Getting your first skydiving gear is a Christmas-morning moment. For the first time, you have a brand-new (or new-to-you) rig, a cozy helmet that hasn’t been worn by every tandem passenger since 1986 and an altimeter that doesn’t look like it has been used as the puck for several dozen games of hockey.
As you may already suspect, however, that basic equipment isn’t all you need for a successful day on the dropzone. Every skydiver needs a well-stocked ‘on-the-go’ packing kit for skydiving in addition to the basic gear required to simply survive the act of jumping out of a plane.
So, what goes into the perfect packing kit for skydiving? To help you out we’ve compiled a handy, definitive list of everything that you need. If you haven’t got it, then you need to get it. So take notes and happy shopping, it’ll be worth it in the long run – trust us.
- Parachute Association license
- Reserve repack card
- AAD air travel card (eg Cypres or Vigil) so you aren’t caught off guard at any check-in you may pass through during your skydiving career
- Packing mat/drag mat: preferably, with a sun cover, riser holders and at least one pocket (if your mat doesn’t have a sun cover, bring an old towel to cover your gear during any short moments you need to leave it in the sun).
- Labeling tape
- A sturdy, high-quality suit hanger with molded shoulders (to hang up your suit both at home and at the DZ)
- Several pull-up cords (or a Spectra-and-steel Power Tool)
- Leatherman, Swiss Army knife or other sturdy miltitool
- Line routing card
- Hemostat or tweezers (for those moments when your fingers are just too big for the job)
- Extra closing loops
- Rubber bands, both large and small (or Tube Stoes, if you prefer)
Logging and note-taking materials
- Paper logbook (if you don’t keep a digital version) in a Ziploc bag
- Ballpoint pen
- Notepad (for sharing information with other skydivers)
* NB: you’ll add significantly to this section if you start to get serious about aerial photography – this is a packing kit for skydiving, after all, not a packing kit for full-on aerial cinematography – but this is an excellent starting point.
- Waterproof case
- Non-waterproof case (for dry situations where you prefer better sound over better equipment security)
- Extra adhesive camera mounts
- Mount wrench
- Sync/charge cable
- Extra, charged batteries
- Microfiber lens cleaning cloth and solution
- Extra SD cards, labeled clearly with identifying numbers (stored either in the little plastic cases they come in or a store-bought SD card wallet)
- Non-perishable ’emergency’ snacks
- A water bottle (or rollable Platypus bottle) with flavor packets, edible essential oils or tea bags to make hydration more palatable
- UV-protective sunglasses
- Packing kneepads
- Clean sweat rag
- Label everything. Lots of skydivers on the DZ will have exactly the same items that you do in their packing kit for skydiving, from closing tools to helmets. If unlabeled items go missing from your kit, it’s likely not an issue of dishonesty – just mistaken identity. Labeling often solves the problem before it arises.
- Keep it clean and organized. Keep like with like in separate bags within the larger gearbag, and keep everything protected from dust, dampness, dirt and sun. Make it easy to find every individual item, and you’ll save hours of time in the long run.