Maybe you have just overcame the fear of skydiving or have already made your first jump, but probably so far you have used someone else’s gear. This is not wrong, skydiving is not a cheap hobby and it makes sense to try it before buying equipment. But now you are ready and convinced you want to skydive? Ok, let’s introduce you the most important parts of the skydiving gear and how to choose the most appropriate for you!
Some General Tips
Before jumping into specifics you’d better read these do-s and don’t-s. It helps to be prepared before spending money:
- Don’t rely entirely on someone else’s recommendation. Even if your friend is a professional, he or she is not you. Skydiving equipment is something individual and you are likely to feel better wearing models that are not appropriate for your friend.
- Don’t be afraid to buy used gear. If someone have used it and remained healthy, that means the equipment is most probably good. Of course you need to carefully check it but that is fine because you can save money.
- The most expensive doesn’t mean the best. Better search the Web and DropZone for reviews before purchasing.
- The cheapest is usually not good. Bad equipment can cost you life. It’s OK to want to save money, but safety first.
- You may rent some equipment. It’s not required to own everything especially if you plan to jump only once in a while.
So let’s now pay more attention to the specific items you will need.
The Helmet – a Top Priority Gear
Although some drop zones will let you jump without a helmet, I would strongly advice you to buy one. The helmets cost from $100 to several hundred dollars or more depending on the type, model and brand.
When choosing a helmet, check how much impact is it designed to absorb as this is the most important characteristic.When choosing the helmet, make sure you feel comfortable with it. It should not be too large because that will make it unstable. It should not restrict your movements in the air.
Besides the important characteristics you will need to choose between full face and open face helmets, different colors, helmets with digital cameras or digital sound systems.
The Harness And Container
The skydiving harness is what keeps your body connected to the parachute. Obviously it need to be very robust and comfortable. Besides that there isn’t too much to say about the harness/container.
They are the biggest expense and probably the most important part of your skydiving equipment. Be prepared to spend $2,000 or more on the parachutes. You need two of them – main and reserve one.
The modern skydiving parachutes are square parachutes constructed of 7 cells. The most important characteristics that should define your choice are the the construction materials and wing loading. Normally the loading should be 1lbs per sqft and you need to buy a parachute that equals your weight. Some recommend buying parachutes with lower size for better performance but that drastically increases the safety risks.
This is yet another essential part of your skydiving gear. It’s a piece that you can omit, but is highly recommended. You don’t need to spend too much money here but have in mind that the less expensive altimeter watches are usually less accurate too.
The most important features of the altimeter are the compass and the attitude indicator. Other good things to have are barometric pressure, temperature levels and the attitude alarm.
Expect to spend $50 – $200 on altimeter unless you want to buy used.
It’s important because of the impact ion your fall rate, speed and direction. Some people are falling far slower than others and the jumpsuit can control this.
The skydiving jumpsuit also protects your body from the cold (falling with 120mph can be really freezing without a good jumpsuit!).
However it is a part of equipment that can be skipped and there are many skydivers who do that. So if you think you feel cool enough and want to spare $200 or more for a jumpsuit, you can do it.
If you have decided to buy one, make sure it’s manufactured with quality fabric and has money back guarantee.
Automatic Activation Device (AAD)
It’s there to open your parachute when you reach the most appropriate attitude. The AADs have caused a major decrease in skydiving fatalities that’s why they are considered life savers and cheap life insurance.
The price of the AAD is another few hundreds, but again it’s well worth its price. Just don’t forget that like any complex technological device, AAD are not 100% reliable.
The total cost of your skydiving gear can be between $3,000 and $6,000 – $7,000. This is not a small amount but if you are planning to skydive long term it will pay of opposed to renting.