Easy Kites

Single-Line Parafoils Or Sleds!

When it comes to easy kites to fly, they don't get much easier than single-line Parafoil kites or Sleds! Just hook the line on and fly. Easy to transport as well, as both these kinds of kites can be made completely 'soft'...

Sleds are very easy kites to set up!Our home-made Dowel Sled

The main feature of a Parafoil sail is that it has a top and bottom surface, divided into cells. These cells are closed at the back. So, as the kite flies, the cells fill with air from the front and keep the kite semi-rigid. It doesn't need straight sticks to keep it's shape.

The great thing about this is that the whole kite packs down into a very small space! These are easy kites to take anywhere, on any form of transport. If the kite is small enough, it will even cram into a pocket!

Of course you need some flying line as well, but that can be quite compact too.

A popular example is this Stowaway Parafoil kite on Amazon. A great beach kite. The less favorable reviews tend to be from people who try to fly it inland, in light and gusty or turbulent conditions.

A Sled sail has just a single surface, but 2 spars help to keep the kite's shape as it flies. Like that home-made job in the photo over there, with wooden dowel spars.

Now, we are talking about easy kites here, so what could be even easier to handle than a Sled kite with 2 sticks for spars? A Sled with inflatable spars...

In these designs, a tapered pocket runs from top to bottom of the kite, one on each side. Open at the front and closed, or at least a lot smaller, at the back. Like a parafoil cell, these pockets inflate when the kite is flying, and act like rigid spars.

This is a ram-air Sled, and like the Parafoil, is completely 'soft'. Guess what you can do with the popular Pocket Sled...

Super Easy Kites To Set Up!

Setting up is a breeze since both these single-line designs just need to have a flying line attached before they are ready to go. A Lark's Head knot is the easiest way to quickly attach and remove a flying line. Often, clear simple instructions for this knot are included on the packaging of the kite when it is sold. That was the case when we bought a Baby Sled for our toddler years ago.

For a well-designed Parafoil or Sled, tails are not necessary. Some small ones have tails anyway, since they add a bit of color and spectacle while in the air. For larger kites, tails can actually be a bit of a nuisance on the ground in windy weather, blowing around and getting tangled and caught up on things.

It's very easy to connect and disconnect tails with a simple clip or tie, if provided. The smallest kites tend to come with simple tails permanently attached.

If you love the idea of long colorful tails streaming back in the breeze, go for it! We've seen Parafoils and Sleds of all descriptions sporting long flowing tails. Usually twin tails on Sleds, but anything from 1 to several streaming behind a big Parafoil.

Tubular tails are popular on the bigger kites. Just like a long but skinny wind-sock!

For even more of an eye-catching display, you can't go past rotating tails that wind-mill around in the breeze. Maybe 2 of them, rotating in opposite directions!

If you ever go to a kite festival, you will see plenty of examples of these 2 basic types of kites. You might also notice that there are quite a few variations on the basic design...

For example, some of the bigger Sleds have 3 ram-air spar pockets instead of 2. If the pockets are big, they might even have a dividing wall down the middle, splitting the spar pocket itself into 2 cells.

As for Parafoils, some of the bigger ones can have quite a number of keels and bridle lines. But remember, there is just one attachment point for the flying line, with nothing else to adjust!

Hope you enjoy the 2 photos below, which we took at a recent kite festival here in Adelaide, South Australia.

A large single-line Parafoil.Flat single-line parafoil
A big Sled kite with ram-air spars.A 'soft' Sled

The Parafoil on the left is quite a large kite, with no less than 5 keels! Not for kiddies, that one. The Sled on the right is not as big, but is still big enough to require an adult flier. These were registered kites, owned by experienced fliers. The general public were flying much smaller kites, including some single-line Parafoils and Sleds, on the other side of the jetty.

If this Stowaway Parafoil kite from Amazon wasn't up there, there were a few that looked just like it! All flying steady in the smooth ocean breeze.

Hope you have enjoyed this short introduction to some easy kites that could give you and your family something different to do next week-end!

E-book special of the month (25% off)...

The Dopero is someone's clever idea to combine 2 Roller kites! Double Pearson Roller is where the name comes from. The resulting flat portion of sail in the middle makes this a very efficient design in light wind.

Even more so than the Roller before it, this kite has an attractive aircraft-like appearance in the air. This MBK version also excels in light winds.

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes somewhat more time to make. With the help of my instructions, it's still do-able by a beginner.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Dopero kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

This Dopero can fly in quite a wide range of wind speeds thanks to the 4-pont bridle. The bridle lines keep the frame more rigid than a 2-point bridle could. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.

What's New!

  1. Dual Line Parafoil Kites

    Mar 29, 17 09:00 AM

    A previously published page which introduces the beginner to dual-line parafoils. Soft stunt kites in other words...

    Read More


Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

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Kite e-book: Making The MBK Dowel Sled Kite

"Making The
MBK Dowel Sled Kite"
(see flight video!)

Kite e-book: Making Dowel Kites

"Making Dowel Kites"


"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I've just bought your super e-book and spent most of last night pouring through all the great stuff in it!

Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!

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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7