What Makes a Good Parachute Packing Floor?

Kyle Schurman // 2021

  1. What Are Some Issues With Packing a Parachute Without a Mat?

  2. What Are the Best Foam Tiles to Create a Packing Center?

  3. Does Thin Rubber Work As a Parachute Packing Floor?

To keep a parachute in the best possible working condition, folding it properly after each use is important. A parachute packing floor simplifies this process, creating a safe space for packing. For ease of transportation, consider lightweight foam tiles or a thin rubber roll to provide the base surface required to pack the parachute safely.

Use of a parachute packing floor will protect the delicate fabric in the parachute from the elements. Avoiding unnecessary damage or wear and tear on the parachute fabric can help skydivers receive the greatest longevity from the parachute, while also ensuring a safer skydiving experience.

In the past, mat systems for packing parachutes were large and heavy, meaning some people skipped using them. By using lightweight materials in the modern parachute packing floor, recreational skydive club members and military jumpers both can receive a safe area to pack the chute and prepare for the next jump.

Lightweight interlocking foam mats are easy to transport to and from the jump site, enabling their use anywhere and at any time. Meanwhile rolls of rubber make a handy more permanent solution at places like airports or hangars where parachute packing classes and training may take place.

What Are Some Issues With Packing a Parachute Without a Mat?

The nylon material that makes up the parachute canopy needs to be kept clean and free of contaminants. One of the most vulnerable times for the canopy material is during the packing process, which makes a parachute packing floor such a valuable commodity for keeping the skydiving gear as clean as possible.

  • Fertilizer and chemicals: When you land in a field where pesticides and herbicides may be in use, these chemicals could damage the canopy. The parachute packing floor can protect the material in a field during the packing process.
  • Line burn: When the lines rub against the parachute material, they can create holes and small tears that degrade the material faster than it should. Improper packing can increase the chances of line burn, so the parachute packing floor helps in this area too.
  • Sweat: As odd as it seems, human sweat causes degradation of the material. Having a mat available means the skydiver will not have to lay on the mat during packing, reducing the dripping of sweat onto the material.

What Are the Best Foam Tiles to Create a Packing Center?

Interlocking foam tiles have become a popular selection for creating a floor or mat to pack the parachute. Foam tiles are highly durable, lightweight, and some are sized for one person to easily carry a stack of them.

The puzzle style edges on interlocking foam tiles fit together tightly, meaning installers need no adhesive. This is the perfect use case for those who need to carry the tiles with them to the jump site. They disassemble just as quickly as they pop together.

For an extremely lightweight option with smaller sized tiles that are easy to carry, consider the Foam Mats Economy product. These tiles measure 2 by 2 feet with 1/2 inch in thickness, resulting in each tile weighing only 1 pound. The surface includes a no-slip texture, which is helpful for this use case.

For a thicker 2-by-2-foot option in an EVA foam tile, try the Home Sport and Play Mat. Each puzzle edge style tile weighs 2 pounds, so one person can carry a stack of tiles wherever required for packing the parachute canopy. At 20 mm in thickness (about 25/32 inches), it has plenty of durability and stability.

The Dog Agility Interlocking Tile product gives installers a larger tile measuring 1 by 1 meter (or about 3.3 by 3.3 feet), which is ideal for larger areas where parachutes will be packed. These durable tiles provide a smooth, feltlike surface that is especially gentile on the parachute. And with ¾ inch of cushioned EVA foam, it makes it much easier on the bodies of the jumpers as they pack the chutes. Each tile weighs 6 pounds.

The Pro Taekwondo Martial Arts Mat product is a slightly thicker option in a 1 by 1 meter tile size, measuring 20 mm in thickness. These foam mats offer a scuff and stain resistant surface, keeping them looking nicer longer for higher traffic use.

Does Thin Rubber Work As a Parachute Packing Floor?

For those who prefer a material available in a roll, rather than in interlocking tiles, the Rubber Flooring Roll is a strong product for helping with packing a parachute canopy.

The thin roll measures only 1/4 inches in thickness, yet it has an impressive level of durability that makes it work almost anywhere. Yet, it’s a relatively lightweight design at 49 pounds for the 40 square foot roll.

Having a lightweight option is not common for rubber flooring, which gives this product an advantage as a convenient roll for carrying with you to use as a packing mat for parachutes. Just roll out the rubber when you need to use it and roll it back up quickly afterward, so it’s ready to use the next time.
For more on this topic please review our Foam Flooring & Tiles product page.