Why Skydiving Helmets Are Expensive (And How To Find Cheap Ones)

A skydiver in black suit, mid-air with arms spread, along with other skydivers that have deployed their parachutes  above a landscape.

Skydiving is an expensive sport not only because of the lift fees but also because of the expensive gear. Specifically, skydiving helmets are more expensive than other sport-helmets. Here is why skydiving helmets are so expensive.

Skydiving helmets are expensive because skydiving is still a niche market with low overall demand. The skydiving market is much smaller than other sports markets such as skating or biking. As a result, manufacturers are not able to produce skydiving helmets in large volumes and therefore the cost of production per helmet is high.

If you do not want to spend so much money on a skydiving helmet, I have four ways for you to buy skydiving helmets cheap, but first, let us take a closer look at why skydiving helmets are expensive.

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Why Skydiving Helmets Are So Expensive 

There are four factors that cause the high prices of skydiving helmets.

  • Economies of scale during productionSkydiving helmets are produced in small volumes. As a result, manufacturers cannot realize the benefits of economies of scale such as price discounts on large material orders, division of labor during production or large and highly automated production facilities. Although more and more people perform tandem jumps, the skydiving community is still tiny – at least if you compare it to the millions of people who do motorcycling or biking. The more skydiving rises in popularity, the cheaper skydiving helmets will get.
  • High R&D expenses are distributed among fewer helmets – In the quest to develop the safest, coolest and most comfortable helmet, manufacturers invest much money in research and development (R&D). This research includes testing different materials, alternative designs and new safety features – which is quite expensive. When buying a skydiving helmet, customers do not only pay for the production and material, but also for the R&D of the helmets.
  • The special material that is needed – Skydiving helmets are made of thick 2-3 mm high impact ABS or Polycarbonate materials depending on their brand and model. This material is highly specialized and expensive because it is light, durable and protective. Motorcycle helmets, in comparison, use a cheaper material that – while still being durable and protective – is heavier. (Skydiving gear manufacturers always try to be as light as possible because it allows for more control during free fall and the canopy ride)
  • Highly specialized production and production in the US – Most of the skydiving helmet manufacturers are either located in the US or in other Western countries such as Australia. As a result, labor costs are much higher than if they produced in China. Not only helmets but also skydiving jumpsuits are made of specialized materials. If you want to know more about the materials used to produce jumpsuits, check out my article about it. It will also reveal how different materials affect your jump!

Why You Should Not Jump Without A Skydiving Helmet 

Some beginners might think that they might die anyway if they are involved in a skydiving accident. Why should they bother wearing a helmet when it will not protect them in the case of a parachute failure.

However, skydiving accidents do not only happen due to parachute failures but can happen anytime whether inside the aircraft, during the exit, during the free fall and specifically during the landing. A helmet will protect you in these cases. Wearing a helmet is non-negotiable and encouraged for both beginners and experienced skydivers due to the following reasons.

  • Helmets keep you safe – helmets keep skydivers safe from injuries that might arise inside the aircraft, when jumping out of the plane and during the jump itself. Skydivers can accidentally bump their head during the plane exit, knock their knees to head during the initial jump or collide with another diver during formation jump.
  • Helmets are comfortable – skydivers experience different weather conditions depending on their jump locations such as strong or icy winds and strong sunlight. It is much more comfortable in such cases to wear a helmet. They also keep your hair contained from falling in your face and ensure that you have 100% visibility during the skydive.
  • Helmets look cool – helmets are produced in different colors, shapes and sizes. They can match your jumpsuit or parachute container and can be an expression of your personality. You can also often customize your helmet e.g. put your own logo and stickers on it (although this customization will increase the price of the helmet).
  • Helmets are equipped with a camera mount holder – since sports cameras such as GoPros have been invented, they are part of the skydiving experience. Helmets serve as an ideal place to install cameras and to capture the breathtaking view underneath you. Sometimes helmets come with a camera mount holder, sometimes you need to buy a camera mount separately and install it at your helmet (the price for camera mount holder range from $60-150).

Can You Use Other Sport Helmets For Skydiving 

If you already own a skateboarding or motorcycle helmet, you can use this helmet for skydiving. If you start jumping regularly, I would buy a specialized skydiving helmet nonetheless.

The main purpose of any helmet (independent whether it is a bicycle, motorcycle or skydiving helmet) is to protect your head from impact and to reduce serious head or brain injuries during collisions and accidents. However, non-skydiving helmets often lack certain features for skydiving. For example, skating helmets do not have an area to place your audible altimeter and motorcycling helmets are much heavier which will reduce the wearing comfort.

From my experience and the experience of other skydivers, using a non-skydiving helmet is possible, but you are far better off using the specially designed helmet for skydiving.

If you are not ready to get your own helmet yet, you can always rent one at your drop zone.

Have you ever wondered what happens after first aid was given after a skydiving accident? Similar to car accidents, an investigation will be conducted to check whose fault the accidents was and how it can be prevented next time. If you are curious about the process, read my article about who investigates skydiving accidents. Hint: It is not only the normal police!

The Importance Of Wearing A Helmet During Skydiving
An Overview Of The Reasons Why Wearing A Helmet Is Crucial In Skydiving

Should You Rent or Buy A Skydiving Helmet 

This is a typical decision that people face after they completed their first skydiving certificate. This decision is highly personalized and depends a lot on your personal preference. Some people do not like to rent a helmet because other people sweat in it. Other skydivers like to have customized helmet because it is an expression of their personality and it helps them stand out. Other people are price-sensitive and therefore prefer the cheapest option.

If you complete a tandem jump or a skydiving course, the skydiving company will always provide you with all necessary equipment such as parachutes, helmets, jumpsuits, altimeters without charging extra money for it (i.e. it’s already included in the package price).

In terms of money, you are usually better off buying your own equipment. If you do not have your own equipment, you should expect to pay around $25-35 per jump for gear rental. It costs around $3-5 to rent a helmet, so on average, you need to do at least 50-80 jumps before it is cheaper to buy one than to rent one.

I would also recommend to rent out different helmets in the beginning and try them out. Once you have found the right one go ahead and buy it. But do not make it an easy decision. Skydiving helmets are expected to last at least for 10 years. This is a long time if you did not select the right one.

If you are not sure which helmet to buy, I have written a guide to finding the best one. It reveals practical tips that will help you find the best one for you!

If you stumbled across this article without having done a skydiving certificate, make sure to check out my article about how to get a skydiving certificate. It covers the whole licensing process and reveals easy and practical tips to excel at the license!

The Cheapest Helmets On The Market 

The cheapest skydiving helmet on the market is the “Pro-Tec Original Full Cut Skydiving Helmet” series. Their prices start from 50 dollars and can decrease depending on the special features and designs. If you are a beginner, you do not make a mistake buying it, however, the helmet only provides basic protection and is not designed to absorb high-impact collisions during freefall or landings.

If you want to save money, it is better to buy a higher-quality second hand helmet.

Where You Can Buy Second-Hand Skydiving Helmets 

You can save a lot of money when buying second-hand skydiving gear, however, you will need to inspect the gear carefully before buying it. Here’s a list of marketplaces where you can find good second-hand gear.

  1. Your own drop zone – asking around your own drop zone is a great way to start looking for your own equipment. Your parachute rigger or skydiving instructors might know other skydivers who want to sell their gear. The most common reason for selling used equipment is not poor quality but because skydivers often want to upgrade to gear with advanced features.
  2. Dealer’s Website – aside from selling brand new gears, gear dealers also sell second-hand skydiving equipment. You can just simply browse through their website and look for the “used” or “clearance” sections. Common dealer websites include Chutingstar, Skydive Store and Rock Sky Market (these links will bring you to their websites). The advantage of buying second-hand gear on these websites is that dealers inspect the gear before selling it. Therefore, the gear will be intact.
  3. Dropzone.com – is the biggest online skydiving forum where you cannot only interact with thousands of other skydivers but also find second-hand gear. Just go to the “Classified” section and you will be able to see skydiving gear for sale.
  4. Facebook Groups and Marketplaces – Facebook groups are another great forum where people do not only interact with each other but also sell used skydiving gears. If you already know which helmet you want to buy, you can also post a “wanted” search in the group and people with this helmet can approach you. The biggest skydiving groups are “Skydiving Gear For Sale and Wanted” (~40k members), “Skydiving Classifieds – Gear, Jobs, Anything Freefall Related” (~8k members) and “USA Skydiving Gear Sales” (~2.5k members).

Enjoy your freefall!

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Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

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