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Guide to Skydiving Gear and Equipment


Curtis Posted by: Curtis White 2 years ago

Every sport has its particular accouterments – indispensable items that are practically synonymous with the activity, and that enable play or add an element of safety.

What would baseball be without a bat or woven, leather mitts? Soccer without shin guards or cleats? American football without protective pads or helmets with the classic metal facemask? And, to reference one of the most obvious pieces of skydiving equipment, what would skydiving be without parachutes? Of course, for each of these sports, our list just barely scratches the surface.

While discerning the requirements for more mainstream sports is a bit easier, our little niche activity of skydiving still cloaks itself in mystery. If you’re interested in exploring this adventurous sport further, learning all you can, including about the skydiving gear that makes every jump possible, is important.

Getting your bearings in a brand-new hobby can be a little overwhelming – we hope to make it a little easier! Here’s a beginner’s guide to skydiving gear and equipment. 

skydiving gear

Skydiving Gear For Tandem Skydiving

At Skydive New England, all of the equipment that you need for your first tandem skydive will be provided to you. So, what does this include?


The view from altitude is one you won’t want to miss! Each of our tandem students is provided with a pair of goggles to wear to protect their eyes in freefall. If you wear glasses, you will receive goggles designed to fit over your eyewear.

Adjustable Harness

The tandem skydiving harness has four attachment points that securely connect the participant to the skydiving rig and the tandem skydiving instructor. We will provide you with this harness, and your instructor will adjust it so that it fits properly.

Dual Parachute Tandem Skydiving Rig

Skydivers refer to the item that holds the parachutes and resembles a backpack as a skydiving container or ‘rig’. Every container system used in skydiving must include a dual parachute system, consisting of the main parachute and a reserve parachute. The main parachute is, as the name suggests, the primary parachute. The reserve parachute serves as a backup in the unlikely event there is an issue with the main parachute.

Automatic Activation Device (AAD)

Each skydiving rig used for tandem and student skydiving also includes a crucial piece of equipment known as the Automatic Activation Device (AAD), a microprocessor computer within the rig. This device deploys the reserve parachute if a skydiver becomes incapacitated.

skydiving equipment

Skydiving Equipment for AFF Skydiving

If you want to learn skydiving, you can enroll in our You can learn skydiving through our Accelerated Free Fall training program. As with tandem skydiving, Skydive New England provides our AFF students with all the skydiving equipment they need.


Although goggles will be provided for you, if you’re not fond of the idea of sharing with others, you can also purchase a pair of your own. The cost of goggles ranges from about $20 to $50.


When skydiving, protecting your brain is crucial, so we use impact-rated helmets to ensure the safety of your cranium. A combination of ABS and a polycarbonate blend forms the helmet’s tough outer shell, while foam lining inside ensures a comfortable fit.

As a student, the helmet you will wear is open-face. However, once you obtain your license, you can buy and use a helmet with a face shield, known as a full-face helmet.


One of the most basic and underrated pieces of skydiving gear is the jumpsuit. The skydiving jumpsuit, designed to protect your skin from debris, also provides grips for your instructor to help stabilize you in freefall. However, as you progress, you will learn how important a skydiving jumpsuit can be to your flying progression. Jumpsuits are often specific to the discipline, with sleek and slick ones for Freeflying or those with booties and grippers for Relative Work


The altimeter is a critical piece of equipment that uses barometric pressure to calculate altitude. The altimeter is necessary to ensure that you are deploying the parachute at the correct time/altitude. While we provide analog altimeters to our students, digital altimeters become common among graduates of the AFF training program.

skydiving altimeter

Other Pieces of Skydiving Equipment

As you progress and gain experience as a skydiver, there are a few other pieces of skydiving equipment that you may use. Experienced skydivers often use these two additional pieces of skydiving gear:

Audible Altimeter

An audible altimeter, worn inside the helmet, emits a tone at pre-set altitudes. We use audibles along with visual altimeters to ensure jumpers remain aware of their altitude during freefall and under canopy. This becomes particularly important as jumpers become involved in more advanced canopy piloting and in types of skydiving where there is significant horizontal movement (like wingsuiting).


The Flysight is a GPS tracking device used by wingsuiters and canopy pilots. While on a skydive or under canopy the Flysight gives off an audible tone when there is a change in glide ratio, horizontal or vertical speed. The GPS logs data from your jump, allowing you to review your skydive as plot points on a graph after landing. This allows jumpers to see how changes in their body position affect their flight dynamics.

Ready to get geared up? Now that you’re more familiar with different pieces of skydiving equipment, let’s get you in the air to see how it all works firsthand! Come jump with us!