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I am new to diving, but really enjoy it. Living only 2 minutes from a many great dive spots, I am going to invest in my own gear. I just wanted some peoples opinions to help me make an informed decision on what gear i should get.
There are a few stipulations:
I am still a beginner, but plan to dive A LOT.
I'm looking for something that can take a beating as I travel all over the world, and plan to dive in those places.
Of course, I want something reliable and comfortable.
So, here goes.
BCD - Aeris Atmos LX vs. Scubapro Classic Plus
I want weight integrated, and am not sure on the AIR-2 yet
Regulator System - Scubapro MK25/A700 vs. Scubapro MK25/S600
I know that I want JUST the pressure gauge on my BCD and a wrist dive computer
I dont know where to start with dive computers, so any recommendations would be very helpful.
I really appreciate everyone's help, and I look forward to reading the opinons.
I was recently in your shoes deciding what to buy, so I am by no means an experienced diver but from my research and testing of equipment I came to the following decisions:
BCD - I managed to borrow a backplate and wing setup and for me I found this an excellent solution and gives me the option to go to twins in the future very easily and with minimal cost
Regulators - All the Scubapro regs are top knotch, and performance at the rec level would not be discernibly different as long as you are using a trusted brand. The S600 seems to be very highly regarded however
Computer - Initially I wanted a top of the line computer but advice from many other divers was that a simple, reliable unit is all you need. I settled on a Suunto Vyper wrist mount. I have never had any need for anything more advanced
On a live aboard out of Singapore, The DM had what I thought was a great rig.......
SP Classic Plus with Air2
Suunto D9 Air Intergraded Wrist Computer
Only one loose hose ....his primary.........
He had a small button pressure gauge on is his first stage so he could check tank pressure without his computer and if his computer went out his buddy could still monitor pressure underwater......
He had pockets for a small light, reel, knife and DSMB.......
He was able to gear up in seconds, he sat down, stood up and was ready.......
Underwater he was streamlined without anything dangling at all (there simply are none)...
I myself dive a BP/W and am considering switching setups......the issue is travel, my AL BP with 18 lb wing is very easy to travel with - the Classic Plus is heavier and bulkier - but you're already in Hawaii.......
You would also need to practice OOA accents with a buddy - since they would be on your primary and the hose is relatively short........
The only thing I would change is the computer, I would go to an original Vytec (cheaper and easier to read larger screen) and add a second backup computer (like a Gekko), they both use the same algorithm........
Add a mask, a 3 mil wetsuit, booties and fins.......that's it.......
I would start with a computer, that after mask and fins is really the first must.
I like the Suunto Gekko which I consider great value for money and has big display and digits.
It can also move from wrist to console should you change your mind at later stage (I did)
For what concerns the BCD I am not really a fan of the AIR2, unless you always dive with the same buddy the occasional person will find it odd and you really want your alternate to be easy to reach. I have also seen people having problems deploying SMB with one of those.
Make sure your BCD has good size pockets whatever the choice.
For the regulator the MK25/S600 is just the best, I assume you have a high budget for that so I am not recommending any downgrades. I would recommend to get a compass on the back of your SPG it is not expensive and it will be very useful in time
I've purchased a lot of gear, and made some bad decisions which have ended in Ebay sales (sound familiar guys?). I would give you the following advice:
-A backplate and wings is the simplest, most reliable BCD. However, it sucks for traveling, people look at you weird in the tropics when you wear one, it is heavy, and it is hard to pack. The SP classic is a good rig, I would just shop around for something light if you plan on traveling. I had an Oceanic Islander 2 for a while, that was a light rig and easy to pack. Cressi makes a BCD that is only 4 pounds as well, provided you want a jacket BC.
-I think air2 type octo-inflators are a BAD decision. In that system, you have placed two critical components of a recreational diving system in one failure point. If you lose your inflator, then you just lost your octo and vice versa. I have had one auto-inflate on me, and I disconnected the low pressure inflator hose like training dictates. Guess what? I didn't have an octo then either.
-Suunto computers are great, and I have used them since before I was certified. They are conservative, but conservative is good when you are talking about bubbles in your blood. They also feature models that do deep stops, which is a good thing.
-Dive Rite makes some great regulators. If you ever grow into servicing your own gear, or you need parts, Dive Rite will sell them to you. Scubapro forces you to be at the mercy of a dive shop.
There you go man, and you know what opinions are like
I already have an XCEL 543 wetsuit and a mantis mask, which work great!
As far as AIR2, I am in the same boat as Slonda828. That was one issue that bothered me, but the gear salesman at the dive shop was animate that AIR2 was definitely the way to go...but they are more pricey, and im sure he wouldnt mind the extra profit .
Alright, so the MK25/S600 it is. It sounds popular, which means it's trusted.
As far as the BC, im going to see if the dive shop has any "try before you buy" option...hopefully.
I really like the SUUNTO Vyper watch from what I read online, so I'll see if i can get my hands on one to play with. I also found a SUUNTO Mosquito on craigslist for 200 bucks, but no reply from the seller...yet.
As far as the BCD...I most surley want a jacket style with weight integrated. I will look at the CRESSI BCD recommended. I know SP is the "crem de la crem" of gear, so I wont forget about them. One thing is for sure...I'm not going to overspend and buy the ferrari set up, but for my own sake and safety's sake, I'm not going to skimp, either.
Any more recommendations are welcome and appreciated. Thank you to everyone who has responded so far!
Scubapro Classic Plus is HEAVY and BULKY for travelling!
Weight Integrated is ok... but adds more bulk for travelling...and you're buggered if you ever lose the weight pockets when travelling.
I use a Aluminium backplate and wing...lightweight, small in your suitcase/divebag, super-heavy-duty, simple and easy to maintain. If you wanted it even lighter...just remove the metal d-rings etc.
Wings from manufacturers like Halcyon, OMS, Diverite, Oxycheq and Frog pack down to nothing for travelling and have very little to go wrong with them. Coupled with a lightweight backplate and single piece harness, they are all you will ever need. A single tank wing with 25-30lbs lift is tiny in a suitcase.
Air2 is heavy compared with some lightweight AAS regs you can buy. Also...most AIR2 use a different connector on the LPI hose....which can be a pain in the ass to replace when travelling. The Mares side-exhaust AAS (formerly Dacor Viper) is a good option for size and weight. It works fine in warm water.
MK26/S600 is an amazing reg. I have the titanium version for travelling...very lightweight...but the drawback for the 'T' version is that it is incompatible for nitrox. Even the regular version is pretty small and lightweight. Easy to get Scubapro serviced/replacement parts around the globe also.
Why do you need a Suunto Vyper? The only advantages it has over a Gekko is the backlight (useful if night diving a lot) and the PC-Download (which few people use after a while...and you can get a crack online anyway ). The Gekko will save you money for virtually the same functions as the Vyper....
I know SP is the "crem de la crem" of gear, so I wont forget about them. One thing is for sure...I'm not going to overspend and buy the ferrari set up, but for my own sake and safety's sake, I'm not going to skimp, either.
Your first sentence of this thread is "I'm new to diving." Then in your next post you claim to know SP is the "crem de la crem"???
With regards to ScubaPro, many think the main reason they are considered "crem de la crem" of gear is all the salespeople hoping to get the bigger commission from their more expensive gear have been saying that for years. Their gear is "servicible" but it is not worth the premium price they force us to pay (in many knowledgable minds).
You may have enough money to afford SP but why pay more for something that is not better than the reasonably priced alternatives. A Ferrari is way closer to worth what it costs when compared to most SP products
With regards to Air2, search for a thread about buying gear you did not like (or some such); Air2's rank near the top of that list.
I would definitely ditch the idea of an AIR2. Those things aren't worth the materials they are made out of. Scubapro makes great products, I'd just go with the mk25/s600 you are thinking about and add a r190 octo. The best bcd option IMHO is a bp/wing set-up. With a bp/wing you can do anything you want with it. Wanna dive singles? get a tank adapter, and a low lift wing. Wanna dive doubles? Get the tanks, and a high lift wing. Jacket bcd's are good if you plan on being a vacation diver and want something fairly in expensive, but some of them are ungodly expensive. My biggest regret is buying one only later to go bp/eing to get what i want.