The emergency reserve parachute system may be connected to the harness, the main harness/wing connectors—usually involving a reserve outer container—or the tandem spreaders, depending on the particular whole equipment setup. To help correctly connect the reserve parachute, this article outlines the main considerations for this, and gives a ‘connectors shopping list’ to help you ensure you have everything you need.

When you buy a reserve parachute it usually terminates in a short webbing loop, known as the reserve strop. This needs to be connected to the harness using maillons (or soft links) and a reserve bridle, each of which you may have to purchase separately. Within some harnesses, the reserve bridle is included and is attached to the top of the shoulder straps, then routed through concealed channels to the reserve container, if it is integral to the harness.

Which reserve bridles?

These come in various lengths, usually an inverted Y shape. Sometimes they are sewn in as part of the harness, in which case the existing webbing to webbing connections on the shoulder points are suitable. If you only have the attachment points but no bridle on your harness, you need to choose one.

Reserve bridles come in different lengths, which affects the pendular stability of the reserve, so it’s best to match the brand of your bridle with the reserve or choose one of similar specifications. It should also be compatible with your harness. The bridle should be attached to both harness shoulder strap loops, not just one of them.

Most reserves come with a short webbing strop connecting the lines together. Steerable reserves have two long bridles; some older non-steerable designs have long Y bridles sewn in. Do not attach them to a harness reserve bridle as the total length will be too long – connect directly to the shoulder points or main hang points. Steerable reserves also require short extenders (for optimal steering) when connected on the main hang points.