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Hi,
This is my first post, so be gentle with me :)

I passed my OW in Jan (Red Sea, nice and warm) and i am now looking to buy some gear of my own.
I've already got a 2-piece 7mm Wet for diving in warmer climes (I like to be Toastie!)
I'm looking to getting a BCD and Regs. After much looking around, the prices and specs vary so much. I know that cheapest is not always best, but for a no-frills approach, what do you guys (and girls, before i get myself into trouble) think?
Also, BCD..Jackets v's Wings?
I dived with a Jacket style BCD, but are the Wings that much different?

Thanks in advance...
 

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Premium Member
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First off - welcome to YD. You'll get alot of advice on various bits of kit etc but please realise that people have their own favourites.

Questions to ask yourself are:

1. What kind of diving do you currently do / want to do?
2. What is your budget?

UK diving all year round is demanding so if you want to dive the UK then look at a dry suit first of all - you won't regret it! Two kinds - membrane and neoprene. If you can try both then thats a bonus. There is a split in the users of both - personally I started with a membrane suit but was always cold so i switched to a compressed neoprene and love it. Others will tell you differently - its horses for courses.

BCD vs Wing - I own both!! Now I mainly use my BCD (seapro) because I now mainly do single cylinder dives and a wing is overkill in my opinion. Wings and twins go well together but at this stage that might over complicate things for you. Again, buy your BCD based on comfort - try on a load and see what feels right for you.

Regs - I made the mistake of buying unsuitable regs because they were on special offer. I now own Apeks regs because they are rock solid and ideal for UK conditions. They aren't the only ones though - many other makes are perfectly ok for the worst the UK has to throw at you

There are many advertisers on YD that are more than happy to chat through the options with you and advise on your needs, not necessarily your 'wants'.

Goodluck with your purchases - its an exciting time for you!
 

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Finless: You couldn't invent him...
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Generally, most dive kit is of a good quality so you needn't worry too much - there are exceptions (reportedly). Also, IMO, most people can recommend the stuff they use but not too much else - I'm still using the regs etc I've used for years.

If you check the Diver Magazine web site you will be able to access professional kit reviews which is as good as any way for selecting entry level kit IMO.

I've never had any problems with any Mares gear + it generally looks very cool.

It is very difficult without knowing how your diving will progress. It sounds like you are only planning on holiday diving? A big mistake - some of the best diving in the world is to be found in the UK - seriously. If only doing the holiday diving then maybe it wold be best to get something not too complicated and cheap to get serviced (less to go wrong whilst in storage).

Lastly, the best advice you can receive is "not to buy something because of ????????????" - at least that is definite advice and not based on brand loyalty etc.

Sorry ............. all the above makes sense to me. :)
 

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1/2 of slut divers
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Kit choice is very personal and you will probably find that you go through a perpetual cycle of upgrade or change.

The advice I would offer is to think about what diving you want to do in the future and buy accordingly.

E.G. If you are keen on using nitrox in the future and are looking to buy a first computer make sure you get one which allows you to use nitrox mixes as well as air. Equally though, if you want to eventually go technical, now isn't the time to go out and buy a VR3!!

I would keep hiring kit like regs, BC / Wing, fins for a bit yet until you decide what you like and dislike then go buy your own kit once you have a good idea on this.
This saves you money in the long run. I've bought bits on a whim then realised I don't like them or they now won't support my diving type.

Hope this helps.

Nick
 

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Welcome to YD.

My advice would be *not* to walk into a dive shop with a credit card. 2 grand later you will be walking out with a load of stuff most of which you probably won't use for very long.

Meet up with divers and try stuff out. Post on YD that you have no kit and you want to try different configs before parting with your cash. I'd expect many people will be happy to help out. Inland sites are great for this - especially midweek when they are quiet.
 

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I don't suppose there is a simple answer to your question! Of all the people who I know who have qualified over the last few years, all have bought kit in the early stages and swapped it for stuff they like better over the years.

If you only want to dive on holiday or abroad, you could just hire it. But the advice above to try lots of diferent stuff is a very good idea.

For shallow-ish, recreational diving with a single tank, a BCD is fine. Yet some people just like wings. I, too, think they are overkill and unnecessary for simple diving but they can be comfortable if you are an odd shape (big boobs or fat tum for example). They are also necessary if you want to turn teckie, but it's a bit soon to decide on that yet while you are still getting to grips with the basics.

If you have really got the bug, your kit may well change over the years, you can sell your old stuff and buy new as you go along. You will find one style of most things, that suits you, as an individual and then you will be happy. But it takes quite a while to try lots of different things.

Sorry we don't seem very helpful but there does seem to be a general consensus of get what you like best.
 

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PADI Internet Specialty Diver
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OK I'll stick my neck out a bit :D I think the advice above is very sound. However, cheap and inexpensive are not the same. There are some very good deals about at the minute. For example this:
http://www.kentdiving.com/prod.asp?partno=Scubapro Mk2 R295 Pack
The Mk 2 is an unbalanced (ie highly reliable) basic reg that will do you fine for most diving. I strongly recommend buying a DIN fitting reg also.

Rob's view that you can easily walk into a shop and walk out 2 grand later with a load of soon-to-be-on-ebay kit is very true.

My advice would be start with well known brands (they tend to sell better 2nd hand if you need to change later). ScubaPro, Apeks, Mares and so on.

Oh and yes, another vote for UK diving, so think about a drysuit.

Chris
 

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Dive tart, just can't say no :-)
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All the above advice is spot on but (with the greatest respect to my more experienced betters) misses a point... you probably have no idea what kind of diving you will want to do in the future so how can you plan for it. Simple answer is you can't. I'm a realtively new diver and working my way through my 2nd and in some cases 3rd evolution of kit but already know that what I'm buying now may not be right for where I want to be in 2 years time...so what follows is based on my experience, there are far more expert people on YD who will have other views.
Best you can do is buy what you need for this year...if you can stretch to it I would suggest the following are the basics that you need.
A dry suit if you will do any diving in the UK although I dived a semidry for 2 years summer only.
a BC is a good buy, look for mainstream names such as Buddy, Scubapro, Mares, don't go for lot's of bells and whistles, simple is good. Wings are great but really come later in the progression.
mask and fins are a must, Mask is simple, if it fits properly buy it. colour look etc come 2nd in importance and price generally has very little to do with fit. Fins are personal choice, generally the stiffer they are the more chance of cramp so it might be a question of how fit you are too.
A computer is really a good idea. Lots of instructors like wearing Suunto D9s, D6s or Stingers but as much as anything this is because they never take them off and use them as watches on the surface. This is the one area where it's worth really buying some future proofing, I would buy a nitrox (enriched air) capable computer with a large face, user changeable battery, and possibly air integrated option although I wouldn't buy the sender at this point unless I was loaded.
I'd also buy a cylinder 12l and possibly a pony
I'd buy an SMB and probably a flag.
Most of that I'd buy from my local dive shop having first checked out the prices on the net, I'd then haggle but keep the money local so that if I needed advice or had a problem it would be available to me.
Probably the only thing I wouldn't buy locally is the tank as the LDS just can't be competitive as a general rule.
Finally I'd join a club with a good buddy system to make sure I got some support as I got to use all this shiny new stuff.

The other thing to remember is that with 10 divers in a room and 1 bit of kit, there will be 20 different opinions voiced.

Good luck and welcome to YD
 

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Some good advice given above and the only thing I'd like to add is that if you do think about buying your own cylinder, buy two.

The reason is that there are some places where getting a fill after your first dive is either difficult or impossible, Kimmeridge springs to mind.
Or ... sometimes when going out on a boat, the boat will not return to port between dives.
Or ... if air is available there might not be enough time to get a fill, e.g. you might find that your boat is leaving in an hour and the air station is full of cylinders to be filled and it's going to take an hour and a half to get yours filled.

Welcome to YD :)
 

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Some good advice given above and the only thing I'd like to add is that if you do think about buying your own cylinder, buy two.

The reason is that there are some places where getting a fill after your first dive is either difficult or impossible, Kimmeridge springs to mind.
Or ... sometimes when going out on a boat, the boat will not return to port between dives.
Or ... if air is available there might not be enough time to get a fill, e.g. you might find that your boat is leaving in an hour and the air station is full of cylinders to be filled and it's going to take an hour and a half to get yours filled.

Welcome to YD :)
And if you buy 2 make them the same so that you can twin them later on...
 

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For me it's simple.

Apeks regs - they will be good for recreation stuff and useful right up through tec diving if you end up going that way. They are excellent regs, easily serviced and I think you'll find no-one would 'not' recommend them.

I'd go for a Buddy wing if I were you, because it's cheap, one size fits all, it's much smaller and lighter for travelling than a traditional BCD and it will be fine from where you are now right upto twin 10s with a stage.

You will not be disapponited with any of the above and if you ever did decide to change, it's all very easy to sell on.

Juz
 

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The smell of freshly turned delrin is more powerfu
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All the above advice is spot on but

Finally I'd join a club with a good buddy system to make sure I got some support as I got to use all this shiny new stuff.

Good luck and welcome to YD
I would find a club first before buying almost anything. Then you can see loads of kit and ask questions like if you had to replace that what would replace it with. Most people get their kit choice wrong the first time, So make friends with some divers that are not connected to a shop.... like here :)

and Welcome to yd

David
 

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Welcome Yorkie I quailfied 2yrs ago but only did a few holiday dives until a few months ago (a delay I really regret now) however I have just this week brought my first dry suit which I got 2nd hand off another YD. I have only brought new my BCD. My other half went out and brought the latest and most shiny kit and got everything brand new it cost us lots and new he doesn't dive anymore! Don't be too proud is my advice to you, Good luck x
 

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As an aside on the drysuit issue, if you plan on diving in the uk for any length of time you really should invest in a drysuit. Myself I looked into them and bought a simple and relatively cheap membrane suit as membrane was the only type I had dived before.
I would recommend going for a neoprene neck seal if you can, where as before I thought these were a luxury, having destroyed half my neck with my former latex one the other week!
Also comfort zip, extravegance maybe, but so so comfortable to have, just make sure you remember to zip it all the way back up
 

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Dir

Get it right first time and save some money in the long term.
New or 2nd hand, the correct answer is:
Regs: Apeks tx40 or atx40. pefereably on a DS4 1st stage.
BCD: Buddy (any)
Cylinder : Faber 12 or 15L


Cheap, well made, last forever
Regards
 

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Welcome to YD, some great advice here, but the best is don't rush into buying something you may later regret. I would also add give UK diving a go it's great fun and your skills have a chance to constantly improve, that is unless you can afford to fly off to warm water regular. If you want a buddy anytime for the UK, I'm just down the road from you in Burnham-on-Sea (Mud).
Doug
 
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