Scuba gear is expensive. With the high baggage fees most airlines charge to carry scuba gear, it is not always practical for recreational and casual divers to own an entire set of gear. A full set of scuba gear usually includes expensive, heavy items such as a buoyancy compensator, regulator and wetsuit. However, for a few hundred dollars or less, certified and student divers can assemble a basic set of personal gear which will increase their comfort during both training and recreational diving. Here are three pieces of scuba gear that every diver should own.
A diving mask is probably the most important piece of scuba gear that a diver can own. Scuba masks need to fit properly. Sometimes a rental mask that appears to fit “well enough” in the dive shop will leak and be uncomfortable on the dive. Even if you have to dive with other, unfamiliar rental equipment, it is reassuring to diving with a your personal mask that has been proven to fit. Divers may also want to consider purchasing and carrying a back-up mask.
Fins come in many different styles. Changing a diver’s fins may completely change how he swims. Divers become accustomed to the level of resistance and feel of a certain pair of fins. Consequently, using the same set of fins on every dive usually improves a diver’s skills because he learns to use that particular pair of fins correctly. This is also true for student divers, who may benefit by learning to dive in the same set of fins they plan to use once certified. Remember that on vacation, styles such as split fins or fins that accommodate booties may not be available to rent at a dive shop.
Snorkels are recommended safety gear, but divers also use them to explore the underwater world without a tank. Snorkeling can be a great way to get in some extra underwater time between or after dives.
Snorkels available to rent do not always come with the features divers prefer. Rental snorkels, in general, are simple plastic tubes without dry or semi-dry tops or purge valves. Many dive shops provide disposable, low-quality snorkels with their rental gear simply because divers and snorkelers tend to loose them.