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 support it.

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 tool kit.

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.

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