Diving is a sport in which equipment plays an important role. Personal equipment provides safety and comfort and, regardless of the fact that every diving center has equipment for rent, divers always carry some pieces of equipment with them. While traveling by car to the Adriatic Sea is one thing, traveling by plane to Mexico, the Galapagos, or the Philippines is quite another
THE CHALLENGE OF AIR TRAVEL
When you carry diving equipment on a trip, certainly the biggest challenge is its weight and fragility. That is why you will surely not take everything you have in your box, and what you do bring with you should be packed safely. If you do sport diving, then you only need a few pieces of equipment and your trip will not be much different than usual. However, technical diving is a completely different thing, as there is much more logistics. Namely, it is not that simple to rent technical equipment, so you should carry everything with you.
EQUIPMENT THAT I ALWAYS CARRY WITH ME
When diving, safety, and comfort are of utmost importance. In addition, you know your own equipment best, so you can trust it completely, which boosts your self-confidence. These are all reasons to always take with you the following:
REGULATOR Regulator is undoubtedly the most important part of equipment for safe diving. Every responsible diver takes care of the appropriate servicing of the regulator, particularly regular cleaning and maintenance. An important part of the regulator is the mouthpiece, whose correct size and shape ensure comfortable diving, and at the same time, the mouthpiece is also related to hygiene. If you plan to travel a lot, consider obtaining a travel regulator that is lighter and has a smaller second stage octopus, and above all, do not forget a high-quality protective travel case. Another tip – it is never too much to have the appropriate adapters for DIN or INT valve with you.
DIVING COMPUTER Another important piece of equipment that accompanies every dive you make. You know that you can immediately see the main dive data on the screen, you know how to adapt it to different diving conditions (nitrox, etc.), you can quickly connect it to a computer and transfer the data to a digital dive log. Another tip – before you go to the airport, check the restrictions and prohibitions related to batteries in the diving computer. Lithium-ion batteries are prohibited in check-in luggage, while you can have them in hand luggage. However, check the current safety regulations before departure.
MASK (AND SNORKEL) A mask that gets foggy, press too hard, or does not fit well on your face, and at the same time leaks water all the time, can spoil even the most beautiful dive. Once you have found a perfect mask model that will make you feel great, always carry it with you, no matter how far you travel for diving. Of course, you can also use a rented mask from time to time, but the mask is an indispensable part of every diver’s personal equipment. The mask should be kept in a special hard box for masks so that it does not get damaged, or you can put it between the clothes in a suitcase. Snorkel does not weight much, and because of the mouthpiece, it is also in the group of “comfort” equipment. However, if you use it often, find a travel model that is more flexible.
BUOYANCY COMPENSATOR Buoyancy compensator is not a necessary part of travel diving equipment, but it still contributes a lot to safety, and even more to the comfort of diving. You can find all the rings, belts, and inflatable hose on your compensator even with your eyes closed, they are always exactly where you need them. There is also the comfort of diving with a compensator that is perfectly adapted to your body, instead of having one hanging like a bag.
If you travel a lot, you can choose the travel version of the compensator, which is typically slightly smaller and lighter, and in addition, the travel compensator is easier to assemble and takes up less space. If you have a technical-sports compensator, replace the steel backplate with one made of aluminum or hard plastic, otherwise, only the plate weighs 3 kg or more.
EQUIPMENT THAT YOU CAN EASILY RENT
You can easily rent everything else about the equipment in the diving center of your destination. In tropical seas, you will not need a wetsuit 5 or 7 mm thick, but a “shorty” will do. Neoprene boots and fins are also quite universal equipment, and this category also includes a hood, gloves, compass, flashlight, knife, buoy, rope, and tools. Although most divers have their own tank and weights, you will definitely not carry them around the world, especially not by plane.
DIVING TRAVEL BAGS
Conveyor belts and airport baggage handlers are anything but gentle, so you need to protect your fragile diving equipment well. It is best to put the regulator and the diving computer in your hand luggage, and you can pack the mask in your travel bag in a protective box or, as I mentioned earlier – between the clothes in your suitcase.
If you do decide on extra luggage and take complete diving equipment with you, pack it in a special diving bag. Usually, these bags are stronger, have a handle and durable wheels for easier transport, quality fasteners, and a security lock, and the inside is softly lined so as not to damage the equipment. Diving bags and suitcases are big enough to put all your belongings in them, including fins and drysuit if needed. For wet equipment, always carry one or two garbage bags with you in case the equipment does not dry quickly enough after diving.
PACK AND CHECK THE WEIGHT
When preparing for a trip, divide the equipment into two parts – the first part of the equipment goes in the “check-in” suitcase, and the second part in personal luggage. Since it sometimes happens that suitcases get lost on the way and do not arrive with you at the destination, it is better to have the computer, lamp, and camera in your personal luggage, especially because they are more expensive pieces of equipment. The regulator often causes problems during security control at the airport, so it is better to protect it well and pack it in check-in luggage. Finally, check the weight of the suitcase and bags, so that you do not get surprised at the airport by the costly surcharge for excess weight. Just in case, you can take a small hand scale for suitcases with you, so as to not exceed the permitted weight on the return.
Some airlines that regularly fly to popular diving destinations, such as Egypt or the Philippines, offer divers some special benefits, such as the option to transport more luggage at the same price. However, as these conditions are constantly changing, check what you can take with you and how much luggage is permitted at no extra cost before you leave.
Text: Matej Ogorevc
Photos: Huish outdoors, Aqualung, Freepik