From foggy masks to leaky wetsuits, your gear can either make or break a dive. However, with an endless list of dive equipment, it can be challenging to know what to prioritise. For those starting out, there are a few bits of basic kit - a mask, snorkel and fins - that every diver should own. For those keen to go all-in, essential equipment like your BCD comes into play, along with an extensive array of accessories like reef hooks, depending on your specific interests. Then, there's the maintenance. Let's be honest; dive gear can be costly. Therefore, keeping everything in top-notch condition is crucial for ensuring longevity. From selecting the right gear to tips on preserving your equipment, read on for our guide on how to perfect your dive kit.

Diver's body walking on a sand beach in a wetsuit holding mask and fins

The basics: mask, snorkel and fins

There's nothing more annoying than a continuous flood in your mask during a dive. In a world of different faces, finding a mask that fits your face will prevent a lot of temper tantrums beneath the waves. However, there's an art to finding the perfect fit. Place the mask over your eyes and nose, then inhale through your nose. If the mask sticks to your face it will have a good watertight seal underwater.

Once you have your mask, store it in a mask box. Most new masks tend to fog, so apply prep solution or toothpaste to the lens. Repeat this every few dives to eliminate fogging. Comfort is key, so if your hair tends to get tangled in mask straps, add a neoprene mask strap.

The same rule of comfort applies to picking your snorkel and fins. When choosing a snorkel, make sure it feels comfortable in your mouth. There are various types of diving fins, ranging from full-foot fins to open-heel fins, the latter requiring dive booties.

Dive computer

The age-old conundrum: dive computer or dive watch? Dive watches essentially function as waterproof everyday watches, while dive computers serve as the smartwatches of the diving world. These mini computers take the hassle out of tracking your dives by automatically logging your depth and time. They inform you about how much longer you can stay underwater and help prevent decompression sickness.

Certain dive computers take this one step further by displaying additional metrics like current depth, water temperature and remaining air supply. Whether you opt for a dive watch or dive computer, always rinse it in fresh water after each dive, keep it out of direct sunlight and store it in a cool, dry place.

underwater photo of a diver climbing up a ladder with fins in hand

Carry a save-a-dive kit

You've geared up, completed your pre-dive BWARF check, and are poised for a backward roll into the ocean, only to be thwarted by a snapped mask strap - your dive cut short before it even begins. When using your personal dive gear, having a save-a-dive kit on hand can swiftly address basic gear or equipment issues, ensuring you never miss a dive.

These kits are available pre-assembled or can be compiled independently. Common components include a spare mask strap or an extra mask, defogger for your mask, a snorkel keeper, dive computer batteries and a first aid kit. For those with open-heel fins, pack extra fin straps, while divers with long hair should always carry a few spare hair ties. Since regulator mouthpieces can deteriorate over time, carrying a spare is always a good idea. If you're using rental equipment, you also have the option to replace the mouthpiece.

Divers backwards rolling off a tug boat in dry suits

Wetsuit or drysuit

There's an art to finding the perfect wetsuit. If you've met the drawbacks of a rental wetsuit - ill-fitting with the possibility of unwanted surprises - you understand that a good quality wetsuit can be the difference between a fantastic dive and a dreadful one. The perfect wetsuit should fit like a glove, ensuring you stay toasty underwater.

When buying a wetsuit, pay attention to its thickness; diving in the UK, for example, requires a much thicker wetsuit (or even a drysuit) compared to the Caribbean. To keep your wetsuit in tip-top shape, rinse it with fresh water after every dive. Pro top: If your diving adventures lean towards warm, tropical destinations, consider choosing a rash guard to preserve suitcase space.

For those regularly venturing into cold water, a drysuit may be a more practical investment. Drysuits establish a watertight seal, allowing the layering of thermal protection underneath. When selecting a suit, be mindful of the number of layers you intend to wear beneath it.

underwater photo of diving equipment floating on the water surface

Completing your dive kit

Most travellers opt to rent bulkier dive gear, but if you're looking to perfect your dive kit, consider buying your own buoyancy control device (BCD) and regulator.

For those yet to take their diving certification, a BCD helps you stay buoyant during dives. There are two BCD styles: the jacket and wings, with the latter often preferred by technical divers due to its ability to accommodate two tanks easily. Regardless of the BCD style you choose, both will feature an adjustable back, low-pressure inflator and deflator, and an overpressure valve. Like the rest of your gear, it's crucial to rinse your BCD in freshwater, including the inflator and deflator dump valves, to eliminate any residue.

Possessing a regulator, or octopus, is essential for breathing underwater. Given their fragility and bulkiness, packing them for trips abroad can be challenging. However, those interested in owning their regulator must consider the primary dive environment; warm water regulators, for instance, have distinct features compared to those designed for cold water.

Now that you've learned how to perfect your dive kit, it's time to take the plunge! Get in touch with our dive specialists for a tailor-made dive holiday itinerary.