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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Packing Essentials

General Symmetry

As we return from the landing area, with smiles all over our faces because we had an awesome skydive, it is already time to prepare for our next jump…

by Rob Lloyd
by Rob Lloyd

Packing our canopy

Having a great skydive is not only about having great flying skills, but also about your packjob. The care and attention you put into packing can also make the difference between a good jump and a bad jump. Hard, violent or off-heading openings can cause injury and be a factor in collisions. So, instead of rushing to get that that piece of fabric into the container, take your time and, most importantly, keep an eye on the symmetry of your packjob. A perfect opening is symmetrical, so packing evenly gives your canopy the best chance of an ideal deployment.

This is NOT a packing tutorial; however, bearing in mind that symmetry – of our body position on deployment and our packjob – affects our opening, this article will concentrate on how we keep our packjob symmetrical.

So, let’s start our pro-pack…

Tie your 3-rings together to help a symmetrical packjob — by Benedikt Sprissler
Tie your 3-rings together to help a symmetrical packjob — by Benedikt Sprissler

Lining it up

At first, when we put our harness on the packing area, line the risers parallel to each other and tie the largest rings of your 3 ring system together with your pull-up. This will help ensure your packjob is symmetrical right from the start. You will be using your pull-up soon anyway, so why not use it from the beginning. I always recommend using a weight to secure the harness, especially on slippery ground. This will help you to set and retain the tension on the lines throughout your packing. My preference is to place the weight in the main container.

Line check — by Benedikt Sprissler
Line check — by Benedikt Sprissler

Line-Check

While checking your lines and going towards the canopy, check your cascades. Both the left and right hand sides should line up parallel with each other.

Make sure the attachment points are symmetrical — by Benedikt Sprissler
Make sure the attachment points are symmetrical — by Benedikt Sprissler

Line Group Attachment Points

When the canopy hangs in front of you, make sure that the attachment points for all the line groups are lined up symmetrically on both sides. All A-Line attachment points (the shortest lines) should be on level, all B-Lines should be on level and so on…

Ensure the grommets are at the same level — by Benedikt Sprissler
Ensure the grommets are at the same level — by Benedikt Sprissler

Squaring The Slider

When you square the slider ensure that all the grommets are on the same level and are up against the slider stoppers.

Make the canopy symmetrical, with the steering lines in the center — by Benedikt Sprissler
Make the canopy symmetrical, with the steering lines in the center — by Benedikt Sprissler

Position The Steering Lines & Stabilizers

At this next point you need to pull out all the fabric from the stabilizers to prevent burns to the fabric and sort your steering lines into the middle to prevent a line over. However, instead of just pulling out the fabric and sorting the steering lines into the middle, concentrate on making it symmetrical, thus shaping the canopy from the outset in the shape you want to have later when laying it on the ground.

Firstly sort your steering lines into the middle, start with the middle two steering lines and then work your way to the last steering lines at the end of the canopy. Then, consecutively left and right, pull the stabilizers' fabric to the centre and you should end with something like in the picture. Always keep track of the grommets; they should still be level.

Wrap the tail so the Warning label is central — by Benedikt Sprissler
Wrap the tail so the Warning label is central — by Benedikt Sprissler

Wrapping The Tail

When wrapping the tail, the stitching on the centre line stiching should always be in the middle. (For cross braced canopies there are two centre line stichings, use the middle point between these as your centre reference.)

Quarter the slider — by Benedikt Sprissler
Quarter the slider — by Benedikt Sprissler

Check your Cells & Quarter the Slider

Check if your cells are still in position and quarter your slider symmetrically as shown in the photo.

Lightly roll the tail, maintaining the symmetry — by Benedikt Sprissler
Lightly roll the tail, maintaining the symmetry — by Benedikt Sprissler

Rolling The Tail

Before rolling the tail, make sure that the centre line stitching is still in the middle and the other stitching lines up symmetrical on each side, stitching on stitching ;)

Do not roll the tail too much! It’s enough to roll it 3-4 times, any more and you are in danger of losing the symmetry you have worked so hard to achieve.

Lay it down  — by Benedikt Sprissler
Lay it down  — by Benedikt Sprissler

Laying the Canopy Down

Gently lay down your canopy, keeping the lines tensioned and the centre line stitching in the middle.

Don't lose the symmetry when stuffing in the bag! — by Benedikt Sprissler
Don't lose the symmetry when stuffing in the bag! — by Benedikt Sprissler

Placing the Canopy into the D-bag

Place your canopy into your D-bag, ensuring that you maintain that symmetry! We all know the difficulty here, especially when you are new to packing, but you can ruin your previous work here if you don’t take care and just shove it in the bag any way you can. After closing your first line stow, your centre line stitching should still be, yes you guessed it, in the middle ;)

by Benedikt Sprissler
by Benedikt Sprissler

Stowing The Line

Stow all your lines as per normal but keep an eye on the symmetry of each stow whilst maintaining the line tension as you do so. Doing this helps ensure the stows play out evenly whilst in the deployment phase. Similarly remember to use the same kind and sizes of rubber bands. Do not mix Tube Stoes and rubber bands!

Leave a good excess beyond the last stow — by Benedikt Sprissler
Leave a good excess beyond the last stow — by Benedikt Sprissler

The Last Stow

The last stow must leave some excess line from there to the links at your risers. A good rule of thumb is for the excess to be at least as long as the distance from your fingertip to your elbow.

Remove the pull-up — by Benedikt Sprissler
Remove the pull-up — by Benedikt Sprissler

Removing the pull-up

Now you want to remove the pull-up from your 3-ring.

Stow the line at the bottom of the container — by Benedikt Sprissler
Stow the line at the bottom of the container — by Benedikt Sprissler

Stowing the Excess Lines

After sorting the risers into your harness, you need to stow that excess line at the bottom of the container. Just circle the lines into an 'O' as shown in the photo.

Make sure to close the container in the sequence recommended by the manufacturer — by Benedikt Sprissler
Make sure to close the container in the sequence recommended by the manufacturer — by Benedikt Sprissler

Closing The Container

Close the container in the correct closing sequence for your harness, making sure to route the bridle correctly. If you are not sure about the closing sequence because you borrowed the rig from your friend:

Check the manufacturers’ manual on the internet, or ask someone who knows the system!

Container closed, with bridle neatly tucked away — by Benedikt Sprissler
Container closed, with bridle neatly tucked away — by Benedikt Sprissler

Closing Loop Length

The length of the closure loop should be appropriate for the rig and the canopy inside. If you are not sure if the loop is the correct length: When the rig is packed try to push the pin back out through the loop with your thumb. If it slides out easily then chances are your loop is too long, if your thumb starts to hurt before the pin stays moves then chances are your loop is the correct length.

Good to Go!

Now you are ready to go and with the knowledge that you have done everything packing-wise to ensure a good stable opening.

Have fun and enjoy your skydive!

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