It was a Friday night. It was 1am. I had no beer.
On any other weekend that would be my perfect nightmare, however, on that particular night I was saved by my New Zealand chum; The Divemistress. Chatting periodically, over the wonder that is Twitter, the topic of scuba gear rose it’s rather splendid head.
I like scuba gear, and I like chatting about it. I’ll talk to anyone about it; even if they don’t dive. I once tried to discuss the finer points of a back plate and wing with a deaf man.
He hadn’t a lot to say on the matter.
To a non-diver this may seem trivial, but to the scuba enthusiast this is a critical subject; more than worthy of discussion.
Add two bloggers to the mix and you get The Scuba Gear Challenge (#scubagearchallenge).
The Divemistress and I Are Diver decided it was essential … no … urgent that we turn this into a blog post almost immediately; and encourage every other diver on twitter to take part. So we both got to work on a proposed symbiotic post; but apparently with no format and no idea of what the other was doing.
We also probably succeeded in losing most of our Twitter followers.
The best we could generate was:
WHAT'S IN MY DIVE BAG?
I pretty much use the same kit for every dive, maybe adding a few extras for the tech stuff, and layering changes for variations in water temperature.
Here’s what’s in my dive bag, and yes; it’s a big fucking bag.
- EDZ polyester base layer bottoms
- EDZ merino wool base layer top
- Merino wool underglove
- Fourth Element wrist warmers
- EDZ thinsulate over gloves
- Fourth Element Arctic top & bottoms
- Fourth Element Xerotherm top & bottoms
Seaskin membrane custom made jobbie.
- Neoprene neck seal, latex cuffs with KWTT dry rings
- Apeks valves, shoulder dump
- 2 leg pockets
- Neoprene socks
- Scubapro Jetfins
- Oceanic shadow 5mm neoprene booties
- Showa dry gloves (KWTT fitting)
- Waterpoof H1 hood
- Oceanic Shadow mask
THE BIG RIG
This is the front of my rig and it never changes. I can vary the wing to suit my cylinders, but everything else stays exactly where it is.
Beaver steel twin 7’s for my "single tank" diving. (I don’t have a single tank as my regs are permanently set up for twinsets)
I have my initials at the bottom of each tank so they don’t get pinched and I can be identified in the water.
BCD/WING: Halcyon evolve 40lbs wing and Halcyon stainless steel backplate with one piece harness.
REGULATORS: Scubapro – MK17/G250v on 2m hose as primary, R390 back up. I hog loop my reg and primary donate in an out of gas scenario.
Halcyon EOS LED primary light worn on my harness waist belt, secured in place with a weight belt buckle.
I also wear a Light Monkey 2w back up light on my harness from the shoulder D ring.
GAUGES / TOOLS
Suunto SK7 compass on left wrist, Mares Puck computer on right wrist, Agir SPG clipped onto left hip D-Ring.
I have a short stainless steel serrated knife on my harness waist strap and a set of EMT shears in my pocket.
Storage pack on backplate: 1.3m smb
Left pocket: 1m smb, 45m spool
Right pocket: wetnotes, 20m spool, back up mask, shears, whistle, survival mirror
Everything in my pockets is clipped off with a bolt snap onto a piece of bungee tied into the pocket itself. This prevents losing my kit; plus, in an emergency, I can just pull everything out, get what I need, then re-stow what’s left.
I have a mask box full of tricks that gets brought on every dive. It’s a modified “save a dive” type affair. It really just contains a few basic items for small problems; scuba tool, tank inserts, lube, analysis tape, marker, nuts, bolts, o-rings etc.
If I go on a tech dive I need to bring additional equipment, but to be honest not that much changes.
BACKGAS CYLINDERS: These change to my Faber twin 12’s. The great thing is that nothing else on my rig changes when using these. The wing I use for my 7’s has ample lift to cope with twin 12’s and a couple of aluminium stages.
Luxfer: I use this for my deco dives. I am a big fan of standard decompression gases, so I have this permanently marked for 50%. The MOD is 21m, hence the big sticker; and I have my initials at the bottom so it can be easily identified on the boat, plus Wifebuddy can spot me.
I use the same regulator as my back gas; Scubapro MK17/G250v. When I switch to my deco cylinder I want it to breathe the same as my primary to keep stress to a minimum.
I also have a 1m hose attached so it can be hog looped.
My primary regulator is clipped off to my right D ring when decompressing.
I don’t have a technical diving capable computer, so I set my Mares Puck to “gauge mode” when conducting tech dives. The computer now only displays depth and time.
I also carry a really cheap, tacky Casio waterproof watch. It’s not essentially a dive computer, but it’s waterproof to 50m and has a stopwatch. I use this to time my decompression stops and ascent rates.
With the absence of a computer I dive with pre-cut decompression tables based on a predetermined dive plan. I use desktop computer software Decoplanner to do so.
There is a little bit more to it, but that’s the basics.
I also cut tables for certain scenarios: lost deco gas, half time, increased time in 5min intervals, and increased depth by 3m, along with lost deco gas in those situations. All this fabulous additional information is written into my wetnotes, and stashed in my pocket until needed.
The primary plan is written on a very poorly made DIY wrist slate type thing. It is basically waterproof paper slipped into a CD sleeve bungeed around my left wrist.
Yes, I am truly awesome.
I tend to add an additional back up light on the other side of my harness.
For blue water technical dives one back up would suffice, but in the darker UK waters I bring two.
SINGLE TANK DIVING
If I ever do single tank diving it’s only when I’m on holiday, although to be honest most of my diving holidays are done in a twinset as well.
To reconfigure my set up for a single tank I simply swap out the wing to my Eclipse 30lb single tank wing. The Eclipse wing has bolted on cam bands that grip the cylinder in place.
My regulators need to be dismantled and all hoses attached to a single first stage, I still use the long hose, primary donate procedure.
If I dive in wet suit with no pockets I clip off my spool to my butt ring and shove an smb in the storage pouch. I usually bring my canister light, but always one back up torch. I bungee my whistle onto my inflator hose.
That's all my kit. It's a love affair; Wifebuddy and I have an enitre room in our house dedicated to it.
Check out what's in my friends dive bags on their blog as they joined #thescubagearchallenge!
- The Divemistress' Dive Bag
- Scuba Suzy's Dive Bag
- Dive Bunnie
- Karla Grima (Silent Diversion)
- Darrin Jilson (Scuba Obsessed)
What's in your dive bag?