For beginners, you won't really need any equipment. On RAPS you will be lent everything you need (with the exception of gloves), and on AFF the University has most of the equipment you need in storage.
Rig (Free to Borrow)
The most important piece of equipment is the rig itself (canopy, reserve, AAD and container). You will most likely start with a static line kit, and progress to a 280 and shortly after to a 210 (size of canopy in square feet). The size and type of c/anopy you need depends largely on your size and weight - smaller people will start on smaller canopies and vice versa. There are various types of canopy such as Sabre, Pilot, Spectre which have varying levels of performance and which you will be advised upon. As you improve throughout your career you will downsize canopies by around 10% as and when you are ready. Regular checks are mandatory on the equipment and will be arranged by the University which owns the kit you are using.
You can't get a pair of gloves too early in your skydiving career. It is important to get a durable and suitable pair - such as a pair of Neumann Receiver Gloves. There are also a number of gloves available from the shop at out dropzone. They are crucial to protect your hands in case of a heavy landing and to keep them warm during the winter months. During the winter, inner gloves (liners) are another good idea.
Knife (Free to Borrow For Beginners) (£10-30)
Once you are a qualified skydiver you will need a knife (by law). These attach to your chest strap and are needed in the event of a line being caught over the reserve canopy. It is always a good idea to pay a bit more for a sturdy hook knife - such as the "Benchmade 7 Hook" as opposed to a plastic knife.
Jumpsuit (Free to Borrow For Beginners) (£100-200)
A jumpsuit is something which you can borrow from the dropzone whilst learning but which you will want to get made in the not too distant future. A formation suit (with front and rear grips on the arms and legs) will probably be your first suit, followed by a freefly suit after around 100 jumps and perhaps a slowfall suit or camera suit when you have significantly more jumps under your belt.
Altimeter (Free to Borrow For Beginners) (£50-100)
The University is able to lend wrist altimeters to students and you will be able to use chest altimeters from the dropzone if you are a RAPS student. This is a piece of equipment which you will probably want to buy at some stage and which you will need to gauge your height from the ground. Experienced jumpers pull from 2500ft+ and student jumpers usually count to the point of deployment.
Goggles (Free to Borrow For Beginners) (£10-50)
There are a number of goggles you can borrow from the dropzone but more comfortable pairs are available cheaply. If you have contact lenses or glasses you will need to use these as a student, and as an experienced jumper you will definitely need to use a pair.
Full face mask (£50-200)
Once you have 50 jumps and a number of other qualifications, you will be able to use a full face helmet. These are able to house audible altimeters (as are some open face helmets) and arguably provide more protection.
Audible Altimeter (£80-160)
An audible altimeter accompanies your visual altimeter and is housed inside your helmet. They are optional and beep at programmed heights as a warning (when to leave a fromation/pull etc). They are a great safety device but people can become dangerously reliant upon them.
In the coming months we aim to build up a small stock of second hand items to sell to our members, as well as some affiliation deals on new equipment with suppliers.