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review of your equipment
verticallead - 6/21/2008 12:36 PM
Category: Equipment
Replies: 12

I am just starting out with diving and getting ready to purchase my equipment. I have visited a few dive stores and they all sell different equipment, and they all say they have the best.

I was just wondering what other divers use for there BCD, Regulators, and Dive Computer. How reliable they have been, Pros and Con’s they have found with them?
Erik - 6/21/2008 8:13 PM
I think that you have to accumulate your equipment slowly. Otherwise, you’ll be purchasing things twice. I’ve been accumulating things over time and am happy with my purchases. However, the things I bought right away, I am thinking of replacing...

For a BCD - make sure you’ve got plenty of space for intergrated weights, as I find I am shoving the MAX (I don’t go over) into the weight pouches and it is stretching out the pockets on my Sherwood.
h2ofria - 6/21/2008 9:01 PM
I recommend that you read a variety of dive magazines that review equipment to get an idea of what might fit you best, depending on the type of diving you plan to do. Not all regulators, BCD’s or computers will fit all situations. I have a Sherwood Avid for a BCD which works great in warm water because it can carry up to 20 lbs in the weght pockets. In cold water I need more than that with a dry suit or a seven mil wet suit so I have to wear a weight belt in addition to the weight pockets. Fortunately I don’t do a lot of cold water diving. My computer is an Aeris A1, air integrated. I really like it, it is easy to operate, and easy to read underwater without reading glasses. The only drawback I have found is that it has a tendency to signal the rapid ascent alarm whenever I just take a deep breath. As for regulators be sure that you know what you are buying i.e. will it handle cold water, will it handle nitrox, is it adjustable etc. I use a Zeagle DS-V which will handle any situation I plan to dive in.
malibu - 6/22/2008 9:40 AM
The resposes given are very wise and you should heed each one. I do not claim to be all knowing or all seeing. The only thing I can say is to take all the info you have gathered ( read all these other responses) and then make your choice based on what works best for you. "ont leave home without it"
seawolfdiving - 6/22/2008 11:32 AM
Ahh yes... That age old question is asked once again. Although I am perhaps not the best person to give counsel in this situation, I will try to to be as helpful as possible. Keep in mind that I am not a retailer, nor do I own/manage a dive shop at this time. However I have been there, done that.

Here is what I advise: If you are "just starting out" and have little or no experience with the various styles of equipment, then I recomment that you rent or try out the different styles and configurations "several times" before buying anything.

Many manfacturers stage events where you can actually "dive" their gear (DUI being just one of them). Many good dive shops will have a representative piece of gear from the various models that they sell, which they will either rent to you or allow you to try out. This is one of the many benefits of going to a dive shop rather than buying online.

Have a reasonably clear idea of the type of diving that you want to be doing and try/buy the gear that is most appropriate for that type of diving.

Above all else, the gear that you buy and use must fit you properly, must be comfortable on you, must function properly and should be appropriate for the type of diving that you are doing.

Additionally, you should always receive the proper training in the use and care of the equipment. This too is something that you can get at your local dive shop, and is generally not available online.

Whatever type of diving that you do and whatever gear you choose, be safe and have fun.

Seawolf sends

verticallead - 6/22/2008 5:59 PM
Thank you, great information
VaDiver95 - 6/22/2008 8:18 PM
I’ll just add a quick note without mentioning any type of equipment... purchase your gear with the end in mind. If your eventual goal is to dive deeper and go the technical route, buy equipment that will support this early on. Plus don’t try to purchse everything at onceI’d start off with a quality reg setup and build off that. As for a computerI’d go with a wrist mounted NITROX computer that can be switched into guage mode (for later applications). As for a BCI’d stay away from one of the intergrated ’do everything’ one and get a backplate (BP)/wing combo. The BP/wing setup is versitile, comfortable and will grow with you as you progress into more advanced diving.
stitches - 6/29/2008 12:56 PM
I started out renting gear, researched the different types, then made purchases for the diving goals I had in mind. One inportant aspect to consider is what route you plan to follow, are you going to just do recreational, go technical, or go all the way to professional intructor. Many shops require you to use there brand of gear if on there staff as intructors. I purchase almost all of my gear, Major items that need service from my local dive shop where I obtain my training, and I know and trust the gear and advice, as well as service to the gear I purchase. I can also have quick resolution to any recall or warranty issues. My suggestion for first gear purchase are quallity Mask, Snorkle, Fins, Boots, and Wet suite. Next I would purchase a dive Computer with air integration or remote sender capable, these can be easily mounted to rental gear till you purchase a quility regulator. get a computer that alows for air/nitrox and 2 or 3 gas switches. I use the Suunto vetec wrist mount, has done me well, wife uses Cobra. I very highly recomend the atomic ultraclear mask with ARC coating this mask is amazing, and the atomic split fins are fanominal in performance, you cant go wrong with these products. hope this helps Happy diving to you!
georoc01 - 7/02/2008 4:02 PM
I love the idea of an incremental approach, but sometimes that is easier said then done..Here is how my accumulation of gear went..

Mask - I believe this is one key piece of equipment that absolutely has to fit. My divebuddy on my last trip didn’t bring hers and paid for it dearly, made her trip completely miserable as she couldn’t get a good seal.

Fins - for me, getting full foot fins that are comfortable is really tough. And just about any rental gear I have seen have been full foot.

Regulator - the first and second stage are fine, but then you get into the gauges and octo. If you are using a computer, do you need a full set of gauges as well? What type of computer do you buy? Also carrying a computer is much easier, where carrying your reg is much more difficult. then you have to make the call of Octo vs Air 2 on your BC. If you learned on the latter and want to go with that, then the BC comes into play immediately. If using rental BCs you need the Octo too.

BCD - Some of this depends on your size. If you are average size, this may not be an issue. But if you are larger or smaller than average, finding a rental BCD that is comfortable can be a challenge. Plus if you have to make the call on integrated weights. I know I prefer my integrated weights to a weight belt. And very few rentals have integrated weights.

Suits - this is another thing about rental wetsuits. there is a common phrase I heard when I first started diving. There are those divers that pee in their wetsuits and those that lie about it. I am not sure how true that exactly is, but something to think about when renting suits, who has worn it previously. Plus you get back to the sizing issue. I was pretty much told by my OW instructor that I would need a custom suit to get a proper fit. While that wasn’t truly the case, the odds of me finding a rental suit that fits me properly is pretty slim. The next challenge is what thickness suits do you need? I started with a 3mm & a 7mm. I have accesorized with 2 sets of gloves, 3 sets of booties, a hooded vest and a plain hood for different conditions. I have also since then been renting a dry suit.

Computer - can be very temperamental. And need to decide do you prefer a hose mount or wrist mount? Air integration or not? I started with a hose mount and then got a deal later on an AI wrist mount.

All of this in the last 2 years. Next up is we are talking about going to Truck/Palau in 2010. Part of build up for this gets into tech as some of the deeper dives require TDIs extended range diver. This means getting into a BP/W, doubles, and anything else that will require. Could I have anticipated this 100 dives & 18 months ago when I started buying gear? I don’t think so. As my diving evolves, so does my gear.

The idea of planning ahead, renting and avoiding duplication would have been great, but I haven’t been able for forsee where my diving is going to take me. I think in some ways, its the nature of the beast if you are really becoming more than just a casual, vacation diver.
Crush - 7/05/2008 5:32 PM
Start out at a local dive shop and get a mask that fits, then fins. For the rest of my setup, I had the option of layaway at a local shop, but that meant I would be paying for 2 years before I could use it. I made some scores on ebay (sticking with name brands), then supported the local shops when upgrading. I had my own epuipment within a few weeks, and have been diving ever since!
castanagajt - 11/11/2008 4:16 AM
I would actually buy the computer first. That was always the hardest purchase for me and most time consuming in researching which I would buy. This will extend you bottom time considerably. Then I would buy the regulator set up and octo. Probably a retractor and an octo clip. BCD, well that can be difficult. Look for what suit your needs and please rent all your other stuff.