6 Ways to Stop the Stupid When You Buy Used Skydiving Gear

Stop Making Paul Iglin Facepalm, Pls Thx

Your own gear makes skydiving so much comfier.
Your own gear makes skydiving so much comfier. Image Courtesy Annette O'Neil

Paul Iglin has been brokering used skydiving gear for more than a decade. He’s seen it all.

He has definitely seen your kind before, and wants you to know a few things about the buying process, so you don’t make the same mistakes he’s seen over – and over – and over. I asked him what people need to know about buying used skydiving gear when they begin the process, and he had plenty of sage advice to share.

Here’s the straight story.

1. Curb your enthusiasm.

“Your job as a buyer is to get the right gear at the right time and at the right point in your skydiving career. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Every once in a while I have had people contact me who have not actually started skydiving yet.  It is very rare, but it happens. They are clueless – and they are dangerous to themselves from a financial standpoint, because they have no idea what they’re buying. I tell them to go to somebody else; I won’t sell them gear. Before you start shopping for gear, you need to know what you are shopping for. So, if you don’t: Stop right there. Seriously.

Good shape, good brand, good used gear at the right price: Make no mistake; that’s hard to find. In skydiving gear, the supply-and-demand curve is really messed up. There’s very little supply and very high demand.

It’s also seasonal. Come March and April, everybody rushes to find gear, and then demand stays strong all the way through end of the season around September.

Try to shop outside that time frame if you can.”

2. Don’t trust your friends.

“Man, people get their advice from some terrible sources. A lot of the time, they’ll just go to their friends. But when you’re a new jumper, most likely your friends are also newer jumpers who basically don’t know jack****.

 Their understanding is very, very narrow; they have blinders on. Like: they bought themselves a brand-new Infinity rig with a brand-new Optimum with a brand-new Sabre 2, and it works for them, so that’s what they tell their friends to get.

Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the gear they’re recommending is the worst. It just means that these people don’t have a statistically relevant sample, so their opinion doesn’t really count for anything. And they always tell whoever’s asking that ‘this is the best,’ as opposed to making the correct statement: ‘This is the one I have, and it works well for me.’”

3. Do your homework.

“All of this ties into the fact that people often just don’t do proper research. How do you do proper research? Well, whenever people ask me this question, I tell them this: Look at the gear as tier A, B and C as far as manufacturers, quality and pricing. I’m going to go ahead and throw some manufacturers’ names out there. You have your tier-A manufacturers: your Vectors; your Javelins; your Mirages; your Infinities. All those guys have been around for a long time. There are no questions about quality. They are very reputable. All the options are available.

Then you have your tier-Bs: Icons, Wings, Perigees, whatever Dolphin became and a whole lot of other brands that are either obscure or very localized to another continent or a particular country.

Avoid the latter if you’re a new jumper, because you don’t know what the **** you’re doing.

You may have somebody try to sell you another brand that’s technically TSO’d, but you’re really going to suffer when you try to resell. You’ll have a hard time finding replacement parts if you are outside of the country of manufacture – and you’re going to get killed on shipping, and support is going to be pretty crappy. Be aware.

Your can ask any rigger what the tier-C manufacturer is. They’ll tell you.”

4. Get your head right.

“If you get a 170, you weigh 210 pounds and you’re 50 jumps into the sport, you are not doing anybody any favors.  You may survive.  You may not. But I certainly won’t be the person selling you a 170-square-foot canopy.”

Continued in Part 2 >>