Riggers are taught that there are three things necessary to
do a proper job: knowledge to do the work, the correct
materials, and the right tools. The job cannot be done correctly
without all three of these essentials. The right tools
include various types of sewing machines as well as a
wide variety of specialized hand tools.
The importance of learning the names and nomenclature
of rigging tools and equipment cannot be overemphasized.
Just as learning the language of a foreign country
allows an individual to live and operate efficiently within
a society, learning the language of the rigger allows new
riggers to operate and interact within their profession.
Without the necessary vocabulary, a rigger will not be
able to work with other riggers and, more importantly,
will not present a professional image to customers.
A new senior rigger must acquire enough tools to pack and
maintain the types of parachutes for which he/she is rated.
In the course of training, the rigger candidate will be
exposed to various tools and individual rigging techniques.
Some riggers adhere to a minimalist philosophy and use as
few tools as necessary. This may initially consist simply of
a packing paddle, a pull-up cord, and a temporary locking
pin. With some types of parachutes, these may be all the
tools needed to pack them. Other riggers develop techniques
that utilize an array of tools designed to make the
job easier or the end result neater. Some manufacturers
have designed specialized tools to make their particular
parachute easier to pack and maintain. Each rigger will
develop a suitable technique and then obtain the tools to
In the past, the list of tools needed to pack and maintain
military surplus parachutes was limited. Since most military
parachutes were simply variants of the same canopy
designs, common tools could be used across the board. In
today’s high-tech world, some of these original tools are
still used along with a number of newer designs.
All riggers need to create a tool kit tailored for their
particular situation. Figure 6-1 shows a commercially
available field rigger kitbag with tools. Many riggers
are “weekend” riggers, meaning they have a regular job
during the week and work as a rigger on the weekend.
This is typical of many skydiving riggers. Other riggers
work full time in a loft or manufacturing environment.
Depending on their needs, riggers will have a different
approach towards their tools. The weekend rigger may
travel to a drop zone (DZ) where the primary job is packing.
Therefore, the tool kit will be more basic as the
purpose of this kit is not to take the whole loft to the
DZ. The rigger who works in a full-time loft may have a
more comprehensive tool kit since it does not have to be
hauled around. For the weekend rigger, there are several
field rigger kitbags available commercially which will
hold a full assortment of tools. Many riggers design and
build custom kitbags tailored around their individual
requirements. Doing this is an excellent way to show off
sewing skills while at the same time creating a needed
To stock the tool kit, figure 6-2 shows a list of necessary
tools that have been proven useful for today’s rigger. The
list of tools is broken down into two different categories.
Category 1, items 6-3 through 6-49 are mandatory tools.
Category 2, items 6-50 through 6-56 are optional tools as
most of them are for use in the loft.