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BASE Jumping: Articles: Gear: BASE Accessories

BASE Accessories updated

by BASEwiki

Whenever you go out for a jump, you’ll obviously need to bring your rig, and preferably some protection like a helmet. However, there are plenty of other useful things that don’t take up much space and might save your life or just save you time.

Some people bring a fanny-pack on every jump including some of the things below. Others decide what to bring based on the jump. Obviously a remote jump requires more things than an urban jump five minutes from your home.

See the section on remote jumping for more advice on items you need in such an environment.

Laser Range Finder

Having a laser range finder is not necessarily useful on the jump, but it definitely is when you’re scoping out a new site. It allows you to accurately measure the height of an exit point.

You can either stand directly below the exit point and shoot up, or at the exit point and shoot down. If that is not possible, you can stand some distance away from the object; shoot diagonally up to the exit point and then horizontally towards the base of the object. Then use Pythagoras's Theorem to calculate the actual height of the object.

Make sure your laser uses fresh batteries. There have been reports of lasers with inaccurate results when batteries run low. All reports indicate that it returns less distance than the actual distance, which for BASE jumping would keep you safer. However, if there might be a laser out there that reports longer distances on low batteries, that could pose a risk, giving you a false sense of too much height.

Many BASE jumpers use a Bushnell range finder, but there are other brands available too and it is worthwhile to shop around.

Things to look for when you buy one:

  • Lightweight and small. Don’t buy a large binocular sized one. Get one with a single scope that fits in your pocket.
  • Lit LCD screen. Can you read the information in the dark? Often you’ll be using it at nighttime.
  • Range. How far can you accurately laser with it?
  • Units. Can it shoot in the units you prefer? Meters, yards or feet? Yards are easily convertible to feet, but going from meters to feet is a little trickier.
  • Durability, price, the usual things you look at for any sale.


It is highly recommended to get a set of radios. They will allow you to communicate with your groundcrew, and with other jumpers on the load once one of you has jumped and the others haven’t yet.

There is at least one fatality on 'the list' that may have been avoided if the jumper would have had a radio. Instead of knowing a rescue mission was being attempted, he tried to self-rescue and died in the process.

If you crash into a cliff and end up halfway on the wall, having a radio will allow you to communicate with the rescue team. If the type of jump you intend on doing has the potential for ending up in a hard-to-access area (like halfway up a cliff), make sure you carry a radio.

Furthermore, the world’s most popular BASE site requires a radio to contact the boat driver. If you get tired of hiking up the canyon, you can use your radio to ask for Don and he’ll give you a ride to the parking lot for only six dollars!

Most types of two-way radios will do. They usually sell them in outdoor stores (they are popular among skiers and snowboarders). Make sure you get radios that have sub-channels, as most BASE scenes use a certain channel and sub-channel for all their communication. Don’t try to save too much money. The cheaper models usually run out of batteries faster and have poor reception. Find a nice mid-range model and you’ll be able to communicate with BASE jumpers worldwide.


This is a no brainer. Carrying your cellphone never hurts, and like a radio it will give you a way to get help if necessary.

If you find yourself in a trespassing scenario, make sure you turn the volume of your cellphone off. The last thing you want is to alert security because your mom is calling.

It is also worth investing in a headset that fits into your helmet. This will allow you to do virtual groundcrew, as well as talk to other people during the jump. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with your ability to concentrate on the task at hand.

Pull-up Cord

Never leave the house without a pull-up cord, especially if you jump a pin rig. There will come a day when you find yourself at an exit point and accidentally you will pop your pins. There are countless stories of people having to take their shoelaces out to use as an improvized pull-up cord to close their container again.

If you carry a pull-up cord, you can easily close the container again. Some containers have a little spandex pocket on the legstrap that holds a pull-up cord. If you always store yours there, you can’t forget them.


For the same reason you bring a pull-up cord, you should bring a flashlight. Some of today’s LED based flashlights are no bigger than a thick coin and when you pop your pin or need to check your three ring system in the dark, you will be happy you have some light.


It is highly recommended your groundcrew carries a first-aid kit. However, when you don’t have groundcrew, or when you do but you might end up in a location that is hard to reach, consider carrying painkillers. The decision to bring them should not be taken lightly though. Read up on painkillers in the first aid section.


Knives have many uses and it never hurts to carry one. There are stories about people who have used pocketknives as improvized hookknives, to cut away a tied static line when the jump could no longer continue, or to cut a canopy out of a tree when damage was unavoidable anyway.

Make sure you have a knife that cannot open by accident. A lot of people swear by the multi-tool Leatherman style knifes.

In some countries getting caught while carrying a knife can be held against you. Make sure you are aware of the laws that apply to you.


What use is dental floss on a BASE jump you might ask? Well, dental floss is light, relatively strong, and a single package can contain as much as 60 meters. Obviously you can’t climb down on it, but it has succesfully been used to carry a rope up to a jumper stuck on the wall.

If you get an offheading and you find yourself halfway up the face of a cliff, if you can lower the floss 60 meters down, your rescue party can attach a thicker rope, you can carry it up and you can then rappel down on the thicker rope.

Submitted by BASEwiki on 2007-06-11 | Last Modified by sangiro on 2013-09-18

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.  | Votes: 8 | Comment: 1 | Views: 13023

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I posted this earlier on the first aid article, I'm going to re-post it here.

I have one or two odds and ends I'd recommend here.

1) Quik-Clot dressing
NOT THE POWDER. That shit can kill you. There's a reason the military stopped issuing it out. The "Combat Gauze" as we call it is simply a compression dressing with the clotting powder built into it. You can find the civilian variant of this in sporting goods stores, even Apex BASE sells them. Add this to your first aid-kit and try not to let it get punctured.

2) CAT Tourniquet

Also military grade gear. These have saved countless lives. They're simple, easy to use, and can be self-applied. Just remember the rules when using these: 3in above the wound/joint, record the time it was applied to a wound, don't take it off once its been placed on. I got issued like, 10 of these, so I always have one on my gear.

3) VF-17 Panel

Not to send any bad fate your way, but sometimes shit's out of our hands and we require rescue. This tool allows for easy and effective signalling. These panels come in a few shapes and sizes, they're usually made of cordura so you can cut them up to your liking and fold them up nice and small. Buy a big one, cut it up into small ones, give them to your buddies.

4) Chem-lights
Carry one with a string of 550 cord tied to it. If you need to signal for help at night, crack it, shake it, spin it around in a circle over your head. International signal for "I'm here! I'm here!"

Most of this stuff seems excessive but realistically, it's all lightweight, relatively cheap, and small enough to fit in one cargo pocket or a saddlebag. That's my two cents. Stay classy ;-)

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