Skip to Content

Complete Guide to Skydiving Gear & Equipment

Skydiving Safety

Wisconsin Skydiving Center Posted by: Wisconsin Skydiving Center 11 months ago

Skydiving is an exhilarating experience that many people dream of trying at least once in their lives. But before you take that first jump, it’s important to understand the gear and equipment that you and your instructor will be using. In this skydiving equipment list, we’ll cover everything you need to know to prepare for your first jump. (If you’re the type of person who skydives, you probably like to be prepared!)

Safety is our number one priority at Wisconsin Skydiving, which means that we’ll require you to wear specific gear and equipment to ensure an enjoyable, safety-first skydiving experience. We’ll provide most of the gear you’ll need, but there are a few things you’ll need to bring yourself. Let’s break it all down, shall we?

Let’s start with the essentials, head-to-toe.

Skydiving equipment - parachutes and packs for tandem and solo skydivers at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Milwaukee

Skydiving Helmet & Goggles

Skydiving is an extreme sport, so you might think that you, as a tandem skydiver, will be wearing a helmet – but you won’t! With tandem skydiving, you are positioned in front of your instructor, and just about the very last thing you want to do is accidentally knock your instructor out! Your skydiving instructor may wear an open-face or full-face helmet, though; it’s up to them. 

Should you decide to embark on your own solo skydiving journey, though, you will for sure wear a hard-shell helmet. We will provide you with a helmet at first, but if you make this magical sport a long-term hobby, you’ll want to invest in your own helmet. You’ll want to get sized to your noggin too so it’s comfortable and maximally effective.

You’ll also need goggles to protect your eyes from the wind during the freefall. If you wear glasses or contacts, you should be able to keep them on without issue. We provide every tandem student with a pair. Those learning to skydive will eventually want to get their own pair.

Skydiving Jumpsuit

A jumpsuit is a specially designed one-piece skydiving suit that creates uniform drag, contains and protects your clothing, and helps you fly more efficiently in the air. It also protects your body from the wind and helps to keep you warm during cooler months. We provide tandem students and students in training with a jumpsuit. If you pursue your skydiving license, it won’t be long before you purchase your own jumpsuit.

The Skydiving “Rig”

The skydiving rig is the most critical piece of equipment in skydiving. It’s the two-parachute system, including a main and reserve parachute, enclosed in the backpack-style form factor you’d recognize from the movies. Everything packed into your rig is essential for keeping you safe and having a great time during your freefall and descent. 

We, of course, provide you and your instructor with a top-of-the-line, meticulously maintained tandem skydiving rig for your first jump experience. If you go on to jump solo, though, you’ll purchase your own rig at some point.

The Altimeter

Altitude awareness is essential during a skydive. This is not the tandem student’s job, of course, although it’s good to keep the progression of your jump in mind. Tandem instructors, students learning to skydive solo, and licensed skydivers all wear at least one altimeter. Skydivers keep track of altitude in order to know precisely when to deploy the parachute and when to prepare for landing, among other things.

The most popular types of altimeters are wrist and audible. The wrist altimeter can be analog or digital, and it fits on the wrist like a big watch. The audible altimeter is a device that expert skydivers wear inside their helmets. It beeps at predetermined altitudes to alert the skydiver of where they are in the sky and to prompt their next action.

Man smiling with joy during skydiving freefall at Wisconsin Skydiving Center near Chicago

Skydiving Clothing

Now that we’ve covered the provided equipment, let’s move on to the gear every skydiver – from novice to professional – brings to the DZ: the clothes on your back! It’s essential to choose the right clothing, both to ensure that you’re comfortable during your jump and that your clothing doesn’t become a safety hazard. And, of course, you want to look good. (In skydiving, we do care about things like that too.)

Under your jumpsuit (if you choose or need to wear one) you should wear comfortable, weather-appropriate, athletic clothing that isn’t too tight or too loose, or bulky. You’ll want to wear close-toed shoes to protect your feet during the landing; ideally athletic shoes. Avoid wearing shorts, as they can ride up during the freefall and be uncomfortable (but pack them to wear afterward if the weather is warm), and you cannot wear sandals, flip-flops, heels, or boots.

On the clothing note … be sure to empty your pockets! For safety reasons, you won’t be allowed to bring a phone to take selfies or wear your own sports camera. You also won’t be allowed to bring any loose items on the plane, such as jewelry, hats, costume pieces, or loose change that could become a safety hazard during the jump. (We’ll keep these safe for you on the ground.)

Skydiving instructors with skydiving equipment at Wisconsin Skydiving Center

Other Skydiving Essentials

You’re going to have a landmark day at Wisconsin Skydiving Center, so you’ll also need to bring the rest of your essential kit: your sense of adventure; your willingness to face fear and harness your courage; your grit, and your wits so you can transcend challenge; your faith in yourself; your love of growth experiences and human connection; and your respect for pure adrenaline. It’s a tall order … we know. We also know you are up for it. 

All the technological marvels of skydiving gear and equipment can’t match what you carry around every day in your incredible brain and your beautiful heart. Celebrate all of the things that make you with the powerful experience that is human flight. 

Pack up what you need, and we’ll provide the rest – come jump with us! Blue skies!