If you are a sporting enthusiast or hobbyist, one of your primary concerns before adopting a hobby is how much it will cost.
Many people shun paragliding as a viable hobby because of the expenses.
But, Exactly How Expensive Is Paragliding as A Hobby?
How much a quality powered paraglider rig costs depends on its design and size. Most beginner sets sell for around $2,800, with the price going up to $4,000. That said, paragliding costs include more than the initial cost of a paraglider.
Let’s review all the expenses you can expect when you take on paragliding for fun.
Five Common Paragliding Costs
Of course, the first cost you will encounter when you decide to start paragliding is the cost of the paraglider itself.
Other related expenses include:
1. Paraglider Rig
There are many types of paragliders available for purchase, all ranging in design, quality, weight limitation, and size.
For example, some paragliders are designed for air gliding while others are for boarding on snow.
Consequently, prices will depend on factors like range and class.
On average, a paraglider will set you back between $2,800 and $4,000.
Cheaper paragliders can seem like a bargain at first, but the expensive choices cost more because they are larger, of better quality, more advanced, and made by reliable brands.
2. Training Lessons and Licensing
Technically, you do not need a license to paraglide in the United States.
The Federal Aviation Regulations Section 103 sets out the regulations for paragliders in the country and does not include a law about formal licenses.
That said, paragliding as a sport is self-regulated by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA).
This body has its own rules. If you wish to be a part of the association, you will need to adhere to the regulations set by USHPA.
Membership allows you to participate in paragliding events in your area and gives you access to well-maintained take-off locations, among other benefits.
One of the regulations set by USHPA is that participant paragliders much attain a minimum level of skill and competency to use regulated take-off sites.
This makes training a primary cost of paragliding.
Generally, how much you spend on this will depend on how first you learn.
Paragliding courses will vary slightly from institution to institution, but you can expect a P1 basic course and a P2 intermediate course.
The former, which can last about 5 days, teaches the fundamentals of paragliding and costs on average $1,100.
The full course, P2, can last 11 to 13 days and cost $2,400.
Most paragliders pick up on all the skills within 10 to 15 lessons, and others take longer or less time.
3. Accessories and Safety Gear
If you are going to be soaring through the sky, it only makes sense that you ensure your safety.
You do this by purchasing all the necessary paragliding accessories and safety gear, which will not be included in your paraglider set.
Some of the items you will need to buy include:
GPS is especially important when paragliding in unfamiliar territory, but you should always have one with you in case you lose your bearings during a flight.
A basic set will set you back around $100, but you can get a professional quality one for $500.
Pick one you can easily read.
Reserve parachutes are crucial to your safety during paragliding.
You can get one for $600 to $1,300.
As with the paraglider itself, never sacrifice quality for affordability when buying a reserve parachute.
There are several types of harnesses a paraglider can use.
Stay-up harnesses secure your legs, and full-body harnesses cover most of the body.
Consequently, the prices vary depending on quality and design. Expect to use between $400 and $2,000.
The elements can be beautiful on most days, but they can also take a toll on unprotected skin.
You can protect your hands by investing in a good pair of flying gloves for about $50.
Second-hand gloves are even cheaper.
Landing after a flight can be rough on your feet, which is why you need a decent pair of paragliding boots or shoes with great grip and sole function.
New boots might set you back around $300, but you can save money and buy hiking boots instead.
Basic head protection can cost around $100.
However, you do not want to chance your safety in this regard.
A decent helmet that provides protection from accidents, as well as the elements, will cost between $170 and $590.
Many paragliders carry a paragliding rucksack to store essential items they might need mid-flight.
These packs need to be resistant to the elements and able to withstand extreme conditions while securing to the body comfortably.
Depending on the brand, a new rucksack will cost $120 to $240.
Variometers are mostly used by expert paragliders, but there is no harm in owning one even if you are just getting started.
A simple set costs about $100.
Maintaining your paraglider in good condition ensures your safety while helping your equipment last longer and look good.
Experts recommend that you always replace rather than repair damaged and worn parts and items.
Meanwhile, you can take care of your paraglider and paragliding accessories through the following care practices:
- Fold and repack your paraglider canopy after every flight, preferably with the canopy on its back and all the lines cleared from under it.
- Perform a pre and post-flight check on your paraglider grid every time you go out to ensure the harness and canopy are not damaged.
- Never expose the canopy to open flames, heat, or smoke near it. The heat could damage the canopy material.
- Allow your canopy to dry in indirect sunlight if it is wet to prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Never air out your paraglider under direct sunlight to prevent UV damage.
- Never use bleach, acids, ammonia, or other chemicals to clean the canopy. These harsh solutions could weaken the material.
- Tip: Paragliders can suffer wing damage during flight or storage. If the tear is less than 10cm long, you can use paragliding wing tape to repair it. If not, consult an expert about a wing replacement.
5. Other Costs
Paragliding comes with ongoing costs like storage if you plan to lease a space to store your gear and insurance.
Your insurance premiums will depend on the type of glider you own, how often you glide, and where you glide, among other factors.
If you plan to use take-off sites located far from where you live, you will also need to factor in travel costs.
Alternatively, you can join a local paragliding club and use their reserved flying sites. These clubs will usually charge an annual membership of between $50 and $200.
So, how expensive is paragliding as a hobby?
We have established that there are several costs associated with paragliding.
Assuming you buy a mid-range paraglider and all the accessories at the lower price point and maintain your rig in perfect condition, you can expect a starting tab of around $6400.
You can significantly cut this cost by buying quality second-hand gear, storing your kit at home, and learning to do your repairs.
As a hobby, paragliding is average to high priced, but if you love being in the sky, it will be worth every dollar.