The overall combination of the design templates, the available materials, and the specific options that can be applied means a jumpsuit can be constructed with a high degree of specificity depending on what you are trying to achieve. This flexibility is granted by trading properties – hard-wearing suits are warm, tight-fitting suits require precision flying, baggy suits are powerful but wild – it goes on and on. One of the most basic construction factors is simply how much of your body a suit will cover. The most common versions of what you will see out there in hot conditions are shortie suits…
As the name suggests, a shortie suit is a shortened version of the standard design. The legs end just below the knee – allowing your shins to breathe, and the arms above the elbow – either just a little or t-shirt style. The important thing to know is that although you are trading some power from your lower limbs for a cooler outfit – a shortie suit is still a jumpsuit. It is made from technical materials from a blueprint considered and created for skydiving. A shortie represents the middle ground between wearing a full-length suit and going completely without. It offers some welcome ventilation when you are jumping somewhere hot, but crucially – still feels like a professional level suit that helps you to get things done.
The selection process for a shortie suit is the same as when weighing up the decision for the full length version of the same design. This is why, for example, that each of the Viper suits has a corresponding shortie version.
There is a shortie suit design that has no long version. Jumping in shorts and a t-shirt on a hot day is a blast, and the Summer Suit is designed to replicate that feeling with the crucial addition of being joined in the middle. Having the top you are wearing ride up to where it can cover your handles is outright dangerous and best avoided – and pulling your trendy t-shirt through elastic bands on your hip rings or some such will quickly render it unwearable in polite company and the rubber can abrade your harness. The Summer Suit is for a good time jumping when it is sizzling. It trades in the advantages of a full-length suit or technical shortie for comfort when your biggest priority is making friends and having a ball in the sky.
Shorties have now kind of replaced the ‘old way’ of using a combination of jackets and pants. A two-piece full-length suit still definitely has uses in skydiving – but the popularity and availability of tunnel flying have seen this choice become more practical than fashionable. You need a full suit for the tunnel, and these days a shortie is a cooler – and cooler option for getting out of the plane.