Wingsuit cutaways are a really big deal, so it makes sense to focus on a good main deployment...
So we reach a point where we want to try a new discipline, most commonly FS or FF, both require you to wear the right jumpsuit for the task at hand. Allowing your ability to learn effectively, steadily develop and fly with others as your skills increase, it's called 'dressing for success'.
Suits are becoming more complex as our understanding of flying technique grows, the materials used and construction methods are becoming more advanced all the time.
So what's the right suit for me? What kind of suit do I need? How do I know what to buy? Well, don't just buy a suit for the sake of it, or ask for all the options because you can afford it – buy the right tool for the job by asking experienced coaches and dealers!
The following is a step by step guide to getting that perfect suit you'll be wearing for years to come…
This is the most fun you'll have getting your dream suit! You get to either create your new colour design that the rest of your skydiving purchases will match, or further express your current design by adding a matching jumpsuit. We all like to look the part, so everything matching can give you a good sense of pride. Have fun, play with the colours – but be aware, lighter colours mean the material will be thinner, producing less drag and potentially showing off your underwear! Yes, you've all seen those skin tight white suits that you can see right through, another reason you should wear rash vests, under-armour or just get a darker colour scheme.
Tip: Stick to a limited colour scheme, try to avoid the 'kid in a sweetshop' mentality of ordering so many colours that you look like a liquorice allsort.
Which options do you need? Once you have chosen the kind of suit you want, it may be modified depending on your budget (Standard, Hybrid, Competition or Articulated) or what you're wanting from your new suit. If you're going to buy that suit you've wanted for a very long time, and will be wearing for many years to come, don't skimp, treat yourself!
Options are there for a reason, not just to make your suit more fancy or more expensive. They are mostly dependant on your physical size, how much drag you are wishing to produce to allow a faster or slower natural fall rate. So, a tight fit for for those who wanting to go faster, medium for those with the average body size, a or loose-fitting suit for those who would like to go slower. This can have a big effect on your ability to learn and fly with others, remember you're wanting a suit that naturally alters your fall rate without sacrificing your neutral body position either in FS or FF.
Comfort options like inner layers, collar designs and windproof spandex for more comfort and range of movement are a 'must'. This can be the difference between putting on something that just feels like it's covering your normal clothes or under-armour, or a 'real' suit that makes you feel like a million bucks, like you're wearing a 3-piece suit to the prom or your wedding day.
Tailored options like extra grips for FS competition and big-ways or instructing/coaching in your discpline, are dependant on what you want the suit for. If you know your discipline this should be a no-brainer; if you're not sure ask the local dealer or coach. Further options like hidden wrists and ankle cuffs may look smart, but might not be the best option for you as they can give you suit more material, thus making harder for you to go faster, if that's what you want.
The seat and the knees should be cordura as sitting, moving and kneeling in planes and while packing parachutes takes the most out of your suit. Extra layers in the arms and legs to further alter your natural fall rate, can be invaluable for the heavier skydivers but they will make the suit warmer.
Further extras, like names on collars, iPod pockets etc.. are all at your own wants, remember all the bells and timings (rush order) can highly increase the cost of the suit itself.
Most people's greatest fear about ordering any jumpsuit is getting the measuring right. If it's wrong, it can lead to huge disappointment. If you're not happy doing this, even with the 'how-to' guides and videos that most manufacturers provide these days, find a local dealer who has been trained and has experience in ordering suits to do it for you.
If you are going to measure it with a friend, watch and read everything provided – and then do it again! Make sure you understand everything and do it word for word, don't be silly by adding an inch on because you think it'll help or you don't want it too tight. Adding an inch in one measurement can change so much more on the suit. A top end suit manufacturer has between 25 - 30 measurements, whereas some only have 10-15; this should say something about how tailored the suits are and give you an appreciation for the amount of R&D has gone into these garments.
Lead times, or how long the suit is predicted to take to make, are based on a company's current production line capabilities and workload. They tend to be set at what a manufacturer can comfortably make their products, because if a big corporate order comes in, they can cope and still meet current deadlines.
Payments – take into account if the company deals in foreign currency or your own, what the exchange rates are, what bank charges will be paid on buying abroad with your credit card and if you will need to consider import tax. Talk to your local dealer for current rates and how that affects your purchase.
Delivery again needs to be understood, is the cost included in the final total? Normally, a manufacturer will send you the tracking number of your parcel and then if it is coming from abroad the delivery company may contact you regard the import duty. Make sure you can take delivery asap as some postage delivery companies will start charging you a holding fee, if they can't get your package to you after a number of days
Tip: if the suit is from overseas and is posted you will have to pay import tax; if you can pick it up in person or get someone to bring it back for you, this can probably be avoided if you are a little creative.
All in all, know what you want your suit to provide you with for your physical build, chosen discipline and what you want from your suit regarding comfort, function and look. Together you'll enjoy many productive and fun skydives for years to come!