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BCDs BCD manufacturers in their quest to be different make BCDs in a huge range of styles so there is bound to be one out there to suit you

Comfort and fit are a main priority followed by ease of use, inflate/deflate mechanism easy to use.

Bad back owners may find a weight integrated type better so when upright the weight is on your shoulders. This also applies to those of us whose waist has disappeared with age and find a standard belt slowly sliding down.

All the BCDs I sell have been used by me. There are no bad BCDs just some better than others.

Bearing cost in mind Cordura is generally more expensive than Nylon. If you need a heavyweight BCD go for the Aquatec and if economy with value are your criteria then go for the Red Hat Aquaholic

Masks Must have tempered glass for diving

Skirts are made of silicone, pvc and rubber. Silicone is the most expensive but the preferred choice for diving because of the comfort and better sealing properties.

Does it fit? Hold the mask to your face without fitting the strap, breath in and the mask should pull in and stick to your face as long as you are breathing in

All other features-number of lens, purge valve etc.- are personal choice though I tend to think a purge valve is just somewhere else to leak and if you can't clear a mask properly why are you diving?

If you have just bought a new mask and it keeps fogging up try cleaning the inside of the lens with toothpaste. Sounds silly but it works

Why Black Dive Masks Are Better
Clear skirts on masks are popular because they minimize the claustrophobic feeling some people get when they wear a mask. Nevertheless, clear skirts and even coloured frames actually interfere with vision. Extraneous light entering through the clear skirt makes it more difficult for the eye to focus and causes reflections that obscure vision. Demonstrate this by looking out of a window from a lighted room at twilight. You will see better by cupping your hands around your eyes as you press your face to the window. Brightly coloured glossy accent frames can also cause annoying colour halos around the lenses. For these reasons, knowledgeable divers seeking the best possible vision prefer masks with solid black skirts and frames.

Snorkels see comments on mask about materials.

Pvc cheapest, silicone dearest and best

A purge valve in a snorkel is a useful feature for clearing the snorkel and as you are on the surface the comments on masks don't apply.

Dry Tops. A bit of a misnomer as most dry tops will not remain dry when submerged. The most common type of dry top has a baffle in the end so any water splashing in runs out through slots in the sides without running down to the bottom

I would prefer a replaceable silicone type of mouthpiece as fitted on regulators for ease of replacement especially if you are buying an expensive snorkel.


Knives Blades come mainly in two types of metal, stainless steel and titanium. The stainless steel is the most common but as stainless steel will not hold a sharp edge they are only just stainless so will need keeping clean and drying out after use. Titanium is a lot better than stainless (stronger, lighter, more stainless ) but also a lot more expensive to replace when you loose it.
Regulators first stage din or yoke?   Yoke is the most common fitting in the UK and most other countries though this does not apply worldwide. A yoke is simply an A shaped clamp with a thumbscrew to tighten it down onto the pillar valve O ring. A Din fitting screws into the pillar valve and is essential if you are using 300 bar cylinders. Yoke/A clamp must not be used for 300 bar pressures

piston or diaphragm? There are slight pros and cons but not sufficient to make one type preferable to the other. Two of the most reputable and popular regulators sold in the UK are Scubapro - mainly piston and Apex - mainly diaphragm.

balanced or unbalanced?

Regulators second stage  

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