Apr 11, 2001, 12:57 PM
Post #1 of 20
Who to buy from
I will soon be buying my new rig and would like to hear stories and opinions from others. I have contacted a few dealers (Square 1, Sky Kat, Pier LTD) and have gotten quick replies. Price is always an issue but so is customer service. Please share your opinions good/bad and experiences.
Buy used equipment from other skydivers. This will give you a chance to jump the actual gear you will be buying and it helps out your fellow skydiver. They will probably be looking to by smaller gear and soon you will to someday.
Definately go with used gear for your first rig...otherwise, most of those dealers are good, but consider your local DZ. Most of them are dealers too. You may not get the BEST price out there, but they will make sure that you are getting exactly what you need according to your skills, size, etc. Plus, its good for the DZ. Some DZs will give you deals off rental gear. For example, my DZ (Skydive New England) lets you jump rental gear for free while you wait for your new gear to arrive if you buy it from them.
My first rigs were used and I have had absolutly no complaints with any of my gear. It is however time to downsize. I know what I am looking for and do not mind paying a bit extra for new gear. If I could find what I want used than that would be my first choice. I do agree that used is usually the best and cheapest way to go, especially for a new jumper.
Unless you jump at a DZ with a dealership it's not so much a case of who to buy from, more a case of who to buy through. Talk to a rigger you trust, someone who has been around. They are established and are almost certainly your easy path to getting stuff to try out.
Having said that, by the time you pay for carriage for your try outs, it may make more sense to travel to a DZ with a large dealership for a vacation so you can try out at least most of your wants.
I have heard some mixed reviews about Para-Gear. When I ordered some stuff from them, they had it in stock and it came quickly, but I know people that are having a rough time getting equipment from them. Also, I just ordered a gear bag from Sunshine Factory and they said that it would take 4 weeks to deliver...ughhh. I would suggest that if you are going to buy your gear from an online/phone order place...ask them for delivery times before ordering and hold them to it. Nothings worse than waiting for shit that should have already been delivered.
I agree that SkyKat is an outstanding gear shop. Tony and Kate bend over backwards to accomodate me. Their website, which I gather you have already accessed, is updated daily. Of particular note is their guarantee program.
I wouldn't recommend buying from Para-gear. I bought my rig from them and while they did have pretty good prices and it came when they said, they were NO help with a problem I ran into with my rig fitting me correctly. I even talked to the owner and he was USELESS. I ended up dealing directly with the manufacturer of the container who tried his best to help. Also, thing is... the problem might have been avoided altogether if they had given any advice or suggestions to a newbie ordering her first rig.
My husband then ordered his rig from Skykat and they were very helpful, the price was good and everything went smoothly. They did help him out and even had him recheck some measurements for his harness when the numbers didn't look right. CYPRES prices went down while waiting for his rig to be made and they lowered the price from their original quote. I highly recommend them.
I recently ordered a gear bag and packing mat for my husband for Father's Day from Sunshine Factory, but through our DZ, and they came in less than a week. Did you by any chance get custom colors or embroidery on yours, Skyslut?
Before you buy anything you MUST call Roy from Rigs and Things (www.para-service.com) He is the coolest guy and the prices are unbeatable. When I was buying my first rig and had thousands of questions, he was so patient and helpful and not pushy at all. And the price - literally unbeatable. I called another gear shop that advertised they will beat anyone else's price and told them what Roy from Rigs and Things offered and they said no way! They asked me how he could afford to sell to me at such a low price. Give him a call (877-TOP-RIGS)or go to the website and email him with your questions. Cool guy.
Tell ya what.. I bought directly from my DZO who is a dealer for most brands and I got a New talon2 multi-flex harness(saved $300), New 181raven dash-m reserve (saved $250) and a PD-170 w/150 jumps on it (saved $1000,killer deal) for $1823 Less than what I would have paid had I gone through a manufactor!!! I have all the paper work and booklets for both the container and chute, and warrenty cards, so if I evr had a problem I can stil send it to the manufactor for repairs. YOu cant beat that. In other words check out your DZ!!!!
Well, personally I think everyone should buy from me....
But Jason makes a good point! Give your dzo or local gear dealer a chance to earn your gear dollars. I know some will let you use their rental gear at no charge until your new stuff arrives if you buy from them. You might end up paying a bit more, but it could be worth it in the long run. By buying at your home dz you are also helping to keep your dz operating, which also might be worth paying a bit more.
One thing I would recommend - buy from someone who will take the time to answer all your questions, ask you about your skydiving (# jumps, where you jump, etc.), and basically treat you like a skydiver friend, not just another sale. Sometimes the lowest price is not the best deal - consider things like customer service and delivery times too (example - some delaers get better delivery times than others because they sell a lot of gear).