The Five Commandments Of Measurement (and some secret stuff)


Some of us have worked hard in the gym, on the court, on the rink, in the water, on the track… worked hard toward an awesome body that we are proud of. So proud that we know many of our measurements, down to the quarter inch (centimeter, whatever). The Gear Guru isn’t one of those people. Perhaps you are not either.

Even if you are, part of the suffering that is buying skydiving equipment is getting your body measured. Every time you order a new container or jumpsuit, it’s a whole new set of measurements. And getting some of those measurements requires a degree of intimacy with a stranger that approaches happy endings. Buying used gear isn’t a way out either, as you will need to know a few basic measurements to determine if a harness or jumpsuit might fit you.  To help lessen your suffering, here are the Five Commandments Of Measurement.

The 5 Commandments of measuring for skydiving equipment

The 5 Commandments of measuring for skydiving equipment

First commandment of measurement – Do Not Measure Oneself.

This is important. At a minimum, have a good friend or loved one or seamstress or tailor or random stranger off the street measure you, using the measuring guide provided by the manufacturer of the item you are ordering. Best case, have a dealer or manufacturer representative measure you. But do not measure yourself. You will screw it up.

Second commandment of measurement – Use a Soft Cloth Measuring Tape.

Not a ruler. Not a yardstick. Not the measuring tape from your toolbox in the garage. A Soft Cloth Measuring Tape. You can buy one at WalMart in the sewing section.

Third commandment of measurement – Measure According To Manufacturer’s Directions.

The directions from the manufacturer of the item you are ordering. They are all different.

Fourth commandment of measurement – Ask All Questions

Do not be afraid to contact the manufacturer if you have questions about measuring. They are nice people who will help you.

Fifth commandment of measurement – Measure Twice, Repent Not.

Take each measurement twice. If they do not agree, measure again.

When ordering a new harness/container system or jumpsuit, the order form will have a list of the measurements needed, and usually directions for taking them. When searching for a used harness/container system or jumpsuit, it is handy to have a few of your measurements on hand.You will need to know your height and inseam measurement to determine if a harness will fit you.

Secret stuff!! When taking the inseam measurement, have the person stand straight up. They should be holding the top of the measuring tape between index and middle fingers of one hand. Then place it in their crotch – top of the tape where the seams come together on a pair of pants.

More Secret Stuff!! To determine the length of main lift web that should fit your body, take your heigh in inches, subtract your inseam in inches, subtract 20. For example, Bob is 5’10” tall and has a 32 inch inseam. 70 – 32 – 20 = 18, so Bob will likely need an 18″ main lift web on his harness. Sue is 5’5 and has a 30 inch inseam. 65 – 30 – 20 = 15, so Sue will likely need a 15″ MLW.

You may also need to know your waist, hips and chest measurements for jumpsuits. A head measurement is helpful for helmets – measure mid-forehead, above the ears, all the way around.