Skydiving is great for anyone who enjoys endorphin pumping activities that improve mood, aid with stress relief and leave you feeling like you have superpowers. It is also a great way to conquer your fears, stretch your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone. This can spill over into your day to day life, allowing you to take greater risks e.g. by taking a course that earns you a promotion, finally getting up the courage to talk to the girl you are interested in and generally making courageous decisions that improve your life.
As with all other sports and activities, your enjoyment will depend on a number of factors including; being in the right frame of mind, taking safety precautions and ensuring that you are wearing the right clothing.
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Why is wearing the right clothing important in skydiving?
Choosing the right clothing is crucial to ensuring that your skydiving session is as comfortable as possible. As a result, it is important to avoid clothing that is too tight or too loose, leave the jewellery at home and choose shoes that will ensure a comfortable landing.
Your clothing should be loose-fitting without any extra fabric but not too tight that it does not allow for easy movement. The following are the main reasons why you need to wear the right clothing when going skydiving;
- To ensure maximum comfort and ease of movement while in the sky.
- To keep warm at high altitudes. This is because the temperature decreases by 3 degrees for every 1000 feet that you climb which can translate in to a 30 degree difference at diving altitudes.
- To keep other skydivers safe; jewellery, loose flapping clothes, high heels and other items can jeopardize other divers’ safety, especially if these items get caught on another divers backpack or parachute. To ensure maximum safety for everyone, leave these high risk items at home and wear skydiving gear or clothes that make your skydiving session as comfortable as possible.
Factors to consider when choosing clothes for skydiving
The right clothing can ensure that you are comfortable during you dive and contribute to an overall positive experience. However, in order to ensure this, you will need to choose the right clothing by taking the following factors into consideration;
- Altitude: The average altitude for most dives is 10,000 feet. However, more experienced divers have been known to exit at up to 18,000 feet. As mentioned earlier, the temperature drops 3 degrees for every 1000 feet you climb. This means that the higher you climb, the colder it will get. If you are planning a higher than average climb, then you will need to add some extra layers to your clothing.
2. Weather: Cold weather conditions combined with high altitude can make for a pretty uncomfortable dive. To counter this, ensure that you add as many layers of clothing as necessary before going out for your dive. Conversely, if the weather is a bit warmer, you can get away with fewer layers so ensure that you dress properly for different weather conditions.
3. Footwear: Unless there are high winds, and adjusting for each person’s weight, the average diver falls at a rate of 200km/h. Footwear is therefore an important consideration for anyone planning on going skydiving. Ensure that you wear fitting shoes that are not likely to fly away during your dive. Sneakers are your best option during a dive as they fit snugly over your feet and also provide the right cushioning when you land on the ground.
4. Safety: Skydiving is a relatively safe sport especially for divers who have undertaken the pre-requisite training. The greatest safety risks include injury and in very rare cases, death. These risks can be mitigated by getting the right training, ensuring that clothes are well fitting so that they don’t fly in the faces of other divers, wearing well cushioned sneakers to make landings for comfortable and avoiding jewellery and other items that can catch in parachutes and endanger you and other divers.
What are the best clothes to wear to go sky diving?
The following are the best types of clothing to wear while skydiving;
· Form fitting clothes that are not too tight: Sky diving is all about controlling your body as you make the descent from a high altitude to the ground As a result, you need to ensure that the clothing you wear allows you to make the movements you need to, for instance, release your parachute and make a safe landing. Clothing should therefore fit comfortable around your body and allow for easy movement.
Avoid clothing that is too loose as it can flap in the wind, affecting your visibility and that of other divers.
· Comfortable and breathable fabrics: Skydiving requires the use of comfortable fabrics that will not stick to your body or chafe during your drive. Fabrics should also be lightweight, especially if you are driving on a hot day and need to sweat in order to cool down. On a cold day, you can wear several layers of cotton as opposed to heavy wools which will only make you feel uncomfortable all the way down.
· Shorts, leggings or jogging pants instead of jeans: Cotton bottoms such as shorts, leggings and jogging pants are a great option for diving as they ensure that you are comfortable during your dive without scratching against your skin. Ensure that all bottoms are well secured as you will not be able to adjust the mid dive and do not want to risk their falling off in front of everyone.
· Layer your outfits: On a warm day, you can get away with a short or long sleeved shirt and shorts, leggings or jogging pants and other active/athletic wear. However, as you climb higher or dive in cooler conditions, you will need to wear several layers in order to keep warm and avoid colds and flu.
· Skydiving jumpsuits: Many skydivers also wear special diving jumpsuits to keep other clothing in check so that it does not misbehave during a sky dive. Jumpsuits help to protect you against the elements especially if you are diving in cooler weather. They can also be used to control your fall rate and decrease on increase the rate at which you descend depending on your preferences.
One final thing about skydiving jumpsuits is that they can improve your diving performance. You can wear special jumpsuits designed to compensate for your diving technique. For instance, they can be used to correct the performance o people who belly flop out of a plane while skydiving.
What to wear on your first skydive
Your first skydive can be a nerve-wracking experience during which you will wonder whether you have received enough training and whether you will be able to complete your first drive successfully.
One of the best ways to ensure that your skydive goes off successfully is by choosing the right outfit. This outfit not only needs to ensure your safety, but you can even jazz it up a little to include color and other dive-safe embellishments in order to make the event a memorable. Below are a few tips to help you put together your first skydiving outfit.
I. Choose the right shoes:
The best shoes for your first skydive should be fully laced without any dangling laces and contain suitable cushioning to protect your feet once you hit the ground. Avoid shoes like heels and those with hooks to hold laces as these can catch the strings of your parachute and lead to a quicker free fall.
II. Go for lightweight options that can be layered easily:
The ideal outfit for your first skydive should contain breathable and lightweight clothing options that can help you keep cool during hot summer dives and warm you up if you are diving in the winter. Cotton t-shirts, leggings and active wear are perfect for this as they help wick sweat away from your body during hot weather and also trap warm air near your body if you wear them layered.
III. Avoid jewellery and items with fancy details:
Wearing jewellery on a dive increases your risk of injury or death and should therefore be avoided at all costs. In addition, fancy details like cuffs and flaps can catch in ropes and other divers parachutes, causing tangling that can increase your risk of injury
IV. Remember that you can always hire a jumpsuit to wear over your clothing if you are unsure about what to wear on your first skydive.
Putting together an outfit for a summer skydive
Summer is a great time for a skydive as it allows you to observe brilliant blue skies and enjoy the beauty of green fields and turquoise blue seas depending on where you are diving. You can do all this without the obstruction of clouds and other cold weather elements. Summer is also a great time to photograph the proliferation of colours that come out in summer by using a camera that is suitable for skydiving.
Thanks to the high temperatures that come in the summer, you can get away with just shorts, a short sleeved t-shirt and comfortable shoes while skydiving. You will only need to add long sleeved shirts and trousers if you are flying at above average altitudes. Remember to avoid jelly and baggy clothing as these can increase your risk of injury on a skydive.
What to wear during a cold weather skydive
The sky will usually get colder the higher you go and unless you are diving during the summer when hot temperatures offset this cold, you will typically need to wear warm layers during a winter or cold weather dive.
As opposed to staying on the ground where bulky wool sweaters and other heavy clothing items work best to keep the cold away, things are a little different with skydiving. Here, wearing a bulky item will only increase your free fall and also leave you feeling extremely uncomfortable. Instead of bulky items, choose to wear several layers of lightweight clothing as these will create pockets of air between them and ensure that you stay warm during your skydive.
Another clothing tip for skydiving in winter is to invest in thermal wear such as jackets and leggings which will trap warm air close to your body and ensure that you are warm throughtout your skydive. Remember to also invest in a layer of fleece that you can wear over all the other layers and ensue that you are toasty warm during your winter skydive.
Protecting your hands is also crucial during a winter skydive, especially if you are dealing with near zero temperatures that only get colder the higher you go. To avoid frostbite, ensure that you invest in a warm pair of gloves that will keep you warm during your skydive.
Finally, your winter skydiving outfit should contain a pair of well fitting sport shoes with a firm grip that are ideal for diving in muddy and slippery conditions.
Can I wear glasses during a skydive?
You can absolutely wear glasses, contact and other types of eyewear during your skydive. You will however need to wear them beneath a pair of goggles in order to protect your eyes and ensure that eyewear does not fly off as you descend at a speed of 120 mph towards the earth.
Do I need to wear an oxygen mask while skydiving?
Since most recreational skydiving is done between 10,000 and 13,500 feet, you will not need an oxygen mask as breathing is still easy at these altitudes. However, above 15000 feet, oxygen becomes a little thinner and you will find it harder to breathe. In this case, you will definitely need an oxygen mask.
Do I have to wear a helmet while skydiving?
Experienced skydivers are required to wear helmets in order to increase safety upon impacting the ground. Students are advised against wearing hard helmets as these can hit instructors in the face and injure them.
Skydiving is a great activity for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors, overcome their fears, improve stress levels and enjoy many other health benefits. However, in order to do this, you will need to ensure that you wear the right clothing at all times. By ensuring that you are in the right skydiving attire during summer, winter and other conditions, you can enjoy maximum comfort during your dive and avoid problems associated with wearing the wrong clothing.