The skydiving winter season is coming and with it the need to properly dress before winter jumping. As skydivers, we love the summer; well, maybe we don’t like it if it’s too hot! Yet, honestly we also love to jump during the winter, if it is not too cold. Generally speaking we skydivers are never completely satisfied with the weather. It is tough to make everyone happy and there is no doubt we will continue to complain about the weather in the next seasons. While keeping this in mind, the most important thing is to find out what is suitable for each individual and their personal limits.
I am a Brazilian, I was previously living in California, and now I’m in Spain. I do not like to jump in the cold, but the desire for skydiving is much greater than my fear of the cold weather. Since I started skydiving I found out from other experienced skydivers tips and advice on how to beat the stiff cold and keep jumping during the winter season! If you are like me, let’s dress for success and nail all our winter jumps.
Go to a warmer place
A few people are lucky enough to be able to travel around the world, avoiding the less desirable weather. These skydivers can escape from rain, cold, and windy days. Sometimes I have the opportunity of doing so, and I really love this particular idea. Ten best places to skydive – EUA and Europe – is a great list to begin with your research.
We have two hemispheres in the world. When it’s winter in the North Hemisphere, it’s summer in the South Hemisphere and vice versa. I’m writing this article in Spain, and it is the beginning of our skydiving winter season. The last day I could jump was -20 degrees celsius at full altitude (November 17th). The previous two days, the weather was not good for jumping due to the high speed winds. And so, next month I will be traveling to Brazil. Family time, summer, and lots of friends to jump with and good weather to jump in!
So as a skydiver, perhaps thinking about travelling to warmer destinations during your home’s winter season, is an option for you. Think ahead when picking your vacation time, beat the cold weather and keep skydiving in the winter!
Latex gloves or nitrile gloves
If traveling is not in the cards, maybe you can not afford doing so, or have some time restrictions, the solution is to continue skydiving in the winter! One of the best pieces of advice I have received is to wear latex gloves. They are windproof and will keep your hands warmer than only wearing a pair of regular skydiving gloves. It gets a little moistened when you take them off after landing, but just flip them inside out and you will be back to normal!
Some people are allergic to latex and nitrile gloves can be a great substitute. Please remember to practice your deployment and emergency procedures before jumping with anything that you are not used to wearing. This is a very important additional piece of advice that should not be overlooked. You may not take into account the unfamiliar feeling of more restricted dexterity from wearing gloves. It is much better to address this on the ground before your jump, than in the sky!
Hot hands – Instant hand warmer
I am not sure if you are like me, but I need my hands, feet, and neck warm to be able to skydive comfortably during the winter. If I do have those particular parts of my body warm, the rest will not disturb me as much during my skydiving day. I found out about instant hand warmers while at Skydance Skydiving (skydiving center in Davis, California). I use Hot Hands brand and now I buy them from Amazon. It really helps a lot to keep myself warm! You can find these hand warmers, or other brands, in a variety of sports stores, convenience stores and online, and they come in many different sizes.
I don’t really know the real reason, but I have a lot of neck issues, and I always warm up it before any jump. I protect my neck if its summer or winter, I can’t skydive with my neck exposed. The wind from altitude puts a kind of stress on my neck muscles, and the pain starts. For me, it is very wise to use a good quality buff.
During the summer, I don’t need anything special to skydive, besides my Colorful Jerseys and shorts, and I just use a regular buff. However, for winter skydiving, the best buff I have found was the one that Chris Argyle manufactures. Chris is a tunnel and skydiving coach based in Utah, USA. He works at iFly Utah and has his own brand called Shred all the Gnar.
If you are looking for an alternative material, I recommend to check at REI. They have many buffs and the one I bought last winter was the Buff ThermoNet Multifunctional Head Wear. Also, check prices at different places and online stores, I’m not suggesting any brand in this article, just providing examples and options.
Clothes and layers
It all depends on what we are wearing when jumping. However, the basic things I use are a regular shirt, a Nike Therma Top, and a Nike Pro Dri-FIT Therma Tights. On top of everything, I wear my Colorful Jumpsuit or jeans and a Colorful Jersey.
Another option to consider is to look into winter cycling clothes. Winter cycling clothing is often designed with a combination of warmth, water resistance, wind proofing, and breathability. The clothing is low weight, and designed for you to be able to move comfortably in and wick sweat away from the body to keep you dry. You can find high collar winter cycling tops, which are great addition to wearing a buff.
The material that will touch our skin first has the job to move perspiration away from the body and to the exterior of the shirt to be evaporated more easily and keep us dry. Polyester and nylon, or natural fibers like merino wool, for colder days.
Above my regular shirt, I wear something like Nike Therma Top. It’s a great product that helps in retaining heat from the body. My legs never make me uncomfortable in the cold, with leggings and jeans, I am good to skydive during cold days.
My jumpsuit is the perfect fashion piece to protect me from the wind during free fall and from hazardous objects during landing, including the ground. Unexpected things may happen and we may not know where we will land – this outer layer can offer protection.
Smartwool is the one I selected for this winter. It breathes well and they are super warm, perfect for cold days. Smartwool is made with merino and wool which deliver a great touch. Also they have unique mesh ventilation that helps to keep your feet dry and at the right temperature.
Keep coming back
We can never be reminded enough that we all need to check if we can move our body in all possible directions and also perform the deployment and emergency procedures when we wear or use any new gear for the first time. Not only in the skydiving winter season with extra layers, but whenever we make significant changes to our usual skydiving habits. Don’t be that guy! Test it before jumping and do it fully equipped.
Also, before buying any item I have mentioned, please do your own research, Amazon always has good deals, but research is the key. Do your homework and get the best for the lowest price available.
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