For beginner divers, choosing the perfect dive gear can be rather challenging and confusing. This is true especially if you don’t have the accurate facts to help you in decision making. Aside from the best deal, you want to find the gear that will make you feel secure and comfortable for years to come. Below are few ideas and suggestions for choosing, depending on the type of gear you need.
Scuba Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
Choosing a BCD all boils down to your body type. The reason behind this is that fit matters the most when it comes to BCDs. For people with large frames, bulk won’t be an issue. But if it’s the other way around, a compact BCD should be selected. Length is also crucial. One that extends down too much would be a burden because it will be more difficult to remove the weights. The right BCD should be fit like a glove, and should not wriggle up your body. There are multiple types of BCDs known in the current market.
Back Inflation BCD – Oftentimes, divers find this BCD more comfortable to wear since it allows free arm movement and is less constricting.
Jacket Style BCD – This jacket is most suitable for divers who float mostly in the surface or want to retain a vertical orientation.
Hybrid BCD – Hybrid BCDs are often dubbed as ‘the best of both worlds’ because it puts less clutter at the front, providing more comfort and relaxing feel, especially when in a vertical position.
Sidemount – This BCD enables you to dive with the tanks placed under the arms and instead of being at the back.
Back Plate and Wing BCD – Considered as one of the most flexible types of BCD, the back plate and wing gives unlimited possibilities in terms of BCD customization. Through this, you can combine any types of backplate, design, and wing size according to your liking.
Scuba Diving Mask
The important role of diving masks is to give an air pocket to the eyes so they can concentrate and see clearly underwater. An ideal dive mask is the one with feathered, double skirt, panel that shapes the eyes, low volume, and a wide strap that allows flexible adjustment. Optional features you want to add in are specialized lenses and purge valve to keep water out.
There are various factors to consider when purchasing your first scuba regulator:
Balanced or unbalanced? Balanced regulators breathe consistently at all levels of tank pressures. Unbalanced regs, on the other hand, breathe laboriously whenever the tank pressure drops.
Diaphragm or piston? Diaphragm regulators are more resistant to cold and water debris such as sand, salt or silt; while piston types are more basic and plain compared to the former.
Adjustability – Some regulators allow adjustment of inhalation pressure. Others are integrated with a separate lever for easy adjustment of air flow.
Ports – The perfect regulator for you is one with the right number or low pressure and high pressure ports depending on your intended use. Most have two, which allows for running of extra pressure computer when necessary.
Warranty – Some manufacturers cover parts replacement for two years, while others may be labelled with ‘limited warranty’ saying that you’re covered as long as you meet the policies.
Commonly made out of neoprene, wetsuits allow a little bit of water to flow in the body so it stays comfortable and warm. In addition, it plays a role in maintaining a diver’s buoyancy and resistance to abrasion. Currently, there are three types of wetsuits available.
Full wetsuits – Also called one-piece wetsuits, these are often used by divers in cold waters. Their main purpose is to protect the arms, torsos, and legs.
Two-piece wetsuits – As the name states, this wetsuit comes in two parts, the jacket and the long johns. Either can be worn separately or together depending on the environment conditions.
Shorty – Due to reduced length of fabric, shorties provide less thermal insulation to the body. They protect the torso and part of the legs and arms.
Fins make easy propelling of feet underwater. There are two types of foot pockets available, and these are:
Open heel fins – This type, given that they are adjustable, is commonly used by scuba divers all over the world. It features an adjustable strap that keeps your feet in place.
Full foot fins – Basically, these are shoes attached with fins.
Dive computers make dive planning simpler, compared to when you’re not using one. Modern models nowadays are mounted in either console or wrist. Wrist computers are almost identical to standard wristwatches. Console computers, meanwhile, are affixed to the regulator by means of a high pressure hose.
Your Gear Versus Your Needs
Equipping yourself with the right dive gear is highly essential with every dive. Depending on your diving situation, you must select the gear that meets your preferences. However, there are some basic rules that apply to all gears – make sure it’s comfortable to use/wear, it looks good and fits well, and can last as long as possible for it is a costly investment