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Tech Gear for Cave Opinions

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by toddr, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. Dsix36

    Dsix36 Solo Diver

    1,541
    1,179
    Or you can go the route that I did and skip the OC doubles and get a Rebreather for technical and caves.
     
  2. NorthWoodsDiver

    NorthWoodsDiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Florida
    1,314
    10
    Much of what you are asking about will be determined by the type of caves you dive. If your only gonna do the shallow warm water caves in Mexico you dont have to have big steel tanks or a drysuit but that doesn't mean you shouldn't own them anyway. If you are gonna dive colder caves or deeper caves that a stainless plate, drysuit, and heavy steel tanks will be the route to take and if you want to do that deep trimix training than your gonna need that stuff for sure.

    I spent hours and hours researching gear for cave diving and took the class and ended up wanted to upgrade/change/sell/etc much of the stuff I had just because the class exposed to me the opportunity to experiment with different gear other than my own and place with configuration.

    You will never go wrong with owning tanks no matter their size but al40's and al80's are good to have for stage bottles and I have only ever used al80's for my doubles as well (they are so plentiful and cheap in comparison).

    I would suggest you do what I just did and pick up 2 tanks for deco bottles I have a al40 for 100% O2 and an al40 for 40% nitrox. Of course once you have the regs and rigging its easy to just up to using al80's instead if your gas requirements increase.

    Having a good BP/W with a hog (or modified hog) harness is the cheapest, easiest, and simplest way to go. Dont get conned but those fancy harnesses with padding and buckles or little do-dads. If you dont need it dont take it. With that said I dont much enjoy the long walk with al80's on my back with little padding so adding shoulder pads for carrying heavy tanks over a long distance may be necessary in certain circumstances.

    Treat regs like tools. Each reg has a dedicated job and optimal configuration for that job so owning multiple regs becomes a requisite of tech diving. I own 5 scubapro mk17 1st stages and 5 scubapro S600 2nd stages and will soon be the owner of a scubapro MK2 1st and Dive Rite 2nd stage for 100% O2. If I had the money I would own about 3 more regs too. I have them set up and designated so I rarely have to switch hoses or anything. That saves time and assures you are not forgetting something. If you are gonna get into this tech stuff you will need 2 1st and 2nd stages dedicated to twin tanks and probably at least 2 1st and 2nd stages dedicated to stage bottles or deco gases (having 1 reg setup for use with high O2 only is nice too). If you still plan to do even a little single tank diving for recreation than having a reg setup for singles is a must a well.

    A computer is nice and I use them and hundreds of thousands of other divers use them but they have a specific time and place. You will find several groups of people in the tech world but from what I have seen most (RB divers aside) who have computers kinda keep them for backup. I use 2 bottom timers now and both are the old OMS ones which I really like but I just came across the Nitek Duo w/ bungee wrist mount which works as a computer for you recreational stuff and a bottom timer for the more tech stuff plus its got a good rep (although a bit over priced in my opinion) and I wish I had waited for it before getting 2 used bottom timers. oh well

    Get good pressure gauges. I like the super small 1.5" faced dive rite's but for half the price you can get highland ones too. Many companies make themjust get good ones you can easily read and with as little BS as possible. The gauge boots are often a topic of discussion, many divers disapprove of them but I use them and many companies dont offer warranty service if the boots have been removed.

    I used to be a brands person who was totally loyal to only one brand but thats a good way to go broke and possibly miss out on something good so try not to be totally loyal to one brand but on the same note also avoid the el-cheapo companies.

    Look to Halcyon, OMS, Dive Rite, Whites, DUI, Oxycheq, Deep sea supply, Salvo, Sartek, Solus, and Scubapro for gear thats been long since used for tech diving.
     
  3. Flightlead

    Flightlead Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlanta/Buckhead, GA
    926
    2
    lots of people have given you excellent advice. I would add a couple of things, from the perspective of someone relatively new to "technical style" diving....

    1) if you haven't been challenged yet, physically or mentally, in scuba you will be by any technical training.....don't be discouraged


    2) I bought hp119's thinking they were the same internal volume as lp95's. they aren't. if you are around cave country, and will be able to get over fills regularly, lp tanks are probably a better choice (do the math first) as for the same volume of air you end up with a lower pressure....e.g. my atomic 1st stages are rated at something like 4,300 psi which gives me more air in an lp95 than a hp119. If you aren't filling your own or getting "cave fills" the hp tank might be better....depends what is available to you

    3) there is a new wing manufacturer "HOG" stands for "Highly Optimized Gear". I've dove a sample I borrowed from Divers Supply and like it. bullet proof looks like and great prices. check around, I think the s/b in stock in the next few weeks.
     
  4. BhamFAL

    BhamFAL Solo Diver

    32
    0
    The first thing you should get is a cavern card. You don't really need anything specialized to get it except desire. A jump reel, some lights, and some duct tape is most likely all you'll need to add to your open water gear - even if it is rental gear. After that you can work on the rest.
     
  5. texdiveguy

    texdiveguy Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: DFW,Texas
    6,965
    26
    First thing I would do is to fill in the SB bio area so we can get some feel for your background, this in turn allowing for maybe more focused input.
     
  6. ucfdiver

    ucfdiver DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Orlando, FL
    3,338
    501
    IMO some of the best advice offered in the thread. I had fun at the cavern level or 8 years or so, and I'm just now needing gear for my intro to cave class. There's a lot ot explore, no need to rush it.
     
  7. toddr

    toddr Registered

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Midwest
    23
    0
    Ok, I've put in some info in the bio section. I already have my cavern card. That is what has sparked my interest in going into cave and tech! I'm trying to learn all I can about techniques, configurations, equipment, etc...

    The only trouble that I'm really running into deals with equipment. I have an idea of what specs I should be looking for. There is plenty of manufacturers out there with good equipment (and some with not so good equipment!). I'm just trying to understand where the balance is. I like to look to see what everyone else is diving with, look at the information/specs and make sure it is for me, try it, then buy it.
     
  8. mark99

    mark99 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Redlands, CA
    330
    3
    I agree with most of the suggestions already in this thread, so I'll just list what I use, it will give you an idea of where I invested and where I saved $$.

    Double steel HP120's, Highland Bands, Halcyon manifold- invested $$ bought at dive shop, keep O2 clean, use for tech diving or 2-dive rec trips
    Double AL80's, Highland bands, halcyon manifold- saved $$- bought on eBay from multiple sellers, assembled myself, non-O2 clean, use for practice diving where I need to get non-clean boat air fills, beach diving
    Al backplate (to use with my steel doubles), steel Backplate (with the AL doubles) and basic Hog harnesses, - eBay- Saved $$
    Halcyon explorer wings- 40# for the AL cyl. and 55# for the Steel cyl. saved $$ on eBay (though I put on new inflator valves)
    Regs- Apexs Ds4/ATX50's- just bought one set and switch between cylinders- bought at shop- invested $$
    As far as the computer- I just used my nitrox computer set in gauge mode for a long time. I eventually got a used HS-Explorer on eBay, but I still only use desktop software (ANDI GAP) for dive pre-planning, and then dive the plan. Definitely you should wait on the computer.

    Stage bottles, got a 40 for O2 and an 80 for 50%, I kinda came into the 80 in a trade at the dive shop, if I had it to do over again I would have gotten 2-40's and added the 80 later. I know deco regs are a subject of debate, but I used one "extra" (read "older") reg I had from one of my singles setups that I got O2 cleaned, and the other I purchased at the shop.
    I use a 6cf for Argon, that is enough to last me for at least 2 dive days.
     
  9. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Torrance, CA
    9,594
    10,185
    Equipment Configuration | Global Underwater Explorers
    Read this first. You don't need to take a GUE course to dive caves, although it is highly recommended, but the equipment requirements are all you will ever need. If you can't get a deal on any of this gear at your LDS, it is all available online.
     
  10. Michael Schlink

    Michael Schlink Instructor, Scuba

    880
    1
    SS plate w/ 50 lb wing-Oxycheck, DiveRite, Halcyon, HOG, Golem............
    Don't bother with anything from Zeagle
    1-40 for O2 w/ reg- maybe an out of the box O2 ready OMS reg.
    no drysuit, don't need it in the caves at your level of experience, I never dive my drysuit in the caves anymore, skip the argon bottle until you start making long deep cold dives. I use my back gas for suit inflate without issue.
    regs- any of the good ones will do fine
    I prefer LP tanks over HP but I have both, the advantage of LP's is trying to get a HP fill some places (banks can be low)
    No comp needed, but a 2 gas can shorten deco in the caves, Nitek or Suunto D6 or D9
     

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