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Traveling with Scuba gear?

Travel Forums Travel Gear Traveling with Scuba gear?

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1. Posted by swimmergrl (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

Hey all!

I'm not new to traveling, but I am new traveling away from populated areas and having to carry my luggage instead of rolling it! This summer (May 2007) I'm going to Mexico for 5 weeks to volunteer on a reef survey project, a little south of Tulum. I haven't been scuba diving before, but I start open water certification next Saturday! My question for scuba divers is, how do you take your scuba gear when you travel? The group I'm doing this through suggests a hiking backpack, which is also new to me! I have to take a full 3mm wetsuit, fins, mask, snorkel, and possibly dive computer (If I can afford it!) I know to take the mask, snorkel, and computer in my carry on, but this still leaves questions as the best way to carry the rest of the scuba stuff along with everything I'll need for 5 weeks.

On top of the scuba gear, I've been told the shelters provided for sleeping are super cramped and even with a mosquito net, really bad at keeping out the bugs. A guy who went on this trip in 2005 said a tent with noseeum netting is alot more comfortable. I've got a tent, but it doesn't have noseeum mesh. Any tips on a 2-3 person tent with noseeum mesh that is around a $100? I've been looking at the Eureka Apex 2XT. I won't have to backpack with the tent, other than arriving and leaving. I don't have a bag yet, I'm sorta waiting until I get most of my gear first, but from looking around, I can tell they aren't terribly secure. Since the tent would have to be strapped to the bag, there seems to be a big risk in something getting "lost". Is there a heavy duty canvas bag available I could put my entire bag, tent, and sleeping mat/bag in, zip up and lock, or would it just be better to duct tape it all together? Seems like that would make it difficult to get checked in security. I did a quick check for supplies on the internet, and I could make a custom sized rectangular bag to keep all the bulky stuff together for less than $50. Then when I got out of the airport, take everything out of the bag and pack it as well. Then I could use it as a seperate checked bag if I have bulky presents to bring back, and I could use it as a cushion in my tent, etc. Does this sound like a good option?

One question I do have about backpacks, is how to choose the right bag! I'm only 5' 3", so I don't want a bag bigger than I am, but I also don't want it to be too small. Any suggestions on bag sizes to look for?

Thanks so much for everybody's help!

Rachel

2. Posted by swimmergrl (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

There have to be some scuba divers on these forums! The other stuff I can struggle through myself, but I'm a newbie with scuba!

Thanks!

Rachel

3. Posted by PirateDani (Budding Member 153 posts) 9y

hey!

I dont know much about tents other than there are some real good 1 person tents at my local camping place, unfortunatly I live in the UK and that isnt much help to you.

But I am a diver.
I have a question to ask, are you going to have your BC (boyancy compensator also known as a BCD) provided for you? And what about regulators (octopus)

Ok, firstly, have you looked at Dive Bags? There are several avaliable on the market that also double as back packs (but I wouldnt use them soley as a backpack) Since they are designed to take dive gear (and some of them 2 tanks) there will be more than enough room, even if you had to take regs and BC. SCUBAPRO, Ocianic, Mares, Ralph Tech, Tusa, Posiden all have extensive ranges.
I actually own 3 different bags. My SCUBApro is the smallest, stanting at just less than 1m. I take that to Egypt, I can fit 2 weeks worth of clothes plus BC, Regs, med kit spares and repair kit. I also have a Ralph Tech which was specially desined to accomadate my twin set, and my Mares is HUGE. I can go away for month and take both my BC's and regs in it. (but I always have to pay excess since it is so big)

I noticed you said you dont have a dive computer. You are going to Mexico for 5 weeks, possibly diving every day. You will need a dive computer. By the 2nd day you will be sick of working out your tables, plus the tables are very restrictive. You will find that anyone who does have a computer will be staying in the water longer because the computer is constantly adjusting and recalculating your No Deco time. (and since you are doing you open water, that means your a recreational diver, which means you will not have the knowledge or equipment to undertake decompression stops. Going into deco for you would mean a trip to the local hyperbaric chamber and a couple weeks no diving) Computers are a safer way to dive.

(I will be back in two mins, have to answer a phone)

4. Posted by PirateDani (Budding Member 153 posts) 9y

ok, where was I?

oh yeah. You also want to think about taking spares. Mask strap, fin straps, mouthpieces, spare mask (cheap kiddie one will do) spare cheap pair of trainers (dive boots don't float, and you cant use open healed fins without some sort of foot wear) and take lots of o-rings. The people you are working for should have a very extensive repair kit, but that does not mean they can repair your kit. Equipment can differ in very slight ways. (like I take my own spare mouthpieces because I use a smaller size mouthpiece than 90% of other divers, thus if mine came loose or I bit through it, I would be left with the spare mouthpiece on the dive boat that had been in the box for several years and was too big for my mouth)

I would also take your own med kit with you too. I have a MediPac kit. I don't think you can get them in the US. I never looked. It contains a lot of stuff that I would use in an emergency and in hospital. I don't trust hospitals in other countries.

Now all I have just told you could be circumspect. I am assuming a lot of your needs, which may not be the case. My best advice would be, go to your local dive shop with your itinerary and working requirements. They will be able to help you much better. Which ever agency you are being taught with (PADI? SSI?) will be able to direct you to a good dive shop if you don't know one. The staff in there will be very helpful, (And if not, try a different shop) and they will be up to date with new equipment and can better advise you on what to take, and what not to take.

5. Posted by swimmergrl (Budding Member 7 posts) 9y

Thanks for the info! I will only be taking fins, boots, wetsuit, snorkel, mask, dive light, knive, etc, but nothing mechanical. They are providing everything else. Their insurance doesn't cover them fixing personal kits, and since the base is located in the middle of the Sian Kaan Biosphere reserve, there won't be many opportunities for going to town to service broken gear. For a computer, I really would like one, however, money is an issue. I only learned about and signed up for this trip in December, so I have 5 months to go from never been scuba diving to open water, with gear and costs associated with that, I need to renew my passport, buy dive insurance, and Kansas is the land of dirt, so the closest decent dive shop is 2 hours away. I'm doing NAUI open water through my college, but I'll have to go a state or 2 over to do the certification dive since clear water doesn't exist in Kansas! Alot of the required kit is expensive, so I really have to look at what is reasonable. As a college student, I can't work full time to save up a ton of money for everything. Even if I have a computer, I'll still have to use the dive tables since its a requirement for the program, so there are some things that are ranked higher on my list than a computer. It is up there, but not the top.

One other question I do have is, would compressing a folded wetsuit damage it? Should I roll it us instead, make sure it is on top in the bag?

Thanks again for the help! I'll look into a smaller dive bag since I won't need to carry tanks.

Rachel

6. Posted by PirateDani (Budding Member 153 posts) 9y

You will want to check out DAN. Every diver should be a member of DAN. I have had to use their sevices several times in my diving career.

Rolling a wet suit is fine. The best way I found was to lay it on the floor, face up. Flod the armsacross the chest, and fold the legs up, then roll it from the bum up. Then when you can roll anymore, use the pull cord on the zip to keep the bundel from unrolling. (If your suit zips at the front, then lay it down back up)
Wet suits are also brilliant for protecting breakables. I always roll my wet suits around my regs.

You know that you can hire dive computers?

You will still need to take spares for your own kit. Its naff having a fin strap break in the middle of a dive day.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 23, 2007, at 3:21 AM by PirateDani ]

7. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y

Hi swimmergrl
dont let you get to confused from the big boys.
if you roll up your wetsuit or not is not a big deal because it is not for storage only for the time of the flight?
BCD and the weightbelt (the experts forgott about it)I would think you can rent or you get it for free since you will help them.
Diving with a computor is now common,but they are also"human".
Imagen,before computers people where diving,calculating the dive profile.
Dont be scared about diving,do your open water and if you like it go for advanced and bouyancy controll that you wont make damage to corals.
enjoy the new world.
,
marlis

8. Posted by PirateDani (Budding Member 153 posts) 9y

Quoting marlis

BCD and the weightbelt (the experts forgott about it)I would think you can rent or you get it for free since you will help them.
marlis

goodness, weight belt.......cant believe forgot that one

9. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 9y

hi Pirate Dani,
as long as you dont forgett to take a tank before you jump in the water ...;)
Marlis

10. Posted by PirateDani (Budding Member 153 posts) 9y

or turn it on......