If you have a good teacher, you should have the basics down in a few hours, "dry" packing several times. Just make sure you continue to pack regularly, as it can be a bit of a perishable skill.
Refining your technique, adding tips and tricks to add finesse, will make you neater and faster. That will come over time. I took many techniques I learned from other people, and a couple I figured out myself, and made the combination my own. Works for me!
Knowing what to do is fairly easy and fast, being able to do it takes longer, and depends on things like is it a new zp canopy, or an old f-111 canopy. Practice, practice, practice. I've let a beginners practice on my rig, and if I didn't watch them very closely I just open it up and repack it myself. Don't hesitate to ask permission from other experienced jumpers to let you do some or all of a pack job under their watchful eye. Ask the DZO if you can practice on an unpacked student rig, just as long as you unpack it when you are done. Don't get taken advantage of though!
Ask the DZO if you can practice on an unpacked student rig, just as long as you unpack it when you are done. Don't get taken advantage of though!
I'm learning to pack right now myself, through the school. What is really helpful is instead of me unpacking it when I'm done, they unpack it for me and point out any problems along the way. Like I had line stows that came off really badly, and then there were lines underneath the canopy once it opened. If I had unpacked it myself, I would not have known what problems I need to work on.
It is really more intimidating than anything. I was jumping my own pack jobs by jump #9. I made sure someone watched me several times after that and asked for several different techniques. Just remember - there's not just one way to do it. Do what feels right for you and DO IT THE SAME EVERYTIME!
People laugh at me now when they watch me pack but my new ZP Sabre-2 opens great every time and I struggle very little packing.
I have trying to pack my new Sabre2 since I got it. I've yet to jump it though. I dump it on the floor and then pack it. It still takes me an freakin' hour. I'm having a REAL hard time getting the damn thing in the bag. I think I'm going to pay a packer at JOTP. Otherwise, I'll spend all day packing and not jumping.
Good question, well lets see... there is a progression of course. For me it kinda went like this: began about 8yrs old packing my GI Joes canopies; those went well. Then about 12yrs old I began packing for my little brother. I was unsuccessful at defending my pack-job by blaming "over wing-loading" when he got busted up after jumping off the garage roof with my super man bed sheet?? But never-the-less, what I really needed was some proper instruction and that came many years later in the form a class that lasted a couple hours or so; pack-re-pack, then pack again... Anyway, my tactile skills are not the greatest, so my first deployment was multiple line twists. Yeah, I jumped my own pack job, got my A but, the real learning for me came over much time and practice, and I'm still not that fast. Big soft canopies seem just as tough to bag as small slippery ones,(has been my experience anyway) so maybe the myth about "size doesn't matter" is resolved? - just remember; thats why we jump, so we can pack
At my home DZ everybody learns to pack from jump #1. There are packing-instructors (I'll be one in a few weeks:) who help students with their first few packjobs, and do checks (there are 5 built in checks in each packjob). That way everyone knows how to pack well (and pretty quick) by the time they reach their A licence. First few packjobs took about 1,5 hours..it takes me about 10/15 minutes now.
Our dz just doesn't have packers, so you HAVE to learn if you want to jump :) We had a guest coming in, he had 900 jumps and had never packed his own chute...:)