Diving can be an expensive hobby and unfortunately there’s often no way of escaping the cost. As you continue with your diving, you’ll likely start accumulating more and more gear. To save a little money and keep you spending money on travel instead, here are five top hacks to make scuba gear more affordable.
Rethink that expensive regulator
All regulators from reputable manufacturers will be safe and good-quality products. The difference between models is often how easy the unit is to breathe from and the cosmetic appearance of the unit. Ultimately it can be difficult to tell the difference when you’re underwater and wrapped up in the amazing scenery and wildlife. So, go for a lower or mid-range regulator system and put the spare change toward the rest of your dive kit.
Consider secondhand gear
Buying secondhand gear can be a great way to save money or a horrible idea, depending on what you’re buying. Fins, for example, are often a great secondhand purchase as a good pair will last for years and years. Look for fins that are made of one solid piece and they’ll potentially outlive even your diving career. On the other hand, it’s probably best to avoid used gear such as BCDs and regulators, primarily because of servicing requirements. Not only will you have to pay at least 10 percent of the new price to service them before diving, but also the service kits and spare parts can often be hard to find. Use your judgement, however — if the used reg or BCD is a newer model in good shape, this can be a wise purchase.
Avoid mid-range gloves
Divers rarely rent gloves; most temperate divers own a pair early on. To be a savvy diver, avoid mid-range gloves. You can buy cheap gloves, such as freezer gloves, from a local hardware store, and these will often last long enough to make them cost-effective. Expensive gloves from your local dive shop can be cost-effective in the long term, as they will usually outlast the gloves that are half the cost by four or five times because of their glued and sealed stitching. This prevents the gloves from unraveling and falling apart. Mid-range pairs often don’t have adequate stitch protection, and so commonly fall apart after a few dozen dives.
Spend wisely on a wetsuit
A cheap wetsuit does not necessarily mean a bad wetsuit but buying one that has a few different features can potentially double or triple its life span. While no wetsuit lasts forever, features such as a front zip, separate pieces and open-cell wrist and ankle seals can dramatically increase a wetsuit’s longevity. Front zips allow you to take more care when doing up the suit and over a longer period of time will reduce the risk of ripping the neoprene. Two-piece wetsuits benefit from less tearing as they don’t experience as much tension when you’re putting it on or taking it off. Open-cell neoprene lasts longer than closed-cell neoprene and so by using it areas that often have lots of wear and tear, the wetsuit can last significantly longer.
Spit in your mask (but wash it after)
The final tip that most dive shops and gear manufacturers won’t tell you is to spit in your mask — this will do exactly the same job as a fancy anti-fog mixture. The only downside to spit is that failing to clean your mask with fresh water at the end of your dive will result in mold build up. So, save the dollars by avoiding anti-fog but also remember to avoid the mold by cleaning your mask regularly.