Scuba diving gear could easily be rented wherever you go on a scuba diving adventure on your vacation. And there is nothing wrong with that, but. Yes, there it is a but, comfort, fit, and ease of use (meaning you are comfortable with using it and know how to use the equipment) are incredibly important factors when you go scuba diving.
Having the right gear will allow you to spend longer under the water. If something doesn’t fit comfortably or a display isn’t easy for you to read, then you can potentially spend more time adjusting the equipment or moving around to get a clear reading. So, in order to avoid all of this, getting the right basic scuba diving gear is essential.
Obviously, like in all sports, the equipment has a variable price range. Set yourself a reasonable budget (you are not going to find a decent wet suit for $20) and stick to it. Prioritise what you feel will be your biggest aid and spend more money on that, but don’t spend so much that every other piece of equipment has to be cheap.
What is Scuba Diving Gear?
Essentially, it is the equipment that allows you to breathe, move around and feel comfortable while underwater. The gear allows you to swim freely, stay at an adequate body temperature, see where you are going and supplies you with the air you need to breath.
If you are just starting out in the world of scuba diving and are still attending classes, then it is recommended you buy the most basic stuff for diving and borrow the life-support equipment from the school you are attending. Once you have been certified, then you can go out and buy the more important equipment for diving without instructors.
Basic Equipment List:
These are the items you should buy before you go to any classes. Make sure you get a comfortable fit and that you feel comfortable wearing them.
Masks come in all shapes and size now, so try on a few to make sure you get the right one. The scuba mask is what lets you see underwater by creating an air bubble in front of your eyes. This bubble allows your eyes focus. The nose cover lets you equalise pressure. Here, you are looking for a nice air-tight fit.
Source: How To Choose Your First Mask
The snorkel is basically a plastic tube that allows you to breath at the water’s surface. This is used to save water in the tank when you are swimming around just below the surface of the water. Look for one that attaches well to your mask but is also comfortable in your mouth and not too bulky.
These are the piece of gear that will allow you to swim like you were made for the water. Look for a tight fit, but make sure it doesn’t squash your toes or cause any discomfort. However, if you can move your toes, they are too loose. The size and stiffness of the fin will be determined by your size and strength. Stronger people can use larger and stiffer fins. If you are unsure, start safe with a smaller and more flexible fin.
Source: How To Choose A Scuba Diving Fin
This is your underwater clothing. It will help insulate you and keep you warm and dry, as water can seep your body heat as it runs in and out of the suit. How thick your insulation needs to be will depend where you are diving.
Obviously colder temperatures will require a thicker suit that diving in warm tropical waters. It is essential to get a well-fitting wetsuit that gives you freedom of movement while also keeping you warm and dry.
When choosing a wetsuit, style cost extra. When you are on a budget, you might be limited to very basic styles, but they will do the job just as good.
Source: Wetsuit Guide
Step two: The life-support scuba diving gear
This is all the scuba diving gear you will need once you are certified and looking at going diving on your own, or without an instructor. This is also the more expensive side of scuba diving gear, but more important, as it is what will allow you to breath underwater and stay safe.
Also known as a Buoyancy compensator or BC, this allows you to carry all your gear. It makes carrying the tanks lighter and will help you float up to the surface. When you are looking for a good BC, try them on with the suit you are most likely to wear more often.
It is important that it does not squeeze you and impede your breathing when you inflate it. So, try this out, inflate it to the max, when the overflow vent goes, and make sure it doesn’t squeeze you so much that you struggle breathing. You want it tight enough that it says fixed and doesn’t move around when wearing it, but not that it makes you struggle to breath.
Source: BCD Guide
This is what converts the pressurised air from the tank into a normal pressure for you to breath. Luckily, there is no such thing as cheap and nasty in the regulator world. This being said, always look how for high quality and high performance.
Source: Choosing The Right Regulator
Yes, working everything out is a pain. But it is necessary. These computers keep track of how deep you are and how long you have been below the water, and then can work out how long you can dive for while still being safe.
They are a cool gadget for keeping you safe when diving, but also can track your dives and keep a history of your dives. Always look for one that you will get along with. If it is too complex for you, you might struggle when you get under the water.
Source: Choosing The Right Dive Computer
Now you are all set with the most basic of scuba diving gear. Remember, these are all pieces of gear designed to give you the best and safest diving experience, so try not to buy cheap or think “I don’t need that” because chances are, you will. Here are some optional pieces of scuba diving gear: A pocket knife, a compass, a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB), a spare mask (recommended) and an emergency signalling device.