Since we received our PADI Advanced Open Water certification cards in the mail, we figured it was time to bite the pricey bullet of purchasing our own gear. We’ve been renting throughout our Discovering Scuba journey but now that we are comfortable with our skills, it was time to get comfortable with our own gear. After doing some online window shopping and talking with our local dive shop, we chose to order from our local dive shop for two reasons: (1) we wanted to support our local, small business dive shop; and (2) their prices were better and we didn’t have to pay shipping! Here’s what we ended up settling on:
Because of the type and frequency of diving that Josh plans to do, he went with AquaLung’s middle-of-the-road Core regulator ($470) and matching octo ($150). I took the less expensive, but still reputable, road and chose the AquaLung Titan regulator and matching octo. Purchasing the AquaLung regulators and octos allowed us to take advantage of a sweet sale that AquaLung had going on for their 75th anniversary with our dive computers, which worked out really well!
Selecting dive computers was quite different between the two of us. Because Josh has higher ambitions for his scuba adventure that I do, he was interested in a dive computer that would store more information in the dive history and leaned more toward the technical diving realm. The more technical dive computers had some pretty hefty price tags, he was lucky enough to get the Sherwood Wisdom 3, which was regularly priced at $880, for a cool $550, which made him pretty happy. For me, I wanted a very simple, very easy to use dive computer with minimal bells and whistles. The decision about a console computer for me was pretty simple and I ended up going with the AquaLung i300C. Because AquaLung was running this awesome sale, we were able to score an AquaLung i100 wrist computer for $100 to be used as our backup.
We were pretty unlucky in our efforts to win safety sausages at a few scuba events, so we ended up needing to purchase them. The upside was that a 4 foot long neon purple safety sausage was now an option! Josh, of course, opted for the obnoxious 6 foot long neon orange safety sausage because…well…that’s just kind of what he does. We found that pricing was relatively consistent throughout the online ordering world ($25.98 for the 6 footer and $19.98 for the 4 footer) and ended up opting to purchase from Walmart.com, with free 2-day shipping.
When we were camping at Dutch Springs for Women’s Dive Day, we found one of the couples with our group to be especially smart when we saw them using a folding canvas wagon to easily move their camping equipment and scuba gear around. We’re not ashamed to say that we immediately copy-catted the idea! (Thanks Tina and Sid!) For $39.88, Walmart saved the day again with this folding wagon that proves to be invaluable in keeping things together and making it easy to move things around. Since it folds up pretty small, we’re also hoping to be able to, eventually, use it on the boat.
GEAR STORAGE & TRANSPORTATION
Up until this point, we had been storing our gear in a shared mesh duffel bag, which worked out really well. But, with the addition of BCD’s, regs and octos, storing and carrying everything in one bag was going to be nearly impossible. We opted to each get our own Akona Mesh Rolling Backpack to keep things together and easy to transport. At $99 a piece, they were quite a bit more expensive than the duffel bag we had been sharing but having an easy, mobile place to store everything was worth the investment.