How To Choose The Best Scuba Diving Gear?
For new divers, buying gear is an exciting yet difficult task to embark on. By officially buying your own gear you’re saying, “I am committed to really enjoying diving,” therefore it is an exciting step to take. The journey may be difficult at first but with the right amount of research and time you will find the perfect gear that is just right for you. But how are you supposed to know what to buy?
Relax. Here is some advice that will help you start your journey to buying the perfect scuba diving apparel. It's helpful to think of buying gear in two phases: first, the basic stuff you need for class; second, the major pieces of life support--regulator, BC and dive computer--that you're allowed to purchase once you've got a C-card. We are going to start on the basics today:
The one-pane oval mask of "Sea Hunt" and those old Bond films is practically a relic. In its place is a variety of styles for a world of faces. Your job: Choose the one right for yours.
What to Look For When Purchasing a mask?- A good watertight fit: Our Scuba experts have come up with this six-step plan for foolproof mask fitting:
- Any mask that passes this test is a potential keeper. You'll find a whole range of options on masks, including side, top and bottom panes for a wider field of vision. Some also have purge valves for venting any water that leaks in, and others have quick strap adjustments. These options (and a range of color schemes) are a matter of personal preference--just make sure the mask you choose fits right.Look up at the ceiling and place the mask on your face without using the strap. It should rest evenly with no gaps. It helps to have a second person examine to see if you have a good fit all around your face.
- 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.
It seems simple enough: a curved tube that lets you breathe while floating face-down on the surface. Yet, as you look at the giant wall of snorkels at your local dive store, you'll see an array of options and features to choose from. Don't worry. Stay focused on the basics.
What to Look For - Comfort: You want a mouthpiece that feels good in your mouth and breathes dry and easy. The snorkel for you is one with a good compromise between ease of breathing and dry comfort. Remember, the bigger a snorkel is, the more drag it creates in the water. Also important: how the snorkel attaches to your mask. Look for a durable, yet simple and easy-to-operate attachment.
Fish don't have legs for the simple reason that fins are the best way to move through water. So if you're going to play in the fish's territory, you need a good set of flippers too.
What to Look For - Comfort and efficiency: When trying on fins, look for a snug fit that doesn't pinch your toes or bind the arches of your feet. If you can't wiggle your toes, the fins are too small. Efficiency of fins is largely determined by their size, stiffness and design. Divers with strong leg and hip muscles can efficiently use a bigger, stiffer fin. Smaller divers or less conditioned divers will be more comfortable with smaller, more flexible fins. Finally, make sure buckles and straps are easy to use.
Exposure Protection Suits
Form-fitting exposure suits are usually made of foam neoprene rubber (wetsuits) or spandex-like materials (skins), sometimes with a fleece lining. What to Look For - Fit and comfort!: Exposure suits should fit snugly without restricting movement or breathing. Reject any suit that's too loose, however. Gaps at the arm, leg, crotch and neck allow water to circulate and defeat the suit's ability to prevent heat loss.
Looks back here for more advice on what to buy during phase two of purchasing the perfect scuba diving apparel.