Ok Tara, Andy and other divers (you know who you are), here is the promised post on my dive gear.
This is my dive gear all placed out. I don't typically set it out like this, but I thought it was the best way to show in photos.
So let's break this pile of gear down and you can see how I currently dive. Please note that not everything I dive with is my preferred dive gear, but this is what I currently have that works for my budget and the type of diving I currently do. Most of this dive gear I use all year round, from 70 degree F (21 degrees C) warm water dives in the summer to 32 degree F (0 degrees C) ice dives in the winter. I would say my current kit is about as flexible as you can get. There are many upgrades I am looking to make as funds allow.
- I dive a 7mm wetsuit with back zipper. Like I said above I dive this all year round. At the warmest time of the year it can be a little toasty, but not too warm that drawing a little water into the suit won't cool off. I also have performed ice dives in this 7mm. I can get between 20 minutes to 40 minutes in ice diving tempurtures if I have prepped properly. You may be able to see the glue spots where I have performed a few repairs. I have over 150 dives on this wetsuit and it is still warm.
- I have some stuff fins that I use with a quick release on the back. I like stiff fins for my diving style. The quick release clip on the heal can be handy at times, but it is nothing I would consider a must have on fins. I have yet to accidentally trip them, but I expect that is a possibility. I might add a spring strap to them, but will probably get a whole new set of fins before then. I will need to upgrade the fins when I finally make the transition to a dry suit diving. A good dry suit is on the top of my list for gear purchases.
- Under the fins is a mesh gear bag. I like the mesh bag keeps on of the loose pieces of my gear together. I can see though the mesh to double check what is in there and the mesh lets water drip right through. When I am doing boat dives you will frequently find my fins, goggles (in case), gloves, hood and light in this mesh bag. Few things a dive boat captain hates more than loose dive gear rolling around.
- I dive most of the year around with my 5/7mm three finger gloves. By my third dive with them they were well broken in.
- Only during the warmest dive conditions do I move into my five finger gloves. The zebra and quaga mussles have torn up the five finger gloves and they are due to be replaced. I am not a fan of the straps on the gloves. They seem to be in the way for me way to much. I have separated the neoprene on the inside wrist from wrestling them on when in the water.
- The dive boots are size 11 1/2 and I normally where a size 12. I got them smalls to cut down on the water movement, but if I were to do it again I would get the correct size. They hurt my feet when hauling gear a long way in them. These are the boots I wear most of the year and they are 5/7mm boots.
- I have some 3mm summer boots (shown later in wet tub) that I do like. Both pairs have neoprene that I have pulled way too hard on and will cause their early demise. The right size, taking my time and "completely" unzipping the sides would have fixed that.
- Here are my two hoods. In the warmer times of the year I dive with the 3mm summer hood. It is the most comfortable and has a vent on the top to evacuate the air. When conditions are a little more chilly, I go withe the 5mm hood. For ice dives I will wear the 3mm hood over the 5mm hoods. Not my favorite setup as it is a little uncomfortable and it also makes it tough to hear.
- I have my weight belt with a stainless steal clip. Unfortunately it could be a couple of inches longer. My weighting is perfect for what I need with my kit. I am a touch light for a river dive, but clipping on 2 - 4 lbs (1-2 Kg) more takes care of that. I use standard lead weights. I like to have a variety of sizes and I also have a spare weight belt (not shown) with the same weighting.
- I have a clear dive mask that works OK for me. I keep them in the dive case for travel and normally have a bottle of defog with them. I would like to get a black mask next time, but it is now high on the purchase list.
- I have a pretty basic snorkel. It works OK, but I find it gets in the way with the type of diving I do. I would like to replace it would a fold-up snorkel that I could keep in a pocket until I need it.
- The slate I have is a basic slate and I rarely dive with it. If I do I will clip it in the pocket of my BC.
- I also have a safety sausage that clips in my BC. I strongly recommend anyone that dives to have one of these. In the waves on a boat dive it can help you get spotted. I would like to get a larger (longer) safety sausage as budget allows (OK, you can stopped giggling now... geesh!)
- The blue gym bag is what I used to carry around my dry cloths and to keep the clothes I change out of in. I also tend to keep a couple of water bottles and some spare batteries in here. There are also a couple of dry towels in there when I don't forget them.
- I bought these basic lights for my advanced open water class. There are nothing fancy, but work well. The main light is an 8C battery light with two bulbs that can be selected by the switch.
- The backup like is a simple (non-LED) light that uses 4 AA's. I plan to upgrade both of these to some serious dive lights at some point.
- I dive with matched environmentally sealed regulators. These are rated for cold water.
- I have a dive computer,
- compass and
- pressure gauge on the console. I plan to replace the compass to something better on a retractor.
- I keep a dive knife on my inflator hose. I know some people think that is dangerous, but for me it has been my favorite place for a dive knife.
- Here is my trusty BC. I bought it used and have 200+ dives on it. It just keep working. The velcro is starting to get old and I don't put anything in the pockets I can't clip in as they won't stay shut. This is on the list to be replaced with a back plate and a wing (after I buy that dry suit).
- This is my wet tub. I use it to haul around anything that isn't stored in my full gear bag before a dive. After the dive anything wet goes in here. It keeps all the lake juices from dripping in the Scuba Vehicle. It has a lid which allows it to be stacked with other gear. My backup set of 3mm wet boots are in the tub in this picture.
- The small clear PADI bag I use to keep spare parts and some basic tools. I have a variety of 'O' rings in here. I also have some spare change in here and couple of pens.
- The large red bag is my dive gear bag. It is large enough to hold just about all the dive gear I have minus my tanks.
- Now hear are my two water priming jugs. The red jug has hot water and the orange jug contains warm water. I use the warm water to prime my wetsuit before the dive. If you don't fill you wetsuit up with warm water than COLD water will find a way in. I was very surprised how well this works the first time I tried it.
- Here is a bailout I borrowed from Kirk for this Lake 16 dive. When doing some of the deeper dives it is nice to have the redunancy.
- I also dive with my dive flag which didn't make it in these photos. It was already bobbing in the water waiting for me to get done taking the photos and to start the dive. Here is an old post showing the dive flag's creation. http://darrinjillson.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/diy-dive-flag-and-float/
- And while he was too big to fit into the gear bag I did bring my dive buddy Jim! You will notice him here pimping his hat. I am sure he would be happy to sell you one. 😉
Overall I consider my gear a work in progress. It will be interesting to see what I will be diving with next year at this time. Hopefully much of it has been upgraded.