It’s summer here in Georgia, which means it’s regularly 90+ degrees when I’m out skydiving. Sweaty jumpers pack together into the plane for 60 seconds of air conditioning upon exit at 14,000 ft, and we’re already sweating by the time we’re back on the ground.
Needless to say it’s not uncommon that I get looked at like I have two heads when I’m putting on my skull cap and gloves as I’m boarding the plane.
Now, any woman skydiver knows just how critical a skull cap is in ensuring that you’re not spending hours brushing out knots in your hair (or worse, cutting them out), after a day of skydiving – so not much justification takes place here…but gloves, in the summer, really?!
Let me just tell you, I’ve jumped with and without gloves and regardless how hot and humid the weather, they’ve proven to be a necessity. Here’s why:
It never fails, the day I forget my gloves or think for one reason or another that they’re not needed, I end up injuring my hands. We’re talking scrapes, cuts and bruises here, nothing too serious, but enough to be annoying and usually leave me bleeding post-skydive. Rarely do I know exactly what happened – skydiving is sometimes a full contact sport, with fellow jumpers, the plane, the ground – but once I’m back on the ground I’m all “that stings, what the hell!”
This weekend proved to be no different, thanks to my altimeter for gouging my paw!
Personally, I like having gloves for the added grip they provide. When you’re skydiving with others, there will come a time where you’re hanging outside of a moving aircraft with one hand on a bar keeping you attached to the plane while your fellow jumpers get set up to exit. With gloves, I have confidence I’m not going to slip off. It’s also nice to have gloves when it’s pull time so slippage isn’t an issue.
This probably goes without saying but gloves provide a nice barrier between your skin and the elements. My skydiving gloves are less “wintery” and more the type you’d find baseball players wearing (in fact, I picked them up from the baseball section of a sporting goods store if I remember correctly), but they still do the trick when it comes to weather protection – that is, unless it’s below freezing at altitude, but that’s an entirely different conversation.
Here in the South, it still gets chilly at altitude, even when it’s warm on the ground. And for someone who has circulation issues in her hands and feet, I don’t need to worry about my fingers going numb on a skydive.
It’s all what you’re used to -
Here’s what it comes down to – personal preference. If you want to jump with gloves, if that’s where you’re comfortable, you know what it’s like to grasp your hackey (we’re talking skydiving here people) and exit with (or without) gloves, stick to what’s comfortable. As a jumper who grew up at a dropzone in the North, it made sense to get comfortable wearing gloves – they were essential if you wanted to jump any time other than the dead of summer. In the end, only you can make this decision for you.
So tell me, do you wear gloves? Why, or why not?
And ladies – thoughts on the skull cap? Totally critical in my book!