3-way skydiveSo you want to know more about skydiving gear. Great! So do I! I also have spent hours and hours researching gear, so even though I’m not an expert, I can at least hold a reasonable conversation on the topic. I might ask more questions than I have answers, but we can still talk, right?

For now, this post is intended as a catch-all place to talk about gear. Used gear, new gear. Gear you find online, where to find it, what to pay, what not to pay, etc. Some of what I present here will be good advice. Some you’ll disagree with… if you do disagree, please tell me why. I enjoy it when people cause me to change my opinion.

But it’s worth noting that this really is just a collection of my opinions, and if you’re spending time at your local dropzone, you’re going to get a lot of different opinions. Some of them will be based on decades of experience I don’t have… And some of those opinions are coming from your instructors. LISTEN TO YOUR INSTRUCTORS. They know you better than I do, and they have amazing experience and background in the sport.

So while this collection of opinions might be useful, if this is all you’re using, you’ve made a mistake. Don’t do that. Talk to your people.

Click through the following links to learn more:

Anything else you’d like to see? Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can come up with.

If I were counseling a newer jumper with limited funds, I’d probably recommend obtaining gear in the following order.

  1. Digital altimeter
  2. Helmet
  3. Discipline specific jump suit
  4. Parachute system
  5. Audible altimeter
  6. Camera

Before I go, an anecdote, and why I encourage newer jumpers to buy their own gear as quickly as they can. The story is mine… I managed to purchase my gear early, and by my 30th jump I was flying my own stuff. I managed to find a reserve canopy from one seller, an AAD from another, and finally a used Sabre2 210 with a Mirage M5 that was sized for someone three inches taller than me… but also much thinner, so when I put the container on, the geometry worked out and it was safe for me to fly it. The best part of that container is it could also safely fly a 190 square foot main canopy, so when the time came for me to downsize, I was able to do it without buying a new container.

The 210 was well sized for me. I was able to take my first canopy course using my own gear. I got to go on more jumps because I had my own gear. I got used to my equipment because I had my own gear. I was never grounded because there wasn’t appropriately sized rental gear for me… because I had my own gear. I spent about $4,200 on that first set of gear. I downsized to a 190 and sold the 210 for almost exactly what I paid for it. By the time I sold the system to a friend, I had put an extra hundred jumps on the container, and about 50 jumps on the 190. The AAD was a year older. The container was a year older. The whole thing depreciated, so my friend Jill got my system for less than I had paid for it. All told, I discounted the system by $500 for her. I think it was a good deal for her, and a good deal for me, too.

That means I paid about $500 to use that system, and got about 100 jumps on it… or $5 a jump. This is so much cheaper than renting. Unless you’re rapidly downsizing (you shouldn’t be), there’s no reason not to buy good used gear. As long as it’s less than ten or fifteen years old, it’s going to hold its value, and you’ll save a ton of money on renting other people’s stuff.

That’s my opinion – do with it what you will! Let me know what you think.

Other resources

Dropzone.com article on buying used gear

I don’t agree with everything Catherine Bernier has to say about buying your first container, but that’s the point, right? Get advice from different people.