What to wear when skydiving is one of those questions that doesn’t seem to matter…
Until it does.
Once you’ve got your jump booked and the day’s coming close, you might start overanalyzing everything.
Are my shoes going to fall off?
Will I freeze to death?
Will my clothes mess with the safety gear?
The short answer is… not to worry so much.
What Should You Wear When You Skydive?
When going skydiving, it’s important to wear comfortable, tight-fitting clothing. Wear warm clothes to suit the temperature, and a good amount of layers to easily adjust on the fly. Make sure to avoid skydiving while wearing anything with a hood, and wear shoes that are well fitted.
That’s the summary, anyway.
But there’s plenty more detail that might be important to you.
Interested? Then let’s dive in!
What to Wear When Skydiving
Making sure you dress right for your first jump can make a big difference. Not just to your body temperature and how incredible you’re going to look in that jump suit, wearing the right clothing can give you a big confidence boost.
Knowing you’re well prepared is a great way to feel more secure and ready to take on your first jump. That isn’t just true for skydiving, either. Anything scary or unknown can soon become exciting once you’re properly prepared for it.
With that in mind, I’ll walk through everything to consider for your jump-day outfit. From most important, to the most fun.
When you’re a first-time jumper, you quickly understand with how safety always comes first in this sport.
As exciting, as death-defying, as exhilarating as skydiving is, it’s only made possible by always putting safety first. The main point here is don’t wear anything that can mess with your equipment.
- Don’t mess with your harness or helmet. The main culprit here is anything that can mess with your helmet or harness. If you’re jumping solo you’ll be adorned with a big hard helmet, and as tandem you’ll have a harness and instructor on your back. Hoodies are particularly infamous here. Trying to bundle a hood up will make you the next Hunchback of Notre-Dame, not to mention it might push against your helmet, harness, or tandem instructor.
- Stay slim. If it’s a cold day, you might be tempted to throw on every big sweater in your wardrobe. Don’t. Going overboard on upper layers can limit your arm movement. Especially for solo jumpers, this could mess with your ability to control your chute, and even access your cutaway cord.
- Prepare for landing. As a solo jumper you’ll be aiming to land on your feet, as a tandem… it’ll likely be more of a glorious butt-slide. Whatever the case, make sure your shoes are decent for this. Sturdy sneakers or even boots are a good idea. Anything with a heel or without much grip is a no-no. Lastly, make sure your pants don’t touch the floor when you’re standing, or they could trip you up.
The good news is that you’ll be able to test all of these with your equipment on during the day. Your instructors will make sure you’re all set before you get into a plane.
Now that we’ve looked after you, it’s time to look after your stuff.
Just like with a big rollercoaster – you probably don’t want to be wearing anything that can fall off.
- Get rid of the bling. If you’re committed to repping gold chains and diamond rings during the day, that’s cool. There should be lockers at your drop zone to keep these in. Wherever possible though, take off anything you’d rather not lose. Yes, even watches fellas. Unless you massively trust the clasp, have fun dealing with a watch that’s come off when falling at 120mph!
- Keep your kicks. When it comes to shoes, these should ideally stay on your feet. I’m sure you’d rather not end up bombing an innocent duck with your Nikes! Laces are generally your friend here. Anything that fits super snug should do. The basic test is to have someone give your shoes a light tug at the heel, to see if they might slip off.
- Empty pockets. No, you probably shouldn’t try to take a selfie while under parachute! When it comes to phones, wallets, and other daily carries – make sure you’ve got a locker to put these in, or someone you trust to keep them for you. If you’re desperate for pictures, pay a little extra for a pro with a camera to jump with you.
Bonus Tip for Girls – I’ve been told to warn about wearing tank tops on a jump. On a hot day they may seem like a great solution, but the harness might tend to tug a tank top down a little! If you’re not going to be in a jumpsuit and jumping in regular clothes, then wearing a light shirt or sweater could help from giving your instructor an eyeful!
Okay, so you’re safe, and you’re not going to end up making a small crater by dropping your phone.
Now let’s make sure you’re comfortable.
Most of this is for anyone jumping in cold temperatures. If you’re lucky enough to be jumping on a hot day (as in shade is a safe haven style hot) then you’ve got it made.
This means that if it’s a nice 68F on the ground, you’ll be looking at 32F when exiting at 10,000ft. Quite a difference!
Now, I’m not saying the cold temperature is going to even be a concern when you’re falling through the sky.
Whatever the temperature, you should make sure you dress on the warmer side. ESPECIALLY if you’re going to be in a plane which doesn’t have a door.
Yes, you read that correctly. Some airfields – like the one I trained at – fly small Cessna’s with the door entirely removed. It gets COLD.
If you’re facing colder weather, thermals are your friend. A good set of thermals offer so much protection against ice-cold temperatures. They’re also the ideal way to add a warm layer without adding much bulk or restricting your movement.
Whip Your Hair Back And… Keep It There
For anyone with locks like Rapunzel, all of that is going to need to get stowed away.
As a guy I don’t have much experience in this department – so I can’t provide too many tips. In short, just be ready to have your hair tied in a helmet-friendly way. You can always use a bike helmet to test this out.
Last Up – Protect Your Skin
Lastly, if you’re jumping on a sunny day, remember to wear sunscreen!
Sun damage is what causes wrinkles, and the atmosphere is super thin up there. If you want to make the most of your increased sex appeal after skydiving, you best be looking after your good looks.
Ice-Cold Weather Skydiving Tips
As a skydiver living in Scotland, I’ve faced my fair share of frozen jump days.
Here’s a few more tips for anyone about to freefall in the cold!
Focus on Wind-Resistance
When jumping, your drop zone may provide you with a jumpsuit. This is for your own safety, but often to help identify student jumpers – especially those jumping solo. (This isn’t always the case, especially for tandem jumpers).
However, these jumpsuits aren’t much more than an empty layer. Jumpsuit or not, you still want to make sure your normal clothes will keep you warm. Especially when it comes to wind resistance.
Falling at 120mph feels the same as when you put your head out of the window on the highway. But doubled. And over your whole body.
This is fantastic on a hot day, but when it’s ice-cold out? It’s freezing!
Outer layers with a good level of wind resistance are the best antidote to the ice-cold winds.
Prepare For Frozen Fingers
On a super cold day, the hardest body part to keep warm is your hands. You might think a good pair of gloves would work. And mostly they do. However, having your hands spread out while flying through icy air at 120mph… it kind of doesn’t matter how good your gloves are.
That being said, a cold day warrants getting (or buying) the warmest set of gloves you can find. With decent movement, of course. Good luck trying to get a pair of mittens past a skydiving instructor!
Personally, I do wear gloves, but also just accept that my hands are going to half-freeze when it’s super cold out. It’s just part of the deal when you’re falling through the sky for a minute. Thankfully a bit of wiggling and moving around under parachute usually gets them warm again.
Remember to Keep Moving
You’ve just fallen through the air.
After all the noise, the chaos, the adrenaline, you’re sitting in the sky under parachute.
And you can’t feel your hands.
If (/when) this happens after a cold jump, just remember to keep moving. Wiggle those fingers and shake those feet.
This is more of a solo jumper tip, but it works with tandem too. Just make sure not to start grinding on your instructor!
That’s about every tip I can think of when it comes to what to wear when skydiving.
I hope this has helped clear a few things up for you!
As I said at the start, a lot of this is overkill. Make sure you’re going to be warm enough, with nothing loose in your pockets and everything tightly fit. You’ll be fine.
The safety aspects in particular will be well covered by your instructor. No-one will let you board a plane if you aren’t safe to do so.
That being said, I know some people like me are overthinkers. We like to analyze every detail to be the most prepared we can be. If that’s you, then I hope this guide has helped!
If I’ve missed anything, or you have any feedback, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, and happy jumping!