For many the milestone of becoming a diver isn’t in the certifications; it’s that magical moment when you sell your soul and start to assemble your very own diving gear. It’s a delicate and gratifying art form that comes with all sorts of added bonuses like extra baggage fees, storage dilemmas, redundancy (YES, I need 4 pairs of fins) and angry spouses when they see the credit card bill. Scuba junkies all over the world get a glimmer in their eye when browsing an equipment catalog but also constantly struggle with restraining themselves from buying the newest shiniest thing. I know at least a few of you are like me and have been that person clipping coupons for the groceries but then when I walk into a dive shop like it’s like a 2000’s hip hop video where cash seems to rain down from the sky.

Diving Gear Chose Dive Equipment

All that aside, finding the best equipment for you is exciting but can be a bit of a challenge. With roughly 20 major manufacturers, such as ScubaPro and AquaLung, it can be overwhelming to filter through the sea of colours, gadgets and variations that each manufacturer brings to the table with each individual piece of gear.

From regulators to snorkels, you are met with so much choice that it can be hard to be sure. Whatever piece of equipment you are looking to acquire there are three major things you should focus on while going through your options:

Diving Gear Suitability

The first is SUITABILITY. Before buying a piece of gear there are some questions you should ask yourself like; What are my goals for diving and in which conditions will I be doing the majority of my dives? Knowing the style of diving you want to do and what kind of conditions will come along with that will automatically help you whittle down the list of possibilities.

For example, if you know you will be diving mostly on tropical holidays you can probably strike a dry suit from your wish list. Or if you plan on delving more into the technical world of diving, you may want to consider getting a wing and backplate setup instead of a jacket style BCD.

The world of diving is vast and trying to tailor your setup to your specific diving needs is, in my opinion, the most important part of choosing gear. Not only do we want to look super cool while we are diving, but we also want to know that every piece of equipment is going to perform to its full potential with regards to what you want out of your diving experience.

Dive gear that fits properly

Next you need to consider the FIT of the equipment. The key to proper fit is to try, try, try and then try some more. The more different styles of a piece of equipment you try on, the better idea you will get about what fits your body and what doesn’t. Take for example a mask; this is one of the most personal but touchy pieces to buy and often the first one you get turns out to not quite live up to your hopeful expectations. Try on every brand and style you can get your hands on, go to multiple dive shops, ask a friend to try theirs for a dive or find a dive shop with a “Try Before You Buy” program. Dive equipment isn’t given away and when you are making an investment of these proportions the goal is to find pieces that fit in such a way that they become an extension of your body. Improperly fitting equipment can not only be painful and annoying but constantly readjusting can rob your attention away from all the beautiful things you’re down there to see in the first place!

Is it comfortable for you?

Lastly you need to consider COMFORT. When you’re standing in a dive shop surrounded by shiny toys it can be extra hard to be unbiased in order to make the best decision. You can get caught up on that beautiful wetsuit that has the greatest pattern and not even notice little details in the fit that will compromise its comfort and effectiveness. With wetsuits if the fit isn’t right the suit doesn’t keep you as warm as it should, but there is a fine line between being comfortable and just fitting. Everyone has differences in their body composition that can make finding a comfortable wetsuit like finding a needle in a haystack. Again, for this, try on as many as you can. Do the crazy wetsuit dance for all to see and pay attention to every seam, every zipper, every articulation. This applies to any piece of gear; put it on, move around, familiarize yourself with the bells and whistles. Ask yourself does this feel good, can I move freely and comfortably when I’m underwater as well as on the surface, and will the gadgets be useful and accessible and not become just another weak point that will break and eventually lead to having to replace the piece.

Along with these three major aspects there are a few other tricks of the trade that can help you carefully navigate the process of finding the right gear for you:

– Don’t let anyone try to convince you that the best or most expensive thing on the market is what you need. If an item you’re interested in checks the three primary suitability, fit and comfort boxes for you, it doesn’t matter if it’s slathered in renowned logos or an off brand version.

– Colours and patterns are cool, but don’t compromise the main points for them.

– Simplicity is often key; the less add-on’s and extra pieces the less chance of breaking and replacing.

– It’s great to get versatile gear but remember it’s not always wise to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

– Consider ease of troubleshooting. If you will be diving primarily in one area of the world, make sure that the brand you buy can be easily serviced there should the worst happen.

– Ask many questions, talk to many people, do your research.

Not a diver yet? No worries, check out our diving courses!

Good luck choosing your own new diving gear and happy bubbles!

About the Author

Dive Instructor KatyOriginally from Montreal, Canada her diving journey started back in 2009 on her backpacking adventure. She fell in love with diving and the charm of the Sairee Cottage family after frequent return visits. Now she’s part of the furniture.

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