Everyone has their favorite, and they'll tell you what they like and don't like about whatever they've jumped. You have to figure it out for yourself though. What someone else likes, may not be what you like. This is how I approached finding the right wing for me:
My first couple jumps in the student program, I was on a Spectre 190. It wasn't bad, however, I was a brand new jumper and knew nothing about canopies. Following that canopy I started jumping a Nav 190 (to give you an idea of what I was wing loading I weighed like 160lbs at this time)
I just had a baby a couple of months before this! Lol). The canopy felt huge it took forever to turn, to descend. It threw my landings off. I needed to find something better for me.
So that January, I bought a rig that had a Pulse 190 in it. Of course, I didn't know the difference really between any of the canopies but I needed my own rig and I was already jumping a 190 so it seemed good.
I was told for my skill level at the time, that the 190 would be good for me. I took Flight 101 and 102 on this canopy. At this time, I was down to about 145lbs. HOLY CANOPY RIDE. HA HA. I swear I was never coming down. Hop and pops at 6K! The jumpers who jumped from 13K not only beat me down, but were all clear of the landing zone too! HAHA.
This got old fast. Plus, when the wind was blowing it made it hard to land due to my wing loading. So about a month ago, I started jumping the Spectre 2 170. I finally got down to my ideal weight of 130lbs. I liked the Spectre 170 better than my Pulse 190, that's for sure. So, I put a few jumps on that canopy (it was the DZOs canopy) and bought a new one Well, PD sent an email saying the canopy had sold already so, back to shopping.
I ended up jumping the 170 for a couple more weeks that was owned by the DZO, and we agreed that I should move down to a 150. I jumped the DZOs Spectre 149 a couple times before actually ordering one that size. At this time, I was only looking at Spectre 2 canopies. When I didn't like any of the stock ones available, I started asking about other canopies. I ended up buying an Icarus Safire 2 149.
I am BEYOND happy with my Safire 2 149. I now weigh 126lbs, so I'm ALMOST at a 1:1. Regardless, I love it. Don't get me wrong, I don't see a problem with the Spectre 2 canopies, but I like how responsive my Safire 2 is. Everything is more defined. There is one thing that bugs me a LITTLE bit about my Safire 2 that is the slow end cell openings sometimes I question if they're even going to open! LOL, but they always do.
Needless to say, I had people preach to me about how much they love Spectre canopies. While I don't have a problem with them, I love my Safire. You really need to go out and try out different canopies. Rent them from your DZ, demo them, borrow them, whatever, but try them. You'd be surprised how much of a difference you can feel in them.
Credits: Kristin Little