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Aside from mask/fins/snorkel, what is the next piece of dive gear that I should buy?

Dive Gear New Divers

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#1 tickledone

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Posted 19 June 2020 - 10:00 PM

When I did my first open water dives after getting certified, I realized that this was a sport that I wanted to continue. 

 

The first piece of equipment past the required gear that I acquired was a 5mm wetsuit. 

 

In retrospect, I would argue that a dive computer would have been the smarter next acquisition. (That said, my current computers are #3 and #4 because #1 went the way of the dodo and I gave #2 to a friend because I acquired #4.)

 

With divers who may accumulate gear over time, what are your recommendations for selecting gear and in what order (if you can't buy it all at once)? 


Edited by tickledone, 19 June 2020 - 10:01 PM.

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#2 dive_sail_etc

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 06:33 AM

Okay, assuming one has mask / snorkel / fins that suit them, I think If I had it to do over this is the order I would follow in order of necessity to begin a scuba kit:

 

 - Concentrate on sampling various reg/octo configurations to find one that feels comfortable in the water. (This alone would have saved me some aggravation which distracted from honing skills and having fun).
 - Accessories pricey and cheap, from computer to SMB/whistle, would be next. (Oh yeah, and know how to use them! Practice in private if you must but trust me, you don't want to add to my list of SMH stories having to show someone how to deploy an SMB or set their EAN mix as we are trying to gear up for the "Dive Dive Dive" call...)
 - I grudgingly admit a comfortable wetsuit would be next, again with the focus on a style and weight that best suits your most common diving conditions. I suppose I would err to a little thicker over thinner, since the modern designs and materials are light years more comfortable with more stretch and breathe better than my first Pleistocene Period  (1984) shortie/farmer john combo. Don't be afraid to rent a lighter or heavier suit if conditions vary from home on those bucket list dive trips; the improved comfort and dive enjoyment combined with with leaving Old Faithful at home vice schlepping it along in your bags make it worth the effort.

Not necessarily first or last, at some point in this process one should invest in a light, durable dive bag, ideally (again IMO) a soft bag that can double as a travel bag but pliable enough that it folds and stows in those teensy weensy liveaboard drawers ....


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#3 WreckWench

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Posted 23 June 2020 - 02:22 PM

After your personal gear ie. mask, fin and snorkel (and booties if not open healed fins which I personally do NOT suggest)

 

I would if I were a girl or a guy...I would consider a skin first. This will keep you safe from jelly fish and fire coral and let you slide into a rental wetsuit if needed as well as your own suit when you get one.

 

Next would be a wetsuit IF you tend to get chilled. Many divers do not but many women do. If you do chill then get this so you don't have to worry about them not fitting properly. If you only need one once in awhile...then save this for later.

 

Next I would consider a bc. I used to say a reg because it was 'LIFE SUPPORT' and when I first got certified there was ONLY one type of bc. Now with so many types of bc's in the market this could easily be one of the best FIRST PURCHASES because regs breath in and out. BC's make you look good in the water or like a total newbie. With different types of inflation you can never get this dialed in when you are new. So if you struggle  with bouyancy (or do not wish to struggle with it) get your own bc so you learn it and then your diving skills will increase exponentially.

 

Next I would consider your own computer. Why? Because its another thing that can vary everytime you use one and that messes you up not being able to rely upon it to work a certain way. They are also required on many dive trips so you'll have to rent initially but that is GOOD....that lets you try out different types of computers. Some are easy to change...some suck at trying to change them. Some can be set and never changed until you change your nitrox mix and others have to be changed EVERY dive or will lock you out. And if you get locked out you will have to set out 24-48 hrs with out diving. DO NOT GET LOCKED OUT BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO USE AND CHANGE A COMPUTER. Some are too conservative which is a marketing term for 'inaccurate' and some are so fancy they drain the battery so dang fast you have to charge them daily or change batteries weekly. So talk to others on trips about their computers or snag a dive leader and ask them about the pros and cons of different computers INCLUDING PRICE. (I am always happy to help with this and I am on all the trips so ask away!)

 

Next I would consider your own regs. Get some help and you can probably get a great deal on a refurbished set. But don't just buy whatever the dive shop has a deal on. Try to find out what makes regs different from other regs? How easy are they to service or do you throw them away and buy new ones?  Is a $1000 reg really that much better than a $500 reg and can you safely and prudently buy used gear and what do you do if you do get used gear?

 

And finally as Brad has suggested look at simple gadgets you can get that will give you value or fun for not a lot of money. Look at other cool things such as lights, cameras, safety sausages etc.

 

AND ALWAYS ask us via info@singledivers.com how to get good deals and/or gently used gear etc. We have partnerships with dive shops and online retailers of gear as well as direct from the manufacturer's.


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#4 tickledone

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 10:02 AM

I love these responses, largely because because they differ from what my own biases. :)

 

My rationale for dive computer after exposure suit is that tables are not really used anymore (I think this is a disservice, personally - though I really didn't understand and appreciate the RDP until learning Dive Theory). It's so important to really understand your computer, and you really just can't get that with a rental. I understand that renting means you can try a variety of computers, but these are often entry level and lack the features that you might get when you buy your own. What would be awesome is for dive shops that lease computers to have a variety to rent (kind of like skis, many resorts have performance demo rentals that you can try before you buy). 

 

My first purchase after mask/fins/snorkel was a wetsuit because I wanted nothing with renting a suit. After my first trip where I did a total of 4 OW dives, I went ahead and bought a kit in anticipation for my second trip. More recently, I've been accumulating/adding/replacing items from that kit. 

 

I would reconsider is buying a full kit; hence, my question. There isn't anything inherently bad about buying everything at once (often you'll get a discount doing this), but I might should have thought about alternatives. Maybe I wouldn't have gone for a jacket BCD if I knew about backplate and wing or harness+wing (which is what I am waiting for now).  Though, I don't know that I wouldn't have gone through the progression had I known this.

 

 

And, well, I'm still looking for some kickin' fins. (Pun intended...) I've replaced my initial fins and am happy with the current set but am considering something with a little negative buoyancy to use with my very positively buoyant 6 mm booties for the cooler waters in the Pacific. 


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#5 WreckWench

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Posted 24 June 2020 - 01:54 PM

Sometimes you just gotta start somewhere and well...get started. Most of us do not know what we want when we first start off and we certainly do not know which brand(s) are better or even what types of gear is ie jacket styled vs bp&w or back inflate.

 

I think you will end up renting a lot of gear...using some borrowed gear to start to figure out what you like or don't like and THEN figure out if you are staying with the sport long enough to change out the initial gear you purchased.

 

Yes there are advantages to buying a pkg deal and for many divers you won't go wrong. If its a long standing shop that will service and repair the sale then go for it. If you have some of the major gear already then obviously adding add'l gear is different.

 

And as you said...there are NO WRONG ANSWERS...just good things to consider.

 

For example... as we come off any dive season or the end of the year...some manufacturers discontinue one model and offer a new one. You can get some great deals on a brand new but discontinued model.

 

Or a shop may have (1) size and (1) model left of an item and is willing to give you a great deal to move it out of inventory due to all the overhead of taking up retail space for (1) item.

 

Both of these are a great opportunity to have good quality gear at a great price. That's a WIN WIN in anyone's book. How do you know? Well you start now but researching and reading about brands... and ask questions and then when you see a great deal you can jump on it.

 

ONE CAVEAT:  When we say research we mean online. Please do NOT go to your dive retailer and ask a ton of questions about gear and try a ton of things on and then wait for a deal to show up on the internet. Well I guess you can ...but please go and give the retailer something for all the free education they gave you. Or better yet... reach out and show them where you found the better deal for the same gear online and see if they can meet you part way. Remember it costs about $10 a month to host a website and hundreds or thousands a month to keep a dive shop running. Oh and the internet can't put your gear together for you....or custom fit it to you....or teach you how to tweak things just so....or repair it...or service it. And guess what? Neither will your local dive shop if you did not get it from them. Sure some will change you more than what they normally charge when you buy from them but that's fair too. After all...try and get the internet to service something for you or repair it? It doesn't work....trust me I've tried.

 

So when we say DO YOUR RESEARCH we mean ONLINE...not in your local dive shop...unless you plan to buy from them or give them a chance to work with you on an online deal.

 

One other thing... sometimes online dealers sell below the manufacturer's suggested pricing giving them an unfair advantage. So by working with your local shop dealer you can more readily work out a deal with them and that's cool! If it weren't for local shops and local instructors most of us would not be certified.  So try and pay forward for the next group of divers who need dive shops to be in business so THEY can get certified.  Its as important as working to keep the ocean's healthy and taking care of the planet.



Contact me directly at Kamala@SingleDivers.com for your private or group travel needs or 864-557-6079 AND don't miss SD's 2018-2021 Trips! ....here! Most are once in a lifetime opportunities...don't miss the chance to go!!
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