Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it?

 


rss_v

Aug 10, 2012, 3:06 AM
Post #1 of 18 (1419 views)
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Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? Can't Post

I'm talking about second-hand stuff in particular, of course. I'm in the UK and this year so far haven't found any suitable gear within a reasonable travelling distance. Info from sellers is usually vague at best and I don't want to commit to a 7-8 hr round trip just to go and look at something that I won't even understand much about myself. Anything advertised in the usual places tends to be snapped up in hours to days, so I'd have to move fast and arranging to travel (I don't have a car) all the way to see it can be tricky.

For my first rig, should I definitely get to see it in person and test-jump it? Or is it ok to have it inspected at a distant DZ then posted to me if it checks out? Will I be likely to find it "doesn't fit" or I just don't like it for some reason?

Every time I jump I spend 10 on gear rental, so you can see it adds up very quickly and so there is a financial incentive to buy ASAP, even if it's a bit more expensive than I expected. Opening up to distant sales might make it a bit easier, but with my current low level of experience might it be too risky?

Thanks,


(This post was edited by rss_v on Aug 10, 2012, 3:21 AM)


fcajump  (D 15598)

Aug 10, 2012, 4:53 AM
Post #2 of 18 (1386 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

As it looks like you're relatively new to the sport and its gear, I would NOT recommend buying something unseen/untested.

Further, I would start by getting yourself a rigger (yes, before you even have a rig). You want someone who knows the gear to be on your side. (S)he can help you find the right gear, quickly evaluate brands/designs/sizes for appropriateness for your loading/skills/plans. I would also insist that any sale be dependent upon a favorable inspection/condition report from your rigger. This will cost you up front, but pay off in two ways... First, if that's not acceptable to the seller then you likely didn't want their rig anyway (since its at your expense, what don't they want your rigger to find??) Second, you'll know that your rig is in good shape and that your rigger is comfortable working on it. I've been bought junk and by the time I finished discussing what I was seeing, my customer's were thanking me for keeping them safe.

For me when I was at your level was to buy new. Square reserves were rare in used rigs and the Cypres had just come on the market, so what I wanted wasn't on the used market.

On the positive side, while I spent more, I knew the complete history of the gear, I got exactly what I wanted and fit me correctly.

Just my $.02
JW


rss_v

Aug 10, 2012, 4:57 AM
Post #3 of 18 (1385 views)
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Re: [fcajump] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
As it looks like you're relatively new to the sport and its gear, I would NOT recommend buying something unseen/untested.

Further, I would start by getting yourself a rigger (yes, before you even have a rig). You want someone who knows the gear to be on your side. (S)he can help you find the right gear, quickly evaluate brands/designs/sizes for appropriateness for your loading/skills/plans. I would also insist that any sale be dependent upon a favorable inspection/condition report from your rigger. This will cost you up front, but pay off in two ways... First, if that's not acceptable to the seller then you likely didn't want their rig anyway (since its at your expense, what don't they want your rigger to find??) Second, you'll know that your rig is in good shape and that your rigger is comfortable working on it. I've been bought junk and by the time I finished discussing what I was seeing, my customer's were thanking me for keeping them safe.

For me when I was at your level was to buy new. Square reserves were rare in used rigs and the Cypres had just come on the market, so what I wanted wasn't on the used market.

On the positive side, while I spent more, I knew the complete history of the gear, I got exactly what I wanted and fit me correctly.

Just my $.02
JW

Thanks. My DZ has a rigger who will check over gear for me - I asked about that. He's a classic grumpy old bastard, though, so I haven't really had a good chat to him about finding me a rig and so on. I'd trust him to check my kit, though, for sure.

New isn't really an option for me - simply too expensive and I will be relying on getting a reasonable resale value for what I buy, one day. I've got no business skydiving at all on my current salary, to be honest! Something second hand and just-about-jumpable is fine for me at the moment.


fcajump  (D 15598)

Aug 10, 2012, 5:02 AM
Post #4 of 18 (1381 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
As it looks like you're relatively new to the sport and its gear, I would NOT recommend buying something unseen/untested.

Further, I would start by getting yourself a rigger (yes, before you even have a rig). You want someone who knows the gear to be on your side. (S)he can help you find the right gear, quickly evaluate brands/designs/sizes for appropriateness for your loading/skills/plans. I would also insist that any sale be dependent upon a favorable inspection/condition report from your rigger. This will cost you up front, but pay off in two ways... First, if that's not acceptable to the seller then you likely didn't want their rig anyway (since its at your expense, what don't they want your rigger to find??) Second, you'll know that your rig is in good shape and that your rigger is comfortable working on it. I've been bought junk and by the time I finished discussing what I was seeing, my customer's were thanking me for keeping them safe.

For me when I was at your level was to buy new. Square reserves were rare in used rigs and the Cypres had just come on the market, so what I wanted wasn't on the used market.

On the positive side, while I spent more, I knew the complete history of the gear, I got exactly what I wanted and fit me correctly.

Just my $.02
JW

Thanks. My DZ has a rigger who will check over gear for me - I asked about that. He's a classic grumpy old bastard, though, so I haven't really had a good chat to him about finding me a rig and so on. I'd trust him to check my kit, though, for sure.

New isn't really an option for me - simply too expensive and I will be relying on getting a reasonable resale value for what I buy, one day. I've got no business skydiving at all on my current salary, to be honest! Something second hand and just-about-jumpable is fine for me at the moment.

Understand. I was putting myself through school when I started and collecting my room mate's beer cans to sell to the recycler for jump money.
There is a lot of good used gear, and my first rigger was the grumpy old cuss... he'll help you get a good one.
Just remember that while fine to keep costs down, don't sell your life short.

Blue skies, happy shopping.
JW


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 10, 2012, 5:24 AM
Post #5 of 18 (1375 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

 
You do what to have everything you buy inspected by a rigger before making the purchase. Condition is part of it, but legality is another, and if something isn't 100% 'above board', a rigger won't pack it and then you can't jump it.

As far as fitment goes, just get the serial number for any container you're considering, and call the manufacturer with your measurements handy. They'll be able to tell you if it will fit or not.

There are different ways to handle purchases and inspections. The best for you is if a seller will ship something to your rigger, and then wait for it be inspected to recieve payment. One concern then is that if it doesn't pass, or you don't 'like' it, then you have shipping costs both ways that someone will have to pay.

If the seller won't ship without payment, you can always see if maybe your rigger or local DZO knows the sellers rigger or DZO, and can vouch for them. If you don't think you'll get ripped off, you can pay for the gear and wait for them to ship it, just make sure you have a 1 week money-back guarantee if you decide the gear is not for you. Again, work out the shipping costs, and who pays them, up front.

The last option is an escrow service. In the US, Chutingstar offers a free escrow service on used gear. The seller will ship them the gear, they will inspect it (you do pay for the inspection), and provided it passes, they will accept the payment and forward it to the seller, only shipping you the goods after the payment has cleared. It's an easy way for two people who don't know each other to do business with a good deal of security for both parties. For you it's a plus because it allows you to shop the US market without trying to get a private seller to ship stuff overseaes.

Finally, none of the above plans include jumping the gear. Typically you don't jump gear that you don't own due to the possibility of damage or loss. The other problem is that the reserve will need to be packed after the inspection, so it would cost you another $75 or $100 in rigging fees to jump a rig you might not keep.

So look up Chutingstar, and maybe send them an email to ask about the escrow service, and check the DZ.com classifieds to see what's what.


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Aug 10, 2012, 5:44 AM
Post #6 of 18 (1364 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

To answer the question - yes, I did buy my first rig without testing it BUT, it was a good friend's rig and was a jav/sabre1/PDR (which at the time was about as ubiquitous as you could get) and I'd seen it jumped many times and had tried on the harness on the ground and it fit. No cypress as that wasn't at all uncommon at the time.

My second rig I built piecemeal as I had the knowledge by then and had been in the sport a couple of years.

I got a deal on a new container so that wasn't an issue as it was built to measure. I found a deal on a reserve in the states which was almost new but hey, a PDR with 1 pack job is a PDR right - so long as you know you're not going to get hosed on the sale. I had it shipped to a gear loft I knew and then brought over by a buddy for beer so I was safe from a scam point of view.

The main I found was brand new but second hand and again got shipped via a loft and brought over for beer to prevent a scam. I'd never jumped it but had demo'd the make and hey, a brand new canopy of that make should fly like the demo right? It did thankfully, though there was I guess a small risk of a manufacturing error or fraud from the seller. I got such a good deal on that canopy that I actually sold it for a profit a few months back after having put several hundred jumps on it. Such is the UK gear market vs. the US market (and at the time exchange rate).

The first cypres I bought was again second hand, but aside from the usual safeguards against fraud a cypres is a cypres is a cypres. I had that sent straight to the service centre and then paid - everyone happy. It needed a service anyway and the service centre sent it straight to me once I'd settled their bill.

It can be done. The problem is is needs knowledge which you don't commonly have until you've been in the sport a couple of years at least. Either start educating yourself thoroughly and still have the problem that you don't know what you don't know or you enlist the help of someone who really does know or you take the risk.

Or buy what you can try. There are standard sizing charts for many container companies and getting to know what you are off the rail can help your search. Try on things round the DZ with permission and figure out what your size is - eg you may try on a C19 jav - the C denotes the size of the yoke round your shoulders and the 19 is the length of the laterals. If that fits, then you know you can buy a C19 Jav reasonably sure that it should fit.

Fast - cheap - good: pick two.

There's no getting away from the fact that if you buy without trying you expose yourself to risk. Risk can be mitigated but can come with savings. You might get fucked - I have had friends who have turned up with kit which was immediately grounded or everyone was like "what the fuck - who sold you a sit-suit?? I didn't even know there were any of these old things left?"

Do you feel lucky, punk?


(This post was edited by mr2mk1g on Aug 10, 2012, 5:45 AM)


dthames  (B 37674)

Aug 10, 2012, 10:22 AM
Post #7 of 18 (1264 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, after it was shipped to my rigger, I tried it on for fit, the rigger fully inspected it, and said it was good.


rss_v

Aug 14, 2012, 8:04 AM
Post #8 of 18 (1059 views)
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Re: [dthames] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Yes, after it was shipped to my rigger, I tried it on for fit, the rigger fully inspected it, and said it was good.

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I have my eye on a rig at the moment that is at a suitable price point. I have another thread open about it, basically a PD190 (DOM unknown) in a Vector II. With a dying AAD that will last me until next year.

I don't particularly want to make the journey to see it in person, as it will cost me a further 5-10% of the purchase cost plus a day of my time. And though it's nice to get your hands on things to check them out, I really don't know what I'm looking for anyway. It's just been repacked and inspected by the seller's local rigger.

Mentioned above: could I have it posted directly to my DZ's rigger, for him to look over before I release the money? Is that common practice, then?


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 14, 2012, 7:55 PM
Post #9 of 18 (1002 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
a PD190 (DOM unknown) in a Vector II

Just a few comments on that equipment - the PD190 is F-111, and unless your exit weight (your body weight + the weight of your gear and clothes, about 25lbs) is under 190, it's not going to be a great choice. F-111 loses performance with use, and when I say 'performance' I mean it's ability to flare before you hit the ground. If it's in brand new shape, you could get away with a 1.1 to 1 loading (an exit weight of 209). If it has anything over 200 jumps, 1 to 1 is going to be the upper limit (an exit weight of 190), and if it's much over 300 or 400 jumps, just take a pass.

The Vector II is not going to be freefly friendly. You won't want to do any freeflying at all with that rig, and even if not, you want to invest in some good risers with Velcro-less toggles. One of the problems with the V II is the velcro riser covers, but even when the velcro is fresh, they're not that great (when the velcro is shot, forget it). Anyway, good risers with secure toggles will help to keep your brakes stowed when your riser cover blows open and your risers get out on the breeze. Without good risers, that wind will literally peel your toggle off your riser, unstow your brake, and leave you with a toggle blowing around 2 feet above your back, right where you deploying canopy is supposed to go (and it gets to deploy with one brake unstowed).

If you do go with the V II, add the cost of some new risers/toggles ($125-$150), and replacement of the riser cover velcro ($25-$35) right off the top. You might also need a new BOC pouch based on the condition, and while you're at it, you could have the rigger install some velcro or a bridle protection flap between the BOC and the bottom flap.

It's just like buying a cheap car, the purchase price might be low, but then you need to replace the bald tires, weak battery, and noisly wheel bearing, and then you still have an old car that just barely gets the job done.


(This post was edited by davelepka on Aug 14, 2012, 7:57 PM)


5.samadhi

Aug 14, 2012, 9:22 PM
Post #10 of 18 (978 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

keep looking.

you want a reserve no older than 10 years (400-600) - nothing like SWIFT or FALCON or any old shit

a main that is ZP 9 cell (400-600)

a harness that FITS YOU

a container that has tuck flaps for the riser covers (400-600)

an AAD that won't expire within 1-2 reserve repacks (6-12 months) at least (200-600)

1,800-2400 USD (ballpark)


rss_v

Aug 15, 2012, 5:50 AM
Post #11 of 18 (953 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

^ thanks for the advice. How about a 2003 Sabre 2 190 with 600 jumps? I guess that would be a much better canopy, right?

The cost is about 600.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 15, 2012, 7:03 AM
Post #12 of 18 (939 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
How about a 2003 Sabre 2 190 with 600 jumps? I guess that would be a much better canopy, right?

It's hard to explain the difference in performance between a PD-190 and a Sabre2 190. Even if you had found an original Sabre1 190, it would have been at least 10x better than a PD-190, but a Sabre2 is even several steps better than a Sabre1.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you pay $600 for a Sabre2 190 today, and then jump it for a year or two and 100 or 200 jumps, it will still be worth $500 or $550 when you go to sell it. A PD-190, after you put 100 to 200 more jumps on it, would be worth significantly less than you paid.

True story, my first canopy was a beat-down PD-190. I paid $100 for it, bought it from a guy who stalled it on landing and broke both of his wrists. He quite jumping after that, and I got the canopy. I put less than 100 jumps on it before I saved up enough for a 'real' canopy (a Sabre1). I ended up giving to another jumper for free later that year, I couldn't justify taking any money for it.


5.samadhi

Aug 15, 2012, 7:15 AM
Post #13 of 18 (928 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
^ thanks for the advice. How about a 2003 Sabre 2 190 with 600 jumps? I guess that would be a much better canopy, right?

The cost is about 600.
that is a totally awesome canopy

remember it will need to be relined soon since it is probably near the end of an acceptable out of trim range.


(This post was edited by 5.samadhi on Aug 15, 2012, 7:16 AM)


rss_v

Aug 16, 2012, 1:43 PM
Post #14 of 18 (862 views)
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Re: [5.samadhi] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
^ thanks for the advice. How about a 2003 Sabre 2 190 with 600 jumps? I guess that would be a much better canopy, right?

The cost is about 600.
that is a totally awesome canopy

remember it will need to be relined soon since it is probably near the end of an acceptable out of trim range.

hmm, well I could buy this now if I wanted to. Sabre 2, 190. DOM 2003 and 600 jumps, supposedly a rigger says there's about 150 jumps in it before a re-line.

Pics: https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/...5085_556073634_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/...95085_97196378_n.jpg


The price is 600 (US$950), shall I go for it?


davelepka  (D 21448)

Aug 16, 2012, 7:47 PM
Post #15 of 18 (832 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
The price is 600 (US$950), shall I go for it?

That would be a nice first canopy for sure. See if you can get it shipped to your rigger for an inspection and so he can check the line trim (this will help determine the life of the lines). If they'll ship it without payment, great. If not, make sure they'll give you a one week money-back guarantee (minus shipping costs) if it doesn't pass your inspection.

Now if it doesn't pass, you can always try to renegotiate the price, and maybe just ask for $100 back instead of returning the canopy all together, or whatever an appropriate refund would be based on the results of your inspection.

Either way, assembling a rig peice by peice is usually a better way to go. I will take longer, but you'll end up with exactly what you want. Generally if you try to buy a complete rig, some part of it is not 'exactly' what you want, but you just live with it anyway. Peice by peice, you don't buy anything that's not 100% right for you, and end up with exactly what you want.


rss_v

Aug 17, 2012, 12:03 AM
Post #16 of 18 (822 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Quote:
The price is 600 (US$950), shall I go for it?

That would be a nice first canopy for sure. See if you can get it shipped to your rigger for an inspection and so he can check the line trim (this will help determine the life of the lines). If they'll ship it without payment, great. If not, make sure they'll give you a one week money-back guarantee (minus shipping costs) if it doesn't pass your inspection.

Now if it doesn't pass, you can always try to renegotiate the price, and maybe just ask for $100 back instead of returning the canopy all together, or whatever an appropriate refund would be based on the results of your inspection.

Either way, assembling a rig peice by peice is usually a better way to go. I will take longer, but you'll end up with exactly what you want. Generally if you try to buy a complete rig, some part of it is not 'exactly' what you want, but you just live with it anyway. Peice by peice, you don't buy anything that's not 100% right for you, and end up with exactly what you want.

Yep, the seller will send it to my rigger if I put the cash up to be held as well, while it's looked at. I'll get in touch with my rigger ASAP and see if he can help. If this will be a decent canopy that will last me a while (I must be about 210lbs exit weight, all considered, so if anything it's a tiny bit small) then it seems worth the money.

Thanks,


SRI85  (D License)

Aug 17, 2012, 4:46 AM
Post #17 of 18 (795 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

Ive purchased 2 canopies from complete strangers living in Sweden and Spain. No inspection, just trust and paypal.

For the most part, most of the skydiving community is pretty honest. Each of the canopies i bought were exactly as described.

I usually will look at their profile on here and see if they have been on here for over a year, and i get them on the phone or skype and see what kind of vibe i get from them.


nigel99  (D 1)

Aug 18, 2012, 7:35 PM
Post #18 of 18 (747 views)
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Re: [rss_v] Has anyone bought a first rig/canopy without testing it? [In reply to] Can't Post

I bought my rig without seeing it or testing it. BUT I did background checks on the seller and spoke to a few people from his area and got a bunch of detail and hi-res pictures. I wouldn't recommend doing it, but it worked for me. The gear was a very good price and based 600miles from me (while I was in the UK).

I've just had an interesting experience. I've got my eye on the market for a canopy, for when a good deal comes up. Saw something advertised the other day and contacted the seller via email (the only contact detail he had given).

I got back a page long rant about Nigerian scammers etc and how he didn't expect to hear back from me! Hopefully his attitude means there isn't much demand and I can pick it up for a bargain.


(This post was edited by nigel99 on Aug 18, 2012, 7:39 PM)



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