This is the top question I get asked when people learn I skydive. And the answer is a resounding, yes – actually I prefer to.
In the skydiving world, some people make spare cash or even have full time jobs as packers. Meaning, they pack main parachutes all day for tandems, sport jumpers, coaches and students. If you are willing to follow the good weather and turn out LOTS of pack jobs a day, it actually pays okay.
As a sport jumper, with a full time job outside skydiving, I prefer to save my money and pack myself – more jumps for me that way! I also like to do it myself. I have a parachute that has a tendency towards “fussy” openings, so I like being able to pack it my way. Although most packers would likely do a amazing job anyways!
The next question is usually: so what if your parachute doesn’t open? Well, reserve parachutes are packed by certified riggers every 6 months. They are meticulously packed over several HOURS and are closed with a rigger’s seal. If you don’t have a rigger’s seal and signature on your reserve card – you will not be jumping! This is important because steps like this make skydiving very safe.
At first packing may seem daunting, but all skydivers completing an A license must learn to pack and have 12 pack jobs signed off. Once you learn the process though, its pretty easy!
Ever wondered what it looks like? Well watch the time lapse below of me packing before an upcoming vacation (it might be a bit boring for skydivers).
6 thoughts on “So do you pack your own parachute?”
Good for you! I was always so lazy. But I used to make a lot of jumps a day and paid a packer to do it so I could make the next load. We had an extensive choice of packers, and it was a good price. I had the same one every time, his nickname was Grasshopper. He would fold a certain way if you wished, such as rolling the nose for softer openings on canopies which were harsh (like my Sabre! OMG). That is great that you do though. If you get fast at it, no reason to employ a packer. once I flipped my lines and it opened with the fronts behind the rear lines, but still worked the same. I can’t explain it but it freaked me out. The slider was above, everything was good. Not sure how that even happened but I think I pulled my container through the lines accidentally. Thank you for the vid!! You make me miss it every time read a post of yours! : )
Thanks! Being at a smaller dropzone when I was learning I had a few people kicking my butt to learn and get fast enough to pack for myself. At the time it might have been a bit annoying, but I appreciate those people now because I can pack relatively fast! That sounds scary, it would certainly make me think twice. And I am glad you enjoy the videos, do you think you will get back to jumping?
And that is such a GREAT shot at the top of the page!
Thanks! I have a bunch of photos like that, that make me laugh because the other person’s parachute is always nicely folded and my is trying to take off. It matches my clutzy personality.
I remember packing ‘chutes was part of the training. Ongoing training. I imagine modern parachutes must be quite different but the packing of our old parachutes (I’m talking mid 70’s) was almost an art. So much depends on it, right? 🙂
(Thanks for the memories. Reminds me I have to write on my first jump…)