Skydiving Gear Explained
If you’re getting ready to go skydiving for the first time, one of the most pressing matters that is likely on your mind is what sort of gear you’re going to need. Lucky for you, just about all the gear you’ll ever need is supplied by the facility where you’ll be jumping at. All of the gear they will provide is absolutely essential – you wouldn’t want to make that jump without it.
As far as things you need to brings, the list is very short. Just make sure you have closed-toed shoes which can be laced or strapped up tightly. Jumping in sandals, open-toed shoes or loose fitting shoes will be prohibited, since there will be a risk of them coming off in the air, creating a hazard for anyone who happens to be below you.
You’ll also want to make sure you have some warm, loose-fitting clothing.
It can be a bit chilly up at 15,000 feet, and even though you’ll probably be having too much fun to notice, staying warm can make the whole experience more enjoyable.
Also, the equipment for skydiving is not known to be overly comfortable, so try to balance that out with some comfortable, loose-fitting clothes (especially pants), which will keep your comfort factor a bit higher.
Gear provided by the Drop Zone
Jumping without gear is known as one thing: suicide. No one in their right mind would go skydiving without all the proper gear, and ensuring all the gear is tested and working properly before the jump. All your gear should be included in the price of your jump, and before even entering the plane, the facility will teach you about the gear, how to put it on and how it all works.
Parachutes – This is your main piece of gear and by far, the most important. If it is your first jump then there is a 98% chance you will be doing a tandem jump with a certified jumpmaster, and they will be the one who is actually wearing the parachute. All parachutes will have a main chute as well as a backup chute in case the first is to fail. Some parachutes even have additional backup chutes, just to add an extra layer of protection. While it will likely be your jumpmaster’s responsibility to pull the chute at the correct altitude, during your training session you will still be instructed on how it all works, just in case of any unforeseen problems up in the air.
Harness – A harness is what’s going ensure that all the important things that need to be strapped to you, stay strapped to you. In a solo jump, your harness will keep the parachute on your back, while in a tandem jump, they will keep your jumpmaster on your back. Be aware, your harness is probably not going to be very comfortable while you’re walking around in it preparing for the jump. Even the nicest, most expensive harnesses on the market can be uncomfortable, especially in the crotch area. Once you actually jump though, that tension eases up a bit, and you’ll be so exhilarated that you probably won’t notice any discomfort anyways.
Helmets – You might be asking yourself, “Why do I need a helmet? If I hit the ground without my parachute deploying, aren’t I basically screwed?” Yes, you would pretty much be screwed (maybe quite literally into the ground) if that happened, but that’s not what the helmets are for. The helmets are just an extra layer of protection in case of any flying debris you may encounter on the way down. It could be anything from a nearby skydiver dropping their GoPro camera, to a rogue bird flying your way during free-fall. Either way, a helmet is a good thing to have on while skydiving, and being so nonintrusive, you don’t want to skip it.
Goggles – Goggles are your friend as you are flying towards the air, speeding towards the earth. Not only will goggles keep bugs and other tiny objects from going into your eyes, they will allow you to actually keep your eyes open the whole time to actually see the amazing view below you. Ever stood directly in front of a high-powered fan and tried to keep your eyes open as the wind blew in your face? Pretty difficult, right? Now just imagine that feeling multiplied times 10 and you’ll understand why you won’t be able to see a whole lot without a good pair of goggles.
Jumpsuits/Wingsuits – This is an optional piece of equipment, and lots of people have no problem jumping in their normal, everyday clothing. Some do like the feeling of really getting into the skydiving spirit by wearing a jumpsuit though, and they are made to be very comfortable for your jump. Wingsuits on the other hand, are meant for more experienced jumpers as they are more aerodynamic, allowing you to cut through the air better and more closely mimic the feeling of flying.
Cameras – A camera is also optional, but it can be a great way to capture the experience of skydiving. If you are normally a timid person, some people might not even believe you that you went skydiving unless you have video proof of it. The GoPro is always a popular choice in the skydiving community, just like with other extreme sports. Most skydiving facilities will gladly rent you a camera, either to record with yourself, or you can elect to have another jumpmaster jump with you to record your jump from afar. Renting a camera will usually incur an additional charge, and having someone else record you will be even more expensive than simply renting the camera on its own.
One of the best things about skydiving, is that you can show up with nothing but the clothes on your back, and no prior knowledge of skydiving equipment or tactics and be in the air on your first day. Since it is so crucial that all the equipment works properly, it only makes sense that each drop zone provides the equipment for you, and can teach you how it all works before hand. Just show up win a pair of comfortable clothes and closed-toed shoes with a positive attitude and you’ll have everything you need for an amazing experience.