Buying a rig?

Hi and welcome the sport of skydiving,

Buying your first rig is a big deal and can be a bit daunting as a newcomer to the sport.

This information has been compiled as a general starting point, please take the time to read it, you should find it useful. You are spending thousands of dollars so an hour or two of research is well worth your time and effort.

Please note that any prices are guides only and will be greatly effected by exchange rate changes and price changes.(US$0.85)

At the start of your skydiving career you will be progressing more rapidly as a canopy pilot and therefore will likely be changing canopy sizes more often than when you are as an intermediate or experienced jumper, for this reason pre-owned gear can be a wise choice.

Finding pre-owned gear can be difficult for a number of reasons. If your body size, weight and shape are outside of the average there will be less pre-owned gear available. Some jumpers who are more sensitive to price are willing to compromise on a correctly fitting harness to save money, some are not. In the end, buying pre-owned gear will always involve some level of compromise, whether it is colours, harness size, canopy fit, etc.

Your first gear will most likely have a main canopy ranging from 150 to 190 square feet with 170 being the most popular. Your choice will also depend on your canopy control skill, confidence and aptitude. Your instructors and chief instructor should be able to guide you in this area, lots of other jumpers of all levels will be wanting to put in their two bobs worth too. My advice is to limit the opinions you take notice of to a select few, try to pick from instructors or jumpers who know your jumping ability and have been jumping for 15 years or more and/or who are active competitors. This will narrow the field and the confusion. Professional gear suppliers such as us are also experienced in this area, jumping is a small community and is in our interest to provide you with a suitable system and quality advice and service. We want you to be a returning customer!

There is lots of pre-owned gear on the market in the 150 to 170 main sizes and with the harnesses made to fit the average 170 to 175 cm tall person. If you decide to go for pre-owned gear we have a range of equipment on our shelves which is always changing and we can advise you of suitable gear when we know more about your particular case. We have a range of second hand AADs and canopies and can sometimes mix and match to suit your individual requirements and budget.

Below are some useful points about some gear purchasing possibilities.

Pre-owned systems

  • You will need a system with an AAD, a pre-owned system with an AAD will cost between $3500 and $7500 depending on age and condition. $7500 will get you a system which is virtually brand new and for some reason is no longer required by the owner.
  • It is possible to mix and match components, this however requires experience and is best left to professional gear suppliers or riggers.
  • You can save lots on your first rig if you are willing to compromise on harness size and colour. The harness would have to be extremely poor fitting before it would become dangerous and in most cases an incorrectly fitting harness will be a compromise in comfort. If the main lift web is too big the container will lift off your shoulders when you are hanging by the risers. Hanging from the risers is a good way to access the harness fit. Note: All harnesses lift off the shoulder a little when under canopy, you need to be able to easily reach the steering toggles.
  • Remember you might only use your first system for 100 jumps (1 year) and then step down in canopy size or purchase another system. 

New systems

  • A new system complete with canopies will cost between $8100 and $10 500 depending on the options you choose. The list of available options is too extensive to list here. See the manufacturer’s links below for more information.
  • A new custom ordered system will fit you like a glove providing your measurements are accurately taken.
  • A new system is sometimes the only option for very tall and heavier than average individuals.
  • More value can be had from a new system if the main canopy is one that you can keep for longer. This can mean a bigger step down if it is your first system, it will mean closer supervision and conservative flying for a while.
  • Most modern containers can comfortably step down 1 or 2 canopy sizes so you can swap main canopies and get more use from your new container. Smaller canopies in the main container mean softer containers and more comfort when leaning on your rig on the plane ride, also easier to close the container.
  • My advice is to not skimp on comfort or advanced safety options on your first rig. You will likely have it for 3 – 5 years and not only will you regret saving $300 or $500 after a year or two, the resale value of the system will be less if you skimped on the original specification.
  • Examples of must have features in my opinion are harness articulation (hip rings) and the Skyhook (advanced RSL). I would also be hesitant to have any hardware on a new rig that was not stainless steal. Cadnium plated hardware deteriotates badly after 8 - 10 years and results in low resale value.

From who to buy?

  • Buying from a full time shop with full time staff will get you the best service especially after sales service.
  • The quote offered to you will include all technicalities, shipping and all other taxes and charges to get it couriered to your door ready to jump. (No hidden costs)
  • We also offer discounts on components to customers that purchase their entire new system with us.
  • Beware of quotes that are open ended about the exchange rate. This can lead to hidden costs being added later and called exchange rate.
  • Buying from car boot sellers can sometimes mean that taxes and import fees are not included or being evaded. When the problem comes later this can be an unpleasant surprise.
  • Some gear dealers are sub-dealers this means your order goes through many hands and is more prone to errors, we are direct dealers and don’t offer any products as a sub-dealer.
  • If there is a problem with a sub-dealer ordered system, there is potential for longer delays and communication problems when trying to sort out the problem. Who’s at fault and who pays???? Sub-dealer, Dealer, manufacturer or you???
  • Dealers from other countries are not aware of Australian import cost and rules and therefore don’t allow for this in the quote.  (hidden costs)
  • Buying from sub-dealers also sends profits to big US dealers rather than supporting local direct dealers and local business.
  • Buying locally from authorised distributors strengthens the position of local companies which in turn helps ensure that the full time support and after sales service is here to stay, this can only be a benefit to all involved.
  • We have often given ideas on design, and options which have been adopted by our satifsfied customers. We know from experience what works and we will tell you if we think your choices could be improved. Of course in the end, it's your option.

Manufacturers and other interesting links (Prices based on 0.85 exchange rate)

Where from here?

After having a good read of all the above information you will be in a much better position to make a decision on your first gear purchase. Drop us a line or an email and we'll be happy to help you get it underway or answer any questions you might have. If you are happy to go ahead and order a system, make sure you carefully measure your body with someone elses help. We use our experience in ordering many new systems to check all aspects of your order and advise on errors or oversights.

Also see: Ordering new gear specific info and policy.

I hope this is helpful to you,

Grant Ball

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