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Caring for your Lifesaver

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How to keep your brand-new rig looking pristine, by Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher…

Image: author Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher

How do I look after my new Vector?

The day has finally arrived!!!

You’ve counted every minute of the last month, tracked your package every single day, and now that beautiful UPT shipping label tells you the wait is over. Once the box has been opened and your wonderful new Vector is in your hands, there’s a whole lot that needs to be done, and more than a few questions you may have that need to be answered. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your rig looking as good as new.

First things first, it’s time to get face-to-face with your favorite rigger and start getting your Vector assembled. Now chances are, your rigger will have more than a few suggestions of their own in regard to maintaining your rig, but don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have.

The best way to keep your rig safe from nasty and sometimes potentially corrosive substances is to be vigilant not only in where you store and place your rig but also, what you lean against while wearing it.

When it’s time to assemble your new Vector, ask your rigger if you can observe the process, especially if it’s your first new rig. Besides the importance of knowing exactly what goes into the assembly process, your rigger can give you tips and tricks to help break in your container and ensure that the ‘memory’ the cloth and webbing will gain when packed keeps everything folded, tucked, and as pretty as it’s designed to be.

Keep your Vector pristine by keeping it clean, performing a monthly check and being careful how you store it.

Keeping It Clean

Once the assembly is done and you’re out there in the world with your new Vector, one of the biggest things you can do to protect it is to be aware.

  • Avoid packing your rig on packing mats covered in dirt or sand, and of course, stay away from any greasy or oily substances. When packing on grass, the use of a personal packing mat can help ensure you don’t drag your container through the dirt.
  • When wearing your Vector, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t lean your container against anything before you’ve checked that it is not only a clean surface but free of any sharp edges or snag points that could damage it.
  • Understand that sometimes things just get dirty. Every once and a while we end up bringing some of the landing area back with us. When that happens, the best way to clean dirt off a container is a stiff nylon brush. Always be sure your rig is dry first before brushing off the dirt.
  • When your repack cycle comes due, there are more than a few ways that either you or your rigger can complete a full container wash. For this process, it is important to either let your rigger do the work or follow their instructions diligently if you intend to do it yourself.
Clean your Vector with a stiff brush promptly if it gets dirty
Photo by Norman Kent

Perform Monthly Maintenance

Besides being an incredibly important part of safety, adhering to a monthly maintenance schedule will help you identify any potential spots of wear and tear as well as improve the overall appearance of your rig. Although these inspections can be carried out in a number of different ways, it is highly recommended to have a system in place. Consistency is key, so pick a pattern and stick with it.

  • Ensure the elasticity of your BOC (Bottom of Container) pocket, and check for spots of wear and tear, loose thread, or abrasions.
  • Maintain a healthy main closing loop, paying extra attention to the main flap and grommets.
  • Inspect the reserve closing loop and pin as well as the reserve flap for any wear and tear. The reserve flap is a likely spot for abrasions, so keep a watchful eye out.
  • In addition to the daily inspection of the 3-ring assembly, and your cutaway and cables should be removed, cleaned, and lubricated every month. These tasks are best performed by your rigger and are a perfect opportunity to inspect the attachment points for both handles, as well as the cables themselves. This will also allow a thorough inspection of your risers, toggles, and toggle attachments. It is also recommended that every 6 months your 3-ring system should be detached, flexed, and inspected in depth.
  • A methodical inspection of the entire harness system should be performed monthly, paying great attention to all stitching, especially in potential areas of wear. This is also the perfect opportunity to check the chest strap, leg pads, and mud flaps for any damage or excess wear, and elastics on both chest and leg straps for security.
Photo by Norman Kent

Storage

If you’re one of the lucky few, then storage of your skydiving equipment is not a concern. If you do need to store your equipment for an extended period, here are a few things to consider. Depending on the length of time your rig will be in storage you’ll want to make sure that you follow these tips

  • Using a good gear bag is a great start. Store your Vector in a cool, dry place. Excessive moisture or humidity can be a breeding ground for mold, and potentially cause real problems.
  • UV rays can be incredibly damaging, so never store your rig in direct sunlight – that also applies to when you are at the DZ for a day of jumping. Keep your rig either indoors or in the shade between jumps and never pack in full sun.
  • Ensure your Vector is stored away from children or pets. Curious kids or kitty cats can do a surprising amount of damage to a rig.
  • Avoid storage in areas prone to insects.
  • If salt water is a consideration, ensure that your gear is properly washed and free from this highly corrosive and abrasive substance. Once the salt water dries on your rig damage is already occurring so contact your rigger right away.
  • Remove the pilot chute from the BOC to help ensure excessive stretching does not take place.
  • Store in a secure area and avoid stacking items on top of your equipment.
  • Never store your Vector in a vehicle.

In conclusion, by following this advice and listening to your expert rigger, you can expect to keep your Vector looking and performing as incredible years down the road as it did the day you opened that wonderful UPT box.

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Meet: Sharon Har-Noy Pilcher

Sharon has been jumping a Vector for 18 years, she is a member of the Joyriders team and co-created Modern Skydiving Concepts, which develops educational programs for skydivers. She has 7,500 jumps and has been coaching and organizing events all over the world. Sharon jumps a Vector because she believes it is at the forefront of our industry, that the container system is ahead of the game, always advancing, and the best rig out there for all disciplines.

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