One of the first things to catch new diver’s eye is the amazing locations scuba diving opens up as vacation destinations. Warm, clear waters, tropical colors and exotic marine life draw divers to locations previously only dreamed of. Hopping on an airplane and traveling to some exciting part of the world presents divers with certain challenges. Diver equipment can be bulky and cumbersome and items found useful for local diving are often not the perfect choice for divers looking to streamline their gear for a vacation.
Many tips can be found about taking care of one’s self as a tourist in foreign countries, but not enough advice is offered toward making the dive travel easier. The following 7 Tips are designed for just this purpose.
1) Many dive bags designed for use at home have heavy wheels, retractable, aluminum framed handles and are made from heavy weight “ballistic” nylon. All this makes for a very durable bag, but it also equals extra weight. The “denier” rating of the fabric of a dive bag actually refers to the “weight” of the material and not the “strength” of the material. Often a 400 denier nylon bag will be as strong as 1000 denier nylon bag with much less weight.
2) Gear designed for the traveling diver doesn’t always mean purchasing specialty equipment using expensive, exotic materials. Many of the newer regulators designed with travel in mind are being made more compact and using lighter weight materials while offering the exact same features and performance of their bulkier counterparts. With manufacturing technique advancing every year, a more compact regulator design doesn’t automatically mean it lacks features or functions.
3) As with regulators, bcds designed more streamlined and lighter weight for travel do not automatically equate into gear inadequate for diving in cooler regions. In fact, frequently it is quite the opposite. Many “travel” bcd’s offer more than adequate lift for the average recreational diver, are extremely streamlined and more comfortable than their bulky, over engineered, “cold water” counterparts. An added benefit with these bcd’s being they teach the diver proper buoyancy in a much more logical fashion due to the lack of overkill in lift.
4) Place items such as defog, odor eliminators and lubricants into a gallon size zip lock bag before placing into your dive bag. This will eliminate the nasty mess in your bag if shifting gear during transport or expansion at altitude causes the top to pop open.
5) Not all gear has to be packed. Consider an air-integrated, wrist style computer. Many of today’s wrist computers can double as a fully functional and stylish wrist watch. The transmitter attached to your regulator will weigh about 4 ounces, and you can wear the wrist unit on your flight.
6) Only take what you need. Save-A-Dive kits can be frequently over thought. Many of them can take the Boy Scouts “Be Prepared” motto to a whole new extreme. A quick inspection of your gear before leaving on a trip can negate the need to take many spare items.
7) Once you get to your destination transfer use a mesh bag to take your gear to and from the boat/beach and back. The gear bag used to travel with is designed to make it easy to transport and protect your gear during travel. The mesh bag is smaller and easier to carry, fits into small rental cars easier and takes up less space on small dive vessels. It also works as the perfect item to rinse your gear off at the end of the day.