Time to gear up! But what if you’re on a budget? Don’t worry, dear reader. When it comes to skydiving gear, everybody’s on a budget. Not only is getting everything brand new a prohibitively expensive undertaking–for many reasons, it’s kinda stupid. Buying used skydiving gear is often the best choice–especially in the beginning–so you can be confident in tearing the little tag of paper off the bottom of the “used parachute for sale” poster. We’ll tell you how (and why).
If you know that already, you might think that you’re going to have to shell out for rental gear in the meantime. Though the per-jump or per-day pricing might not seem like a huge amount at the outset, over time you’ll find that it’s much more economical to buy your first set of essential skydiving gear than to continue renting.
Ready to get started? Let’s. Here we go with a quick shopping list of the essential skydiving equipment, all of which you should buy used this go-round.
You know that there’s more you’ll need to buy, but hear us out: You don’t need to buy skydiving goggles, an altimeter or a skydiving helmet at the outset, as you can usually borrow those items from the dropzone, or rent at very low cost, while you’re waiting for your bank account to replenish. Used skydiving suits and used skydiving helmets are often darned inexpensive, anyway, especially in comparison to those four bits of kit.
There are many reasons not to buy your first skydiving container new, but this is the most important: Before you’ve been jumping for a while, you really don’t know what you need and/or like. Also: Before you buy a skydiving container, you are going to have to be sure of the sizes of both of your skydiving parachutes. Try on a bunch of containers first. Demo as many containers as you can. That’ll help you narrow it down better than any skydiving forum thread.
Your first job is to figure out your wing loading. This is a captivating subject in and of itself, and we suggest that you look at the sizing chart developed by the inimitable Brian Germain in order to find your optimum wing loading at this time.
From there, look at the used parachutes for sale that sit within that size range. Your goal is to identify an undamaged, unrepaired main canopy with as few jumps on it as you can afford. Canopies with fewer jumps are less porous, so they fly better–and land better–than older ones. Within those canopies, try to choose one that has been jumped seasonally at big, grassy dropzones (like ours!), where you won’t have to worry as much about damage from desert dust or ocean spray.
If it’s in great shape, there is no better place to bring down your total skydiving equipment cost than buying a used reserve. Just ask any rigger, and they’ll agree! Generally, for skydivers starting out, buying a brand-new skydiving reserve just isn’t worth the expense. That said: of course you’ll want to have it inspected! Have your rigger ensure that the parachute has no previous damage and no patches. A reserve parachute with no “rides” is ideal. Age counts here, too: If your reserve is old enough to vote, it’s too old to jump.
First of all: do buy an AAD. This is not an “optional” thing. The fact that most skydivers have and use automatic activation devices is one of the reasons that modern skydiving fatalities are so rare. Rest assured that this is not a situation in which you want to be the exception that proves the rule. If you must, but one that only has a little time left in its lifespan. Buy new, if you can fork over the cash upfront. (AADs are very easy to resell.)
Once you’ve bought all that used skydiving gear, we have a great plan to put it to use–come out and jump with us at Skydive Orange! We’re looking forward to seeing you make it look good.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.