Want to be a hero? Keep an eye on your friends’ gear when they’re getting ready to skydive or sitting in the plane. It can be easy to misroute a chest strap when you’re inexperienced, in a hurry, or just plain not paying attention, but this error can be caught with a careful inspection.
Here are a few examples of misrouted chest straps, which could result in falling out of the harness on deployment (talk about ruining your day!):
Chest strap needs to go around the friction adapter first (vertical bar).
Chest strap needs to pass between the friction adapter and the square ring.
Correctly routed chest strap.
If you’re not sure if your chest strap is routed correctly, try to pull it loose from the center. If it’s routed properly, the friction adapter will push the webbing against the square ring and it won’t loosen unless you lift the square ring. If it’s misrouted, it will loosen.
Should vigilance fail and you end up in freefall with a misrouted chest strap (!!), hook your left hand around your right main lift web as you deploy to hold your harness on. Hopefully, this last tidbit is one you’ll never need!