Woody Valley Tenax 2 review

I have been flyging with the Tenax 2 harness this season, but injuries and a bad season has limited my flights with the harness to about 20 hours and 30 flights. Still, here is a short review of the Woody Valley Tenax 2 harness. This review is a collection of my personal opinions, I have no relations with Woody Valley, but know the Norwegian dealer well. My main comparison in this review is my former harness, an Aeros Viper (first generation), I have also a number of hours in an Airwave Race 2 harness, and various older harnesses.

Pictures of the harness with comments (you may have to scroll down to see the comments) HERE.

The harness I have has neoprene cover for shoulders and upper arms and is the version with internal trim. Some refer to this development as the Tenax 2, while Woody Valley only refers to it as Tenax. I use the name Tenax 2 because it sounds better and improved. It features many of the improvements first only found on the MR Tenax sold exclusively by Icaro2000. The current version of the MR Tenax and the Tenax 2 seems to be a further improved version of the original MR Tenax. Confused? I am, but I think this story should be relatively correct.

– Delivery –
The harness came without a manual or any directions for trimming or advise for how to put in the reserve, intended use of the large number of pockets and so on. Further, no manual is even available on the Woody Vally web page. I finally found a good manual in German at a German reseller’s (importer?) homepage. This is definitely a weakness, and moreover it increases the risk of having dissatisfied users. Here in Norway I have helped at least two with advise on how to adjust the harness after they were dissatisfied with the slider and tilt operations. In addition to this my harness was first delivered way to big, it was XL while I max needed a L. But this was at least part a joint mistake/miscommunication by the dealer and Woody Valley. That the reserve was on the wrong side, however, was purely a mistake by Woody Valley. But I got a new harness pretty quick and this time everything was correct, even my custom length hang strap for my Wills Wing T2.

– Using the harness –
My experience is that the harness does what it is supposed to, and do this well. The internal trim is easy to operate and works well, but I have not used the harness enough to evaluate wear and tear on the mechanism. The slider makes it easy to get in an upright position before landing, but compared with my Aeros Viper it is a takes a little more effort to make the slider slide up. This could be just a matter of getting used to, but I think that the Viper was easier to get in an upright position. Further, it seems like I am not able to get as upright as I did with the Viper, but then again it is also an advantage to have some weight towards the back in order to get a better landing flare – I have not made up my opinion yet as to what I prefer. On the ground the outer skin of the harness looks a bit bulky and does not appear streamlined. But in the air, once zipped up in the harness it is sleek with no bulks or bumps. I have checked this filming myself while flying. The harness is very easy to zipp and unzipp, much more so than my Aeros Viper. As usual it is a part just around the family jewels that needs to be closed by the two zipper parts manually, but I have never had or tested a harness that fully closes just by using the zipper ropes. Opening the harness from fully closed on the other hand is no problem with the rope. The zipper is attached by velcro secured with a few stitches here and there. This was an absolute demand when I picked a new harness. Zippers on harnesses do brake and often at a bad time, and because of this I want to have the opportunity to change the zipper myself. I can afford to have an extra zipper in storage, but not an additional harness. The Tenax has both aero towing and winch towing loops as expected on any harness. The harness looks pretty streamlined but I have no way of comparing the aerodynamic qualities with other competition/XC harnesses.

– Reserve and drag chute –
The reserve is easy to reach with both hands, and while testing it hanged up it came out without problems. The reserve is secured by two “parachute” pins, as on a lot of other harnesses. It is a little difficult to inspect the pins securing the reserve. Some harnesses have transparent areas that make it easy to inspect that the pins are looking in the reserve, but the Tenax misses this.
The drag chute located quite far back on the harness behind the external pocket and I need to stretch my arm fully out to reach it. But the handle is easy to get hold of, and the drag chute is easy to pull out.

– Fit and comfort –
Woody Valley do not sew the harness to your measures, they find the best suited size based on your measures – like most (all?) producers. To me this caused a few problems as the first harness was size XL and way to wide. Apparently my hip measures was in the boarder line to XL so they shipped this size. The next harness was size L and this fitted me better, but strangely even this was a little wide over the hips (which in the first place was size XL according to Woody Valley sizes). Generally I think that the harness is comfortable. My only negative comment is that the back plate could have been wider for this size of harness. I can feel some pressure under my arms even if the harness definitely is not too tight for me. Compared with the back plate of the Aeros Viper which is 33 cm, the Tenax back plate is only 29 cm. I miss those 4 cm. The tail/leg section is quite narrow as one would expect for a competition harness, and I do not think it will be possible to get a pair of large winter boots in there. This was my choice as one need to specify shoe size while ordering, and I ordered it tight and aerodynamic and not for winter boots.

– Safety –
I received the harness just after the fatal accident in Oz with separation of the harness and reserve, and I did a thorough check of the loop for the reserve and hang strap back up. Well at least I tried to. The loop for the reserve is “disappears” between the outer and inner fabric of the harness and it is impossible or at least very difficult to check how it is attached to the harness and if it has been subject to wear and tear. Still, I do not think this is unique for the Tenax 2. The same is true for the hang strap back up if the slider should break, the back up is attached to a webbing that disappears in between the layers of the harness.

– Storage and pockets –
The Tenax has a hollow tail section which can be used for storage. In addition, it has a long internal pocket running all the way down over the back plate and towards the tail. Inside this pocket it is also a separate pocket for a water bag (Camelbak) – this latter is narrow and deep but works OK. It also has two small internal zipper closed pockets on either side just below the leg straps. These pockets utilize the space behind the reserve and the external pocket. On the outside of the harness there is a relatively large zipper closed pocket on the opposite side of the reserve. In addition, there are two pockets in both sides in front of the reserve and larger external pocket. These pockets are formed by neoprene sewn onto the harness, meaning that whatever that is in these pockets they will only stay in there by the tight neoprene and the friction between the objects in the pocket and the neoprene/harness. They are unfortunately so tight that having a radio with external buttons these would be pressed all the time – a problem if your radio makes a sound very time a button is pressed or if a back light is turned on (bad for the battery capacity).
When I pack up paddings and so on I use the following pockets and storage: Harness bag (and a small portable first aid kit) in the tail section. Glider bag (WW T2), wing tip protection, a-frame protection in the large back pocket + a Camelbak. Here you need to make sure that the operation of the lever for the internal trim is not restricted by the padding. Bands and smaller padding is normally stored in the small internal zipper closed pockets, and I normally also store my wallet in one of those pockets. In the external larger zipper closed pocked I normally store sun glasses, mobile phone, and a few other things. The external neoprene pockets does not work that well and I have only tried it a couple of times for my camera – it tended to fall out. Still, all in all the harness has plenty of pockets and space for bags, padding and things.

– Overall quality –
As far as I can evaluate, the quality on materials, sewing, and solutions are first class. I guess that the real test will be after having used the harness more, but so far I am very pleased.

Pictures of the harness with comments HERE.

Added March 20th. – Tenax manual in German from Fly & More HERE.

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