Congratulations! You’ve decided to continue your SCUBA diving adventures and now you’re moving into needing more than just a mask, fins and snorkel! But what do you need to get next? In this XYZ part series, we’ll explain what we consider to be the next pieces of gear to consider adding to your dive equipment collection, why those are the next pieces to get and what to look for in those items. Read on!
Now that you know you’re going to be diving regularly, it’s time to be comfortable in the water. That means getting the proper exposure protection for your body type as well as your typical diving conditions.
- Wetsuit or Drysuit: If you’re going to be diving in colder waters or where surface air temperatures dip below 50 degrees F, we recommend looking into drysuits. While plenty of people can ice dive in wetsuits, for repetitive dives or days of diving, nothing beats the comfort of slipping into a warm, dry suit.
- One or Two Piece Wetsuit: Wetsuits typically come as one piece (jumpsuit) or two piece (farmer john). A two piece wetsuit will give two layers of insulating neoprene throughout your core body area, increasing overall warmth while still allowing range of motion in your arms and legs.
- Thickness: Wetsuits range from skins (nylon/spandex materials) for extreme warm water to 7mm for extreme cold water. It’s best to ask people in the places you plan on diving most frequently what thickness they recommend, but hopefully at this point you have a few dives in your log book so you know what you need.
- Bells and whistles: Some suits have titanium in them for additional warmth, some have fast drying insides for easy of entry, some have kevlar kneepads for increased abrasion resistance, some have pockets to carry dive accessories and some have extremely flexible material for better range of motion. Think about what’s most important to you in your typical diving conditions and buy accordingly.
Knife or Cutting Device
As your dive manual states, a knife is a tool, not a weapon. And an incredibly valuable tool at that! If you ever dive in kelp or near fishing areas, a good cutting device is worth its weight in lead.
- Knife or other cutting device: A knife is most common, but for cutting fishing line (a common entanglement issue for many), a knife requires a third hand to be effective. So a cutting device or shears can be a better option for some diving conditions. If you want to be safe, get a knife and a cutting device and you’ll have all your bases covered.
- Size of knife: Unless you plan on stabbing something big with your knife, a small blade will work great as a tool and is easier to attach in a variety of places.
- Material: Titanium is lighter, but more expensive. Most people find stainless steel to be most durable and less expensive, but heavier.
- Tip: Tips can be square or pointed. Again, if you’re going to be stabbing something, go with a point. If you’re going to be using it more as a tool, get a squared tip.
Keep reading to learn what else the intermediate diver needs in SCUBA Equipment for Intermediate Divers: Part 2!