What is the Best Scuba Diving Gear to Own? What a question, right?! Surely a simple edifying point with great starting basics answered below.
Starting facts being, when you’re in training, your school or instructor will most likely provide your gear for you. But once you’re certified, you are then given access to purchase advanced diving gear. But with so many options out there, how the heck are you supposed to know which ones you should buy?
No worries. We’re here to help you make a smart purchasing decisions. Choosing the best scuba diving gear is no joking matter. Aside from its high costs, it can also make the difference when you encounter problems underwater. There are three basic factors that you need to consider when buying your own gear: (1) Budget, (2) Safety, and (3) Functionality.
The first phase of our buying process entails the purchase of basic scuba diving equipment. If you have a limited budget, then always prioritize the essentials. This is not only the most pragmatic choice, but it will also ensure your safety.
There are four must-have essentials – the mask, the snorkel, the fins and the wetsuit.
Most basic among all others is the mask. It allows your eyes to focus underwater, and adjusts the air pressure in your nose as you dive deeper. There are several types of masks available in the market, and your job is to choose one that best fits you.
Scubadiving.com has provided a full-proof six-step procedure for mask fitting:
- 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.
A mask usually costs from $25-$150. Would these price ranges define what is the best scuba diving gear on your end? I highly doubt it if it’s the first time you’re wearing one, but you’ll surely be close to it in this range of prices for equipment that’ll last in salt water! Keep in mind that the key factor here is functionality. It doesn’t matter whether you choose the most expensive mask, if it won’t do the job, it’s not worth the purchase.
For most women, tangled hair is often the biggest problem they have with masks. An experienced female diver shared on her blog Coffee With A Slice of Life a solution to this common complaint. She recommends the Agua Lungs Linea mask which has a “Comfort Buckle System”. You can learn more about it here.
You’ll mostly use the snorkel to conserve air in your water tank when you’re on the water’s surface. The best tip we can give you is to pick one with a comfortable mouthpiece. Avoid bulkier snorkels as they tend to be difficult to breathe through.
Snorkels can cost from $15-$75, but if you don’t plan to do a lot of snorkeling activity, then we suggest you choose a one with the most basic functionality and be done with it.
Fins are designed to help you move efficiently underwater. It is important to find ones that will fit you perfectly. Try to move your toes and feet while trying them on. If you find that you can’t wiggle your toes, then the fins are probably too small for your feet.
Large structured divers can potentially carry bigger and stiffer fins. While smaller divers are likely to be more comfortable using smaller fins.
While prices for fins are increasing ridiculously right now, you can still buy quality ones for as cheap as $65. Other professional divers even prefer to rent fins rather than buy their own. If you are in doubt though, you can try out the Scubapro fins or the Cressi Palau Fins and see if they are worth the purchase.
Owning a wetsuit is not debatable, it is a must. Imagine someone urinating on his rented wetsuit, then passing it on to another diver. And what if that unfortunate “other” diver is you? This is only one of the reasons why buying your own wetsuit should be a priority.
The wetsuit must fit you snuggly, but still allow you to breathe and move around. Never use or purchase loose ones, as they will allow water to enter and defeat the purpose of heat prevention.
Wetsuits can cost up to $650.
Life Support Gear
The BCD could be the most complicated and most expensive type of gear that you’ll own, so you really need to make sure that you buy the right one. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t buy one right now, but as much as possible make a mental note to save up for one. The best BCDs are usually from Scuba Pro. They offer different styles and colors, but it would most likely cost you $300-$750.
Other divers simply purchase second hand BCDs if they can’t afford brand new ones.
The best part about regulators is that even the cheaper ones offer good and high quality. Regulators can also be expensive costing around $225 – $1,600. Again, would this answer or be the definitive range of prices to answer what is the best scuba diving gear as far regulators go? Doubt it!
You have to try, test them first and then conclude – but these range of prices surely would guide you through great regulators that should last for many, many years! There are still a lot of divers who do not have their own regulators, but if you do choose to buy one, then invest in one that offers high performance and comfort.
Mares or Apex Regulator sets are among some of the brands you can try out.
You should understand by now that diving is not only an extreme sport, it’s also an expensive sport. Yes, dive computers can be quite an investment and a nuisance, but they are undeniably an invaluable tool for safe diving.
The most important features to consider in choosing a computer is its safety countdown, and dive log capacity. User-friendliness should also be a controlling factor when buying computers.
Before shopping for any diving gear, start with an honest evaluation of your diving needs. Questioning yourself in silence on “what is the best scuba diving gear” would surely give you plenty of ideas based on your particular need or particular diving trip. You certainly won’t need to purchase all of the equipment at once. Learn how to prioritize and be practical in all your investments. Most importantly, be safe! Childs play, right?
Now for the veteran, what is the best scuba diving gear you’ve ever owned my online dive buddie?