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Toggles updated

by BASEwiki

Toggles are steering loops fixed to the end of the steering lines of a BASE canopy. They are generally very similar to those used in skydiving. There is some variation in toggle type in BASE, and certain safety concerns which become important in the BASE environment.

Types of toggles

Toggles used on BASE canopies come in three general varieties: standard toggles, big grab toggles, and line release toggles.

Standard toggles

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Standard toggles are the variety usually found on a skydiving rig. They are low-profile loops of fabric fixed to the risers on one side by velcro, and with a beefy tab at the top used for stowing the brakes. The side of the toggle not fixed to the risers is usually slightly longer than the other, allowing them to open up when the canopy is deployed, and therefore making them easier (and faster) to get into.

Big grab toggles

Big grab toggles are a slightly larger toggle, often with a stiffener sewn into the side which is not fixed to the risers. They are higher-profile than a standard toggle, and easier to get into on opening. Many jumpers therefore view them as offering a significant improvement in safety. Because they are higher-profile, however, they are also more easily snagged accidentally, either by the jumper or by the canopy itself as it deploys. A popped toggle often leads to an off heading opening> or worse, so that there is some debate as to the relative merit of big grab toggles.

Line release toggles

In a line release toggle, the end of the brake line is fixed to the toggle through a pin. The pin can be easily removed, releasing the line entirely from the toggle. Line release toggles should be used only on slider-up jumps, since the pin used can be bent by the opening force in a slider-down or slider-off jump.

Line release toggles are intended to address the problem of lineovers on slider-up jumps. In a slider-up jump, the brake lines are routed through the guide rings. The toggle itself will not, of course, fit through the guide ring, so that the line-release mod, which has proved effective in slider-down jumps, is ineffective. Releasing the line itself remove line tension, and allows the lineover to clear.

In practice, lineovers on slider-up jumps are rare and generally avoidable through meticulous packing. A lineover is easily addressed, in most scenarios, by cutting the offending line with a hooknife. A line release toggle adds complexity to the system and must be swapped out when doing slider-down jumps, as noted above, while offering marginal benefits in only one scenario. A line release toggle offers no benefits, for instance, in the event of a tension knot. Standard toggles therefore remain the most commonly used, even on newer gear.

With or without line release toggles, the most important immediate response to a lineover or other spinning malfunction is to counter the turn using the opposite toggle or front/rear riser. Only then should the problem be assessed and, if possible, corrected.


Submitted by BASEwiki on 2007-06-08 | Last Modified on 2010-04-16

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