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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Look After Your LIFESAVER!

by Rob Lloyd
by Rob Lloyd

Don’t we all love summer? Sunshine, blue skies, long summer days, warm evenings, barbecues, basically known to us as the jumping season!

There are lots of boogies to go to, coaching to be had, dz parties to do, big-ways to take part in, ratings to be taken, licenses to be earned and competitions to go to.

I am sure we are all aware we need to look after our gear. I want to highlight some key points to be aware of when it comes to your canopy during this summer season. Canopies are made of nylon at the end of the day; they can be stained, ripped, and over time the fabric will wear.


Here are the major five hazards from which to protect your lifesaver…

by Rob Lloyd
by Rob Lloyd

1. Sharp objects

Common places where you might rip your canopy are on the truck when you are getting a lift from landing area or walking through doors to get into the packing shed. There can also be hazards on the landing area, where there may be sharp objects like thorns, tumbleweed, wire, even stones, which can tear your canopy. Be aware of these hazards after landing. Don’t drag the canopy towards you but walk towards it, to eliminate the chance of any damage.

2. Liquids

Be aware that the truck that you hop onto on the landing area to come back to the hangar can also leak acid or oil, which can degrade your canopy. Watch how you carry and where you put your canopy. They don’t come cheap!

Packing without a shirt is potentially damaging to nylon
Packing without a shirt is potentially damaging to nylon

3. Sweat

Perspiration, basically known as sweat, is mostly water but also contains sodium chloride (salt), urea, amino acids and proteins. Salt is a threat to your canopy, because the mineral salts from perspiration dry into crystals with tiny, sharp edges that grind down and cut nylon fibers. This is similar to landing in the sea and getting salt water contamination on your canopy, just in a smaller amount. If you pack your parachute without a t-shirt because it’s a very hot day, or consider giving it to a packer without a t-shirt, think twice about whether you are ok with degrading of your canopy with sweat. Do you really want that smell on your canopy too?

Keep canopies out of the sun to avoid UV damage&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by <a href='' class='captionLink'>Zach Lewis</a>
Keep canopies out of the sun to avoid UV damage — by Zach Lewis

4. Sunlight

Now, let’s consider leaving your canopy in sunlight. This might be just because you don’t want to pack it quickly, or may be for some other reason. Sunlight contains UV light, which will damage your canopy over time so try to minimise the exposure of your canopy to sunlight as much as you can.

5. Dirt

When packing, choose a nice clean area. If there is not a clear, clean packing area available, packing on the grass will be a better alternative than packing in a dirty area.

Summer smiles at Skydive Spain&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;by Narit Pidokrajt
Summer smiles at Skydive Spain — by Narit Pidokrajt


Following this advice will help keep your canopy nice and clean and free from any damage. Your canopy will be in better condition for longer, and will continue to look after you through the happy summer season. It will also pay off later on when you come to sell your canopy.

Have a wonderful summer!