Skydiving Equipment List

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Interested in skydiving on a regular basis? In addition to proper training, you’ll need to begin assembling all the requisite skydiving equipment. Like any niche sport, it’s not necessarily easy to know exactly what you need. To help demystify the equipment conundrum, we’ve created a skydiving equipment list that’s perfect for beginner skydivers. 


This may come as no surprise, but one of the most essential pieces of equipment for skydiving is the parachute! But, did you know you’ll need not one but two parachutes in your skydiving equipment kit? That’s right. All parachute rigs for skydiving include both a main and a reserve parachute. 

Main Parachute

parachute equipmentThe main parachute in skydiving comes in a variety of styles and sizes. The type and size that an individual will select will depend upon the experience of the parachutist and the discipline of skydiving they are interested in. 

Did you know? 

The main parachute used for tandem skydiving has a surface area between 340 and 360 square feet, and the parachute used by a student skydiver will usually be between 220 and 260 square feet. In stark contrast, the main parachute utilized by a professional skydiving canopy pilot is often less than 100 square feet!

Reserve Parachute

The reserve parachute is an equally important piece of skydiving equipment. Although it is unlikely that there will be an issue with the main parachute, in the event that there is a malfunction, the reserve parachute serves as a backup. While the main parachute’s design may utilize a design to produce speed and improved maneuverability, the reserve parachute is built to be reliable and docile. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that the reserve parachute be larger than the main parachute. 

Parachute Rig

Also known as a container, the parachute rig is the backpack-looking piece of skydiving equipment that holds the main and reserve parachutes. Often skydivers will personalize their parachute rig with custom colors and embroidery. While having a skydiving rig with your favorite colors is great, above all else, skydivers purchase a custom rig in order to have it measured to fit them comfortably and securely. 

While you can rent a skydiving rig (including parachutes) here at Skydive Tecumseh, it is subject to availability. It’s always good practice to call ahead to make sure a parachute rig is available. 

This is also why we encourage newly-licensed skydivers to begin piecing together a used main, reserve, and skydiving rig as soon as is financially feasible.


The Automatic Activation Device (AAD) is another invaluable piece of parachute equipment. Essentially, the AAD is an uber-precise computer that is installed into the parachute rig and will deploy the reserve parachute in the event a skydiver is unable to do so.

More specifically, the AAD is able to calculate a jumper’s altitude and rate of descent by measuring changes in barometric pressure. Each AAD is programmed to deploy the reserve parachute when certain conditions (altitude and speed) are met. These incredible engineering marvels have saved countless lives and are a piece on our skydiving equipment list we simply cannot do without.

Visual Altimeter

In skydiving, it is imperative to maintain altitude awareness. This is why another key piece of skydiving equipment is the altimeter. Altimeters measure barometric pressure to determine altitude. 

Altimeters come in both analog and digital models. Analog models look very similar to a watch face, except they only have a single hand. The single hand “ticks” around the face to indicate altitude – moving clockwise as altitude increases and moving counterclockwise as altitude decreases. A digital altimeter also reads altitude, but it displays it to the wearer in a digital format. 

Audible Altimeter

In addition to a visual altimeter, many skydivers use an audible altimeter. An audible altimeter utilizes specific sounds to indicate preset altitudes. These tonal reminders are useful for jumpers participating in types of skydiving where they may not be able to see their visual altimeter at all times. 


equipment for skydivingNext up on our skydiving equipment list is the helmet. Skydiving-specific helmets come in a variety of styles, sizes, and customizable designs. Like most helmets, the primary purpose of a skydiving helmet is to protect the wearer’s head. The majority of skydiving helmets are also constructed with an impact-rated hard-plastic shell. 

Skydiving helmets also come in open-face and full-face varieties. Full-face helmets have a sturdy plastic visor/face shield that covers the face. Open-face helmets lack this facial covering. Please note, if you choose an open-face helmet, you will also need a trusty pair of goggles.


Easily overlooked, the jumpsuit is a piece of skydiving equipment with considerable importance. It is possible to skydive without a jumpsuit. However, jumpsuits are useful when it comes to protecting yourself from the elements, creating uniform drag for improved performance, and – in the case of a skydiving discipline like wingsuiting – are completely necessary!

Like other pieces of skydiving equipment, jumpsuits can be custom purchased or can be found second-hand. Many jumpers begin with a used skydiving jumpsuit and wait until they decide on the skydiving discipline they will primarily pursue to purchase a perfectly-fitted custom jumpsuit. 

Whether you’re a tandem or student skydiver, at Skydive Tecumseh, we’ve got your gear needs covered. New to skydiving and looking for used skydiving equipment? We can help you pick the right skydiving equipment for you – get in touch!

Tandem Skydiver in freefall at Skydive Tecumseh

We had to reschedule our jump three times due to weather, but it was definitely worth the wait and I'm definitely going again! The entire crew was amazing!

Katrina McKinney