The world of skydiving offers a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping experience like no other. One essential aspect to ensure you enjoy this exceptional sport is choosing the right gear, particularly the perfect skydiving suit. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different types of suits, factors to consider when making your selection, and tips for finding the best fit.
Understanding Different Types of Skydiving Suits
Before diving into how to choose the perfect suit, it’s crucial to understand the various categories available on the market. Each type serves a specific purpose and suits different skill levels and disciplines within the sport.
Freefly suits are designed for advanced skydivers engaging in freeflying—an acrobatic discipline involving various body positions that demand precise control. These suits offer a balance between mobility and drag, with tight-fitting arms and legs for unrestricted movement and strategically placed grips for better control during transitions.
Formation Skydiving (FS) Suits
Also known as “relative work” or “belly flying,” formation skydiving requires stable flight in a belly-to-earth position while forming geometric patterns with fellow jumpers. FS suits typically feature grippers on the arms and legs to facilitate docking and tighter formations, and often have booties to provide additional surface area and control during flight.
Indoor skydiving has gained popularity in recent years, allowing enthusiasts to practice their skills without jumping out of an aircraft. Tunnel suits are specifically made for indoor wind tunnels, prioritizing durability due to the high wear and tear associated with these environments. They may also include reinforced knees and elbows to withstand repeated contact with the tunnel walls.
For experienced skydivers looking to take their skills to the next level, wingsuits enable pilots to glide through the air with incredible speed and agility. These suits feature wing-like panels between the arms and body, as well as between the legs, creating lift and allowing for prolonged flight times and impressive horizontal distances covered.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Skydiving Suit
Now that you have an understanding of the different types of skydiving suits available, it’s time to consider some essential factors in selecting the perfect suit for your needs.
Your Skydiving Discipline
The first step is to identify your primary discipline within the sport. As mentioned earlier, each suit serves a specific purpose and is designed to cater to the unique requirements of various disciplines. Choose a suit that aligns with your preferred discipline to ensure optimal performance and safety during your jumps.
Fit and Comfort
A well-fitting suit is crucial for both comfort and safety in the sky. An ill-fitting suit can cause discomfort, restrict movement, or even compromise your ability to control your body position during freefall. Most manufacturers offer custom sizing options to provide the best possible fit for your body type. Be sure to follow measuring instructions carefully and consult with experts if you’re unsure about sizing.
The material used in your suit will significantly impact its durability, flexibility, and overall performance. Common materials include nylon, polyester, and spandex, each offering its benefits and drawbacks. Nylon and polyester are more durable but less flexible, whereas spandex provides excellent mobility at the expense of durability. Consider the type of skydiving you’ll be doing and the conditions you’ll face when selecting materials.
Many skydiving suits offer additional features that can enhance your experience or provide added safety. These may include:
- Camera mounts: For capturing incredible footage during your jumps.
- Audible altimeter pockets: To store your vital altitude-measuring device securely and within easy reach.
- Vents or perforations: For increased airflow, reducing the risk of overheating.
- Reinforcements: Additional padding or material in high-wear areas for extended suit longevity.
Consider what additional features are essential to you and ensure the suit you choose includes them.
Tips for Finding the Perfect Fit
Now that you know what factors to consider when choosing a skydiving suit, here are some tips to help you find the perfect fit:
- Try before you buy: If possible, try on different suits from various manufacturers to get a feel for how each fits and performs.
- Consult with experts: Speak to experienced skydivers or gear shop professionals for tips and recommendations tailored to your specific needs and discipline.
- Read reviews: Online reviews from fellow skydivers can provide valuable insight into a suit’s performance, durability, and comfort.
- Invest in quality: While budget constraints are always a consideration, investing in a high-quality suit made by reputable manufacturers will ultimately pay off in terms of performance and longevity.
Choosing the right skydiving suit is essential for maximizing your enjoyment and safety in this exhilarating sport. By understanding the various types of suits available, considering factors such as discipline, fit, materials, and additional features, and following our tips for finding the perfect fit, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a suit that will enhance your skydiving experience.