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Upgrading from a Rec Kit to a Tech Kit

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by vinsanity, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. 100days-a-year

    100days-a-year Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: NE Florida
    I figured out my budget and goals first and then how much I was willing to give up to pursue those goals.
    With training, gear and travel it is easy to get into 10s of thousands of dollars per year.
    I bought the best gear available at the time without any brand loyalty as my instructor had recommended.
    Looking back, I overshot my goals but had some priceless experience as a result. Seems to be pretty common as there is always a lot of tech gear available relatively new with only training classes and a few dives on it.
  2. stretchthepenn

    stretchthepenn Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    ITT is a valid option, but depending on the OP's experience level, it's not necessarily the best class to take. If you, the OP, are still a n00b and just getting interested in Tec diving, then ITT could be fantastic for you. On the other hand, if you've got excellent buoyancy and experience blowing bags, then your AN/DP instructor could incorporate the how-to-dive-a-twinset into the course. I, for example, learned to dive doubles during my Tec40 class.

    I halfway agree. Going nuts on options is a sucker's game. My first drysuit was an entry-level "Dolphin" suit, by OS Systems out of Scappoose, OR. It cost me $800, including a fleece jumpsuit, and I used it for about ten years.

    That being said, a used drysuit isn't necessarily a bad option. If standard sizes fit you well, a used drysuit is a massive moneysaver, much akin to buying a used car versus a new car. Plus, if you hate that particular drysuit, you can likely unload it at the same price you paid and try another variety.

    Dry gloves, though, could be a near-necessity for you in Oregon. Don't make them a deal-breaker item, but if your fingers get numb on your regular, recreational dives, you'll definitely want dry gloves on deco dives.

    I've taken classes from two tec instructors, and they both demanded double bladders. *shrug* Choose what suits your instructors and yourself the best.

    Were I in Europeland, I'd prolly get Apeks, but not here in the States. It's pricey. Get something that's easily serviced in your area.

  3. vinsanity

    vinsanity ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    I really liked an SDI/TDI instructor in Hawaii that I took the SDI Wreck Class with, but if I have to wait til I can take everything from him, it will take years of rare Hawaii trips. So I hoped to find someone local. Sounds like that needs to be my first step because lots of my questions are best discussed first about his expectations and how he runs his class.

    Yeah, definitely planned on getting that first so I was very proficient with it before ITT. Seaskin's very affordable custom fit is very appealing to me. I was thinking I may give them a try, but the Nova that everyone speaks of is a trilam. While wrecks are pretty far out, I don't really want them to be "replace my drysuit" far out. I don't mind adding gear. I hate buying it twice though. :-|

    I assume your crushed neoprene recommendation is for durability around sharp things? When you say "crushed neoprene" are you specifically calling out DUI's $3200 crushed neopreme suit or will "compressed neoprene" be sufficient? I was hoping not to cough up high end DUI prices for something that is 1 item on a long list of gear investments

    My LDS is a serious Apex/AL house. I think they only sell Apex and AL regulators actually. I can get a XTX50 set for $560. Not as cheap as say a set of Hogs, but would be much easier to service. Down the road is a Scuba Pro shop. Hadn't even considered using my AL for the wife. :-D She does dive, but hasn't wanted to commit to a reg yet.

    LOL. It's actually already in the mail. :-D Slowly making it's way. 2 weeks for shipping. Ugh.

    Thanks for all the great insight that I didn't respond to!!

    I'm not a noob, but I only have 75 dives under my belt. So I have plenty to learn. I like to think I have basic buoyancy & trim I have under control. I mean I routinely do open water safety stop, deploy DSMBs midwater, and don't every bump into ****. lol. But keeping my buoyancy while reeling in lines in my SDI Wreck class in a wash while keeping tension on the line... That was harder than it looked, so still more work to be done. I like the idea of doing my dry suit class with my future ITT instructor so he can evaluate where I am, but based on Ken's comments, my dry suit class might be a sh*t show and may not at all reflect my skills. lol

    I suspect AL, Apex, and ScubaPro are the big names that would be easiest. Smaller names I don't have much around.
    Cdncoldwater and Marie13 like this.
  4. KenGordon

    KenGordon Rebreather Pilot

    it is ok for a class to be a **** show. You are there to learn. Don’t over do trying to ace a course. Meet the prerequisites but the course is not a test. The bloke I have done a load of training with has says stuff like “I want this to be the worst dive you ever have.” Meaning that the stress imposed on a course ought to be all the nasty stuff you need to be prepared to handle, but that your preventative planning and appropriate attitude means it should never happen. This isn’t macho hazing but adding enough extra issues to stretch comfort zones and that will depend on the student. Basically if you aren’t a bit stressed by a course you missed an opportunity to grow.

    If you find ANDP easy you should find another instructor and keep doing it until it is hard.
  5. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    Vance is retired and all of those books are now out of print. You can still find them for exorbitant prices
  6. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    Respective course.

    But if you have the inclination and confidence then DIY is another option. Apeks is one of the easier brand for DIY but you might have problem of getting the genuine service kits in USA.
    I was NOT interested to service my only set of rec reg in the beginning but 4 -5 sets is different matter to my bank balance.

    Good luck.
  7. ofg-1

    ofg-1 Course Director

    I have a contrary opinion on gear, buy used, have it serviced. Brass doesn't usually wear out. For regs, I use Dive Rites, and old Zeagle flatheads. Get them serviced before use, they will be fine.
    rhwestfall and Lorenzoid like this.
  8. Cdncoldwater

    Cdncoldwater Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Atlantic Canada
    If your LDS is Apeks/AL then I would recommend the DST (if you want/need a turret) or DS4 with the XTX50 2nds. I service them often at our LDS and they are simply designed, easy to work on and come with parts for life (at least in Canada). They are also very nice breathing regulators, I won't say the best because I haven't dove that many different sets or brands.
  9. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    Seems a well thought through set of questions.

    Computer: Shearwater Perdix; keep the other as a backup.

    Regs: would recommend Apeks DS4s or DSTs as they're good value, very reliable and work well in the cold. It's a good idea to keep with the same for all, so stage(s) and backgas. Obviously it's a longhose in DIR format.

    The main thing to recommend before moving into "technical" diving is to get your core skills sorted: buoyancy, finning and trim. All of us who've 'done' a course when our skills aren't quite up to par realise how much time is wasted in fighting yourself, not learning.

    With a twinset/doubles you must be able to do valve shutdown drills; it's so so so much easier if you do this without changing depth or finning forwards as you're struggling to turn those knobs. It's the same for diving with a decompression stage cylinder: gently hanging around at 6m/20' is so much easier if you're not concentrating on holding the stop.

    There are intro courses which sort out your basic twinset skills. Without doubt the best -- but hardest -- is GUE's Fundamentals. This course will teach you how to use a twinset and your core skills. It's a tough course, but is so beneficial for your future diving regardless if you follow GUE thereafter.

    When you're sorted with backmount and diving beyond the recreational limits, it's pretty straightforward to change over to sidemount. The benefit here is you can rent two 'standard' tanks and clip both on at the same time. Instant stability, additional gas, redundancy, ease of shutdowns, and people love you on a boat ;-)
  10. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid DIR Practitioner Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    Is there a GUE community closer than Seattle? GUE's approach to diving doesn't appeal to everyone, but I like them because they are, well, a community. There is always someone to help you learn. You can often find someone to lend you gear at first. Every GUE diver has been down the same road as you, hitting all the same milestones. With GUE, you learn to dive the doubles-and-drysuit configuration, and learn GUE's standard procedures, until you're diving and thinking like a GUE tech diver, and THEN you take your first tech-level course.

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