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eDiveSoftware blogs

In this blog post I'll take you through the kit I personally use for diving in the UK all year round.

I tend to dive in the UK these days as I can't get abroad as often as I want with having a full time job. As such I've had to change my diving and get gear more suited to the cold both under water and when kitting up. I tend to dive at either Capernwray or Chepstow for a montly training session. I'm aiming for and close to getting my PADI Master Scuba diver certification but need to find the time to complete the final courses (EFR and Rescue Diver)

For warm water diving, it's a very simple setup for me (or has been). I've tended to hire kit, but don't want to going forward as I want to use kit that I know and trust. Dive centre kit is often pretty good, but it's not the same as owning your own and knowing how it performs and when it was serviced. My kit choices now need to be reasonably adaptable for either.

I have two wet suits at the moment. My favourite is a 3mm long wetsuit (5mm core chest area) made by BodyGlove. It looks well and is comfy and fine for most holiday conditions (Skiathos in the spring was a litte chilly, but I used it for some of the dives). A cheap pair of wetsuit boots suffice. The other wet suit is a 5mm shorty. I've not worn this for a while as it's heavier than my long wet suit and doesn't compact as well when packed.

Cold water kit now comprises of :

Typhoon TCS neoprene dry suit. I don't like membrane suits as they pinch too much for my liking. It was a reasonably cheap investment, but has been faultless. Next time round, I'll get one custom made as I'm quite broad. Typhoon is one of the few makes that provide a Large Broad fitting off the shelf.

I don't wear an undersuit. I experimented with one but it was too tight. I cut the arms off but it was still too snug so I don't bother. I've found I'm fine with some Helly Hanson thermals and a fleece under my drysuit in 3 degree c water

Undersuit socks - cheap pair from eBay. Very comfy and warm and makes diving that little bit nicer. Can't recommend highly enough.

Aqualung Slingshots - http://www.aqualung.com/uk/content/view/222/9/ - I was originally after some Force Fins having been impressed when I tried a pair. The slingshots are about a third the price and work really well for me. I need good control in the water (for my own peace of mind), but also need a powerful kick. Gary tends to swim like a fish so these allow me to keep up. Hire fins didn't give me a good enough kick. Very comfortable and combined with some spring straps these are perfect for me.

Typhoon hood - came free with the drysuit. A hood is essential for UK diving.

Beaver wet suit gloves. Nice and snug.

Mares mask - works really well for me having a big head :-) I've also used RainEx on the inside (normally used on car windscreens and bought from Halfords). Matched up with a neoprene strap for comfort and so I don't need to keep adjusting it.

Northern Diver weight belt. A dive show special, but works perfectly for me. I've lost some weight recently, so need to re-think this one.

Northern Diver Knife - Anything made of titanium gets my attention. Lynsey (Gary's wife, Director of eDiveSoftware, assistant scuba instructor and fashion adviser to all of us) insisted I got the blue one to match my suit.

2 x Poseidon Cyklons - I tried these a while ago and found them to be amazing.

I dive using the spare reg on a slightly longer hose. The main is on a bungy cord around my neck (a little like the Hogarthian setup). I've two first stages as I swap between single cylinder and twin set depending on the diving I'm doing. I like deep diving up to 40m but have no major desire beyond that at the moment. The regulators have been used in the arctic as well as the tropics and if you watch Numo Gomez's dive to 300+m you will see these are what he dived on.

I run a single pressure gauge for each cylinder. These are Suunto SM36's which rotate on the hose. I run these a little tight against me and clipped in front. This way I can simply glance down without needing to pull a huge series of gauges out of a BCD pocket or have it dragging. When you simplify this it all seems to make sense how cumbersome most people's setup is.

Custom Divers TDB wing - If you've ever seen the custom divers gear you will know this is the best of the best. It's expensive, but so well engineered. Redundancy applies here with everything I'm putting together or already have.

A single 15L tank is what I generally tend to hire at the moment. I will get my own early next year but I've stayed with hiring as it's quite cheap

2 x Faber 12 litre - The twin set. Custom divers setup combined with Faber tanks. Both are 300 bar and Nitrox / Trimix ready. I'm not intending to do TriMix at this stage, but it suits my needs for Nitrox.

UKD4 torch with redundant bulbs that I can swap during a dive. It's a little big but works really well

Canon Ixus 500 Camera with underwater housing. Quite likely to be replaced with a GoPro HD camera next year if I can decide where to locate the camera on me

Strobe light - Picked on up on eBay a few years ago and it's become part of my standard kit.

Ryan - one of the founders of eDiveSoftware