Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

The Cosmicist

Contributor
Messages
107
Reaction score
70
Location
47°9′S 123°43′W
# of dives
0 - 24
Alrighty then. I've managed to get irritated enough in about 15 dives to want my own gear (more or less) immediately. Like most of us, I have pockets that you can see the bottom of and want to choose wisely.

I would consider myself an "advanced beginner" or "beginning advanced" due to evaluations by commercial divers, ex-military divers, and my instructors. I'm Advanced Open Water and Nitrox certified. I'm also an ex-infantry officer, very comfortable in water, and contingency/emergency awareness and planning are natural to me. I will not trust an insta-buddy with my life and don't have a regular buddy, so I want to get to full redundancy - especially on dives around and below 100ft. I will also dive in varying conditions (cold/warm, deep/shallow, wreck/cavern, river/ocean blah blah) so I want gear that is flexible. Not the "switching-from-singles-to-doubles-without-changing-my-wing" kind of thing, but environmentally so. I'm also setting myself up for tech diving.

I would like help from ye ole' salts on here to help me laser in on two things. Thing 1 is what to splash with, Thing 2 is when to acquire said splashy thing. Hopefully, this will be useful to other doe-eyed divers that are tired of ill-fitting, free-flowing, weight-dropping, swiss-cheesed neoprene gear. I've met other newer divers who didn't know what to get first as everything seems important in its own way.
THANK YOU
ahead of time! :cheers:

Thing 1 - Gear: What do you recommend for these?
-Computer: I've decided on the Shearwater Perdix AI. Next.
-Wetsuit: 5mm seems to be the most flexible thickness. Won't boil you in warm water, pretty good in chilly stuff, especially with something underneath. Need to get a hood too, I suppose.
-Regulator: DGX XTRA long hose set, or their Dive Rite long hose set. I've heard Deep 6 is good too. I want something environmentally sealed and probably diaphragm. These seem to be very good value and comparable quality when compared to Atomic, Apeks, etc.
-BP/W: Need help with this. Dammit, DGX, you're out of stock! I really like the idea of their singles wing package, but I think SubGravity or OMS would be good too. I really like the idea of the OMS backpad with weights so I can adjust for fresh/salt water, etc. Here's what I've worn in the past:
freshwater:
-5mm wetsuit
-Zeagle Ranger BCD
-AL80
-12lbs of weight (felt close to neutral, maybe slightly light)​
saltwater:
-no wetsuit
-terrible, floaty rental jacket BCD - ScubaPro?
-AL80
-6lbs of weight (that was not enough, the AL80 wanted to snorkel. 8-9 lbs probably good)​
The Ranger is +1-2lbs, an AL80 is around +3 empty, which means I need around 7-8lbs of weight in freshwater without the cylinder. My thoughts are to get an aluminum plate and 30ish lb wing, which might be light for a 5mil wetsuit in saltwater with AL80 but not for freshwater with a HP80/HP100. I don't want to be over-weighted in freshwater with a steel cylinder, and I can add ballast/trim weights if needed for diving saltwater with an AL80. Does that seem logical?
-O2 Analyzer: Palm D? DGX seems to have good ones, but I'm up for suggestions. I'm Nitrox qualified and will dive Nitrox on most dives.
-Full Redundancy: Like I said, I won't trust an insta-buddy with my life, and there's a very small chance something could go wrong with the regs... or...anything/someone else. I'm very interested in a "pony bottle", and I've read here that AL30 or AL40 is generally recommended. It also seems smart to sling it on my left side. Is there anything else special I need to know, or some reason I shouldn't carry a pony (especially 100+ft)?
-Cylinder: I really do want to dive with steel. I don't like AL80's positive buoyancy.

Thing 2 - When: What should I get first?
While all of these seem pretty essential, what should I get right off the bat? I suppose the main tank could wait until last, but what are your thoughts? Here's what I'm thinking. I put them in my order of priority... Please let me know if I'm on the right track.

1. Wetsuit: This is definitely going to be first, actually, so let's move on... :wink:
2. O2 Analyzer: I am sure most LDS and charters do their mixes well... "trust but verify". This seems like it should be at the top so I know what I'm breathing. Two children recently died at a dive site I was at a few weeks ago because their parents/dive leaders didn't check the air they hooked up on their hookah. This forum doesn't allow four letter words, does it?
3. Full Redundancy: I say again, I won't trust insta-buddies with my life. Very high up there.
4. Regulator: Since I will dive Nitrox regularly and add AI later, this seems high priority.
5. BP/W: Hard to get trim and buoyancy right if you keep borrowing BCDs. Also would probably have a hard time slinging a pony on a jacket rental BCD.
6. Computer: A few people have told me that I should buy a computer first, but my military mind bucks against that. If a diver can't understand what the computer is doing and why, I think they should practice fundamentals and deepen their understanding of diving first. The computer should not be a crutch but a tool. I should be able to dive without a computer, sticking with my plan and CESA/air share/improvise if necessary. After all, plenty of people safely dived without them in decades past. I'll splash with tables and cheat sheets, fine with me. Is it imperative I get this right away?
7. Cylinder: Probably last... I can suck it up with AL80 rentals... for now. I can dive, woohoo!

If you've made it to here, thank you for the help. I really do appreciate it and hope this helps others!
 

OTF

Coney Island Whitefish Biologist
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
657
Reaction score
904
Location
scubaboard
# of dives
200 - 499
Looks like you're doing your research and approaching this well. A few thoughts:

- Backplate/harness/wing: get whatever normal backplate you can find a good deal on, even a used one. It's just a metal plate. Get some webbing and D-rings, rig it up yourself. Simple GUE style no frills harness is better than adding every possible pad/clip/gadget. There are lots of tutorials on how to set it up. As for wings there are lots of good options out there, mostly quite similar. Consider whether you want weight on the backplate, waist pockets on the harness, or a weight belt. I use a combination of weight belt and harness pockets for flexibility and ditchability.
- Keep an eye out for deals on used gear.
- You definitely need an O2 analyzer if you're diving nitrox a lot. Though if you're diving with other people on nitrox you might be able to get by bumming off their analyzers for a while.
- A lot of people will tell you to get a computer right away, but I and many others dived for years without one. You won't die without it, but it will give you more options and make your dives better. You could get a cheap or used computer before springing for the shearwater, then keep the other as a backup.
- If you're gonna dive local and frequently, rentals (tanks) add up fast. Especially because it's often hard to return them same-day so you get charged for multiple days.
- For redundancy, consider a solo/self reliant class. Pony bottles are good.
 

Marie13

Great Lakes Mermaid
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
10,042
Reaction score
8,820
Location
Great Lakes
# of dives
200 - 499
That solo class that was mentioned requires 100 logged dives, so he’s not going to be able to do that for a while.
 

Aviyes

Contributor
Messages
450
Reaction score
372
Location
Colorado
# of dives
100 - 199
The reason that a dive computer is usually recommended top of the list after wetsuit, is if you planned go on vacation. As it is required by all the dive ops I've been on. For local diving, where you are only going to do say a dive or 2 on a Sat., then tables will work just fine until you want to drop the money on one. Although, without a dive computer you will have to also get a depth gauge. Definitely nab that used, as it would be replaced upon buying a computer.
 

Centrals

Contributor
Messages
10,851
Reaction score
4,103
Location
Hong Kong
# of dives
Thing 2 - When: What should I get first?
6. Computer: A few people have told me that I should buy a computer first, but my military mind bucks against that. If a diver can't understand what the computer is doing and why, I think they should practice fundamentals and deepen their understanding of diving first. The computer should not be a crutch but a tool. I should be able to dive without a computer, sticking with my plan and CESA/air share/improvise if necessary. After all, plenty of people safely dived without them in decades past. I'll splash with tables and cheat sheets, fine with me. Is it imperative I get this right away?
Why would you want to buy an expensive computer then?
Any entry level computer can fulfill that requirement.
Are you intended to dive on a square profile by using table?
 

Pressurehead

ScubaBoard Supporter
ScubaBoard Supporter
Messages
873
Reaction score
771
Location
Queensland , swamped by the Southern migration.
# of dives
I'm a Fish!
47°9′S 123°43′W Location ? I did look.
You seem to know what you are doing and have done your home work, the advice so far is good.
B.Z.

Edit: Buy the Shearwater, I know some will say "Bingo" , you will not regret it Sir.
SB_bingo.jpeg 1.jpeg
 

LFMarm

Contributor
Messages
78
Reaction score
29
Location
Maui
# of dives
I just don't log dives
The order I would recommend is (I am weighing both the cost and the benefit/safety you get from each item):
  • Mask
  • Wetsuit
  • Fins
  • Regulators + SMB
  • Dive computer — buy one for the diving you plan to do for the next couple of years. No need for trimix computer as you will get better models when you get there
  • BCD — get BP/W so that you can customize as your diving evolves
  • DSMB
  • Cutting device
  • Second mask
  • Pockets
  • O2 analyzer — never needed one as when you buy nitrox or trimix they always have an analyzer
  • Cylinder — I don’t think you ever need one unless you go for technical diving or you plan to dive so much that you will have your own compressor
 

The Cosmicist

Contributor
Messages
107
Reaction score
70
Location
47°9′S 123°43′W
# of dives
0 - 24
Looks like you're doing your research and approaching this well. A few thoughts:

- Backplate/harness/wing: get whatever normal backplate you can find a good deal on, even a used one. It's just a metal plate. Get some webbing and D-rings, rig it up yourself. Simple GUE style no frills harness is better than adding every possible pad/clip/gadget. There are lots of tutorials on how to set it up. As for wings there are lots of good options out there, mostly quite similar. Consider whether you want weight on the backplate, waist pockets on the harness, or a weight belt. I use a combination of weight belt and harness pockets for flexibility and ditchability.
- Keep an eye out for deals on used gear.
- You definitely need an O2 analyzer if you're diving nitrox a lot. Though if you're diving with other people on nitrox you might be able to get by bumming off their analyzers for a while.
- A lot of people will tell you to get a computer right away, but I and many others dived for years without one. You won't die without it, but it will give you more options and make your dives better. You could get a cheap or used computer before springing for the shearwater, then keep the other as a backup.
- If you're gonna dive local and frequently, rentals (tanks) add up fast. Especially because it's often hard to return them same-day so you get charged for multiple days.
- For redundancy, consider a solo/self reliant class. Pony bottles are good.

I agree with you on the backplate/harness, etc. The simple Hogarthian setup is what I'm after. I'm going to mosey on over to the classifieds this morning...

Thanks for the other advice. It does make sense to get a cheaper computer and use it as a backup later once I get the shearwater.

That solo class that was mentioned requires 100 logged dives, so he’s not going to be able to do that for a while.

That's one of the classes I really want to take... It's a shame they don't teach that sooner. I think people would be better divers. I'm NAUI certified and they don't seem to offer it as a course at all. It's not listed on their website.
 

The Cosmicist

Contributor
Messages
107
Reaction score
70
Location
47°9′S 123°43′W
# of dives
0 - 24
The reason that a dive computer is usually recommended top of the list after wetsuit, is if you planned go on vacation. As it is required by all the dive ops I've been on. For local diving, where you are only going to do say a dive or 2 on a Sat., then tables will work just fine until you want to drop the money on one. Although, without a dive computer you will have to also get a depth gauge. Definitely nab that used, as it would be replaced upon buying a computer.

I checked an LDS somewhat near me I will be diving with soon and they do require "a computer or timing device". I guess it makes the average diver that much safer.

Why would you want to buy an expensive computer then?
Any entry level computer can fulfill that requirement.
Are you intended to dive on a square profile by using table?

You are right, but I wanted to get a computer that I can become intimately familiar with so when I get to tech diving that is one thing less to learn. But it's probably not that big of a deal. I think I'm capable of learning another computer!

And no, I don't plan on square profiles. Although, if I'm diving the same wreck or location twice in a day, that might be considered square.
 

The Cosmicist

Contributor
Messages
107
Reaction score
70
Location
47°9′S 123°43′W
# of dives
0 - 24
47°9′S 123°43′W Location ? I did look.
You seem to know what you are doing and have done your home work, the advice so far is good.
B.Z.

Edit: Buy the Shearwater, I know some will say "Bingo" , you will not regret it Sir.
View attachment 673956

Haha, I've gotten a couple people with that location (I'm actually in the US). It's from a short story. I'm a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's writing, and that's an important location in his mythos. Pole of inaccessibility - Wikipedia

Thank you, though (everyone else as well), it's nice to know I'm going in the right direction. I giggled like a schoolgirl when I read through the Bingo sheet! :D I've been on here enough, both as a lurker and member, to find that funny.

Shearwater really does seem to be in a league of its own.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

Top Bottom