Scuba Gear 101 ~ For Divers & By Divers

Scuba Gear

Scuba Gear & Dive Equipment

Here is DIVEIN’s Equipment 101 where we tell you all about the scuba gear and what you need to know.

We have separated the articles into smaller bits, concentrating on one main theme.

Here you’ll find a quick summary of the equipment and plenty of in-depth reviews of the equipment.

Here’s the dive equipment we’ll cover in this guide. Click the links to jump to the gear.

BCD – Regulators – Wetsuits – Drysuits – Dive Masks – Full Face Dive Masks – Snorkels – Scuba Fins – Dive Computers – Dive watches 

BCD or Buoyancy Control Device

The BCD, also called BC, stands for Buoyancy Control Device or Buoyancy Compensator. It’s the vest that holds the tank. But, most importantly, it’s the one you use to control buoyancy.

The BCD has many different features to control the buoyancy, depending on the brand and type.

There are an inflator and a deflator mechanism and on a typical BCD (this is used to add or release air to and from your BCD). The inflator and deflator are usually located on a hose connected to your left shoulder.

Most BCDs come with a few pockets and D rings for carrying gadgets on the dive; some having weight pockets as well.

BCD’s come in different forms and shapes: jacket-types and wing-types. The jacket is more popular for most divers and gives great comfort underwater and in the surface. The wing-type BCD gives better buoyancy and enables a perfect horizontal possession during the dive.

Here are some great BCD’s you should look at before deciding which to buy.

All the Scuba Gear We've tested

Best for Beginners

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The Cressi Start was initially intended to be used by dive schools and resorts. It has a basic design but is highly functional making it ideal for beginner divers too.

One nice feature is that the waist strap is independent of the air bladder, so if you tighten it while the jacket is deflated, it’s not going to squeeze your stomach too much when you inflate.

If you are looking for a BCD that is reliable and almost bullet-proof, the Cressi Start is a great entry-level option.

Specs & Features

  • Type: Jacket
  • Capacity: 29.2 lbf / 13.25 kgf (XS) to 45 lbf / 20.4 kgf (XL)
  • Integrated Weights: No
  • Number of air bladders/cells: One
  • Number of dump valves: Three

Our Overall Review

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    The waist strap is separate from the air bladder.
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    Inflator hose is easily disassembled for cleaning.
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    From a dive center perspective, the size is clearly displayed on the shoulder pad.
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    Great value for money.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNo metal D-rings.
  • check-markEdges of the shoulder straps are a little rough and can chafe against the neck.
  • check-markThe chest strap is quite high.
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Cressi Start

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Definitely, a BCD designed with women divers in mind. It features thick padding on the inside with a plush nylon finish. The jacket and air bladder are specially cut for a snug fit to female curves.

Sherwood uses a unique Halfpac backplate which offers the versatility of soft backplate with the stability of a hard backplate. This means it’s extra comfortable but will also hold your cylinder firmly in place.

One great feature of the Sherwood Luna is the padded neoprene neck. A small hint of color adds a nice feminine touch.

Specs & Features

  • Type: Jacket
  • Capacity: 18 lbf / 8.16 kgf (XS) to 25 lbf / 11.34 kgf (L)
  • Integrated Weights? Yes
  • Number of air bladders/cells: One
  • Number of dump valves: Two

Our Overall Review

4.2

Reasons to buy:

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    Slimmer cut for women.
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    Extra padding at the back of the neck.
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    Stylish design.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markIf diving in cold water, there may not be enough releasable weight (16 lb / 7.25 kg).
  • check-markNo right shoulder exhaust valve.
  • check-markZippered weight pockets.
  • check-markWould be nice to be able to pick your color!
Read full review

Where to buy:

sherwood-luna-w.jpg

Sherwood Luna

See all BCD’s

Scuba Regulator

The regulator set consists of a 1st stage, which is mounted on the tank valve. Then there are two regulators in the 2nd stage: a pressure gauge and a low-pressure inflator hose that is attached to the BCD inflator.

  • The regulators have a primary and an alternate air source. The alternate air source is for you or your buddy in an emergency or a back up is needed.
  • A modern regulator is a demand valve regulator, which means it give you air when you want it. When you breathe in, air flows from the tank through the 1st stage and to the 2nd stage supplying air to you.
  • The pressure gauge shows how much air is in the tank and usually has a caution area that warns you when the air is getting low.

Read more about How to Choose a Scuba Regulator

Related posts

Read full review

It wouldn’t be a list of the best regulators without an Apeks or two (or three). The XTX40 is one of the company’s affordable models. Despite the very tempting price point, it’s more often viewed as a high-end product.

Loved by techies for their reliable deco reg performance and by recreational divers alike, the XTX40 offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Specs & Features

  • Valve: A-clamp
  • First stage: Balanced
  • HP ports: Two
  • LP ports: Four (with the option for a fifth)
  • Cracking/flow adjustment knob

Our Overall Review

4.2

Reasons to buy:

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    Good for cold water diving
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    Balanced and environmentally sealed.
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    Braided flexihose comes as standard.
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    Exceptional breathability for the price.
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    Suitable for mixed gas diving and 100% O2 after being O2 cleaned.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThere’s really not a lot to criticize here but if we’re really being tough we could point to the o-ring in the swiveling first stage. Because of the design, after a few years, you may see some tiny bubbles escaping from the join point.
Read full review

Where to buy:

apeks-xtx40.jpg

Apeks XTX40

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This regulator has been specifically designed to be ultra lightweight without compromising on quality or breathability. If you’re the type of diver who’s always boarding a plane, you won’t be weighed down by this bit of kit.

This is an A-clamp reg but it’s also available in DIN here.

Specs & Features

  • Valve: A-clamp
  • First stage: Balanced
  • Max pressure: 230 bar (300 in DIN)
  • HP ports: Two
  • LP ports: Four

Our Overall Review

4.3

Reasons to buy:

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    Uber lightweight.
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    Balanced and environmentally sealed.
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    Chrome finish looks good for years.
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    The mouthpiece is exceptionally comfortable.

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markUnless you have a very narrow face, expect some bubble interference. The small size means this is unavoidable.
Read full review

Where to buy:

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Aqua Lung Mikron

See all Scuba Regulators

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