If you're reading this, then the thought of purchasing your own set of diving equipment probably crossed your mind during your last dive. Either you're a new diver who's just finished their Open Water course and caught the diving bug (welcome to the club), or you're a seasoned diver who's realised that owning your own set of scuba gear just makes sense. Not only will you save money in the long run, but have you ever had to dive in a wetsuit that just doesn't fit right? It's not fun.
As seasoned divers, we've thought long and hard about our must-have diving equipment, so without further ado, here's our definitive list:
We're going to kick things off with an obvious one - it's the mighty wetsuit, an essential piece of diving gear. As we mentioned earlier, having a well-fitting wetsuit can make or break your dive. A wetsuit that's too tight makes it difficult to manoeuvre, and one that's too loose can let water in, making you uncomfortably cold.
You want to choose a wetsuit that moulds to your body and is well-fitting, but not too tight so you lose flexibility underwater. It's also important to consider where you'll be diving, as wetsuits come in all shapes and sizes, with different thicknesses and coverage.
Now, if you're a frequent cold water diver, then, of course, a dry suit is a must-have, alongside a dry suit certification.
Think back to your last boat dive, when you removed your fins in the water, and suddenly realised just how much work they were doing propelling you along. When it comes to diving equipment, fins are 10/10 a must-have.
Fins come in all shapes, sizes and colours (and even funky patterns), but first and foremost, think about your comfort and, again, where you plan on diving. Full-foot fins are suitable for warm waters, whereas open-heel fins can be used alongside booties in cold and warm waters. If you opt for open-heel fins, make sure to get some snug booties, as heel blisters are a sure-fire way to ruin the rest of your diving holiday.
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
A BCD may be a pretty obvious piece of scuba equipment (establishing neutral buoyancy would be hard without one), but speaking from experience as a woman who's been diving with a BCD that's clearly been designed to fit a man's body, make sure to pick your BCD based on your gender. Women's BCDs do exist and they are a game changer.
You'll also want to think about whether you prefer a back-inflation BCD or a jacket-style BCD. Jacket styles are the most common, however many experienced divers tend to prefer back-inflation styles as they give you more freedom to move.
Weights are a key piece of diving gear that decrease the risk of an uncontrolled ascent. Nowadays, most BCDs have integrated weight pockets, but if your BCD doesn't have this, you'll need to get a separate weight belt.
Dive mask and anti-fog spray
While a well-fitting and watertight dive mask is a non-negotiable piece of diving equipment, we're going to 'rock the boat', so to speak, by including a must-have diving accessory: anti-fog spray. Nothing is more frustrating than a mask that keeps fogging up, but luckily, there are plenty of budget-friendly sprays out there that will make sure your next dive is crystal clear.
Aside from a tank with oxygen, a regulator is the most important piece of diving equipment (we're not going to include the actual tank here as no one wants to lug that thing around). There are two parts to a regulator, the first stage, which connects the tank, and the second stage, the part you put in your mouth.
Comfort is key here, as you want to select a regulator with a mouthpiece that feels safe in your mouth and not like it's going to fly out at the slightest hint of a current. Of course, there are a variety of mouthpieces out there, and most of them will fit any neck, so you could always change out the mouthpiece of your regulator for one that fits a little better.
You'll also want to consider the quality of the regulator, (those that deliver a higher volume of air at depth are considered to be 'high performance') as well as the length of the hose.
Gauges and compasses
Gauges and compasses rank high on must-have scuba gear. The depth gauge lets you know your depth, whereas the submersible pressure gauge shows how much air you have left in your tank - both vital pieces of information. A compass is also an extremely useful addition to your catalogue of diving equipment, in case you lose your bearings underwater.
There are all kinds of gauges and compasses on the market, from traditional analogue forms to dive computers that deliver a whole range of information.
Surface marker buoy
During boat dives, a surface marker buoy is a key piece of scuba equipment that lets your dive boat know your position and when you're about to surface.
However, we'd recommend carrying one even if you're on a shore dive, in case you need to surface unexpectedly due to an emergency. They'll signal to nearby boat traffic that you're about to ascend and make you more visible in the water.
Has our list of must-have dive equipment got you dreaming of your next amazing dive holiday? If so, feel free to get in touch with us to learn how our expert team can tailor-make your next diving holiday for a truly unforgettable trip.