Six tandem skydive clothing tips first timers need to know

Jul 24, 2014 BY Annette Lyn O'Neil

Want your first skydive to be comfortable as well as thrilling? Then listen up. You’ll need to look beyond the oversimplified information you already have. Most tandem skydiving operations give some version or other of the same spiel. Namely to wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes. But that’s not enough information to guarantee your passage without bruises and grass stains. Here’s the insider info and six tandem skydive clothing tips.

Tandem skydive clothing tips flickr image by SkydiveAndes

Tandem skydive clothing tips

Follow these six tips and your first jump won’t be ruined by worrying about your appearance or impractical clothing. And believe us, you don’t want anything to take away from the experience.

1: Wear clothing that allows you to move freely (and fits nicely under a jumpsuit)

At most dropzones, you can choose to be issued a jumpsuit that, like a mechanic’s onesie, covers your street clothing. It’s a good idea to wear one – not only because it eliminates your likelihood of a grass-stained butt, but it keeps the rest of your clothing away from the relative wind (which, you will discover, has an insatiable desire to pull off your clothing and then hit you repeatedly with it).

Tandem skydiving isn’t entirely passive, either. You’ll be moving around, and you’ll want to be comfortable through your entire range of motion. Gym clothes generally work really well.

2: If you’re foregoing the jumpsuit, wear nothing that flaps. Not even a little bit

At 120 miles an hour, you can rest assured that anything flappable will leave a bruise, which is one of the essential skydive clothing tips. This includes buckles, grommets, collars, and loose clothing made of material heavier than a t-shirt. Along those lines, if you don’t wear a shirt long enough to tuck firmly under your waistband or into the legs of the harness, wind may sneak under it and give the video guy a free show.

Tandem skydive clothing tips flickr image by Mark Hills

3: Whether or not you’re going the jumpsuit route, jewellery is a truly terrible idea

It’ll hurt you or you’ll lose it. Case closed.

4: Wear sturdy shoes that lace up

You may think that the requirement for a sturdy shoe is entirely due to the landing – after all, your shoes are going to be toodling around in midair for the rest of the skydive, right? Actually, no. Surprisingly, the landing isn’t all you need to consider in regards to footwear. It’s not unheard of for unlaced (or insecurely laced) shoes to pop off in freefall, and a one-shoe landing is not a comfortable prospect.

With a reputable dropzone you can expect, in most cases, to have a reasonably light landing. However, eventualities do arise. So, if you can’t hop down from the top of a three-step stoop without thinking about your shoes, don’t do a tandem skydive in them.

Tandem skydive clothing tips flickr image by respiritu

5: Consider the weather—from top to bottom

In the US, tandem skydiving is regulated to be a fair-weather sport: no clouds allowed, and daytime-only jumping is the standard. The sunshine may imply that it’s balmy all the way to altitude, but don’t let that fool you into under-dressing. Due to a little meteorological phenomenon called ‘lapse rate’, the temperature drops about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit for 1,000 feet of gained altitude.

You’re probably going up above 10,000 feet from where your plane will take off. I’ll let you do the maths and work it out that you’ll need to bring a jacket. Some of these top tandem skydive clothing tips are fairly obvious.

Do not, however, let the weather scare you off the idea of skydiving. Some high-altitude dropzones are well worth the price of cold fingers and a hot cocoa. Skydive the Wasatch, for instance, with its jaw-dropping views of the snow-dusted mountain wilderness surrounding Salt Lake City – or Mile-Hi Skydiving, which takes in practically the entire Colorado Front Range from altitude.

6: Secure that hair

It’s not just tandem skydive clothing tips you’ll need to be privy to as hair also needs to be considered. If you have a buzz cut, you’re golden. Anything longer than that should be braided, banded, skullcapped or it’ll tangle like you would not believe. What sort of tangle am I talking about? The kind you have to cut off. Instant-dreadlocks. Mats. The bad kind.

Secure your hair a top Tandem skydive clothing tip Flickr image by Morgan Sherwood

You’ll certainly be saving photos and videos of this experience for posterity. Bring the preening tools you need to feel comfortable on camera.

So there you go, six tandem skydive clothing tips to help you make the most of your first skydiving experience. Enjoy!

Colorado, North America, United States, Utah
DZ (dropzone), Freefall, Jumpsuit
Top 10s

8 responses to “Six tandem skydive clothing tips first timers need to know”

  1. Hello,
    I wouldl ike to get some information regarding skydiving in Monaco.Where? How much? Possible for tandemjump? and so on.
    I need the information as soon as poosible since it’s going to be a birthday present.
    Tank you
    / Tannaz

    • Hi Tannaz. You can’t skydive in Monaco, in fact the closest place as far as I know is Le Luc which is towards Marseilles on the A8 and just over an hour from Nice.

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