If you know someone who has ever bought a rig, you will know that it is a very personalized process. What one person considers to be right may not work well for another individual.
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you need to seek maximum advice from coaches and instructors at the Drop Zone before completing the purchase.
While the Internet is full of credible information, only a person who has been witness to your jump and has engaged you in a discussion will be able to advise you on the right choice.
If you are still not sure of the right questions to ask, approach your drop zone’s Chief Instructor for further assistance.
Taking the decision to buy
It is said that you should ideally invest in skydiving gear for yourself only after being certain that you wish to pursue skydiving as a regular hobby.
If your plan is to continue doing so only sporadically – say no more than twice a year – then the investment may not be worth it from an economic perspective. Find more on SkydivingDZs best places to get skydiving gear for detailed availability and requirement in the region.
However, if you are planning on doing so every month or so, then it will be worthwhile to purchase your own diving gear.
When you buy your own equipment, it helps you save money each time you go for the drop and allows you to familiarize yourself time and time again with the same piece of equipment.
This is the single most important thing that can help you improve your overall technique while making you more comfortable when in the air than when on the ground.
One drawback of having rented gear is that you need to adjust yourself to a new set of equipment every time and that could be a hassle for some.
Components to be bought
Anyone who has taken skydiving training will know that there are four components to a parachute system, also known as a rig:
- Container system or harness
- Main canopy
- Reserve canopy
Every part has several options to work with, and you can mix-and-match components from different manufacturers. They usually have a good level of compatibility with common AADs being accommodated in the standard container systems.
Buying a container revolves predominantly around three criteria:
- Canopy or container size
- Harness size
The containers are usually made as per the measures of the original purchaser, so you need to buy something that was built for a person who is similar in size to you.
The original specifications could have different measurements to it, but if you are buying from the second-hand market, you will usually find them listed as per weight and height.
These parameters usually prove to be good enough for determining the sizing. However, it is always advisable that you try on the container if possible.
See if the rig offers a snug fit while not becoming uncomfortable and look for good alignment of the laterals and hip rings with your hips. It is recommended that you seek advice from an experienced rigger, jumper, or instructor to get the best know-how on the matter.
- Main canopy
You have a range of sizes and shapes to choose from while deciding on the main canopy. It’s worth noting that size is not always the most important factor.
The canopy design is just as important in terms of deciding whether the rig is suited to your size or not. Considering a large number of canopies available, it is wise to seek expert advice on choosing the ideal canopy.
Your peers are not the right people to help you here since their opinions will be largely referenced around their respective canopies, which will be different from what you own. If possible, do a test jump with your preferred main canopy before making the purchase.
- Reserve canopy
As far as the choice of reserve canopies is concerned, you have a limited number of options to work with. There is very little difference in terms of their cost, docility, and reliability.
You will jump less frequently with a reserve, so online reviews are the way to go here rather than the first-hand experience. It also helps in filtering out models that do not live up to the expectations.
Modern reserves are typically 7-cell, though some older five cells still exist in the marker. A lower aspect ratio and fewer cells are considered to be more docile while trading off flare power.
A good-quality reserve lasts around 20 years on an average with a fairly linear model of depreciation. If you are struggling to find your ideal pick in the second-hand market, don’t shy away from splurging on new equipment.
Known as an Automatic Activation Device, this is equipment being mandated in several drop zones around the world. An AAD will last long, averaging around 15 years, and need to be maintained well over its lifespan.
Some options are military-grade but increasingly making their way into the civilian market. Second hand AAD units are also top-rated among those averse to spending big on a new one. Nevertheless, a new unit offers better value in the long term, while renting is always an option.
Used equipment vs. New equipment
Advantages of buying used equipment
- A cheaper alternative to buying new gear
- Depreciation is usually less
- Immediate availability and can be purchased without a deposit
- Can be used for a test jump before deciding on the final purchase
Advantages of buying new equipment
- These are made to your specifications so the fit and comfort will be better
- Built as per your choice of colors, so you get to look good
- Assurance of quality, you can skip the hassle of double-checking with a rigger
- Lead time is known so you know exactly when you can get your hands on it
If you are looking to save some money, start by making purchases of second-hand parts. For every piece of equipment that you don’t find in the resell market, you can purchase a new one.