Seb Ospina spent a season flying Gin’s top-flight XC pod harness.
Gin Gliders released the third version of their successful Genie Lite series last year. It’s their main cocoon harness, aimed at pretty much any pilot who wants to fly with a pod. If you’re after a very light pod harness then the Genie X-Alps is the one to go for, and if you want a full-blown competition harness, then go for the Race 4. The Genie Lite 3 is for the rest of us.
The goal with the Genie Lite 3 was to make a “compact and comfortable” XC harness that is accessible and easy to fly for everyone, Gin say. “The Genie Lite 3 is the epitome of a modern XC harness – although compact, it does not compromise on essential qualities. It offers the ultimate combination of comfort, safety, stability and durability,” is the promise.
Does it deliver? You bet.
Koroyd back protection
Straight out of the box the first thing I noticed about the Genie Lite 3 was its very cool iron-grey colour. A distinctive pattern on the fairing and deep-red fabric on the inside make sure you will not go unnoticed on launch or in the air. The harness has a unique style, with all of Gin’s design detail brought to bear.
The next thing that demands immediate attention is the Koroyd protection. At just 9cm deep this honeycomb-like plastic back protection promises to provide good protection while saving space in volume. Gin make the point that saving depth in the back protection allows the whole harness cross-section to become smaller, more compact, compared to say, using 30cm foam.
The result is less drag and therefore more performance. An added bonus is it becomes easier to pack and carry. It also gives rigidity to the bottom and lumbar areas.
The quality of construction is a good balance between lightness and durability. The harness weighs just under 5kg for the M size (without reserve), which is lighter than, say, the Advance Impress 4 by about a kilo.
The harness is designed to be primarily flown with one reserve. There is a 5.5-litre reserve container under the seat, which is big enough to fit a full-size reserve parachute. However, if you want a second reserve, it’s possible to install a front-mounted container which will take a lightweight reserve (volume three litres), making it a good option for competition pilots looking to carry less weight while fulfilling the requirement to carry two rescues.
In terms of storage, the back pocket can fit the rucksack, small items, and some water. On top of that there is a 4.2-litre container below the seat and 4.5 litres in the cockpit. There is also a left side pocket.
The Velcro on the cockpit can comfortably fit two instruments and a phone, all facing directly at you. To make the harness even better, the Genie Lite 3 is packed with cool features such as a hook-knife, a G-chute container, Harken pulleys, an outlet for your XCpee, a wooden seatboard, a chest strap that is easily adjusted in flight, and a full-size inflatable fairing. Nothing is missing.
I flew this harness in late summer and autumn last year in the Swiss Alps, initially with a mid-C glider and then later with a comp wing. I always flew it with the single reserve configuration.
Clipping in for the first time was very intuitive, leaving me with a reasonable amount of mobility while still feeling the rigidity of the protection and the seatplate. Once in the air, getting into the pod was effortless.
On my first flight I found the settings needed adjusting, and as promised, I found the straps could be reached and adjusted mid-flight. No drama.
Going into the first thermal I noticed a good degree of intuitiveness and weightshift authority which helped me make the most of an inverted day. The Genie is incredibly yaw stable, showing efficiency thanks to its long inflatable fairing. Thanks to the Harken pulleys the two-step speed bar runs very smoothly, making it easy to regulate the speed in moving air.
Roll stability can be tuned on the chest-strap depending if you want to sniff for thermals or go on steady glides, your choice! The harness geometry offers a lot of stability and control, whilst still providing good feedback on what the air is doing.
Due to the semi-rigid Koroyd protection, in spite of the lower volume, after landing the harness needs to ideally be packed without much bending. Gin recommends wrapping the glider around the harness, fitting helmet and instruments in between. That way it will be able to fit in medium-sized bags.
I’m impressed by the level of design and attention to detail that has gone into this harness. The concept, materials, safety features, comfort, aerodynamics, geometry, and user-friendliness certainly make the Genie Lite 3 a super versatile harness capable of satisfying all those leisure pilots and XC hounds it’s aimed at, as well as any number of World Cup competitors.
Gin say: “The epitome of a modern XC harness – although compact, it does not compromise on essential qualities. Offers the ultimate combination of comfort, safety, stability and durability.”
Pilot level: Experienced pilots
Sizes: XS, S, M, L
Pilot height (cm): <165, 165-175, 170-185, 185-200
Weight: not available, 4.4, 4.8, 5.0
This review was published in issue 221 (July 2021)