Skydive gear guide for the first time buyer
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Are you ready to buy your own gear, but are wondering where to start?
Used VS new gear
As a new skydiver you might want to purchase new, but with budget in mind, used gear is a good option. Generally, new gear is your best choice, but a smart buyer can find great used gear options. One used gear item that should be purchased with caution is a helmet.
What should you buy first?
We recommend gear to be purchased in the following order: altimeter, helmet, jumpsuit, audible, and rig.
Your rig includes: reserve canopy, main canopy, container, AAD. You should also consider various option including MARD and RSLs. If you are unsure about what options are out there speak with a coach.
Finding the right altimeter.
Altimeters come in several styles. Many first time skydivers purchase the Altimaster Galaxy or the Viso2+.
The reason we recommend getting an altimeter first is borrowing different altimeters throughout your progression will hinder your learning experience. Learning a new display should not be your worry. Try it on and get use to display as early as possible.
We recommend avoiding audibles until you are working towards your COP B. The exception is if you or instructors are concerned with safety due to altitude awareness.
Why we are against buying a used helmet?
A helmet is typically constructed of three layers: the outer shell, the shock absorption layer and the comfort layer.
The most important layer for protection is the shock absorption layer and can only be used once. Due to the high quality construct of the outer layer of the helmet, it can take a hit with little to no marking, but the impact energy is transferred into the shock absorption layer, which will break it down. The comfort layer does not provide this protection, as it can't absorb the level of energy that the shock absorption layer does.
We recommend doing your own research on this topic, motorcycles, horseback riding, and bicycles helmets have far more research information on them. You should now be ready to select your helmet.
Buying the right skydiving helmet.
See why you should not buy a used helmet first before making a decision on new VS used.
Skydiving helmets come in many options and often follow the latest trends. Always purchase what is the best fit for you. As helmets are constantly evolving it’s hard to stay current with what is good quality VS what is a trend.
Look for a helmet that is more than just the shell and comfort layer. From here decided if open face or closed face is right for you. After you have considered the above, you can select the perfect helmet for you. .
Ready for the Audible Altimeter?
When you are purchasing your first audible, you should be fully aware in the sky and be able to properly judge your altitude by sight. At this level of skill, you will not be hindering your learning by getting an audible. From here you can focus on other aspects of freefall/canopy progression.
When are you ready for a jumpsuit?
Jumpsuits are now very tailored. You are best to borrow jumpsuits from the DZ / friends to start. Buying an inexpensive or used jumpsuit to start is a fantastic choice.
As your skill progresses, you can pick a jumpsuit based on preferred discipline and flying style. While there is no right or wrong time to buy a jumpsuit, waiting means you can purchase a jumpsuit that best meets your long-term needs and goals.
Buying and building your first rig.
The Reserve Parachute
The reserve canopy is a critical, so purchase new or get a higher quality used one. You can be less critical on your main canopy then your reserve. Remember to buy a reserve size large enough that you can land safely even under pressure.
The Main Parachute
While we recommend a new canopy, we understand that budget is a reality. New or used is fine, but be picky, get advice from coaches and have it looked at by a rigger.
Make sure that your main and reserve canopy will fit in your container properly if buying used. Too small or too large of a parachute can be a problem, you can get the serial number and check with the manufacturer. Additionally make sure that the container fits you, especially if you plan to freefly. This might mean you are buying your container new even if you wanted used as being safe and having a good fit is more important then saving some money. Remember to account for the basic safety features you want like skyhooks, RSLs, freefly friendly rigs, etc.
An AAD can be bought used or new, we recommend Cypres or Vigil. There really is not much benefit to new VS used on these products, as pricing is based on how many years since manufacturing date. If you do buy a used AAD, please remember to check when regular maintenance is due on it and ensure all proper documentation is provided.