After your first dive you know whether you want to be a diver for life. At the start you rent your gear first off since you don’t have your own and second to get use to the gear, find what you like in each piece of equipment. Then when you figure out what you like, you’re sick of tugging and readjusting your equipment, chewed on regulators and the worry of the cost to replace diving gear at the price you could buy your own then you know it’s time to invest in your first set of diving gear. These are the must have equipment items to have in your kit – and the tips of finding the perfect gear for you.
– A perfect mask must be comfortable and have a watertight fit. Luckily there is a step by step guide for mask fitting. Any mask that passes the guide is a fit for you. But there is a range of masks that offer from a wider field of vision, purge valves for venting any water that gets in, different strap adjustments, different colours and styles. But the perfect fit is the most important. A good mask should be between 20 to 150 USD.
- Look up at the ceiling and place the mask on your face without using the strap. It should rest
evenly with no gaps.
- Place a regulator or snorkel mouthpiece in your mouth. Does the mask still feel comfortable? Any gaps yet?
- 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.
- Repeat the sniff test with a mouthpiece in place.
- 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.
- Put the regulator mouthpiece in one more time to make sure you can easily reach the nose pocket to equalize your ears.
– The use of a snorkel when diving is to conserve air when on the surface. When looking at all the wide range of snorkels just keep it simple. Snorkels that try to reduce water from getting in are usually very chunky, which are difficult to dive with due to water drag. Go with a snorkel that is comfortable, durable and easy to breathe through. A good snorkel should cost between 15 to 75 USD.
– Diving without fins will affect your buoyancy and use all your air from exhaustion. Diving with fins is the best way to move through water. Comfort and efficiency is what to look for in fins, you can find this through design, a good fit (if you can wiggle your toes they are too big, if the arches of your feet are bending then they are too small) and stiffness. Some good to know facts about fins; full foot fins are best suited for warm weather plus don’t require booties, straps of open heel fins can be adjusted for different booties, no booties and are great if your feet are still growing, open heel fins are easier to put on and finally dive booties are a great investment as they provide foot protection and comfort while diving and walking. A good pair of fins will cost around 65 to 200 USD, try to find a good pair at a fair price as the wrong fins can cause fatigue and cramping.
For more info about fins click here
– What to look for in a wetsuit is fit and comfort. Wetsuits should not restrict movement or breathing, any suit that is too loose is a definite no go, but make sure water can circulate around your body. Wetsuit range from 70 to 650 USD and dry suits range from 650 to 850 USD.
Water temp Guide
23-30 Celsius- 1/16″ (1.6mm) neoprene, lycra, polartec.
21- 27 Celsius 1/8″ (3mm) neoprene
18+24 Celsius – 3/16″ (5mm) neoprene
10-21 Celsius- 1/4″ (6.5mm) neoprene
1-18 Celcius – 3/8″ (9.5mm) neoprene (Dry Suit)
– The best thing to own is your own regulator as you get to know it has only been in your mouth, there are no bite marks from strangers, you know how well it has been cleaner and maintained as well as not having to adjust the settings every time you dive. A regulator must be of high performance, provide enough air at the right depths even with a low tank pressure. While some come with diver controlled knobs and switches to control air pressure yourself. The key to finding the best regulator is to try as many as you can in real life diving. Using the regulator in ocean is the only way to tell how it performs. A decent regulator should be 225 to 1600 USD. Try it out in real life diving if you can, find reviews, talk to the dive store personal and experienced divers about their recommendations.
Buoyancy Compensating Device (BCD)
– Your BCD will hold your gear together, hold your tank with minimal strain and allow to you achieve neutral buoyancy. The correct size and fit, that is that is snug but allows you to breathe when fully inflated. When inflated you should have full and easy access to adjustments, straps and pockets. Make sure the inflator and deflator are easy to reach and operate with one hand. The cost should be 300 to 750 USD.
Having all the gear will make diving easier, enjoyable and give you a piece of mind.