Would you wear jean shorts and sandals to take on a half-marathon? It’s not likely. You might, however, show up for your first tandem skydiving adventure in the same duds you’d wear to strap yourself into a roller coaster. (We see it all the time!) The key to knowing what to wear on a skydive is understanding that skydiving is a sport. From there, the logic is pretty evident. Here are our best tips for successfully dressing on a skydive, whether the weather is chilly or steamy.
The Best Basic Clothing Choices for Skydiving
Comfortable, sport-ready shoes that lace tightly are the best choice. If you can comfortably sprint across the yard in the pair you choose, they’ll work just fine. (You’re not going to be, like, sprinting on a skydive, but you need shoes that have it in ’em.) Keep in mind that if the shoes are loose, the wind will take them–so make sure they’re double-knotted!
Sportwear pants–not jeans–are ideal. Choose pants with enough stretch that you could do squats in them if you wanted to; that’ll guarantee that you’ll have enough room to move.
On a skydive, simple clothing is the best clothing. Clothing with details–like shirts with collars, bows, grommets or, you know, anything you’ve hit with your Beadazzler–isn’t going to be a good choice, as fancy details have a tendency to flap around painfully, knot up, or tear off.
What to Wear for Cold Weather Skydiving
When it’s cold on the ground, it’s really cold in the sky! Because of a little phenomenon called “lapse rate” (the rate at which atmospheric temperature decreases with an increase in altitude), the temps up top drop precipitously from those on the ground. That can add up to some shivery conditions. But wait! There’s good news. New skydivers are decidedly unlikely to actually feel the cold. That pumping adrenaline has a tendency to keep first-time jumpers surprisingly toasty. That said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of hot cocoa. For cold-weather skydiving:
Think layers, layers, layers. Thin layers retain heat in the air spaces between them. Therefore, it’s usually a much warmer (and more flexible, and more generally comfortable) choice to wear several thin layers instead of one thick layer.
Keep a coat in reserve. When you land, the cold is going to catch up to you pretty quickly. To stave off the shivers, bring a coat to wear when you’re back on the ground. If you can have someone bring you a thermos of something hot, so much the better, you lucky duck.
What to Wear for Warm Weather Skydiving
Warm-weather skydiving is our favorite kind of skydiving–but we recommend that you leave the bikini jumps to the pros. Even when it’s sweltering on the ground, a little bit of fabric between you and the outside world is a beautiful thing. Here’s what to know:
Y’know those thin layers that we were talking about? Just as it’s good to wear lots of thin layers when it’s cold, it’s a good idea to wear a couple of thin layers when it’s warm. The temperature does drop at the top, and you’ll be more comfortable with a little extra cover.
Even if you don’t feel like adding a layer, we suggest that you wear our jumpsuit anyway. It goes on over your clothes and helps to protect your own clothing (and skin) against dirt and damage. We’ll offer you one when you kit up for your jump.
On a hot-weather skydive, you can expect to sweat. (Sport, remember?) If you’re going someplace after the jump, you’ll be happy you brought a change of clothes to pop into.
Our Final Advice
When you’re going through your closet on the night before your first tandem skydive, remember: it boils down to the fact that you’re trying out a new sport. You’ll want to be comfortable, able to move, and prepared to put on and take off layers as you please. With that framework in place, you’ll have a super-cozy jump!