The hum of turbine engines echo in the distance, the sounds of whoops and hollers descend from the skies, and a buzz swirls around this new and foreign place called the dropzone. As you enter this new world of skydiving, there are so many new things that wow the mind – the environment, the etiquettes, and the equipment. As we welcome you to this sport, we’re uncovering parts of what you’ll experience, and in this article, we outline skydiving gear!
Jumpsuits are fondly modeled after the early aviator’s flight suits to protect a skydiver from the elements. For tandem students that is still very much the case – to not only protect a jumper from the cold or wind but also to protect one’s clothing from the occasional butt slide landing that’s common in tandem skydiving landings. Nowadays, skydiving jumpsuits for experienced jumpers are designed to enhance the performance of the jumper tailored for specific disciplines of skydiving.
Skydiving has gone through an incredible evolution of various types of helmets, and we’re fortunate to have such an array to choose from these days! Tandem skydivers will have the freedom to let their locks free in the wind or if it’s chilly will wear a frappe hat (this is a soft leather helmet). For solo skydiving students, it’s common to have a hard shell, open-faced helmet equipped with a radio for an instructor’s guidance while you learn to fly the parachute.
Experienced jumpers have many more options to choose from: different styles, shapes, open-face or full-face helmets, and several different brands. Some skydivers enjoy the wind in their face while others opt for the protection of a full-face helmet. When you are a licensed skydiver, you have the freedom to choose.
Altimeters read air pressure to help you determine your altitude from the ride up, freefall down, and the canopy descent. From your very first jump, you’ll be introduced to them and wear an analog altimeter. Analog altimeters have a static image of numbers in which a needle hovers over to read the altitude.
As you progress, you’ll discover digital and audible altimeters. Digital altimeters are the most common type of altimeter used for experienced jumpers. For that extra altitude awareness, brands also have audible altimeters that sit in an internal pocket on certain types of helmets and beep at pre-set altitudes.
The skydiving rig is a container that houses the main and reserve parachutes. As a tandem skydiver, your instructor will wear a skydiving container built for two while you will wear a harness. Solo skydiving students have gear available during their program that suits them for their skill levels. Experienced skydivers – again – have a range of options to choose from including getting custom gear that’s fitted to them.
Skydiving is such a unique sport unlike any other and requires specific gear from students to experienced jumpers. This is just the basic outline of skydiving gear and what common equipment to expect as you enter this world. And who knows, maybe you’ll be bitten by the skydiving bug, earn your license and purchase your own gear!
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