Base jumping is a thrilling, yet dangerous sport that requires extensive equipment to keep the participant safe. Many base jumping experts recommend that you use equipment that is light, durable, and able to adapt to your preferred jumping style. In general, all equipment that is used is meant to prevent potential damage to the user. However, some pieces of equipment are used to enhance the base jumping experience.
Base jumping requires extensive use of equipment to keep the jumper completely safe and to allow them to have fun. To start, the base jumper may find it useful to use an antenna as their preferred jumping location. In addition, the helmet and body armor components must be worn in order to protect against potential body or head damage. On top of that, the canopy (also known as the parachute), container, and bridles are used to create a soft landing for the user. If their expected landing is not soft, the jumper may want to use their risers to disengage from their canopy. A jumper may also want to use a specialized camera to document and learn from their base jumping experiences.
Although base jumping can occur in a wide variety of locations, from buildings to cliffs to bridges, many jumpers prefer jumping from an antenna. Antennas are ideal for jumpers who want to jump in urban environments. Compared to buildings and cliffs, antennas are easier to jump from, but they tend to be more difficult than bridges. Some countries provide information on where different antennas that base jumpers can use are located. Once a jumper has found the right antenna, they need to get up there as quickly as possible with their gear bag. If the antenna is too high up to easily climb, it will likely have an elevator. However, some have caged ladders that the jumper must climb up. It is important that the jumper jumps from the side of the antenna with the most tailwind, but jumping into heavy winds is not recommended.
Base jumping body armor is critical in protecting your elbows, shoulders, back, chest, and stomach from potential dangers. Particularly, body armor helps prevent a user from breaking their back and offers strong protection for the elbows and shoulders, which are areas that are typically the most vulnerable during base jumping. When purchasing body armor, it is important to consider not only the hard shell protection, but also comfortability and the armor's fit with your rig on. In addition, many forget to consider the internal temperature of the body armor, which could lead to the jumper being extremely uncomfortable if it's too hot. Typical base jumping body armor is priced anywhere from $100 to $500.
Bridles are the equipment used to connect the pilot chute to the canopy. The primary material used in bridles is square weave nylon; however, there are some models available in 720-pound dacron line. The typical base jumping bridle length is 9 feet long, longer than the typical skydiving bridle. Base jumpers need a longer bridle because they tend to do more experimentation, and they have a lower airspeed during deployment. Multi-bridle attachments can be used to offer more consistent canopy opening which leads to better performance. Bridles are typically priced around $40.
For jumpers that want to record their base jumping experience, a camera is a must. The most important factor when purchasing a base jumping camera is image stabilization because the jumper's camera will more than likely be attached to their helmet, not a tripod. It is also important to make sure that your camera doesn't interfere with your base jumping movements, as that could potentially be harmful or dangerous. Many jumpers use cameras not only to document their fun experiences, but also to help them improve their base jumping skills and techniques. A typical base jumping camera goes for around $350.
Although in the early days of base jumping, jumpers typically used a regular round parachute, the modern base jumping market offers much more advanced canopies. Depending on your preference, there are many different types of canopies to consider when making a purchase. However, it is recommended that you get a vented canopy that can provide a safe landing. Vents are small mesh openings near the nose (or front) of the canopy that aid in faster inflation and also help the canopy stay inflated even when the jumper is descending closer to the ground. Vents help with reducing the time it takes to inflate the canopy, which as a result, minimizes risk. When purchasing a canopy, the jumper must consider the wing load of the canopy, which takes into account the jumper's body weight, as well as all the base jumping equipment that the jumper is wearing. Canopies are priced at around $2,500.
Unlike skydiving containers, base jumping containers are usually designed to hold one parachute. Because base jumpers have very little time to deploy a reserve canopy in the case of a defect, adding multiple canopies in one container would bring many complications. There are typically three types of containers in the market today. First, there are the velcro-closed containers, which are becoming increasingly popular and are highly recommended for those who wingsuit base jump. In addition, there are single pin and dual pin containers. In a single pin container, a curved pin is used to loop near its center and the pin is fixed with the bridle. In a dual pin container, one pin is at the top of the container and one pin is at the bottom. Containers have a price range of approximately $800 to $1,200, depending on the type.
A jumper's gear bag is vital in keeping all of their equipment organized. The quality of fabric for a gear bag is extremely important because it needs to be durable enough so that the jumper can carry and move all their stuff in a more efficient and convenient way. In addition, a base jumping gear bag needs to be able to handle rough terrain and climate. The size of the bag is also important to consider, because it must be able to fit all of a jumper's equipment. The bag should be light-weight, comfortable, and should have sturdy hip straps so that it can be comfortable and easy to carry. A typical gear bag is priced between approximately $60 and $100.
When you are jumping from high places like a cliff or building, you need a proper helmet to protect against possible skull damage. Although many use a skydiving helmet during their base jumping, base jumping helmets are better equipped to protect against collision with boulders, tree branches, or anything that could pose a potential danger. When shopping for a helmet, it is recommended that you consider breaking strength, size, fit, and other features of the helmet to make sure it is right for you. High-end base jumping helmets usually are priced around $400.
Risers, typically coming in a three-ring variety, are used in case a jumper needs to quickly ditch their canopy. Risers are generally constructed from Type 8 webbing rather than Type 17 webbing, which is used by most skydivers. In addition, base jumping risers face outward while skydiving risers which face inward. Risers are used most often when a jumper needs to ditch their canopy while they're approaching dangerous obstacles like fast moving water. Although there are very few instances where cutting your canopy is important, it is still essential to have risers for emergency situations. Risers are priced between $125 and $180.