A complete guide to buy your own dive equipments
By Julia Rick
Updated: 04 Dec 2020
Scuba diving is one of the most popular adventure activity because it allows you to move and breathe freely underwater and makes you feel you are part of the marine life. Another great thing is that diving is the closest thing to flying. Hardly having to deal with gravity makes you feel like you're weightless and flying into the blue.
There are different kinds of diving depending on its requirement, dive location or geography like professional diving ,Wreck diving, Drift diving, recreational diving or open water diving etc. Whenever we are talking about professional diving its the business of the highly qualified trained professionals but about recreational diving ? any one above 10 years can go for it and its obvious that you shall become fond of it and will love to dive frequently.
And every time you go for diving you need Scuba diving equipments because it provides you an oppertunity to visit the underwater world by making it possible to breathe, see and move comfortably while down below the water surface. Gear helps you change from being a land-dweller to somewhat of an aquatic being – if only for a little while. Thats why diving gears are the most important and inseparable part of diving.
Generally frequent divers who used to dive regularly prefer to buy their own dive equipments. If you are a diver and thinking about buying dive equipments then you are at the right place. Buying your own dive gear is a big step for most divers, who will, at some point, have to decide if it’s worth the investment. For many, the list of pros and cons when it comes to buying your own dive gear is convoluted and confusing. Dive centers, teaching organizations and retail outlets constantly extoll the value of owning one’s own equipment, but it’s sometimes difficult to know how much of their zeal has to do with improving your dive experiences versus making a profit.
This article with detailed equipment specifications and descriptions will definitly help you to take decision and guide you to choose correct dive equipments which not only fit on you but your budget too.
Basic scuba diving equipments
The main pieces of gear you will need to go scuba diving are:
Exposure suit/Wet suit
Buoyancy control device(BCD Jacket).
Octopus (regulators, gauges and connecting hoses)
Scuba air tank.
Weighs & belt.
Part 1: Basic Equipments
1. Scuba Mask
The one-pane oval mask of Sea Hunt and those old Bond films is practically a relic. In its place is a variety of styles for a world of faces. Your job: Choose the one right for yours.
What It Does - The mask creates an air space in front of your eyes that allows them to focus under water. The nose pocket allows you to equalize the air pressure in your mask as you go deeper.
What to Look For - A good watertight fit. Our Scuba Lab experts have come up with this six-step plan for foolproof mask fitting:
1. Look up at the ceiling and place the mask on your face without using the strap. It should rest evenly with no gaps.
2. Place a regulator or snorkel mouthpiece in your mouth. Does the mask still feel comfortable? Any gaps yet?
3. Look forward. Place the mask on your face without using the strap and gently inhale through your nose. The mask should seal easily on your face. Caution: A strong inhale will close minor leak areas and invalidate this test.
4. Repeat the sniff test with a mouthpiece in place.
5. If the mask is still in the running, adjust the strap and put it on your face. Make sure the nose pocket doesn't touch your nose and that the skirt feels comfortable on your upper lip.
6. Put the regulator mouthpiece in one more time to make sure you can easily reach the nose pocket to equalize your ears.
Any mask that passes this test is a potential keeper. You'll find a whole range of options on masks, including side, top and bottom panes for a wider field of vision. Some also have purge valves for venting any water that leaks in, and others have quick strap adjustments. These options (and a range of color schemes) are a matter of personal preference--just make sure the mask you choose fits right.
Cost - From $50 to $200.
Our Advice - Clear or light-colored mask skirts let more light in and are generally more comfortable for new divers.
Rongbenyuan Diving Mask Swimming Goggles with Nose Cover Scuba Snorkeling Mask Anti-Fog No-Leak
2. Scuba Fins
Fish don't have legs for the simple reason that fins are the best way to move through water. So if you're going to play in the fish's territory, you need a good set of fins too.
What They Do - Fins translate power from the large leg muscles into efficient movement through water, which is 800 times denser than air.
What to Look For - Comfort and efficiency. When trying on fins, look for a snug fit that doesn't pinch your toes or bind the arches of your feet. If you can't wiggle your toes, the fins are too small.
The efficiency of fins is largely determined by their size, stiffness, and design. Divers with strong leg and hip muscles can efficiently use a bigger, stiffer fin. Smaller divers or less conditioned divers will be more comfortable with smaller, more flexible fins. Finally, make sure buckles and straps are easy to use.
Cost - $75 to $250.
Our Advice - Choosing the right pair is important to prevent muscle fatigue and cramping. Good fins will enhance your enjoyment of diving; bad ones can ruin it.
What type is right for you? Here's a look at some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a pair.
Full-Foot or Open-Heel Fins?
Full-foot fins don't require dive booties and are best suited mainly for warm waters.
The straps of open-heel fins can be adjusted for the different booties you may wear or for different family members and children as they grow.
Open-heel fins require less effort to put on, especially if a pull tab is added to the strap.
The dive booties required with open-heel fins also provide foot protection and comfort while diving and walking.
There is nothing quite like an ill-fitting, old exposure suit to end a dive early due to being cold. Owning your own exposure suit needn’t be expensive and will help ensure warmth and comfort during your dives.
The first considerations are the type of diving you will be doing and how easily you feel the cold, as they will dictate the thickness and type of suit to buy.
Cold water divers, or those doing multiple dives each day, often choose a dry suit with thermal undersuit for added warmth, even at warm water destinations such as Egypt. Dry suits keep the diver entirely dry, but they can be expensive. An alternative is to choose a 7mm wetsuit for cooler water diving, and a 3 to 5mm wetsuit for warm water diving.
A semi-dry suit is another good alternative. It is essentially a wetsuit with arm, leg and neck seals, that minimise the flow of water within the suit. This prevents cooler outside water from flowing in and cooling the body repeatedly during dives. They are a great option for added warmth without the expense of a dry suit and can be combined with a wetsuit jacket for even more warmth. The Aqua Lung Balance Comfort is a good example of this style of suit.
Form-fitting exposure suits are usually made of foam neoprene rubber (wetsuits) or spandex-like materials (skins), sometimes with a fleece lining.
What They Do - Exposure suits insulate you against the cooling effect of water, which can rob your body of heat 25 times faster than air. The thickness and type of exposure protection you need depends on dive conditions. Simple Lycra suits provide little thermal insulation, but do help protect against scrapes and stings.
A wetsuit keeps you warm in two ways:
Keeping Water Out. Any water that gets inside the suit is going to leak out again. When the water is inside, it absorbs some of your body heat. When it leaves, it takes that heat with it. So the first thing a wetsuit has to do is keep the cold ocean from flushing through it. A good fit, one that feels equally snug everywhere, is critical, so the space the ocean wants to use to flow along your skin is as small as possible.
Providing Insulation Against Heat Loss. A little science here: Solids and liquids conduct heat well; gases do not. Air, for example, is about 20 times less conductive than water. As a practical matter, good insulation — above or below water — is all about trapping air. That's why neoprene foam works so well. Gas bubbles are permanently trapped inside the "closed cells" of the wetsuit material.
Some features can help the suit do its job. They include: wrist, collar and ankle seals; sealing flaps behind zippers; pre-bent arms and legs; and smooth inner coatings to minimize water flow inside the suit.
What to Look For - Fit, comfort and stylish. Exposure suits should fit snugly without restricting movement or breathing. Reject any suit that's too loose, however. Gaps at the arm, leg, crotch and neck allow water to circulate and defeat the suit's ability to prevent heat loss.
Cost - Wetsuits and skins range from $70 to $650. Drysuits can cost from $850 to more than $2,500.
Our Advice - As long as a wetsuit fits correctly, it will do the job. If you're going the budget route, your choices will usually be limited to basic models. Bright colors and graphics aren't necessary but do make you more visible to other divers.
Here's a guide to choosing the right weight for the conditions you dive in.
Exposure Suit Comfort Zones
75-85F - 1/16" (1.6mm) neoprene, Lycra, Polartec
70-85F - 1/8" (3mm) neoprene
65-75F - 3/16" (5mm) neoprene
50-70F - 1/4" (6.5mm) neoprene
35-65F - 3/8" (9.5mm) neoprene, dry suit
Once you're a newly minted diver, the anxiety you had about buying gear will likely be replaced with a rush of excitement — a desire to max out the plastic or convert the Roth IRA into a heap of the latest and greatest in scuba gear.
Fine. Having your own gear is essential to enjoy this sport fully and to maximize your comfort and safety. Just remember that your experience with equipment is limited. You've got to study the field and understand what you want — and need — out of each piece of gear.
3mm Full Body Women Neoprene Wetsuit Color Diving Snorkeling Swimming Water Sport Equipment
Part 2 : Life-Support Equipments
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
The BCD is an essential piece of dive gear. It holds the other dive gear in place, ensures divers float on the surface, and allows correct buoyancy during dives. The right BCD is well worth investing in.
The fit of a BCD is important and different styles and sizes are available. It is important to try BCDs on before buying one, preferably whilst wearing your exposure suit, to find the right fit. Be sure to test all of the valves for accessibility and check the straps and pockets are also easy to reach. People who suffer with back pain should consider which type of back plate is the most comfortable and see if the pockets allow dive weights to be set up to minimise any loading on the spine.
The BCD — also called a BC or buoyancy compensator — is the most complex piece of dive equipment you'll own and one of the most important. So choose carefully based on the style of diving you'll be doing most.
What It Does - What doesn't it do? It holds your gear in place, lets you carry a tank with minimal effort, floats you at the surface and allows you to achieve neutral buoyancy at any depth.
What to Look For - Correct size and fit. Before you try on BCDs, slip into the exposure suit you'll wear most often. Look for a BCD that fits snugly but doesn't squeeze you when inflated. The acid test: inflate the BCD until the overflow valve vents. The BCD should not restrict your breathing. While you've got the BCD on, test all valves for accessibility and ease of use, then make sure the adjustments, straps and pockets are easy to reach and use.
Pay particular attention to the inflator hose. Is it easy to reach and extend over your head? Make sure there's a clear distinction between the inflate and deflate buttons and that you can operate them easily with one hand.
Cost - $350 to more than $1,000.
Our Advice - This is an important piece of equipment that you can expect to use for many years. Don't skimp; go for quality. Test as many different models as you can in real diving situations before buying. Rent them if you have to.
How Much BCD Lift Do you Need?
Tropical Diving (with little or no wetsuit protection) - 12 to 24 pounds
Recreational Diving (with a full wetsuit or dry suit) - 20 to 40 pounds
Technical Diving (or diving under other demanding conditions) - 40 to 80 pounds
TUSA X-Wing BCD (Black, Large)
The right scuba diving equipment will help to keep you safe on a dive
One of the most important pieces of equipment for a scuba diver is their regulator.
A pressure regulator is used in scuba or surface diving, to reduce all pressurised breathing gas to ambient pressure and deliver it to the diver. The gas is delivered through a valve, that automatically cuts off the flow of a liquid or gas at a certain pressure.
Regulators are usually bought in three parts. The first buy is the 1st Stage clamp and primary together, then an Alternate Air Source and then the Gauges.
The highest performing regulator brands, in the opinion of many divers are Apeks, Aqualung and Atomic, for their lightweight design, technical capabilities and endurance.
Most divers prefer to have their own personal regulator. Having a personal regulator means that you can be sure that it is regularly serviced and you know the frequency with which it is used.
The good news: Among major-label regulators — the kind sold in dive stores — there is no junk. Regulators have been perfected to the point that even budget regulators can offer high performance. However, you must do your homework before buying this vital piece of gear. We can help: Scuba Lab has tested hundreds of regulators in thousands of breathing machine tests.
What It Does -
Converts the high-pressure air in your tank to ambient pressure so you can breathe it. A regulator must also deliver air to other places, such as your BC inflator and alternate second stage.
What to Look For - High performance. The best regulators can deliver a high volume of air at depth, under heavy exertion even at low tank pressures. Some regulators also have diver-controlled knobs and switches to aid this process, so it's important to understand the controls and how they work.
Comfort. Look for a comfortable mouthpiece and have your local dive store select hoses of the right length for you.
Try as many regulators as you can in real-world diving situations. Breathing on a regulator in a dive store tells you nothing about how it will perform under water.
Cost - From $225 to $1,600.
Our Advice - You've got to do your homework to find the best regulator available for your budget. Talk to dive store personnel, experienced divers and read ScubaLab's objective tests and reviews.
4.2 out of 5 stars 24 ratings
SCUBA Air Cylinder
Aluminum 80 Scuba Tank with Valve.
Aluminum 80 The most common scuba cylinder, so named because it is supposed to hold 80 cubic feet of air. In actuality, it usually holds about 77.4 cubic feet.
The Luxfer Aluminum 80 Scuba Tank with Valve offers the greatest buoyancy characteristics for single tank diving, slinging a stage bottle or as a decompression bottle, a travel gas cylinder, or diving them as sidemount tanks with a wetsuit. The Luxfer aluminum 80 is the best scuba tank available. Pricing listed in Canadian Dollars.
A dive computer is often the first piece of dive gear a new diver will buy. It is an important piece of equipment that constantly monitors the diver’s depth and bottom time, whilst continually calculating the no-decompression status. They also monitor ascent rates, log each dive, and can do much more.
When selecting a dive computer, it is important to consider how easy it is to use during a dive, the type of display you prefer for clear viewing, and where you will be mounting it on your dive kit. It is also worth thinking about your dive experience level and any additional features you would like the computer to include.
Nobody enjoys working the dive tables, but they're an invaluable tool for safe diving. Dive computers are an even better tool for the same reason a laptop is better than a slide rule.
What They Do - By constantly monitoring depth and bottom time, dive computers automatically recalculate your no-decompression status, giving you longer dive times while still keeping you within a safe envelope of no-decompression time. Computers can also monitor your ascent rate and tank pressure, tell you when it's safe to fly, log your dives and much more. That's why dive computers are almost as common as depth gauges these days.
What to Look For - User-friendliness. The most feature-packed dive computer does you no good if you can't easily and quickly access the basic information you need during a dive: depth, time, decompression status and tank pressure. Some models have both numeric and graphic displays for at-a-glance information.
Mounting options are an important feature to consider and let you position computers on your wrist, gauge console, hoses or attach them to BCs.
Some computers are conservative in their calculations, automatically building in safety margins; others take you to the edge of decompression and trust you to build in your own safety margins. Only RSD publishes a chart ranking the relative conservatism of dive computers on the market today.
Before you buy, ask to see the owner's manual and check it out. Complete and easy-to-understand instructions are important, especially on feature-packed machines.
Cost - $300 to more than $1,300.
Our Advice - Begin with an honest evaluation of your diving needs — do you plan to use mixed gases someday to do decompression diving? Study the features of different computers and choose the one that offers the mix of features you need at the best price.
Knife – Carrying a diving knife is a great safety tip, a knife can be used to free yourself from entanglements while at the bottom.
Buddy line – A short length of line or webbing around two metres, with a small central float. A buddy line is used to tether two divers together in low visibility to avoid separation.
Torch – Divers should always have a light on their BSD or suit, however an extra torch is a good safety accessory.
Surface marker buoy – Indicates the position of the divers to people at the surface.
Hoods- Use the same thickness measuring system as with your wetsuit, to choose the right hood for the water temperature.
Gloves- Give both thermal and abrasion protection, they also come in different thickness and types, for different dives.