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BASE Jumping: Articles: Gear: Gear Bags

Gear Bags updated

by admin

Gearbags (stashbags) are often neglected components of BASE apparel. This is odd, considering you will spend more time carrying your rig in your gearbag than you will wearing it. Having a comfortable gearbag becomes progressively more important as you make longer hikes to jump.

The majority of jumpers use a BASE specific gearbag. These are usually nothing more than a piece of cordura with two shoulder straps and a tightening cord at the opening. They are minimal, folding up really small so they’re not in the way during your jump.

What To Look For

Most people just get a gearbag with the first rig they buy, and continue to use that. If, however, you happen to shop for a gearbag, these are the things you want to consider.
  1. Quality of fabric. Is it going to tear as soon as you scrape a wall, steel girder or tree?
  2. Size. Will it fit your rig and protective gear?
  3. Waterproofness. Can the cordura protect your rig from rain or worse? Not a necessity, but it can be nice to have.
  4. Hip strap. Some gearbags have a hip strap besides the two shoulder straps. This can make them a lot more comfortable, at the expense of a little extra bulk.
  5. Shoulder strap adjustment. Can you adjust the shoulder strap length to your body size? If so, is the buckle used strong enough? If it’s flimsy plastic and it breaks, you’ll end up with a gearbag with only one shoulder strap.
  6. Elastic Cord. Some gearbags have elastic cord on the outside behind which something can be put (like your kneepads after the jump).
  7. General comfort. How wide are the shoulder straps? Are they too wide, or too narrow?

More Comfort

Even if you have a gearbag with wide shoulder straps and a hip strap, you might still look for something more comfortable for hikes longer than an hour. Check the remote jumping page for more advice on long hikes. As far as gearbags go, you are best off looking into the ultralight backpacking scene.

You are looking for a backpack that holds your rig, your helmet and body armor, your water and food supply, and possible camping needs if you go really remote. This requires a large backpack. Nonetheless, you also need to be able to jump without the backpack being in the way. This means it has to be compressible, i.e. it can’t have a solid frame.

Instead of folding your stashbag in the backpocket of your rig, a proper backpack will either be flattened in between the rig and your back, or you wear it the other way around on your chest. If you are planning to wear a loose jumpsuit, small amounts of gear (perhaps a stash bag and water) can be stuffed down the legs.

The two most popular companies serving the ultralight backpacking community are Gossamer and GoLite. Gosammer makes the Mariposa bag, which other jumpers have had good succes with.

GoLite makes the Jam Pack which some jumpers use. People interested in this bag should read the GoLite Sucks by Ray Jardine , who is pretty much the father of ultra light weight backpacking, as well as the inventor of cams (active climbing protection) and apparently not a bad freeflier.

Warnings

Many people take their stashbag fold it up and put it in the pocket on the back of their rig. That is a good solution, and it is what the pocket is intended for. However, there are two potential risks with this approach.

  1. Adding extra material in between your rig and your back is going to change the fit of your rig, which can have an effect on your pin tension. If you are testing your pin tension, make sure you take that effect into account.
  2. If you have any closing cords hanging from your empty stashbag, make sure you fold them completely towards the inside. If it hangs out of the pocket on your rig, it can dangle in front of the stowed pilotchute, potentially interfering with your pitch. Good rig d esigns have the opening of this pocket towards the opposite side of the rig.

Submitted by admin on 2007-06-08 | Last Modified on 2010-04-16

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