Its all about the style points and presentation. Right? Okay maybe this is not all the way true in skydiving. Of course skill, knowledge and safety is first up and then we can add our unique style to the mix. Maybe its completely matching everything, from shoes, to jumpsuit to rig and canopy. Or perhaps you are the master of funky cool socks. Some of us are sponsored skydivers and our style is always representing gear from our sponsors. And what about in the winter time, how should we dress? So how do you choose the best skydiving clothing? Everyone will have their own preference, but there are some popular items that we can all agree on that are awesome for skydiving in!
Colorful Jerseys of course! The Colorful Jersey brand makes the best skydiving jerseys. Jerseys are a very popular skydiving shirt to wear during the summer weather, or to layer for colder days. Colorful Jerseys are made for skydivers designed by a skydiver. With extra thought gone into detail about the fabric used and the particular cut of the jerseys. There is no issue with fraying or pilling of the jerseys from skydiving at extreme speeds. The fabric is breathable, and slightly fitted to your body so that there isn’t too much loose material when skydiving. In the arms, there is extra length to accommodate once your rig is on, the sleeves wont be pulled back and too short on your arms.
Skydivers from the beginning have been researching and testing the best materials, designs and fits for skydiving jumpsuits. In our present day, the options that we have for skydiving jumpsuits are insane. Tailored to our many disciplines in the sport, you can without a doubt find what you need. Before long, you will have a collection of multiple jumpsuits that you use for various flying.
There are many companies specializing in producing skydiving and tunnel flying suits. Surely wherever you are jumping or flying in a tunnel, someone you know, or a friend of a friend, is a suit dealer. They can help you choose a suit that would be good for you, and help you design it. Of course you can buy a used jumpsuit, which will be cheaper than getting a custom fitted suit. Also, if you are looking to not spend as much, some companies have stock suits for a cheaper price.
How should skydiving clothing fit?
There are for sure some items that I am not a big fan of jumping in. Both bulky clothing items and too tight items are on my list of ‘no jumping clothes’. When I am skydiving, I want to be as comfortable as possible. Having distraction or discomfort caused by something like my outfit, is going to have me focusing on something not important. Being distracted by clothing during climb to altitude, in freefall and during canopy, is something I can easily avoid.
Bulky clothing, like a very big hoodie or big loose sweat pants are not ideal to jump in. If you are living in a hot climate, you may wonder why someone would ever consider jumping in these type of clothing. Well, some of us skydivers have cold weather during the winter season. And as a result, can get desperate to keep out that cold wind during our winter jumps.
Big bulky hoodies and pants have a lot of drag on them. Maybe you are doing a belly jump with a small person, so this is good drag. However, when wanting to do free fly jumps, this extra drag can really be an annoyance. Also, the extra bulk can make our gear fit differently. Is it easy to deploy with all that extra flapping fabric? Now with this extra tightness in your harness, can you reach your arms up as high under canopy? T-rex arms are not funny in this moment.
Too tight is never a good feeling for skydiving clothing. When I am sitting on the plane climbing to altitude, the plane can get crowded fast, no need to have my clothing add to the uncomfortable plane. Don’t even get me thinking of sitting on the floor in a little Cessna with my too-tight jeans on. Its hell I tell you. Trying to climb out the plane in a jumpsuit that doesn’t quite fit like it used too, is also a thing of nightmares. It is not fun to be feeling like you are gonna bust. For me, I have no chance of being free or feeling flow in my flying, if I am squeezed into something a little too tight.
A funny little story about my first time jumping from a hot-air balloon. Presumably it was to be cold in the morning, so I wore three pairs of yoga pants. This became so tight, it was difficult to bend my knees. While I was attempting to climb over the basket, my tight layers of yoga pants, where not my brightest idea after all. I was warm, but I needed help to climb onto the basket, since I mummy wrapped my legs.
If you are jumping in the winter months, check out this article on how to skydive in the winter. Winter jumping means that we are going to have to deal with that crisp winter wind, no matter what. However, we can dress the part and make our winter jumps a little bit more bearable. Personally, I do not suggest choosing big bulky clothing (see paragraph above). Here are a few of my suggestions for winter skydiving clothing:
- A base layer that will be against the skin first. Choose a fabric that helps move perspiration away from the body and to the exterior of the shirt/pants. Polyester, nylon and natural fabrics like merino wool.
- A middle layer of thermal wear is perfect for winter skydiving. Thermal wear helps to retain body heat, and are made comfortable and movable. These thermal clothes are produced by many sport companies like Nike, Adidas and Under Armor. Check out a sporting store or hiking shop and you should find many options. Mostly for bottoms I don’t use a base layer, I prefer to wear thermal leggings with a roomy pair of jeans or biking pants overtop.
- An outer layer can be something that protects me from the wind. Some people like to use a jumpsuit that fits overtop of their layers. Others prefer to wear jeans and a thermal sweater or small jacket.
Personally I like to use biking pants and tops. This is because it is designed to keep you warm during winter biking. The clothing is low-weight, warm, water resistant, breathable and wind proof. It is designed so you can move comfortably, and to wick sweat away from the body to keep you dry. You can also find tops with high collars. For myself, biking clothing is my favourite type of clothing to wear for winter skydiving.
Summer time, is the best weather ever for skydiving. Of course, there are many people who do not love the middle of summer for jumping. Its far to hot for them. However, this is my favourite time to jump. The hot hot summer days. Its so easy to pick skydiving clothing in the warmer weather. This year was the first year I owned a summer shorty jump suit. I LOVED IT! For me, it was perfect light material that complimented the shorty style cut. I cannot recommend it enough. Wearing a full jumpsuit in the summer is absolutely okay too. Although, I find it a bit to sweaty and uncomfortable. However, if you are a new skydiver and haven’t quite nailed your landings yet. A full jumpsuit would really give you protection on those not so perfect landings.
Also, wearing skydiving free fly or swoop shorts with a regular t-shirt is a really comfortable outfit for summer skydiving. Personally, I love the skydiving pants/shorts because they have a zipper pocket and reinforcement. The reinforcement is perfect in case I have a bad landing, I have a bit more protection on my butt and knees. If I was just wearing yoga pants, or leggings, the protection is basically non-existent. The best part of summer jumps is you have endless options for skydiving clothing to jump in. Hell, you can even do an undie jump or naked jump if you are into that!
Likely if you have been around long enough, you will see people skydiving in all types of footwear. It is so funny to see people in the summer who have somehow managed to bungie or fasten elastic bands on their sandals so they can skydive in them. Chances are if you have done any beach jumps, you will see people not wearing any shoes at all! This is am amazing feeling, having your toes wiggling in freefall. I highly recommend you try this out!
Wearing too big of footwear, like clunky boots, is not my preference. I have seen guys jumping in military style boots, and for myself, I feel like this is too bulky and big. Supposedly it would be good if you were going to be landing out in an area with unknown conditions. However, for the most part, I think a pair of shoes is sufficient. I like to wear a light pair of shoes. Even better if they are high top over my ankles. Which maybe gives a bit of support to avoid rolling an ankles. Be sure to have a good fitting pair of shoes, because it sucks to loose a shoe on exit or during a skydive. It is distracting and can take your focus off of the jump.
How else can you complete your amazing style while skydiving? Accessorizing! Even better, functional accessorizing. Funky socks are amazing and I don’t care what anyone has to say against them. They are fun, colourful and I like that they pull up super high. If I am jumping in colder weather, these fun socks cover my ankles and go high up onto my calf for that extra layer of warmth….and style! Even in the summer, fun socks are awesome. There is nothing more I like to see accompanying a bad ass swoop, than a canopy pilot rocking some amazing socks as they flash by. Fantastic.
Buffs are also another super functional clothing item in skydiving. There are tons of brands and amazing designs and patterns. Often, they are distributed as swag at boogies and events. Before long you will have a pretty decent collection of buffs. Personally, I cannot even enter the wind tunnel without having a buff under my helmet. Same for skydiving, I use a buff as it protects my hair from damage in the wind and after wards trying to untangle it. Buffs can also be super functional for people with really long hair or long dreadlocks. This head sock really helps keep everything in place. In the winter, buffs are perfect for protecting your neck and face from the cold wind.
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Let me take this opportunity to remind you of safety with skydiving clothing. 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. Whenever we make significant changes to our usual skydiving habits, we should practise these movements when full equipped in our gear.
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