Stowing your toggles incorrectly can lead to a nasty situation…
USPA requires everyone to take a packing class before they are able to receive their A-license. Let’s be honest, many people take the packing class to graduate and then spend quite a bit of time either exclusively jumping rental gear that gets packed by one of our amazing packers, or it takes quite a while for them to piece together a rig that they will be packing and jumping on the regular. In either case, much of what was learned in the packing class is forgotten by the time they are ready to really start packing their own equipment.
I HIGHLY recommend that jumpers who haven’t used their packing skills get with a packer for a refresher before they start packing their gear, especially if it has been a long time between their initial packing class and when they have that shiny new gear to call their own.
Toggle Stowing Issue
For those that are new to packing their own gear, I wanted to take the opportunity to bring forward an issue that I’ve seen on several occasions over the years, and it has to do with stowing toggles while packing. When you stow your toggles on your risers while packing it is SUPER important that you make sure the cat’s eye on the control line goes THROUGH the control line guide ring before you stow the toggle. As shown in the photos below.
Stowing the toggle above the guide ring, in essence, means that only thing taking the opening shock on the control line is that thin piece of material that is only there to help hold the toggle in position on the riser. It’s basically like not stowing your toggles at all.
What can happen
You’re most likely going to have a hard opening, or a toggle release on one side which is virtually a toggle fire. The damage to the risers can be substantial (see photos below) but, more importantly, the damage to your body can be substantial as well. Take it from someone who has had four broken ribs due to a hard opening… it’s not fun.
Stay safe, and happy packing!
Images and article by Ben Nelson, written for the excellent Skydive Spaceland Dallas Students and New Jumpers Facebook Page