A paraglider is in essence an inflatable wing. The movement of air into the canopy inflates it and gives it its aerodynamic shape. The paraglider is soft and can easily be packed into a bag and carried around. Its portability is its main advantage.

The paraglider is laid out on the ground at the top of the mountain on a gentle slope and facing into the wind. The pilot is connected to the paraglider with a special harness. The paraglider is then pulled gently into the wind, which causes the canopy to inflate.  The pilot then takes a few brisk steps into the wind and floats gently up into the air.