Power kiting uses a large kite or high winds to produce a load big enough to move the flyer. Most of the variants of power kiting--especially the popular ones--are some type of sailing. All of the sailing forms use a large kite or a stack of kites as the power source for some vehicle however large or small. The kite is always steerable so that the flier can position it in the sky similar to the way a sailor trims a sail.
The pilot can sail the craft upwind downwind or across the wind just like a conventional sail boat. However the kite allows techniques and speed not possible in any conventional sail boat.
Kite dragging and sand skiing use the kite to move the flyer downwind. Kite jumping uses the kite to lift the flyer off the ground and cushion the return to the ground. Man lifting suspends the flyer off the ground.
Kite buggying is probably the most popular form of power kiting. It is easy to learn, safe, fun, and there is good gear available commercially. When buggying, the buggy pilot sits in a small, light vehicle while flying a kite that pulls the pilot and buggy. The seat is usually low to the ground and the wheels are no more than an arm's reach away. The pilot steers the buggy with pegs attached to the front forks. For power the pilot flies a steerable kite of 10 ft2 (1 m2) to 110 ft2 (10 m2). The kite pulls the pilot and buggy much as a sail pulls a sailboat. The buggy can go upwind, downwind or across the wind at speeds from 5 mph (8 kph) to 50 mph (80 kph) or higher.
Kite buggies are quite manueverable and easily controlled. The pilot can steer a course between objects, accelerate or deccelerate at will and easily stop the buggy. The buggy can safely approach people and even turn circles around them. Similarly, the kite is easily steered around trees, sand dunes and other kites.
Aside from the obvious need for a kite buggy and a kite, kite buggying requires only a large, open space and a some wind. How much space and how much wind depend on what gear the flier has and what the pilot wants to do. It is possible to buggy in as little as 2 mph (3.2 kph) of wind with a very large kite of 80 ft2 (7.2 m2) or as much as 30 mph (48 kph) of wind with a very small kite of about 10 ft2 (1 m2). For location the buggy pilot often takes what is available. Hard packed beaches, dry lake beds, grass and pavement are all viable options. Some provide more room, some provide more friction. With higher friction comes a need for more power which means bigger kites for the given wind. The most popular surfaces are beaches and dry lake bed as the provide some of the best and broadest rolling surfaces, but a mown field can be quite fun and is a common choice. Pavement is fast and provides the best grip, but it is also the most hazardous of surfaces.
For kites, the kite buggier has a wide range to choose from. Two-line and 4-line soft parafoils, stacked FlexiFoils, stacked wings and single wings are all used and are all competitive. Most popular of these are the 2-line and 4- line parafoils. They are easy to setup and handle on the ground, stable in flight, and are available from a lot of manufacturers. Which is better is generally a matter of taste and of the pilots flying interest. Recreational buggiers--especially in the U.S. have a bent towards quadline rigs while competitive buggiers often prefer dual line kites. Typical line lengths for the kites vary from 50 ft (15 m) to 200 ft (61 m).