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"New" diver gear questions

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by jlcnuke, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. george_austin

    george_austin Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Los Angeles,CA. Alcoi, Espana, Los Barilles, Baja

    Yeah, I got a brand new looking Conshelf 21 out of the VDH store a couple months ago for 90.00. The thing is, unlike buying factory fresh equipment and spending a ton to support the overhead of Johnson Wax, I have absolute confidence that the Conshelf 21 had a real rebuild and full suite of function tests before it went into the mail. Took it to 140 ft the following day and as you'd expect from a Conshelf - flawless breather at any depth.

    I also bought one of those new Argonaut 18# wings + VDH plate + webbing + keepers and etc. + cam bands (2) for a song (half price of the Brand X 18) and like the quality, fit and finish of the Argonaut over the Brand X by a long shot.
  2. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    My first piece of advice is rent, don't buy. Experience will give you a better idea of what you really want. It seems your last set only was good for a half dozen dives.
    My second bit of advice is do your research. Read, read, read. Talk, talk, talk. See what other people on the boat are using and talk to them about it. You don't need a package to get a good deal. I can almost guarantee you that if you get serious about diving your second set of equipment from a package won't last a year.
    Check out your local Craigslist: you might be amazed at what you find and you might take advantage of someone else's impatience.You still might not get what you ultimately want, but at least you'll get it a lot cheaper.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  3. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    exceedingly few shops actually rent high quality gear. Most of it is the cheap gear designed for rental fleets and is usually found in some sort of questionable state of maintenance or tuning. Renting is not going to expose you to all of the gear you may want to try unless you travel specifically to try certain pieces of gear
  4. tdallen

    tdallen Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Somewhere south of Boston
    I've learned some valuable things renting wetsuits - size, warmth, fit, etc. I've learned some valuable things renting BCs - back inflate vs. jacket, weights, pockets, attachment points, etc. From renting regulators, I've learned that many rental regulators suck and that diving with a crappy regulator reduces the fun. I'd recommend renting a few, it may work out - but it may inspire you to make an early regulator purchase.
  5. Murky Waters

    Murky Waters Manta Ray

    It did for me regarding the regulator. A couple of hard sucking rental regs and I did some research and bought a Scubapro kit. It cannot come too soon, trust and predictability, and skimping on this most crucial piece of kit was not an option.

    The OP already has most of his other gear it would appear, so in terms of a BCD my experience came in a dive shop after about 20 dives or so. I went with what fit very comfortably had integrated weights which for me was desirable, and also the particular one that I bought (Aqualung Axiom i3) had a nifty inflate/deflate mechanism. I remain very happy with it hundreds of dives later.
  6. ams511

    ams511 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Miami, Florida
    You received so good advice about VDH, DGX, and Deep-Six, however if you do not want to go that route, you can always decide what you want and contact a shop for a quote. That way you can get a package deal but get exactly what you want. Dolphin Scuba, Divers Supply, Leisure Pro, and I am sure there are others will do this for you.
    Bierstadt and george_austin like this.
  7. couv

    couv Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 13th floor of the Ivory Tower
    Judging a regulator make or model by an experience you have with a rental is probably not going to give you an accurate picture of what to expect from a privately owned example that has been well cared for and properly tuned. Sure, if you rent a regulator and find it breathes extremely well-that could be a good indication. But if you rent one that breathes poorly-it could just be a matter of poor tuning or mistreatment by a previous renter.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  8. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    Since you are renting to test regs, tell the shop ahead of time and they will probably make sure it is tuned so they could talk about selling you one. I picked up a Sherwood Magnum out of a shops rental fleet in 1980 after trying it out. They wanted to sell me a new one but I wanted the one I knew worked for me. Got a good deal as well.

    couv likes this.
  9. Scubamat

    Scubamat Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Darwin
    I bought early and don't regret it. The stuff I bought was towards the cheaper end but very suitable for the type of diving I do. Do your research and don't just buy on impulse it was about a month between deciding to buy and actually making a purchase. I know I will likely replace things at some point but there is a lot to be said for diving your own gear you are familiar with.
  10. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    Well, I went with some of the advice and ignored some of the advice (went jacket BCD instead of going to BP/W, personal choice... didn't go through local dive shop as their prices were MUCH higher and would need one heck of a discount to end up anywhere near what I was looking at elsewhere)...

    I decided against the "pre-packaged" deals and sought out better deals individually (definitely good advice on avoiding those I found out). I don't plan on doing more than 3-4 dive trips per year (and that's probably going to be more like 1-2 most years for a bit) so I figured it would probably take me about 10 years just to rent a reasonable number of different gear to compare. As such, I decided to rely more on reviews etc that I could find for gear, instead of waiting until I'd tried a bunch. Maybe I'll decide that I want to replace something quickly, maybe I'll be diving with this gear for the next 30 years. Only time will tell.

    I also didn't feel like going BP/W. My old BCD was back inflate and I think my preference is still towards an old-fashioned jacket. If I change my mind, I can swap my new BCD for my old one most likely (seeing as the old one was sold to my brother at a nice discount and I don't think he has a preference). I also wanted something that would travel well since I anticipate most of my diving will be in the Caribbean region or similar (maybe some Florida sites). I ended up finding a pretty good deal on a new Cressi Travelight, right at $300 shipped new.

    For regs, I wanted something that was consistently rated highly in reviews, but wasn't going to cost me an arm and a leg. So I searched for deals on regs that hit most of the "best reg" lists for the past 3-4 years. I ended up getting the Cressi MC9/Compact Pro set, with the compact pro octo, for right at $300 as well. As mentioned earlier I think, I previously ordered the Giotto computer so without planning to my gear has a lot of Cressi products lol.

    At that point, I still needed an SPG and went looking for something around the $100 range and preferably "slim" (I didn't care for the bulkiness of my old SPG set). I found a used Aeris XR1 console (pressure gauge with temp and XR1 nx computer combined) for $136 shipped (used, but looks practically brand new). For the price, I couldn't turn down a slim console with a second computer. Without even planning to, I've gotten to the point of having a backup computer it seems.

    So, the BCD, 1st/2nd stages/octo, pressure gauge and Aeris XR1 NX computer combination cost me around $740. Seems to be a much better value than the packages I'd been looking at. The Giotto ($229) on top of thatstill kept me under the planned $1k at $969 with only the XR1 console as a used item (I wanted new for regs at least as the local dive shop costs for rebuilds/inspections are quite high imo.. I plan on learning to service the regs myself after seeing the cost to work on my old ones).

    Some things were missing (and not included in the stuff I was considering in OP) though. I didn't have a compass, so I felt I should get one of those (going to need it for AOW after all), so another $50 there. I figured safety was also important so I picked up the DAN deluxe surface signal kit recommended in a couple threads here and a finger reel to use with it for another $80 and $20 respectfully. Then I needed a wetsuit too, I've ordered two and will see which fits better. All in, I'm expecting to be right at $1.2k with mostly new stuff.

    In all honesty, for most people who plan on diving like me (relatively infrequently), I'd probably just recommend using rental gear (it'll take probably a decade of diving before the cost of buying this stuff will eclipse what I would have paid for rental gear). I wanted my own stuff without spending a fortune, but without going "completely cheap", and can afford it so I'm happy with my choices for now.

    Next up - getting some dives on this gear and getting AOW course done... maybe even a nitrox cert in the near future just in case I want to have it moving forward :)

    Whether I followed your advice or not, I appreciate everyone taking the time to give me their opinions. Thanks all :D
    Bierstadt, scrane and tridacna like this.

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