You can’t go skydiving without a skydiving parachute. As a matter of fact, the skydiving parachute is the most important piece of equipment required for skydiving – and experienced jumpers take a great deal of pride in the chute they choose.
Parachutes are contained in a backpack, known as a ‘container’, and together, they are known as a ‘rig’. Rigs come in different sizes depending on the size of the parachutes inside. They are also made to fit their owner. At a sport skydiver’s deployment altitude, the individual manually deploys a small pilot-chute which acts as a drogue, catching air and pulling out the main parachute or the main canopy.
There are two principal systems in use: the “throw – out”, where the skydiver pulls a toggle attached to the top of the pilot-chute stowed in a small pocket outside the main container: and the “pull – out”, where the skydiver pulls a small pad attached to the pilot-chute which is stowed inside the container.
Higher performance and Tandem Parachutes cost significantly more, whilst large docile student parachutes often cost less.
Come to think of it, there is no one size or one type fits all when it comes to parachutes. There are different types of parachutes in the world of skydiving and each is built to suit different experience levels, disciplines, and to provide the desired performance.
The type of parachute used by a wingsuit flyer would often be very different from the parachute used by someone who flies in a head down (freeflyer) body position. Skydiving parachutes come in different sizes and all skydivers jump with two parachutes; a main and a reserve.
The reason for two is that, in the event one has a problem, you can deploy the second. Considering the number of options on the market, shopping for the best parachutes can be challenging and time – consuming. So, in no particular order, here are 10 of the best parachutes for skydiving you can get today.
Best Types of Parachute to Buy for Skydiving
Lightning CReW Main Parachute Canopy
If you are serious about CReW, then there really is only one choice: the PD Lightning. The Lightning is not just a “regular canopy with CReW lines,” it is a canopy designed from the ground up with one thing in mind – canopy relative work.
From the pilot chute and bridle retraction system, special trims, and tail pockets, the Lightning has what you need to perform at your best. Whether it is setting world records for the largest formation or the fastest rotation times, the Lightning is the #1 choice in CReW canopies and you can get it for $2,340.00.
The Lightning comes with a variety of trims, line lengths and other options to tailor to your specific needs. It is available in all ZP construction (terminal deployments are not recommended on all-ZP Lightnings), combination (ZP top skin only), or entirely low porosity fabric (F-111 type).
Sabre3 Main Parachute Canopy
Introducing the Sabre3, the third canopy in a lineage of amazing, world-renowned wings. But it is not just a new wing, it is a better wing. It redefines the Sabre name. Crisp handling, consistent on-heading openings, huge dynamic speed range, incredible landings, more power, and seriously responsive to inputs.
PD Athletes and Test Jumpers agree that this will be one of the most sought-after canopies in the world for intermediate to expert skydivers, the next greatest all-around 9-cell modern canopy and you can get it for $2,500.00. For nearly 40 years, their design team has worked tirelessly to refine what is possible in canopy design, and they’ve done it again, delivering yet another cutting-edge canopy to the skydiving community.
The Sabre3 is not only worthy of the name, it redefines it. This new wing exemplifies PD’s continued passion to build the next greatest all around 9-cell modern canopy, one which is sure to excite anyone who flies it, and truly amaze those new to the brand.
Though the Sabre3 shares a lineage with two historically popular Performance Designs canopies, the Sabre and Sabre2, the designers began with a clean slate with the goal of creating the world’s next most popular canopy. They enhanced the qualities people loved most about the Sabre2 but minimized or eliminated those some found less desirable.
Already tested endlessly by PD Test Jumpers, and demoed by PD Athletes, the Sabre3 has been described as dynamic, powerful, and perfectly suited for today’s modern canopy pilot – delivering superb openings, crisp response, and amazing landings.
The NZ Aerosports Icarus Kraken Main Canopy
The Kraken is known as a wing of legends, it delivers unprecedented opening and flare characteristics and it goes for $2,290.00.
She’s ideal for wingsuiting novices but will excite even the most experienced pilots. This hybrid low-pack volume wing has a lightweight configuration which allows the pilot to pack bigger sizes in a normal container without sacrificing fabric longevity.
This coupled back with a tighter, firmer tail makes the outline curvy for high maneuverability in the sky. This wing is the ultimate ‘party in the front and business at the back’, she’s super responsive and holds tight when pushed hard.
Firebird RUSH Reserve Canopy
The new Rush 7-cell reserve canopy was developed for the demands of today’s skydiving. The construction is the result of the latest 2D/3D technology.
Its performance was researched, tested and fine-tuned through a multitude of high-speed droptests, g-force measurements and additional flight tests and experiments. The result is one of the strongest, most stable reserves on the market with a maximum deployment speed of 150 KEAS and you can get it for $1,250.00.
Firebird RUSH Reserve Canopy is Certified under ETSO C23d and TS0 23d. It has reliably safe and fast openings, easy landings for the smallest size of canopy, very good diving characteristics, small packing volume, etc.
Squirrel EPICENE PRO Main Parachute Canopy
The EPICENE PRO delivers consistent and reliable openings, with improved glide and flare performance and you can get it for $2,190.00.
The EPICENE series is the most popular choice among the world’s best wingsuit pilots, with a reputation for the best openings in wingsuit skydiving. Squirrel believes the EPICENE concept is the future of wingsuit skydive parachute design, and some of the world’s best skydivers agree.
The Epicene series was designed from the ground up to deliver the most reliable openings possible, specifically for modern wingsuit skydiving use. The Epicene series provides incredibly consistent on-heading openings in a comparatively short amount of altitude.
Piloting the Epicene is straightforward and fun. It has a sporty and compact feel in the air, with direct control inputs and progressive brake-travel.
Strong 26′ Lo-Po Lite Reserve Canopy
The Lo-Po Lite is a smaller, lighter emergency canopy that still features all of the strength, performance, and durability that Strong canopies are known for. Lighter weight than other emergency canopies, Lo-Po Lite packs up significantly smaller.
A perfect companion to AcroPro, the smallest and lightest Para-Cushion, it is a perfect fit for smaller Pilots and Passengers with a system weight of 15 ½ lbs. $900 Lo-Po Lite Canopy comes with, Canopy, Lines and Toggles.
Aerodyne A2 Tandem Main Parachute Canopy
The Aerodyne A2 Tandem Main Parachute is made to be the workhorse of your tandem operation and you can get it for $4,210.00 The A2 is an elliptical 9-cell canopy, built completely from ZP fabric to maintain consistent performance.
Its airfoil and moderate planform factor guarantee superb handling characteristics, to minimize the workload of tandem masters. Not only will they find the toggle pressure, turn response and flare power they have been seeking, but they will be pleasantly surprised by the soft on-heading openings.
The turn recovery and ability to slow the canopy in no wind conditions are additional features that will be greatly appreciated by all tandem masters.
The A2 is equipped with Spectra suspension lines which make for considerably less bulk and a more compact container on their back. With their lower weight, the Spectra lines also reduce the risk of line dump and subsequent premature opening of the deployment bag, a significant cause of malfunctions.
If durability, flight characteristics, and efficiency are important, while maximizing tandem safety and enjoyment, the A2 can offer an unbeatable combination. All of this coupled with the world’s most stringent quality control standards (ISO 9001) and an unparalleled investment value in a tandem canopy.
HORIZON Main Parachute Canopy from Performance Designs
The Horizon is a low-bulk 7-cell main canopy designed to be an easy ‘off button’ to end your wingsuit flight with as little drama as possible. The emphasis for developing this canopy was on eliminating deployment problems caused by the burble of larger wingsuits, without sacrificing a great flare or responsive handling.
The Horizon has the best stopping power of any canopy in its class. Best of all, the horizon give gives you the ability to upsize as many as two full sizes compared to a non-crossbraced ZP canopy main, meaning you can fit a larger canopy in your existing rig for wingsuit jumps. No need for a new container.
The Horizon is suitable for, Wingsuit flyers who want to put a larger canopy in their current container, those who want an easy “off” button to wingsuiting and wingsuiters who want a reliable opening without sacrificing a powerful flare.
ZULU Main Parachute Canopy
The ZULU is the totally new high performance, non cross braced, 9 cell canopy now being introduced by Aerodyne. It was designed using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation software with the application of sophisticated aerodynamic principles to create a versatile high performance aerofoil and it goes for $2,575.00.
With the ZULU, the canopy pilot gets consistent and positive on heading openings. It is elliptical at both the nose and the tail, with a tapered wing, and it is highly responsive to toggle, riser, and harness input. Like a great sports car or an aerobatic airplane, it does exactly what it is told to do.
The ZULU does not exhibit the temperamental nature of some high performance canopies which can be prone to radical openings and oversteer.
It is a parachute that is easy to fly with precision. With that said, it is a performance canopy and not intended for the inexperienced canopy pilot. The more experienced skydiver will appreciate the ZULU’s capabilities and should be prepared for the exhilaration of a canopy that can make your heart pound as you put it through its paces.
Over and above The ZULU is a well-mannered high performance canopy and is suitable for many disciplines. The Aerodyne test team made hundreds of jumps on ZULUs which included wingsuiting, big way, and camera jumps.
Icarus Equinox Main Parachute Canopy
Recognizing the learning issues canopy students face when they start their journey from AFF to their first canopy, ICARUS Canopies has developed the EQUINOX specifically to allow a safer canopy piloting learning process. With a carefully balanced rectangular planform, the EQUINOX provides a soft but consistent short snivel deployment both with spring loaded and hand deployed pilot chutes.
Its easy but lively handling at student wing loading airspeeds and high control range provides the student a great learning experience. EQUINOX forgiving flare characteristics complete an ideal learning tool for drop zones and flight schools. $2,090.00
The EQUINOX is heavy duty engineered hybrid canopy prepared to withstand the hard use experienced in busy flight schools and dropzones. It provides a hassle – free option for student/novice jumpers looking for reliable openings, easy maneuverability, and comfortable pack volume.
EQUINOX provides a perfect choice for drop zones and schools in need of cost effective, reliable and forgiving canopies for AFF, Static Line and Rental Gear. The rugged construction of the EQUINOX has proven itself in both military and sport drop zone environments since years.