BASE Canopy Brake Stows

In 2016, we did a little work on on brake stow construction. What follows is a summary of what is currently the standard, how our products are built, and what we think can be improved.

Standard Brake Stows

Most BASE canopies (including all Squirrel canopies) use 900lb Dacron from CSR Braids (USA) for the main brake line. The actual brake stow material used for the cat-eye varies, but the end result is similar across leading manufacturers: A brake line stowed in the slider down/off LRM configuration has a breaking strength from 400-600lbs (1.7N-2.7N). Using traditional construction techniques, the strongest stow that we tested failed at 2.8N or 630lbs force. The mode of failure was consistent across all lines tested: as the brake line is loaded, the toggle intersects the line of bartacks in a shearing manner.

Is Standard good enough?

The current trend of more jumpers pushing the limits further is likely to continue. So what should be normal? In situations where the delay is longer than average, the exit weight is high, or the equipment is well used, it is not rare for brake lines to fail at the stow. Enhanced-strength brake stows have been experimented with over the past ~15 years, but the current setting used by all manufacturers has become standard because it is the simplest to install.

Stronger Brake Stows

Please note that the Spectra cat-eye material may cause wear to the stow loop on your risers, depending on what material it is made from. Carefully inspect this junction each time you pack. Squirrel harness/container systems (from 2016 on) use Spectra for the stow loop, which wears well against the Spectra cat-eye. Other line material on other harness/container systems may not.

We keep the new reinforced brake assembly (a full set including main and upper control lines) in stock and available for free to any pre-2016 Outlaw owner that wishes to install it.

Cheers, from all the Team at Squirrel.