Beginner scuba divers know how time-consuming it is to buy the individual pieces of scuba diving gear. Often, you wonder if there are scuba diving gear packages that you can buy in a wholesome instead of buying piece by piece.
Of course, they are there but choosing between the numerous brands is another daunting task altogether. In this buying guide is all the information you need to know about scuba gear packages to get you started on your underwater thrills.
The process of buying scuba diving gear packages is an easy one. All you have to do is identify the types of equipment you want to have in the package based on your skills level. When you have done this, you can then select a reputable online retailer.
There is also the option of buying the package yourself from a scuba diving store near you.
Most of the scuba diving gear packages are equipped with almost similar pieces so that you get the best use out of your purchase. There may be more, but these should be the most important things to consider.
The BCD in the package forms the bulk of the expense. Having a package with a good quality BCD gives you the freedom to move effortlessly on or under water. If you are to enjoy your dive, then you should be able to float, stand on the ocean floor, and swim mid-ocean.
Your gas tank also attaches to the BCD, so you have to carefully select it. The feature you should be looking for is the sizing and fit. You want a BCD that is neither loose nor too tight on you once inflated.
This is the part of the gear that connects the tank and your mouth. The connection is done through a mouthpiece that usually sits on your teeth. Because of the important role it plays, this piece of the gear should never be overlooked.
Here is another important piece that should be available in the set you intend to buy. It gives you all the critical dive readings such as air pressure, diving depth and time among other things. Two styles are available in the form of either the wristwatch or external styled dive computers.
There are some packages without it, meaning you will have to spend extra money to acquire one. As a beginner, prioritize the ease of use and how legible the display is.
The air in the tank is highly pressurized, making it impossible to breathe as it is. It is, therefore, the role of the regulator to convert the air into breathable oxygen. The most basic packages have a regulator that is compatible with oxygen. But if you go for those at higher prices, the air mix also increases.
This scuba diving package from Cressi contains almost all the gear that a beginner may need to get started. It is also fairly priced. Inside this package is a Cressi R1 BCD with a weight system integrated into it. There’s also a Cressi AC2 compact regulator.
Also, a Cressi Compact Octopus with a hose, an air/Nitrox Cressi Leonardo computer, a regulator bag, and a gear guide are part of the package. Although it is a great option for beginners, the front to back zippers and the PSI gauges may be a little awkward.
If you are looking for an upgrade on the Cressi R1, then the Cressi Travelight is an ideal option. This scuba diving package is designed to be as lightweight and portable as possible. All the pieces of gear fit inside the provided backpack, weighing about 15 pounds in total.
The package has diving gear such as a Cressi Travelight BCD with an integrated weight system, a Cressi MC9 regulator, Leonardo C2 console dive computer, and an iTorch (dive light). In addition, you get a Cressi mini SPG, a regulator bag, and a trolley.
The Aqua Lung Pro HD Scuba diving gear package is an incredibly durable set that is resistant to both chlorinated and saltwater use. The BCD jacket provided has weights integrated onto it.
A well-balanced diaphragm that eases your breathing is also part of the package. For the BCD, the set has a Pro HD jacket which you are supposed to wrap around you. The jacket is integrated with weights. A regulator, an Aqualung SPG, i300 computer, ABS, and a regulator bag are also available.
The Mares Abyss 22 scuba diving gear package is a set consisting of a Mares Hybrid Pro Tec BCD, a Mares Abyss 22 Navy regulator Yoke, a Mares air control alternate air source, and a Mares Puck Pro Plus Wrist Dive computer.
Also included are a Phantom Aquatics Impulse 600 Torch and the Regulator Bag from Mares. The BCD is engineered with its weights to save you the expense of an additional weight belt. While it may be great for beginners, it does not come with a pressure gauge. You have to buy it.
For scuba divers looking for a high-end scuba diving package and willing to spend large, then the ScubaPro Equator would be a great choice. The ScubaPro Equator BCD in the package has its weight systems, while the ScubaPro Galileo Luna wrist computer is fitted with a transmitter.
The set also has a ScubaPro C200 octopus with its hose and a ScubaPro MK21/S560 regulator (Yoke). From the composition, you will notice that it does not have a dive light, an SPG, and a storage backpack for the gear.
Scuba diving packages can be used for a wide range of underwater activities, but not above water activities such as water sports. You could use it to explore shipwrecks, flora underwater cities, or during scuba vacations.
Be sure to check the compatibility of the gear with the water you are to dive in. Some of the gear is meant for warm water, while others are for cold water or both. Also use a wetsuit that corresponds to the water temperature you are in whether warm, temperate or cold.
In as much as the scuba diving packages will have most of the gear that you need, some of them might be inefficient. Therefore, before you set out to use them, remember to check for the availability of everything you need.
It could be a diving torch, weights or backpacks. Often, these packages do not include snorkel masks, compasses, safety reel, knives, and fins. You have to buy these separately for convenient diving. Also, a dry suit or a wetsuit should be in your packaging depending on your preference.
The package you have will not last you longer if you don’t perform the required maintenance procedure on it. Here are helpful tips to ensure your big purchase lasts for long.
Q: Do the BCDs have weights on them?
A: Yes. All the five products in this buying guide have a weight system integrated into the BCDs. Some have pockets for holding the weights and then using a handle to pull out the weights.
Q: How do I determine the sizes I need?
A: Manufactures and retailers provide a sizing chart to be used in the determination of the right size for you. In case the sizes are not that accurate, then the adjustability features of the BCDs come in.
Q: Can I use these pieces of gear in chlorinated water?
A: It depends on the specifications provided by the Manufacturers. There are products you can use in this type of water, while others are non-tolerant to chlorine. The best way to be sure is to check the manual for a directive on what waters to go scuba diving.
Q: What is the maximum depth that the regulators can still remain operational in?
A: Regulators differ in terms of capabilities. While some can sustain you up to the set depth of 130 feet, others can still hold up until you dive to a depth of 260 feet. However, if you are a beginner or a recreational diver, then staying closer to the surface is the safest option.
Q: How Much Should I spend on a Scuba diving gear package?
A: Scuba diving sports offer divers all the choices they want. And since you would be getting involved in a sport that you love, we wouldn’t want to put a cap on the amount of money you may wish to spend on it. It all depends on how much you are willing to pay, your diving level, and the features you want.
When well-maintained, scuba diving gear packages are some of the best investments you will ever make. The pride of owning your gear is an unrivaled feeling, unlike when you rent the gear.
Buying piece by piece may be great for customization, but it is time-consuming and requires a lot of skill to pull off. Your own gear also means being able to go diving whenever you feel like as it removes the restrictions put in place by rentals.
If you are a beginner, and you are looking for the best scuba diving gear packages, then we believe the Cressi R1 Scuba Diving Gear Package is a worthwhile option. It is affordable, has good quality features, is put together by a reputable manufacturer, and allows for customization.
As a first time diver, I know how excited you are about getting your first dive computer. It is one dive gear that frees you from having to calculate the nitrogen levels using the ever complex dive tables. After completing your open water course, it is now time to make the big step up.
You, therefore, need the best dive computer for beginners. This task presents some kind of challenge, more so when there are lots of them and you might not know what features to consider. This buying guide would be a welcome relief for you.
As a beginner, the best dive computer is one that you can comfortably use its provided features. There are certain features you might not use until you reach an advanced level. Paying for one with such would be like drying your hay while the sun shines. You can also think of the future and purchase one with features for a mid-range diver.
First of all, if you can’t afford it, there is no point trying to buy it. Prioritize your budget as it helps you narrow down the available options. This will help in making for an easier choosing process. At the same time, do not have a fixed budget as it is an investment for the long run. If your budget is no issue, then feel free to choose from the available ranges.
A dive computer accrues a beginner a lot of benefits. Here are some of the reasons to get one:
A dive computer that would take you minutes to decipher the information provided is not worth a penny from you. Look for one with basic features that you can use and figure out yourself.
Buttons need to be large enough to be pressed with gloves on. I recommend getting acquainted with how the system works before taking a dip into the water.
It doesn’t make sense to buy a product that you cannot read its digits with your mask on, does it? If you can find one with a multi-color display, the better for you. However, it doesn’t have to be so. Having a dark color but on a high contrast background eases readability under water.
You may not need it at first, but you will need to nitrox in the near future. Choosing a dive computer that is nitrox integrated saves you on making the upgrade when you decide to use it. Alternating between nitrox and air is flexibility that every diver needs.
Knowing where you are headed in a dive is very important. When you have a dive computer, there is no point of having an analog compass for the same. Having the digital compass in your gear conserves space.
The mounting aspect of the computer is essential during a dive. Most of the options available are worn on the wrist, while other options allow you to attach them on your suit.
Either of them has its own advantages. So you can choose whether you prefer a simple wrist twist when taking a reading, or having a hands’ free operation when adding weights.
There are certain gauges that you can live without when under water. These include the amount of remaining air and time spent underwater. Some computers have additional gauges such as decompression time and alert to inform you when you are descending too fast.
The computer you choose should warn you when you are putting yourself at risk. You could be descending too fast or have little air remaining. The warning systems should be audible enough so that you can react accordingly.
Before you use a dive computer, check to ensure that it fits well on your wrist. Having a sophisticated computer which has a terrible fit does not work well for you. Consider your wrist sizes and the material which it is made from before diving into your hobby.
Controversy Surrounding the Best Dive Computer for Beginners
In the past, there has been folklore surrounding the use of nitrogen during dives. Nitrox diving was considered some kind of a dangerous activity. Nitrogen gas was thought to be a harmful gas that could potentially lead to the death of divers.
Contrary to this belief, nitrogen is a safe gas unlike how it was portrayed in magazines before. Divers all over the world are safely using the gas for diving.
Prerequisites to using the Best Dive Computer for Beginners
The Cressi Leonardo combines a fashionable yet simplistic design for use by beginner divers. It features an audible alarm, an easy to use on button, nitrox and air modes of usage, large readable digital outputs, and a backlit screen for use during the night.
Significantly, a safety feature designed into this dive computer automatically comes on when you are at a depth of 15 feet. Beginners have to take care not to hit the reset button accidentally. You would lose your hard set dive settings.
This entry level dive computer has the wrist mounting design that can be converted to a console-mounted computer. Its features include a special 4-button navigation, visual, and audible warning alerts. Usage modes are air, nitrox, free dive and off.
All these are displayed on a large screen, with all the data being visible at once. A strong enough backlight allows for night time or murky water reading. All the features are easy to use and include just about anything a beginner may require. There are minor quality issues you will have to deal with.
Fitted with mid-range divers in mind, the Oceanic Geo 2.0 is a great choice for a beginner who does not want to do an upgrade soon. If you don’t mind spending extra on a dive computer, then this product would be a great option for you.
It is compatible with air and Nitrox modes, allowing you to switch between the two with ease. A digital display eases data reading. Data from the computer can be transferred through a USB. 4 usage modes allow for a standard watch, nitrox and air mix, run timer gauge, and free-diving mode.
For a more tech-savvy beginner, the Aqua Lung i770R is an exceptional option. It offers a diver Bluetooth connectivity coupled with a TFT screen for high resolution. The robust and compact design meets most of the needs a beginner diver may have.
Features on the dive computer include a 3-axis, full tilt compass, an easy to use 3-button navigation system, and a multiple-gas usage capability. With the 4 operating modes and a hoseless integration, using this dive computer is made easy
With its full continuous decompression algorithm, the Suunto D4i is a great choice for a beginner. There are 4 modes in which you can use this dive computer. There is the air, free, nitrox, and off modes. When in the air-nitrox modes, a timer comes in handy.
The firmware on this product can be updated to the latest one, with the option of having a wireless integration into the air system. The product is available in a wide array of colors. However, its fast battery draining rates can be a bit of an issue at times.
Q: In case my dive computer malfunctions in the course of a dive, what should I do?
A: Although it is rare, if the computer develops issues, the safest thing to do is stop the dive. I prefer to be safer than sorry.
Q: After buying a dive computer, do you still need the compression tables?
A: There is no need. Your computer does everything for you. Having the compression tables helps you in no way, maybe if the computer gets damaged.
Q: Can I integrate my air tanks with a dive computer?
A: Yes! Air integrated dive computers make this possible. You are then able to know how much air is remaining, as well as how to do the time, depth, and decompression calculations. A beginner would appreciate these safety features.
Q: I hear beginner divers do not need dive computers, is it true?
A: Unfortunately, that is an assumption that some people have had for some time now. However, all divers need a dive computer, regardless of the skill levels.
Q: Can you use a dive computer as an ordinary watch?
A: Yes. Some of the options available have various modes of usages. When out of the water, you can use them as stylish wrist watches.
When buying a dive computer, keep the following in mind:
For beginners, a dive computer is very important for your safety when deep diving. It is your digital lifeline, providing you with accurate real-time information for the perfect dive. If you have been searching for the best dive computer for beginners, then my top pick would be the Cressi Leonardo.
It is an affordable dive computer with most if not all of the features a beginner diver would require. With it, you get a nitrox compatible equipment, one that you can use a USB cable, adjustable units of measurements, a single button operation, a battery level indicator, audible alarms, and air conservation mechanisms.
Taking the plunge on the best floating water mat is a ton of fun. If you haven’t tried it out then you are missing on a lot. Using floating water mats will give you a chance to literally walk on water as you, your family and friends have endless hours of entertainment.
If you are looking to buy the best floating water mat, then you are in the right place. We have everything there is to be known about water mats including a review of 5 of the best products available.
The first step is having a clear plan of how you expect to use the mat. Do you want to use it on a lake, ocean, river, or on a water pool? How many people will be using it? What kind of watersports activities would you be getting involved in? Answering these questions gets you the best mat out there.
Floating mats are available in small, medium, large to extra-large sizes. A common confusion is mistaking size and weight capacity. These two features are different as a small sized mat can sustain a larger weight than a large mat, depending on the construction.
Choose a size that you can comfortably roll and unroll for transportation as well as storage.
Your shopping convenience is what counts here. Whether you like the convenience of online shopping through the likes of Amazon or going physically to the nearest store and making your purchase, it is you to make the decision.
Reviews are a great way of learning more about the product you are about to buy. They are mostly done by people who have had first-hand experience in using the product. Factoring in their input helps you make a well-thought-out decision.
Before finally confirming your purchase, consider how favorable the product warranty is to you. A longer warranty gives you inner peace as well as guaranteeing you a higher quality product than a shorter one.
Floating water mats do not require any form of inflation to remain afloat on water. They rely on the buoyancy properties of closed cell foam materials used to make them. You, therefore, don’t have to invest in an additional pump. Also, you are saved from the hassle of inflating one.
When compared to pool mats, floating water mats are made from a higher quality of materials. They, therefore, last for long despite their high prices.
Floating water mats have Velcro straps for keeping the rolled mat in place after use. Moreover, they are relatively light which means that you can move them around with ease. Even if you require help, it would be minimal.
One of the critical aspects of a water mat is the material used to construct it. It is what sets the best floating water mat apart from the rest of the mats. And if that’s not enough, the material of construction is what determines how long your mat will last while in service.
The floating mat you are considering buying must be made from high-quality grade foam materials. There should also be a tough outer membrane to protect it from scratches or accidental tearing.
To maximize on durability, look for an option with an Ultraviolet stabilization layer to shield the inner foam layers from the sun rays. Check for reviews from prior users on how the mat performs when subjected to rigorous use and whether you can have a pet on board.
Buy a floating mat based on the size of your family or based on how many people you intend to have on board. The rule of thumbs is always to consider the highest capacity so that you can always accommodate an extra person on board.
But then again, there is no point in buying the largest if you have a 2-4-person family. A quick check on the weight capacity specification should tell you roughly the number of adults accepted.
For large families, consider a 3-ply mat as they are thicker, float better and have higher weight capacities.
How stable a mat is will determine the kind of activities you can perform on it. Some mats are only meant for lying down, while others can be used for more rigorous activities.
Although you will spend extra bucks on a mat that you can run, walk, fun-wrestle (for kids), and jump up and down on, these are always the best.
The 18 x 6 feet sized Rubber Dockie floating mat is made from 100% closed cell foam for a non-absorbent water accessory. This type of material also makes the mat resistant to mold and mildew. It can be used in an array of water bodies such as lakes, oceans, and rivers.
Rubber dockies are provided for tethering the mat onto stationary objects such as an anchor, pontoon, and even docks. Weighing about 30 pounds, it can accommodate a total weight of around 1200 pounds. Just be watchful when using it as it tends to tear with ease.
For your aquatic adventures, the Big Joe 2050ABW Water pad is an excellent accessory. It measures 15’ x 6’ and features a cross-linked Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) foam construction. A sea blue finish with a white splat print completes its impressive looks.
Along its widths are built-in grommets for anchoring the mat onto stationary objects. These grommets double up as holders for cups as you have fun. It weighs 7.3 pounds and can hold up to 4 full grown adults (1000 pounds). However, its buoyancy and durability are not that great at times.
For a higher weight capacity then the Fedmax Floating Mat would be a good idea. Apparently, it holds a total of 1540 pounds which translates to about 10 adults and children. A tether rope is included in the package. Its 3-ply design adds to buoyancy and tear resistance.
2 Velcro straps are availed to you for rolling up the mat either during storage or transportation. The weight is slightly heavy, registering a weight of 32.8 pounds. But if you consider the buoyancy and the increased maximum capacity, then the weight would be forgiven.
The Redneck Convent Jumbo Water Mat allows for a whole family summer fun as it holds both kids and adults. An 18’ x 6’ size ensures every person on board has adequate space for doing their own activities. What’s more, a color combination of vibrant yellow and bright orange makes it easy to spot.
12’ long bungee tether keeps it in place for a freestanding floatation. The cross-linked polyethylene foam used to make it is double layered for increased strength. Thickness is 1.25 inches. It needs an extra amount of care. Otherwise, it would sink or develop cracks.
The Floating Oasis Lake Pad is made from polyethylene foam to hold up to 1500 pounds of weight when evenly dispersed. 2 Velcro straps ease its storage after rolling up. It measures 15’ long and 6’ wide. That’s plenty of room for a relatively small family.
A proprietary foam lamination technique joins up the 2 foam layers for increased puncture and wear resistance. The polyethylene foam is non-toxic, making it gentle on kids’ skins. A potential drawback to watch out for is the tendency of the ends to curl when in use.
When using the floating water mat, keep it lying in a horizontal position. Additionally, the mat has to be well anchored and tethered so that you don’t drift away with the waves. First of all, flip twist and turn the provided anchor ends. Insert the end without the bungee into the holes along the width.
Then flip the water mat and insert the second cap into the corresponding mooring hole. Make sure the caps click into place. From the hanging bungee, attach the clipped end to a weighted anchor to provide the needed stability.
There is not much controversy surrounding the use of floating wat mats. Since they are made from non-toxic foam materials, they have little impact on the aquatic life below.
The only probable concern is the disturbance caused by the ongoing activities. However, if you keep it low-key without drugs and alcohol, then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Everybody is always about fun in the water. While at it, you need to take your safety very seriously. Floating water mat manufacturers may design a no hassle fun water accessory that’s safe, but your good judgment and use of common sense are what enforces that safety. Before using your product, remember to:
Q: Can I tow my mat behind a boat?
A: While you might do so, manufacturers explicitly state that you shouldn’t attempt to do so. If you can avoid it, then don’t tow your water mat.
Q: Should I mind wind flipping my mat?
A: No, you shouldn’t. I have never seen a mat flipped by wind as long as you keep it well anchored tied.
Q: Can my dog join in the play?
A: Yes. My dog joins us every time we are on the mat. These mats are given a finish that increases the tear-resistant properties of the mat.
Q: Should I let the mat dry first before storing it?
A: I recommended that you let it dry first before storing. However, some products have an anti-mildew and mold finish that allows you to store them without drying first.
Q: How much storage space do these mats take up?
A: Not much. Once rolled into a cylindrical shape and placed in place with the straps, even the largest mats form a nice cylinder that takes minimal storage space.
Water mats are often confused for pool mats. Some scrupulous buyers may want to sell you a pool mat at the price of a floating mat. If you find a purported mat at a fairly low price, then don’t rush to buy it.
Do extensive research on the product, including what it is made from. The materials should give you a reflection on its quality.
When buying one, give preference to quality, durability, sizing, weight capacity, and the possibility of attaching a headrest. While using it, be vigilant and use common sense so that you don’t put yourself or your colleagues in danger.
In this review roundup, I think the Rubber Dockie 18x6-Feet Floating Mat is the best floating water mat. It fairs well regarding positive reviews in comparison to the other four products. It also has a matrix within its inner structure to make it tear proof; visibility too is great as well as an outer finish that’s easy to the skin.
Regular Buoyancy Control Devices are ill-famed for occupying too much space in dive bags. And since deciding on what to leave behind is not-so-fun, scuba divers turn to the best travel BCD instead.
Travel BCDs take up little bag space, weigh considerably less and perform just like the regular options. Better still, they are easy to pack and will cost you less regarding luggage fees when flying.
Most of the BCD models have unisex labeling on them. These are great for a cross family use but may sometimes fall short of meeting your needs. Most manufacturers are these days designing more gender-specific BCDs.
These account for the present anatomic variants in both female and male divers. For example, shorter torso lengths and narrower shoulder straps are common for females than males for the same models. To prevent excess pressure on the bust, some female BCDs lack the chest straps.
Three common types of compensators are available. These are a jacket (vest), back inflation (wings), and hybrid. Each of these best suits a diver depending on their level of expertise, diving style or personal preferences.
Jacket (Vest) BCDs: This type is the most common among divers. They offer an all-round buoyancy after inflation. Inflation process can be done from the back, front, and the sides. This gives the diver total control of the compensator. Weight storage pockets are available too.
Wing BCD (Back Inflation): These are only inflatable from the back, just as the name suggests. Their bladder is at the back, giving more freedom. Also, the rider can easily stay in a horizontal position. These are meant for more skilled divers.
Hybrid BCDs: An alternative would be to combine both styles into a single product. These inflate a ¼ of the way in front, then ¾ from the back. The result is better buoyancy.
One of the fundamental reasons for investing in a travel BCD is their lightweight nature. In this way, you can carry as much gear as you need without paying exorbitant excess luggage fees.
Most of the BCDs are not more than 3 kilograms, for lighter dive luggage. If you are a frequent flyer, then these would be a great option for you.
Your regular buoyancy compensator is typically bulky, thereby occupying too much space in your bag. With the compact sized nature of travel BCDs, you would have plenty of space remaining for fins, wetsuits, photo equipment, regulators, and much more.
Because of their lightweight nature, travel BCDs are ideal choices for warm water recreational diving. Of course, some options can work well for even cold water, but you would be well-off diving in warm water.
Having weight integration in your BCD is a great feature. Some BCDs have compartments in the jacket where you can put the dive weights in. The quick release mechanism is provided so that you dump the weights when need be. Therefore, you don’t have to wear a dive belt at all.
Jacket pockets are necessary for storing dive accessories. You need to have a place for storing a dive knife, a torch, whistles, surface markers, or even cameras. Look for a model with enough space to accommodate most of your accessories so that nothing drags you in the water.
Every travel BCD indicates how much weight it holds up when inflated. Choose the lift capacity depending on the type of water you will be diving in and how thick your wetsuit is. Cold water means a thicker wetsuit, which adds to your buoyancy. The converse is true for warm water.
Nothing sucks than a BCD that doesn’t fit you properly. Having to adjust it every couple of minutes spoils the fun. Conversely, one that’s too tight becomes uncomfortable. Look for a gender-based option, or try out one that fits you like a glove.
As a frequent flyer, you aim at carrying light luggage as much as possible. If you can find a lightweight one that matches functionality and price, then that would be the best option.
Alongside storage pockets, D-Rings are other features that come in handy. The more you have, the better for you. The integrity of the rings is also important. In as much as plastic rings lower the overall BCD price, they are not as sturdy as stainless steel rings.
The best way of using a travel BCD is in warm tropical water. That is where most of them are suited. Unless it is specified that you can use it on cold water, then stick to warm water diving.
Also, limit the number of accessories you bring along and attach on the D-rings. More accessories mean more lift would be required, which might not be provided for by the travel BCD.
Over the past couple of years, critics of scuba diving continue to lay blame after blame for some of the damages to coral reefs around the globe. Some of the reasons for this is in poor buoyancy control and dropping of accessories from either a standard BCD or a travel BCD.
While it may be true, the cases may be few. And it could be caused by a lack of training to scuba divers on the use of their equipment. Out of excitement, one might cut through a reef, drop a dive knife, weight, or camera.
So, let’s all take an oath to avoid careless diving to maintain our healthy reefs. We all would love to go back to the same spectacular spots and enjoy how awesome they are.
The Cressi Start Jacket style BCD is a perfect blend of functionality and price. It is, therefore, no surprise that it is popular among those who buy their first travel BCD. The jacket is made from 1000 and 500 deniers Cordura. This material is rugged to make the jacket puncture-resistant.
Other high-quality materials are used in the construction of the other parts such as the D-Rings and releases. There are three relief or dump valves fitted on both the right and left shoulders. The third valve is located on the right side of the air cell on the rear.
An above average-sized bladder generates sufficient lift for beginners who need to stay afloat with ease. Despite its apparent impressive functionality, divers used to having an integrated weight system might be at a loss with this product.
Weighing in at about 8.85 pounds, the Zeagle Focus Jacket Style BCD is a decent choice for a travel compensator. This BCD features a soft back pad alongside a padded cummerbund for comfort. These features make it a great option for recreational scuba divers.
A high capacity bladder uses an Airplus technology to generate better lift while remaining streamlined. The bladder is made from a fade-resistant 500 denier Cordura material. Shoulder straps are made from 1000 denier nylon.
Side release buckles feature a squeeze-style doffing and donning mechanisms for easier use. Six stainless steel D-rings act as attachment points for accessories and storage. A 20 pounds integrated weight system is in place. Because of these features, this BCD is relatively pricey.
If you are looking for travel BCD that combines style and convenience, then the Cressi Aquaride Pro BCD is a great option. This Compensator offers you a great deal of versatility since you can use it in either warm or cold water. Its 420 denier nylon construction is safer too on the skin.
Adjustable shoulder, waist, and chest straps allow for customization of fit. A total of 6 D-Rings made from stainless steel are great for attaching accessories without compromising on the gear integrity. Weights depend on the size you buy but do not exceed 8.5 pounds.
The lightweight nature and trimmed down gear style makes for an easy to use compensator. A hard-frame has generous padding for user comfort. It is not without a couple of issues such as the collar stitching rubs onto the back of the neck in some divers.
The Apeks Black Ice is a weight-integrated, rugged, back inflation Buoyancy Compensator. With these designs in place, it is indeed apparent that the designers had intermediate to advanced divers in mind when they were coming up with this product. Despite the heavy duty construction, it is surprisingly comfortable.
How does 5 pounds sound for a travel BCD? Impressive, right? Thanks to its Wrapture Harness system, it provides great comfort, stability, and a custom fit. The system comprises of swiveling shoulder buckles, thin backplate, all of which hold onto you when inflated.
With a modular design in place, divers can adjust individual parts of their gear to achieve that perfect snug fit. E valves on the BCD have easy grip pull pumps.
This 2013 model of the Avid 400 series has a cqr-3 weight release system. It’s a system that is highly regarded when it comes to making it easy to install and remove the BCD pockets. A jacket style of design provides comfort, dependability, and functionality.
Exhaust valves which lack in previous models add a newer and more practical look to this compensator. Trim weights pockets improve accessibility as they can be adjusted without a hassle. Sizes range from small to 5X-Large. It covers all sizes of divers with a 100 percent fit rate.
Using the integrated weights system is one feature about this BCD that you have to be well-versed with. Particularly, you have to be well aware of its limitations and how it operates. An operating manual is provided so that you refer to anything that you find confusing.
Always be competent enough to scuba dive before using your travel BCD. If it is possible, go through training then get certified. You should also be well conversant with the parts of the buoyancy compensator you are using.
Refer to the provided manual every time you aren’t sure about anything. Any mishap can be disastrous and can even cause death.
You want your BCD to last, don’t you? Here are some measures to help you out
Q: Can I use a travel BCD for everyday use?
A: Yes. Provided the buoyancy and water conditions are right, then why not?
Q: Should I buy or rent a travel BCD?
A: It depends on the frequency of diving, and whether you are willing to spend on one. If you are a regular diver, then buying your own would be great. Otherwise renting would save you the space and initial cost on investment
Q: Are weights very necessary?
A: Yes, and no. Salty water is high in density and would support your weight easily hence making you buoyant. So, if you want to dive deeper, then you must add weight to offset the balance. You will then need to adjust the weights relative to air to maintain neutral buoyancy.
Q: How deep can you go with a travel BCD?
A: The depth depends on the weights and amount of air you have. Going deeper depletes your air reserve due to the increased pressure. A standard depth shouldn’t exceed 39 m (130 feet). However, 9-18 meters should be great.
Q: Are travel BCDs Expensive?
A: There is a price for everyone. It all depends on the features you want.
Much like anything else you might want to buy, you tend to get “what you pay for.” The cheaper a BCD is, the lesser features it has, and there is every possibility that its practicality would be impaired.
It doesn’t mean you have to go high end also. There are lots of mid-range BCDs to choose from. Factor in your skill levels too. An expensive, more-featured product would be too complex for a beginner. A cheap alternative would also be too basic for an advanced diver.
In this review, the Cressi Start Jacket Style BCD emerges top in my opinion as the best travel BCD. It weighs 7.65 pounds (3.5 kgs), which is quite low, just as you may love it to be. The pricing is another plus, meaning that most divers can afford it.
The whole construction is made from erosion and puncture resistant materials for durability. Two pockets and 4 D-rings provide decent storage spaces and accessories attachment points. Better still, this Travel BCD is certified to meet safety standards.
On a warm sunny day, nothing quite feels like enjoying yourself in the open water. Water skiing is one of the most popular summer water sports for both pros and beginners. Despite its steep learning curve, when you’ve got the best Water skis and a little practice, you should be good to go.
To find the right Water skis for you, you need lots of patience, trials and errors. You also have to do extensive research as you talk to experienced skiers. You could also simply read and learn all that there is to know about water skis.
Unknown to most people, there exist four distinct types of water skis. The design differs to meet the needs of different users and skier styles.
These types are sold as a single unit while featuring two bindings. These bindings are laid out on the skis such that one is behind the other in successional patterns. Their front parts are wider than the rear end. This shape allows a skier to decelerate faster as you approach a turn. Therefore, you have to be skilled to ride them.
These are almost similar with the slalom types, although they are somehow wider. Unlike slaloms which are meant for the skilled, these tend to lean towards beginners. The increased width makes them buoyant for a stable ride. One of their distinguishing features is the presence of side cuts for ease of turning.
These types are sold in pairs, each with its own binding. This feature makes them great for use between family members with different skill levels. If you find a good one, you should be able to use it from your beginner days until you become a pro. Such feats are possible, thanks largely to the adjustable bindings on them.
From the name, you can already deduce that they are meant for kids or junior level riders. There is always a stabilizer bar between the two skis to make it easier for kids to get up. In addition, a towrope aids the riders in keeping uniform distance between skis. You then focus solely on riding, and not skis separating.
Water skiing in your brand new ski is advantageous to your body in a number of ways. These may be health-wise, fun or just an overall body workout.
For a beginner, the O’Brien Reactor Combo is a great and affordable water skis option. They are designed for those looking to start their water skiing hobby. As a result, it has a wide body for increased stability as you practice.
The whole length measures 67 inches or 170 cm. This length makes them suitable for skiers of 5 feet, 7 inches in height. Adjustable bindings make them a decent fit for adult males of foot sizes between 4.5 and 13. A plastic fin and 700 bindings make it a great asset for you.
With its 65” length and wide body, the Airhead wide body allows for greater water displacement. This feature is ideal for beginners as it gives the water skis a much superior stability and an easier startup than it would have in a narrower product.
Dual density bindings that it comes with allow those of sizes from 5 to 12 to use them. These sizes are for the United States. Another good feature is the hour glass shape. It makes for an easier to turn waterski, even for a slow boat.
Specifically made for kids, the O’Brien All-Star is an ideal waterski for teaching your kids the art of water skiing. As a learning gear, your child gets a stabilizer bar to aid him/her stabilize and prevent knee knocks. Also included is a trainer rope for the ultimate beginner experience.
If your kids weigh a maximum of 85 pounds, then these waterskis are meant for them. Bindings that can be adjusted for different feet sizes are also availed. Dual fins are molded into the rear of these water skis for the purposes of tracking speed.
Are you looking for a 68” long waterski? Here is a great one that measures 173 cm and weighs 15 pounds. Engineering of this pair of waterskis is such that it can be used by skiers weighing between 135 and 240 pounds.
The slip in adjustable bindings is flexible enough to fit size 9 to 14 without being too tight or loose. For those learners who need a stabilizer bar, you can buy one separately. A reinforced composite imparts flexibility and strength onto this water ski.
Just as the name suggests, the O’Brien Jr Vortex Widebody are intended for use by junior skiers. Both learner and intermediate skier kids enjoy the appealing parabolic shape. This shape makes it possible for beginners to start their rides in deep water.
Beginners usually experience the annoying tendency of the water skis drifting apart. But that is something that you cannot experience on these water skis. The provided stabilizer bar keeps them together for an easier pull. Dual density bindings fit right into the feet of kids of size 2 as well as men of size 7.
Skiers are grouped into competition, advanced, intermediate-advanced, intermediate, novice and first time skiers. The water ski that you intend to buy has to match your skills and capabilities. It does you no good buying a pro-rated product if you are a novice.
With this in mind, remember that combo skis are great for beginners. A slalom ski would then suit best an intermediate skier. For kids, look for a youth ski.
Water skis have a weight rating on them. You need to buy one that can comfortably keep you afloat and last you long. A rule of thumb is that heavy skiers are better off with a long and wide water ski. The converse should be true.
There are tons of water skis manufacturers out there. This is a good thing as they have to outdo one another through the production of high quality products for skiers. Everybody has their preferences, but here are examples of brands you can expect to find.
For a beginner skier, you need to learn one or two skiing basics if you want to enjoy yourself out there. The very first step needs to be learning how to stay up and start propelling yourself. Investing in a wide water ski provides you the stability to perform all these.
The next skill then becomes carving. This skill refers to the maneuvers you use to avoid obstacles, be stable, and do the courses. For this purpose, your ski must be good at turning, with efficient fins and deeper rockers.
To get you started, below is a video that I think will help you a lot. And before you get started, ensure you are wearing a snug fitting life jacket or any floatation gear.
Q: What is the recommended Skiing Speed?
A: There is no standard speed with which the boat has to move at. What is important is that you don’t go below the minimum speed for you to stay upright. If you travel too fast, then the wake of the board will knock you off.
Q: How easy is it to care for water skis?
A: The truth is that these products do not require much. Simply wash them using warm, fresh water after a round in salty water, leave them to dry in a shaded area, then store in a dry cool spot. Keep petroleum based lubricants away from them.
Q: Can I use my wakeboard in place of a water ski?
A: In as much the skills of these two water sports are transferable and are subtle in differences, I think the gear used cannot be swapped.
Q: How do I limit spray that makes it hard for me to see when skiing?
A: The first step is to ride at a speed that matches your ability levels. Secondly, you need to correctly time your pull. Always hold your direction for as long as possible off the second wake towards the buoy.
Q: Is it possible to try out a water ski before buying it?
A: Yes. There are retailers who allow you to try out their products before buying. You just have to look carefully as it gives you a more assured buy.
Apart from the aforementioned features, there are also a host of other essential features that you should have in consideration. The material of construction, the shape of the ski edge, base shape, bindings, and fins all contribute to a better or worse skiing experience.
As you go through reviews of various products, note their features while trying to figure out which one works for you. Does the speed suit you? Is the type meant for your skills? These are examples of soul searching questions that will help you separate the grains from the chaff.
In this review, I think the Airhead Wide Body Combo Water Skis are the best water skis for a beginner. Its bindings fit great, the length is appropriate, and it’s a combo ski which is ideal for beginners.
Every surfing enthusiast has their own definition of having fun while out and about in the water. And isn’t that all that matters? I know most of you might believe that performing all manners of flips and tricks with your foam board is what entails fun. That might not be true.
If you are feeling disappointed and downtrodden, then it could be time to change surfboards. Take it from me, I used to have one of those regular surfboards and didn’t achieve much until I got to know of surfboard foamies from a friend.
These surfboards are the soft types that basically ride like the usual surfboards, albeit with a host of increased possibilities. Available in options of long and short, a surfboard foamie is definitely a watersports gear you want to try out.
Apart from the materials surfboards are made from, the most apparent differences between surfboards are their lengths. Surfboards are divided into two: Longboards and Shortboards.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of the two so that you know which option to go for when the time comes.
Between the two, it is this type that has been around for the longest time. Their lengths typically vary between 9 and 15 feet with weights of up to 80 kilograms. Because of their lengths, these surfboards have more float in water making it easier for surfers to catch waves and paddle through the water.
If you ask most experts, they will tell you that these types are best used by surfing pros. Their enormous sizes make them difficult to maneuver on water, plus it becomes harder to get over waves.
However, others will tell that these are the best for learning since they are very buoyant and slower on the water in comparison with Shortboards. They are also more stable than their counterparts.
If you are an intermediate to advanced surfer, these are great choices. There is no specific length for a Short board as it refers to anything below 6 feet, 6 inches. Shortboards are meant for surfers with a thirst for speed as well as maneuverability.
Unlike the rounded nose on the longboards, these products have a pointed nose with about 3 fins. Shortboards are not ideal for use by beginners for a myriad of reasons. They are thin, unstable, and fine-tuned for high-speed performance. These are the exact opposite of what a learner requires.
Surfboard foamies are a great investment to a surfer, no matter the skills levels. It accrues the user several benefits over other materials. That is why their popularity is on the rise in recent times. These foamies are great for a number of reasons.
The Giantex Surfboard is a 6 feet long shortboard with removable fins. It is a great option for beginners, kids, children, and adults alike, provided you do not weigh more than 200 pounds. Its top surface construction is done from a foam material, while its slick bottom features a High-Density Polyethylene for responsiveness.
In addition, the deck of this core is made from an expanded polyethylene for stiffness, while its core is expanded polystyrene for less weight and rigidity. Transportation is easier due to the inclusion of the removable fins. A fishtail provides more traction and holds for more lift and better speed planning.
Measuring 4 feet long, the Wave Bandit is a twin fin foam surfboard for those who are looking to start surfing. The shape is designed such that it can be conveniently used by kids. On its core is a dual composite construction done at high pressure to withstand variable speeds.
The two fins that this surfboard comes with can be removed. By removing the fins, you can safely transport your board as well as surf without them, albeit with reduced capabilities. The package includes a leash plug and the accompanying pro-style leash. For better board grip, you can apply surf wax.
The Tri-Wave Bandit performer is Turquoise in color and measures 6 feet, 6 inches in length. A fish shape, as well as a rocker feature makes this surfboard a relatively high performer in its class of surfboard foamies. It features a dual composite core as well as twin wood stringers.
In order to easily slice through water and rise above waves, the bottom part is made from high-density polyethylene. As part of the 3 fins configurations, a 4.5 inches long performance thruster is included. Additionally, it requires surf wax for better grip.
For added fun out in the water, I think you would love the egg-shaped Wave Bandit EZ Rider. With this shape, beginner and advanced surfers alike can use it with ease. It is relatively long as it measures about 8 feet in length. You have to be sure you can handle that length before making a purchase.
Expanded Polystyrene foam is used in the construction of the core. It makes it stiff enough to handle higher youth/beginner weights. At 21.6 pounds, this surfboard does not handle much weight. Pop through thermoplastic Polyurethane 3 fin setup measuring 4.5 inches enhances speed control as well as maneuverability.
The Liquid Shredder foam surfboard measures 5 feet, 10 inches long and has a fish shape. It also has wooden stringers. These features make it an excellent choice for young beginner riders. An increased width easily floats on water while the stringers add to the overall strength and board stiffness.
Instead of gluing the parts together, they are heat laminated. It is a design feature that prevents stripping of the Expanded polyethylene deck and the slick bottom. The soft foam deck is forgiving in case you black out and it hits you. Included in the package are the 2 fins and the post on which you connect the leash on.
The 8-foot-long Wavestorm surfboard features a great looking brushed graphic that stands out. A removable ankle leash, a concave shape, and a set of 3 fins make it a high-performance longboard. Provided you do not weigh more than 200 pounds, then this board would be a good surfing gear.
Board strength results from the core made of an expanded polystyrene. At the rear end of the board is a traction pad together with 3 marine-ply stringers. These work together to ensure your stability on the board. High-density polyethylene makes for a slicker board bottom.
Do you fancy an egg-shaped longboard for surfing? Well, if so then you could check out the Wave Bandit Ben Gravy Pro EZ. A white finish on the deck and flamboyant graphic on the underside makes it look great. Double maple stringers made from wood run from end of the board to add it strength and stiffness.
The core of the surfboard is made from an Expanded Polystyrene. This type of foam uses beads which results in the lightweight properties of the surfboard. Other likable features include a “pop thru 4.5 inches TPU tri fins set up” and a slick high-density polyethylene board bottom.
For better bending resistance, this 8-foot-long has a 3 stringer system. This means increased weight handling as well as making it resistant to flexure. Soft foam construction reduces the chances of you getting hurt or damaging other peoples’ board when a wave wipes you out.
The top deck is formed by putting together water barrier skin crosslinks and deck rails. A surfer gets adequate leg room for a myriad of riding styles. To create a slick bottom, a glossy polyethylene foam is used then finished off with a brushed color graphic art on the deck.
As a beginner or an intermediate surfer, the 7-foot-long Channel Islands surfboard matches your skill and performance requirements. However, even pros can still have a go at it once in a while for the feel-good factor.
Weighing just about 10.8 pounds and having a weight limit of 200 pounds, nearly every entry and intermediate level person can use it. 3 removable fins and their tuck through bolts are included in the package. High-density HDPE bottom enables a smooth sliding over water.
Channel Island surfboards have been around for some time now. They produce some impressive surfboard foamies, and this one is a classic example. With a length of 7 foot, it’s a great fun surface for any adult or teen weighing over 110 pounds
You also have to be taller than 5 foot and 6 inches to comfortably use this surfboard foamie. Stability is key if you are an intermediate level surfer. It handles well and is easier to maneuver in comparison to a 9 foot and above surfboards.
There is an insane number of surfing boards you can buy. Considering the design and your preferred surfing style easily eliminates over 80 percent of the surfboards you might not be buying. Consider things like how big the waves are or if you will be traveling frequently with the board.
For beginners, a simpler board would do. Things like surfboard nose or the rocker shouldn’t concern you much.
It may sound like high-level science, but in essence it is not. Most first time buyers do not consider the indicated volume of their boards. This figure is usually indicated on the surfboard.
In denotes the size of waves the board can surf on. For bigger or erratic waves, a small volume would be ideal. But if the waves are flatter, then you need most speed and this means that you will need more volume.
Next, you have to know the nose to tail length of the surfboard before picking it. The width of the board also determines whether its designated for a pro or a beginner. I have seen too many beginners struggle in boards that are too narrow for their skills.
For a beginner, the wider the board, the better suited it is for you. A width of not less than 20 inches provides just about enough surface area for stability. But then again, you should be able to carry the board under your arms. Dragging the board is just reckless.
The durability of your board is one aspect that you must consider. If you are a beginner, you would want your board to last you through your training until you master the waves. A durable board also comes in handy when you frequently bang the board on rocks.
For a learner, falling would be a norm. You need a surfboard that would escape unscathed from such eventualities. Look for what prior buyers say about its ding resistance properties before settling on it.
Wave Bandit is one of the leading brands for beginner to intermediate surfboards. In fact, most of the top surfboard foamies I have included in this review are from Wave Bandit. There are a huge number of other models you could choose from.
Although they are rare, these brands are some of the cheapest, solid build surfboards. They are mostly made for beginners looking out to try their wave rising skills for the first time.
Despite being a new entrant in the surfboard foamie market, this company is beginning to cut a niche for themselves in the creation of top-notch boards. Standard Shortboards and longboards are available.
Boards from the Channel Islands are famed among beginners who are looking for fairly long surfboards. There are quite a number of products with top foam and bottom HDPE construction.
The best way of learning how to use a surfboard foamie is by learning from a surfing pro. Do not try to learn the whole process on your own as it would lead to unnecessary frustrations. Every one of us advanced surfers are always willing to teach a beginner a trick or two.
You only need to be willing to learn and be sincere of your surfing abilities. Whenever you need help stabilizing yourself on the board, just ask for help. If you have parents who are surfers themselves then having them teach you how to surf would be the best.
I have seen tons of families on the beach teaching their kids how to surf. In as much as it’s a hilarious sight to watch due to the tumbles, it gives you great joy.
Q: Between a longboard and a shortboard, which one should I get?
A: The length of your board is dependent on skill levels, type of surfing style and the surfing direction. For first-timers, longboards or wide Shortboards would be ideal
Q: Should I wax my surfboard?
A: A shortboard requires relatively little waxing in comparison to a standard surfboard. So yes, some waxing wouldn’t be so bad.
Q: Does a surfboard foamie have any advantages in terms of faster learning?
A: A surfboard alone does not determine how fast or slow you learn how to surf. A surfboard does have its advantages as it makes the learning curve easier than other boards.
Q: After getting my surfboard foamie, do I need any other surfboard?
A: That depends on you. However, part of surfing fun comes from the idea of trying out a variety of boards. If you intend to become a pro then try out all the options you can get.
Q: Do the fins on foam surfboards come already attached?
A: No. Most of the surfboards I have come across come with the fins unattached. However, doing the assembly is a breeze.
Apart from being a challenging water sports, surfing is one of the most fun activities around. Just ensure you have the best surfboard for the job. It makes it easier to catch an increased number of waves and ride them to the shore.
Finding the best one boils down to preferences and user skills levels. That being said, I think you might want to consider the 6-foot Giantex Surfboard and the Wave Bandit Ben Gravy EZ if you want to buy a shortboard and longboard respectively.