Gear Guide: Essential Equipment for Base Jumping

Gear Guide: Essential Equipment for Base Jumping

Are you an adrenaline junkie looking to take your thrill-seeking adventures to new heights? Base jumping is an extreme sport that allows you to leap from fixed objects, such as buildings or cliffs, and experience the exhilarating sensation of freefall before deploying a parachute. However, this high-risk activity requires the right gear to ensure your safety and maximize your enjoyment. In this gear guide, we will explore the essential equipment you need for base jumping, from helmets and harnesses to parachutes and altimeters. Whether you’re a seasoned base jumper or a beginner looking to get started, this comprehensive guide will help you make informed decisions about the gear that best suits your needs.

Helmets

When it comes to base jumping, wearing a helmet is absolutely essential for your safety. A helmet not only protects your head from potential injuries but also provides you with the confidence and peace of mind needed to fully enjoy your base jumping experience. In this gear guide, we will discuss two types of helmets commonly used by base jumpers: full-face helmets and open-face helmets.

Full-face helmets

Full-face helmets are the preferred choice for many experienced base jumpers. As the name suggests, these helmets cover your entire face, providing maximum protection to your head, face, and chin. They feature a sturdy outer shell and a padded inner lining that absorbs impact and minimizes the risk of injury in case of a crash or hard landing.

The main advantage of full-face helmets is their comprehensive protection. They shield your face from debris, wind, and other potential hazards during the jump. Additionally, they offer better aerodynamics, reducing the risk of the helmet getting caught in the wind and affecting your stability.

Full-face helmets often come with adjustable chin straps and ventilation systems that allow proper airflow, preventing excessive sweating and ensuring comfort during your base jumps. They are typically made from lightweight materials such as carbon fiber or fiberglass, ensuring both durability and ease of use.

Open-face helmets

While full-face helmets provide optimal protection, some base jumpers prefer the lighter and more open feel of open-face helmets. These helmets cover only the top, sides, and back of your head, leaving your face exposed. They offer a balance between protection and visibility, making them a popular choice for those who prioritize comfort and a wider field of vision.

Open-face helmets are typically lighter and less restrictive than full-face helmets. They allow for better airflow, keeping your head cool during intense jumps. The absence of a face shield also allows for easier communication with fellow jumpers and enables the use of goggles or sunglasses for eye protection against wind and glare.

It’s important to note that open-face helmets may not provide the same level of protection as full-face helmets, especially when it comes to facial injuries. However, they still offer a significant amount of head protection and are suitable for base jumpers who prioritize freedom of movement and a less enclosed feel.

In conclusion, both full-face helmets and open-face helmets play a crucial role in ensuring your safety during base jumping. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the level of protection you desire. Regardless of which type you choose, always prioritize safety and invest in a high-quality helmet that meets the necessary safety standards. Stay protected and enjoy your base jumping adventures!

Harnesses

When it comes to base jumping, having the right harness is crucial to ensure safety and maximize performance. Two types of harnesses commonly used in base jumping are chest harnesses and leg harnesses.

Chest Harnesses

Chest harnesses play a vital role in distributing the forces experienced during a base jump. They are designed to secure the upper body and provide stability during the descent. Chest harnesses typically have adjustable straps and buckles to ensure a snug fit for the jumper.

One popular type of chest harness used in base jumping is the full-body harness. This type of harness covers the entire torso, including the chest, shoulders, and back. It offers maximum support and protection, making it ideal for more challenging base jumping maneuvers.

Another common chest harness used by base jumpers is the chest-mounted harness. This harness is specifically designed to hold a parachute container and is often used in conjunction with a leg harness. The chest-mounted harness allows for easy access to the parachute and provides a secure attachment point for the parachute container.

Leg Harnesses

Leg harnesses are equally important in base jumping, as they provide stability and control during the jump. These harnesses are designed to secure the lower body and prevent any unwanted movement or rotation during the descent.

One popular type of leg harness used in base jumping is the thigh-mounted harness. This harness is attached to the thighs and provides a secure attachment point for the parachute container. The thigh-mounted harness allows for better weight distribution and reduces the strain on the lower body during landing.

Another common leg harness used by base jumpers is the ankle-mounted harness. This harness is attached to the ankles and provides additional support and stability during the jump. It helps maintain proper body position and prevents the legs from flailing or getting entangled with the parachute lines.

In conclusion, harnesses are an essential part of base jumping equipment. Chest harnesses and leg harnesses play a crucial role in providing stability, support, and control during the jump. It is important for base jumpers to choose the right harness that fits properly and meets their specific needs to ensure a safe and exhilarating base jumping experience.

Parachutes

When it comes to base jumping, having the right parachute is absolutely crucial. Parachutes are the lifeline for base jumpers, providing them with a safe descent after leaping off a cliff or a tall structure. There are two main types of parachutes that every base jumper should be familiar with: main parachutes and reserve parachutes.

Main Parachutes

Main parachutes are the primary parachutes used by base jumpers. These parachutes are designed to provide a controlled and smooth descent, allowing jumpers to enjoy their adrenaline-filled adventure while ensuring their safety. Main parachutes come in various sizes and designs, catering to different base jumping styles and preferences.

When choosing a main parachute for base jumping, jumpers consider factors such as canopy size, wing loading, and deployment system. Canopy size determines the amount of lift and control a parachute can provide, while wing loading refers to the weight supported by the parachute’s surface area. The deployment system ensures a reliable and timely opening of the parachute after the jumper has initiated the deployment sequence.

Reserve Parachutes

Reserve parachutes, also known as emergency parachutes, serve as a backup option in case the main parachute fails to deploy or encounters any issues during the jump. While base jumpers hope to never have to rely on their reserve parachutes, it is essential to have one in case of an emergency.

Reserve parachutes are typically smaller and more compact compared to main parachutes, as they are meant to be used as a last resort. These parachutes are designed to open quickly and reliably, providing a swift and safe descent when needed. Base jumpers must regularly inspect and maintain their reserve parachutes to ensure their reliability and functionality.

In conclusion, both main parachutes and reserve parachutes play a vital role in base jumping. Main parachutes are the primary chutes used for a controlled descent, while reserve parachutes act as a backup option in case of emergencies. Base jumpers must carefully choose their parachutes based on factors like canopy size, wing loading, and deployment system to ensure a safe and exhilarating experience. Regular inspection and maintenance of reserve parachutes are crucial to ensure their reliability when they are needed the most.

Wingsuits

A wingsuit is an essential piece of equipment for base jumping. It is a specially designed jumpsuit that allows jumpers to glide through the air, giving them the sensation of flying. In this section, we will explore the different types of wingsuits available and provide tips on how to choose the right one for your base jumping adventures.

Types of wingsuits

  1. Classic Wingsuits: These are the most common type of wingsuits and are suitable for beginners. Classic wingsuits have a basic design with fabric wings that extend from the arms to the legs, allowing for controlled flight and maneuverability. They provide a good balance between performance and ease of use.

  2. Performance Wingsuits: Designed for experienced base jumpers, performance wingsuits offer enhanced aerodynamics and maneuverability. These suits have a more advanced design with larger wings and additional features such as winglets and airlocks. Performance wingsuits allow for faster speeds, longer glides, and more precise control during flight.

  3. Hybrid Wingsuits: As the name suggests, hybrid wingsuits combine elements of classic and performance wingsuits. They offer a balance between ease of use and advanced performance. Hybrid wingsuits are suitable for base jumpers who want to transition from a classic wingsuit to a more advanced one gradually.

Choosing the right wingsuit

When selecting a wingsuit for base jumping, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Experience level: Beginners should start with a classic wingsuit to familiarize themselves with the basics of flying. As they gain more experience and skills, they can gradually upgrade to more advanced wingsuits.

  2. Body type: Wingsuits come in different sizes and designs to accommodate various body types. It’s essential to choose a wingsuit that fits well, allowing for freedom of movement without being too loose or too tight.

  3. Flying style: Consider your preferred flying style. If you enjoy precise maneuvers and high-speed flights, a performance wingsuit may be suitable. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed and stable glide, a classic wingsuit might be a better choice.

  4. Safety features: Look for wingsuits that have safety features such as reinforced stitching, sturdy zippers, and reliable parachute deployment systems. These features can enhance your safety during base jumps.

  5. Budget: Wingsuits can vary significantly in price. Set a budget and look for options that offer good quality and performance within your price range. It’s crucial not to compromise on safety and durability when considering the cost.

By considering these factors and understanding the different types of wingsuits available, you can make an informed decision when choosing the right wingsuit for your base jumping adventures. Remember to prioritize safety and always seek guidance from experienced base jumpers or instructors when necessary.

Jumping suits

When it comes to base jumping, having the right equipment is crucial for a safe and successful jump. One of the most important pieces of gear that every base jumper should have is a jumping suit. Jumping suits are designed to provide protection, comfort, and functionality during the jump. There are different types of jumping suits available, each serving a specific purpose. Two popular types of jumping suits are freefly suits and tracking suits.

Freefly suits

Freefly suits are specially designed for base jumpers who enjoy performing acrobatic maneuvers and freefalling in various positions. These suits are made from durable and lightweight materials that allow for maximum mobility and flexibility. The design of freefly suits typically features reinforced knees and elbows to withstand intense movements and protect the jumper in case of a rough landing. Additionally, freefly suits often have grippers on the arms and legs to provide better control and stability during freefall. These suits are perfect for base jumpers who want to explore the thrill of aerial acrobatics and vertical movements.

Tracking suits

On the other hand, tracking suits are designed for base jumpers who want to cover horizontal distances during the jump. These suits have a unique design with wingsuits or flaps that increase the surface area, allowing for increased lift and better gliding capabilities. The added surface area helps base jumpers achieve a forward trajectory and cover more ground before deploying their parachute. Tracking suits are typically made from lightweight materials that provide insulation and protection against wind and cold temperatures at high altitudes. These suits are ideal for base jumpers who want to experience the exhilaration of flying across vast distances.

In conclusion, jumping suits are an essential piece of equipment for base jumping. Freefly suits are perfect for base jumpers who enjoy acrobatic movements and freefalling in different positions, while tracking suits are designed for those who want to cover horizontal distances during the jump. Having the right jumping suit can enhance safety, comfort, and overall performance, making it a crucial gear choice for every base jumper.

Altitude devices

Altitude devices are essential equipment for base jumping as they provide crucial information about the jumper’s height above ground level. Two commonly used altitude devices in base jumping are altimeters and GPS devices.

Altimeters

Altimeters are specialized devices that measure the altitude or height above a fixed reference point. In base jumping, altimeters are crucial for ensuring the jumper’s safety and precision during the jump. These devices provide accurate readings of the jumper’s altitude, allowing them to gauge their position relative to the ground and other objects.

Altimeters used in base jumping typically come in two types: analog and digital. Analog altimeters are traditional, mechanical devices that use a needle to indicate the altitude. On the other hand, digital altimeters utilize advanced technology to provide precise altitude readings in digital format. Both types have their advantages, and it often comes down to personal preference.

When selecting an altimeter for base jumping, it is important to consider factors such as reliability, durability, and ease of use. Look for altimeters that have robust construction, are water-resistant, and have clear and easily readable displays. Additionally, some altimeters may offer additional features like logbooks, data recording, or even wireless connectivity to other devices.

GPS devices

GPS devices, short for Global Positioning System devices, have become increasingly popular among base jumpers due to their versatility and advanced navigation capabilities. While altimeters provide altitude information, GPS devices offer a broader range of features that can greatly enhance the base jumping experience.

GPS devices not only provide altitude readings but also offer precise location tracking and navigation. They utilize satellite signals to determine the user’s exact position and can display detailed maps, waypoints, and routes. These features can be extremely useful for planning jumps, navigating unfamiliar terrain, and ensuring accurate landings.

When choosing a GPS device for base jumping, look for models that are specifically designed for outdoor activities and have features tailored to the needs of base jumpers. Consider factors such as battery life, durability, screen size, and user-friendly interfaces. Some GPS devices may also offer additional features like weather updates, compasses, or even integration with other devices such as smartphones or smartwatches.

In conclusion, altitude devices are essential equipment for base jumping, providing crucial information about altitude and location. Altimeters offer precise altitude readings, while GPS devices offer additional features such as navigation and location tracking. Choosing reliable and durable devices that meet your specific needs is vital to ensure a safe and successful base jumping experience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, base jumping is an exhilarating extreme sport that requires essential equipment to ensure the safety and success of every jump. From the crucial parachute system to the reliable helmet and specialized jumpsuit, each piece of gear plays a vital role in the overall experience. By investing in high-quality equipment and regularly maintaining it, base jumpers can confidently pursue their passion while minimizing potential risks. Remember, safety should always be the top priority in this thrilling adventure sport. So, gear up, be prepared, and enjoy the breathtaking freedom of base jumping!