Ultimate scuba gear for the geek diver
Scuba diving is one of those sports that you can rent all the kit out for next to nothing from a shack on a beach or break the bank with plenty of kit to impress your fellow divers with. But what is the best kit if you really want all the toys?
We sat down with Collin Miles, owner of Divecrew.co.uk, and PADI platinum course director (one of the highest qualifications), to find out what the best dive kit on the market is.
Twin set tanks
Designed for the more technical diver, two tanks is better than one, well if you want to stay underwater longer or go deeper.
Yes, it is heavier to lug around but that double tank action will give you what you need come specialist dives.
Twin sets are available from a range of different makers, but expect to pay around £2000 for a decent rig.
Scubapro Seawing Nova fins
Fin technology has changed quiet a bit since James Bond donned a pair for Dr. No. The latest tech involves the fin taking cues from nature, this time a whales tail and the manta ray.
The articulated joint allows the blade to pivot and the entire blade is able to generate thrust, while according to the blurb "This fin has the power, acceleration and manoeuvrability of a paddle fin with the comfort, efficiency and effortless speed of split fins".
What that means in the real world is that you get a lightweight fin that gives you plenty of movement without much effort; letting you stay under water longer.
Getting a good hose might not seem like something you want at the top of your list, however the MiFlex ones should be.
Not only will it save you plenty of weight in your luggage, but the design means that the cable can get in a knot and still work. Boring, but a worthy addition to your dive kit bag.
Scubapro/Uwatec Galileo SOL Dive Computer
There are avarage dive computer watches and then there are others that are so packed to the hilt that you wander whether it's got enough power to run your office.
While the Galileo SOL won't let you send emails at the bottom of the ocean, it does come with a rather large LCD screen and the ability to wirelessly talk with your tanks and your heart (via a heart-rate monitor) so you can see what's what.
Those transmitters, optional of course, mean that the computer can give you up to date information on how long you've got left under water based on how you are breathing, rather than how you are supposed to be breathing. Clever.
Anyone who dives already knows that the aim is to use as little energy as possible. Doing so conserves your energy, which conserves your air, which means you can stay under water longer.
A sea scooter or (diver propulsion vehicle) lets you swish your way around a dive site with minimum of fuss, and look like you are out of the set of an underwater action film.
Varying in weight, size and power, expect to pay around £300 and to not go too fast. You don't want to scare the fishes now do you?
Chances are if you've been diving in the last 20 years your BCD (the jacket you wear to hold your tank) would have looked like a waist coast.
The latest BCD design sees the air pockets sticking out the side of the tank rather than the side of you.
What that means in the water is that you can keep a more horizontal position (better) rather than having to fight with stuff around your waist.
More important if you are night diving, but also helpful if you are after a bit of visibility, the metal sub torches are no ordinary torches.
Rather than offer you something that resembles light, here you get a variety of different bulb options to blind other divers and fish.
The power comes from a pack that attaches to your tank and a cable between the two means you won't lose it if dropped.
Neptune Space Predator full-face mask
Unless you want to spend your underwater time making shapes with your hands that you've just seen a "parrot fish" or a "big f**king shark" you should look at getting a full face mask.
Why? Well because as the name suggests it means you're free to talk to someone who is rigged up too.
Yes it's expensive, yes it will make you look like a character from Mask, but at least you'll be able to say "he's behind you" when that shark comes swimming your way.
Fuji F80 with underwater housing and strobe flash
While you can get plenty of cameras that work under water, Fuji is the choice for most divers with the new F80 top of the pile.
The image quality is a lot more natural and not as glossy as the F50, so you might want to get a strobe flash (£200) to boost your pictures, certainly if you are heading below 30m.
Price £575 (inc strobe flash)
What dive kit do you recommend for the diver that has to have it all? Let us know in the comments below.
Collin Miles has been diving for 13 years and currently holds the highest qualification from PADI, allowing him to teach everyone from beginners to instructors. He runs divecrew.co.uk, a dive shop based in Bracknell, Berkshire. Collin spends most of his time teaching around the world, everywhere from the Maldives to the UK.