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Stowing your toggles incorrectly can lead to a nasty situation…

Riser damage due to hard opening, caused by incorrectly stowed brake toggles – Image by Ben Nelson

Packing Tip

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. 

The cat’s eye on the control line goes THROUGH the control line guide ring before you stow the toggle


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!

What can happen if you don’t use the guide ring

Images and article by Ben Nelson, written for the excellent Skydive Spaceland Dallas Students and New Jumpers Facebook Page

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Meet: Ben Nelson

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, with a background in Emergency Medicine and Occupational Health and Safety, Ben currently lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. He is the former DZM of Skydive Spaceland Houston and Skydive Spaceland Dallas, and former half-DZO of Skydive Awesome. With over 13,000 skydives Ben has attended, both as a participant and sometimes organizer, most of the major vertical formation world records since 2013. Ben is a former big wall rock climber, but he is currently working on pushing the limits of Extreme Relative Work (XRW). When he is not flying parachutes, you can find him flying paragliders and miniwings, SCUBA diving, or BASE jumping. Ben is the owner of Full Nelson Skydiving and Parachute Rigging Services and, in between military contracts, he currently spends his time roaming the USPA Northwest Region as an instructor and S&TA-at-large. If you want to get on Ben’s good side, he enjoys IPAs.

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