines. Not sure what other materials are used, just that spectra is light so therefor good for our acro paragliding application as a reserve parachute.
*Take the slider off, slider is for high speed openings to slow the canopy opening, we want a nice quick opening as we cut-away at low speed, (no matter how you cut-away, it'll be far away from terminal velocity for example).
*unlike paragliders, skydiving-base parachutes do not have their own risers, risers are built into harnesses. I don't doubt all acro harnesses have built in risers ( I think the first flugsau/ava harnesses had detachable risers by carabiner).
*always, Always REMOVE YOUR DEATH BAND, and put in a TAILGATE: Brake lines and Inner B's.
*some guys fly free braked incase of brake line over, I haven't any experience in this.
*you can install soft links, they're rather nice, lighter too. Ask Angel or Ani at Ava, they make nice spectra ones :)
*keep 3 ring system clean, keep cable housing clear of sand/grit, and keep hold of your handle on deployment ;-)
* Speed bar? There is the Sup'air removal line system, There's Raul's personal way(on his FB timeline) and Kevin Phillip has a nice way too. I personally, keep my bar on mini carabiners and hook in when bar is needed, as flying on 16 or 17 seldom requires bar. If not ever since I'll never fly in strong wind again because I nearly killed myself getting a collapse in strong wind, too low for base, remember the height you need for base before doing any tricks, vertical and diagonal or horizontal drift vs. terra firma...

I'm 70kg on a 230ft. it's great, good for say, Organya in strong south wind, well ok could be smaller, and just about ok for a slight tail wind landing in say Chamonix, in winter. But a downwind landing would break a leg...
You need to cut-away a few times to learn your pack, learn your flair and positioning. Things like glider drift(into a school bus on the road nonono, into alpine trees, yesyesyes, into a ski hotel nonono, into a sunbathing area with bikinis yesyesyes) , so your acro box changes when you change from conventional to cut-away. Remember, skydivers and base jumpers repack like we repack our wings, we, however, might not pack for ages as the canopy is (hopefully) not used alot. So put in place a really nice packing check list and or a private video (I have two private videos from very experienced base jumper friends), my packing is very good, in fact I find these canopies logical and much easier than modern light rogallos or say, a square with diagonal folding.
here's when I learned packing: 2014: , 2014: 2015: 2015:

I luckily own a Squirrel Ibex 230. It's amazing. Light, good flair, basically a lightweight wingsuit canopy. Ideal to sit packed away in an acro harness waiting to save me.

very fun, very safe, enjoy! :-)
Please add anything to this thread or more that you might know one here. Our new harnesses are serving our sport well