Last updated June 9, 2024

Time to protect your brain. This is the number one most critical purpose of a skydiving helmet – it protects who you are. It might also keep your face pretty, under the right circumstances. In the plane, you are much less likely to get hurt if you hit turbulence and wack your head against the fuselage. Exiting the plane, especially with big groups, is another opportunity to have your head smacked into the door frame, or get kicked in the face by another skydiver. In freefall, you get some protection from head to head collisions. Finally, while landing, especially if you’re landing out or near obstacles, you get some added protection then, also. 

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I’m writing this in August of 2023, and scams in the resell marketplace are going crazy. I’ve got a lot of links on where to buy used gear, and I still like those pages, but I don’t like how often we’re seeing people get ripped off… especially newer jumpers who are just learning the ropes.

When you’re buying used gear, the best method to keep from getting ripped off is to use an escrow service. A lot of riggers offer this; basically you pay the escrow agent, and the seller will ship the gear to that agent. Hopefully this person is a rigger, who can inspect the gear and verify that what is being sold matches the description the buyer and seller agreed upon. If everything checks out, the rigger sends payment to the seller, and delivers the gear to the buyer. Usually there’s a small fee associated with this service.

My rigger doesn’t like to handle other people’s money, so we typically do a variation on that theme. The seller ships to my rigger. When the gear checks out, I pay the seller, and after payment is verified to be received, delivers the gear. If he finds something wrong with the gear that wasn’t disclosed, I’ll try to renegotiate the price. If we cannot come to agreement, my rigger mails the gear back to the seller.

The point is, I’m not sending money for gear I haven’t inspected. And the seller is not sending me gear without receiving funds. We’re trying to protect each other, and keep the risk low for everyone.

Good ideas to verify the authenticity of the seller: do not buy from a social media account that isn’t a person. If it’s a legitimate skydive store selling used gear (these exist too), they have a website and a phone number (and a reputation). Verify it’s a real store by checking with friends in the sport and go for it. If the Ranch Pro Shop lists used gear, you can be sure it’s been inspected by their rigger and the description will match the goods. If it’s a Facebook user named “Skydive Gears” you might want to apply some skepticism.

I like to ask the person where they jump, see who we know in common, maybe even call their drop zone to verify that the person actually exists. Get a reference from their rigger, perhaps…

Want more ways to protect yourself? Here’s a great video from Tony Bourke. Take a watch and learn how to protect yourself.


Photo: Tammy Stone

One of the most common questions I receive from newer skydivers is where to buy skydiving gear. This post, like the rest of this website, is geared towards jumpers in the United States. While the used market tends to be global, the section on new gear will only include US based retailers. If you’re shopping in other parts of the world, you will likely have other, better resources for purchasing gear.

For your first parachute system, I typically recommend buying used… especially for your main canopy (see that page for details). Expect this process to take a while. I spent about three months putting together my first rig, but depending on your body shape and canopy size requirements it can be easier… or more challenging. In general, you can buy any part of your kit used, though I prefer a new helmet.

Continue reading “Where to Buy Skydiving Gear”