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I'd like to start buying equipment (I've been renting up to now), and I would like some recommendations.
My style of diving is recreational, mostly in temperate / warm waters, but hopefully in colder waters too (in the Pacific Northwest). I am not into highly technical diving, and I don't expect it's going to be an area of focus for me. I need to be able to do things like several dives in a row, night dives, have the 2nd stage lower than 1st, etc - pretty basic stuff.
I'm a 5'10" guy, with the usual 20Lbs too many...
At this time, I'm not concerned about the whole dry suit / 7mm thing. It's something I'm comfortable renting for now, until I have thoroughly analysed the landscape.
Money shouldn't be an issue for *normal* high quality gear (I'm not going to need a $1,000+ light anytime soon).
My local shop is http://www.underwatersports.com/ in Seattle, and they have a divers fair which apparently has great prices, and I want to take advantage of it. The brands that will be represented are: Atomic, Apollo, Atlan, Cetacea, DeepSee, DiveRite, DUI, Harvey's, High Tide, Ikelite, JBL, Light & Motion, Mares, McNett, Northern Diver, Oceanic, OMS, O'Neill, PADI, Pelican, ScubaPro, SeaLife, Sea & Sea, SeaSoft, Stahlsac, Trident, USIA, Underwater Kinetics, Viking, XS Scuba, and Zeagle.
I have no idea which of those are "eye-closed trustworthy", which are "OK" and which are "nope..." BTW, I'm not married to the idea that I need to buy here - but it might make sense, given the proximity and this opportunity.
Here is what I think I need:
- Gear bag
- Fins + mask + snorkel
- Computer + compas
- reg / octo / gauges
- maybe a skin for warm water diving
- Light (for night dives and murky Pac NW waters)
Any recommendation would be very much appreciated. Even simple brand comments would be useful.
def. buy a wetsuit,would not want to use a rental or previously peeded in,next a bc,zeagles are top notch,then regs,zeagle,scubapro us divers plus others are top notch,just dont get in a hurry,do your homework and make sure it is the right gear for you and the type of diving you will be doing.
XS Scuba makes good bags... I have this one which I got for $40 on sale.
Try the Mares X-vision mask as see if you like it, as far as snorkels go, whichever fits your budget and fancy. I like the ones you can fold and put away; althought, I like a dry snorkel during long surface swims.
Lots of people like the UK lights specially the Light Cannon, I have no experience in murky water so YMMV. I like the Princeton Tec Shockwave Led lights.
If you can get a great price on a Zeagle Envoy Deluxe reg that would be my choice since you don't mention APEKS or Aqualung.
Cetacea makes every attachement gadget, gizmo, lanyard, clip, you can think of and DiveRite just has all kinds of stuff.
Good Luck on your purchases you will get many opinoins here.
I use a Zeagle Reg (Envoy) and BCD (Ranger). Never had any problems with either.
I would stay away from TUSA/Dive Rite Duo computers.
If you have one of those Dive Rite Duo computers that offends you,
I'd be happy to take it off your hands as a back-up to the one I use now.
Tusa IQ-700.Same computer with different company logo and 2yr warranty instead of 1 yr.
These are both manufactured by Seiko and are great as long as you don't use more than 2 gas mixes on a dive.
Now, if you have one of the Nitek 3 computers. I have no use for one of those.
What luck, nothing but top-line brands. I just found out the Stahlsac has a lifetime warenty. No matter what they will fix it untill the fabric is thin and worn out. Pelican has an even better warrenty, They will fix it even if it is a case of "abuse" like tossing it off a truck while on the freeway
As for Regs. Get one that has these features and yu can't go wrong: balanced first stange, balance second, environmental seals and heat exchanger (for your mucky local PNW water) (You don't have warm tropical clear water.) Scubapro and zeagle are good but Scubapro can be serviced worldwide. I'm not a fan of Mares regs but I don't know why, there stuff is good for your use
Fins. Split fins are easy on the legs. You can move forward with less effort. Blade or paddle fins allow you to put more effort into the kick and allow other kick style (like frong kicks and backwards)
mask: whatever fits the best. sick it on yuor face like a suction cup with no strap and try to shake it loose. Buy the one that sticks
BC: In my opinion "less is more" the less bulk the beter of you will be
Boots: Buy the boots and fins at the SAME TIME. if you change style of boot you may have to replace the fins. All depends on how thick the soles are. Buy thick sole boots so you can walk over rocks while shore diving. then later if you buy thin boots for boat dives at least yu can still fit the boots into the fins.
Get a good light. In your area it can be dark at 60 feet even in mid day. No need to spend a lot of modey a basic UK C8 is cheap and the LED version of the C8 will payforitself in batteries and has a nicer, whiter light cloror
I have to say that it looks like me and you are in the same boat (no pun intended) as far as types of diving. Here are some recommendations:
Regulator: Scubapro MK25 1st stage and G250 HP 2nd stage – workhorse regulator ( I absolutely LOVE my g2502HP, won’t trade it for any regulator) or Scubapro MK25 1st stage with the S600 2nd stage
Octopus: A good Scubapro octopus like the new R295
Fins – Mask – Snorkel – buy high quality and what fits correctly – there aren’t really any particular brand recommendations to make here for mask and snorkel. Recommendations maybe on fins…I like the Mares Avanti Quattros…they have been around a long time and have a great reputation. Try to get the retro fit spring heel straps. These are much better than the rubber ones that come with the original fins. Check out Manta Industries, I think www.mantaind.com for more info on the spring heel straps.
Computer: Oceanic VT Pro or the new Oceanic VT3 –I have a VT pro and like it a lot, especially because it have big numbers and is easy to read. These are both hoseless air-integrated computers that can read air pressure remaining without a hose, (I know, obvious, but just wanted to point it out) You can wear the computer on one wrist and the compass on the other wrist. The VT Pro is a one gas/transmitter (meaning one tank) (nitrox and air) computer and the new VT3 will do both nitrox and air but will allow up to three transmitters. Later on, if you get into more technical diving you can use the computer as a gauge/bottom timer and do gas calculations on a PC. Check out http://www.oceanicworldwide.com for more information on the computers
BCD: There are many strains of thought here. After trying a lot of different BCDs over a few years of diving, I have settled on using a BP/W (backplate and wings) setup. There are a few reasons for this. I will give you a few internet links for you. These links can explain it better than I can. http://www.scubaboard.com/showthread.php?t=148587 Scroll down to post number 6 in that thread. Also check out www.gue.com for some ideas on gear configusration in the section gue equipment.
Last edited by smb1014; July 13th, 2006 at 10:04 PM.
You've gotten some good advice here already. As ChrisA said, there are nothing but top-quality brands here. You probably could not go wrong with anything they are going to be selling, so don't worry too much about it. Here is one more viewpoint on some of the specifics.
Wetsuit: Harvey's is awesome. They really use a better grade of neoprene than most other manufacturers. It's heavier weight, better insulating quality, good seams. BUT, if it doesn't fit like a second skin, go for something else. Each manufacturer has a different fit, some will fit you better, some worse. Fit is critical for a wetsuit. I have a Harvey's Titanium (my old one I only use in the pool to teach) and a Flex. The Flex is lighter weight than the Titanium, but because it stretches more, I was able to go down a size and get it a little more snug, so it's just as warm, if not warmer.
Mask: Like wetsuits, fit is super-critical. I second the suggestion on the Mares X-Vision. I like it so much I bought two so I have a backup. It has good range of vision and the way the strap attaches to the skirt instead of the frame seems to help it fit and seal better.
Fins: I started with the Mares Quattros, one of the best paddle fins going. When the Scuba Pro TwinJets came out, my LDS let me try a pair, so I took the Quattros and the TwinJets on a trip to Florida and dove them back to back. It felt like the splits weren't doing anything, so I tried the Quattros again. I figured out that it was just the difference in effort that I was feeling. The splits are so much easier to use on a flutter kick that it feels like you are not going anywhere when you are used to the pressure you feel using the Quattros, when you are actually moving just as well. They also led to decreased air consumption. The most efficient kick is different than with paddle fins - the kick is shorter and quicker. Ask the dive shop staff to show you. Paddle fins may be better for alternate kicks (like frog kicks), but you can execute them in TwinJets. I also have the Oceanic V-12s (won them in a contest). They aren't bad, but I just found them too floppy, compared to the TwinJets.
Reg: The Scuba Pro MK25/S600 has been measured as the easiest-breathing reg around. It is small and light, so it puts less stress on your jaw. I upgraded to that setup from a MK20/D400, which I still have as a backup. Scuba Pro regs are top notch. IMHO, worth the extra money.
BC: I have only used jacket-style BCs, so I can't give a meaningful comparison to back-inflate or BP/W styles. I have a Scuba Pro Classic Plus, which is the latest version of the Scuba Pro "stabilizer jacket." Unlike most "jacket" BCs, it does not have adjustable shoulder straps. It is like a vest, allowing for a continuous air cell that wraps around your arms and across the back of the BC. It promotes a more stable position in the water than most other "jackets," which concentrate the air cell under your arms. It is a very high quality BC. I like mine. You will probably hear more divided opinions about BCs than just about anything else. See if you can try them out and get what you like. Oh, and guess what - FIT is important.
Computer: Oceanic's computers are easy to use and have good displays. I have a Pro Plus that is a very nice computer. I wanted to track more data, though, and bought a UWATEC SmartCom, an air-integrated console computer. It is very good. I also have a UWATEC wrist computer (non-air integrated) as a backup. I am now wondering if I should have waited to get the Smart hoseless computer, it looks pretty good. Whatever you get, make sure to get a nitrox-capable computer. If you stick with this sport, you will eventually go nitrox (that's a whole other discussion) and you will be glad you don't have to get another computer. All three of my computers are nitrox-capable.
Have fun shopping. You've got good stuff to choose from.
Akona makes good gear bags and a wide variety. I have a Henderson Hyperstretch .5mm and 3mm wetsuit and a 7mm Aqua Lung wetsuit. I wear Henderson Gold Core booties. I wear a Seaquest Latitude for divemaster classes and an OMS 45 lb bungeed wing with Comfort Harness and SS Backplate for fun diving. The Latitude is very lightweight and won't cost you an arm and a leg. Regs...I have had an Aqualung Micra AW for years and it works great, But I don't know if they even make them anymore. I would definitely agree with balanced regulator. I like the Zeagle's. Thinking about buying...Mask...Fit and comfort...Snorkel...Flex with a purge valve although I don't use one. Fins...If you are diving in currents then stay away from the splits but there have been alot of debates about split fins...This is just my personal feeling...They are very fast but you have to build up the speed and in currents you can't build up that speed. Again, there are going to be those who disagree. I use the Aquaflex...Great fin...Good luck...
divingjd...about your avitar...where are the bubbles