a large hairy creature resembling a human or bear
utmost, great, maximal
GIN YETI XTREME2 HARNESS
Heavy harnesses are so… 2015. The biggest shift in sales of the last 2 years has been towards light weight equipment and you’d be hard pressed to find a manufacturer who hasn’t followed suite to remain competitive in producing lighter, more packable products. Ozone brought us the F*lite, Advance - the Strapless, Supair - the newest iteration of the Everest, and Gin overhauled the Yeti. The Xtreme designation signifies their lightest buckle-less model and for a total weight of 260grams, it certainly appears to sit at the specialist end of the spectrum. So just how can the new yeti really be - lets find out.
The Yeti Xtreme2 arrives flat packed in a plastic envelope no more than 2cm thick. The first impression is that it has almost no shape. It’s a web of dyneema, Gin’s trademark orange ripstop and… thats about it. The result is an incredibly packable little piece of kit (it fits inside a large ziplock sandwich bag).
The legs are padded with thin foam to give them some shape and the entire dyneema structure is exposed, stitched onto the exterior of the harness - it’s reassuring to see that dyneema wraps completely around the harness so if any other component wears out, theres no risk of the harness failing. Low friction rings route the speed-bar cord and colour coding on the hang points makes attaching carabiners straight forward enough. The adjustment is all done through a bombproof system of dyneema thread and solid plastic stoppers although it’s impossible to adjust in the air. All up it appears to be a well put together package.
Walking around launch feels as though you’ve forgotten your harness completely. Even lighter harnesses have felt more intrusive on launch than the Xtreme2. Frustratingly Gin has again foregone a sternum strap so the shoulder straps often fall down unless a backpack is worn over the top. Most dyneema harnesses are far more comfortable for kiting than ones where webbing is used around the leg straps and the Xtreme2 is no exception.
Once in the air the transition from standing to seated is a considerable improvement over the previous generation. The split-leg supports don’t bunch up and on most occasions, theres no need to shuffle back into the harness. This is where the most notable change from the original yeti series appears - the seating posture is completely different.
The original yeti had a very low ‘bucket seat’ feel. The pilot sat very deep in the harness in a very relaxed, almost reclined position. A lumbar strap meant the position could be adjusted somewhat, but it was still a tough position to get out of on landing. The Xtreme2 is considerably more upright, the hang point is further back (towards the shoulders) and standing up for landing is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor.
You don’t buy a sub 500gram harness to spend hours cruising around the sky. The Xtreme2 is however, surprisingly comfortable. It’s still obviously not suited to monster XC’s however for coastal soaring flights or the long glide from a 4000m peak - it’s far better than expected. In fact, I can’t thing of anything of a similar weight that I’ve been so comfortable in. (I’d still recommend hanging in one before buying to see if it fits your torso length properly).
The hang point on the Xtreme2 is very high. When testing it as a tandem harness I could barely reach the toggles with outstretched arms (I’m 5”11’) when using flexible spreaders, the Grivel Plume carabiners don’t help here either as they’re longer than standard rectangular carabiners. If you’re intending to use it solely for hike and fly tandem flying - look elsewhere.
It’s not the lightest harness on the market (the Ozone F*lite gets that title). However for its still svelte weight, it retains considerably more comfort than the competition. If the high hang point doesn’t bother you and you don’t mind the lack of buckles then it should be high on your list of harnesses to test.