Scuba Diving Gear Rundown

We own much of our own gear, because we plan to dive lots and renting is expensive!

However, scuba diving is an expensive hobby. Gear is expensive. Flying with gear is expensive. Liveaboards / Dive Cruises are expensive.

Here’s what we own, and what we came across during our research. Where I still remember, I’ve also included the dive shop we purchased it from as well as the price.


When shopping for a mask, fit is the most important. The mask should stay on when pressed to your face without the help of straps (you’ll also need to not to release air out of your nose and blow the mask off your face!). I do recommend doing your best to try a mask on somewhere before ordering it online.

What We Own

I use a prescription dive mask from It’s great, because I don’t have to wear contact lenses, and other dive masks with corrective lenses cost $200 or more. I did gamble hoping that the mask would fit me when it arrived, and thankfully it did! I generally don’t have issues with water leaking into my mask. I purchased this from for $61.54 plus $18.66 of shipping since I had a different prescription for each eye.

S uses a Cressi Okinawa. I had originally bought that for myself, because it was advertised as having been designed to fit an Asian face. I stopped using it because I got my prescription dive mask, and S found this mask to be a much better fit than her previous mask. It was purchased from Aquarius Scuba for $59.99 plus tax.

We also own a Tusa branded dive mask that S got from Toronto Scuba Club. We keep it as a spare and bring it with us when we go travelling.


You will use this once when you do your open water training. After that, it becomes more of a liability, getting in the way and making your mask heavier. We always bring them on dive trips, but never use them (and when I do, sometimes I come close to losing them!). Theoretically, they’re useful if you have to swim along the surface before descending and the water is choppy enough that swimming on your back will end up with you gulping down water.

They come with a lot of different features. I think a one-way purge valve is essential to clear your snorkel. A splash guard seems like an unnecessary luxury. Obviously the current fad toward “full-face mask and snorkel” for casual snorkelers is not relevant for diving.

What We Own

I bought on Ebay some new and cheap made-in-China snorkels for $5.77 CAD each. They do the job fine and my only complaint is they’re so new, they smell a bit of plastic. They’re unbranded, but they come complete with dive mask clasp, one-way purge valve and splash guard - features that would easily cost $40 or more if you bought a branded snorkel from a dive store.

S owns a yellow Tusa snorkel. She doesn’t use it anymore at all either.


Fins are surprisingly heavily debated, for something that feels like it should simply go on your feet and propel you by sweeping water.

Split Fins vs Normal Fins

Split fins make it easier to kick, but provide less power, requiring more kicks. If there’s no current, then split fins will do the job. Most of what I’ve read suggested that split fins aren’t that great and that it’s best to just get used to diving with normal fins in the first place. Dan’s Dive Shop has a write-up that has been hugely influential for me.

Full Foot vs Open Heel

Fullfooted fins are fins that you wear barefoot, similar to the “flippers” you may have worn in swimming class many years ago like I did.

Open-heeled fins require that you wear a dive boot, which then goes into the fin. A strap around the back of your heel holds your fin in place.

Go with open-heeled fins. You’ll need a pair of dive boots to go with them.

Open-heeled fin straps

S used to have those dreadful plastic straps on her Tusa’s where she’d have to press a button on the side of her fin and the strap would detach from that side allowing her to pull her foot out of her fin. However, while diving in Thailand she lost the strap (both clips were still on her fins though!) and fortunately she was able to use a spare strap from the boat’s spares. We’ve since replaced it with a bungee strap - instead of undoing a clip each time, the strap pulls up and over her heel and holds her foot securely in place. When she takes off the fin, she just slides the bungee strap down over her heel, then pulls the fin off her foot. No detaching anything and no pieces to lose.

I use spring straps that came with my fins. It’s similar in concept to the bungee straps and the only difference is the material.

What We Own

I use Scubapro Jet Fins. I bought it from Aquarius Scuba for $179.99 plus tax. I’ve been a strong swimmer since… forever so I have no trouble kicking in these fins and I can get where I need to be pretty darn fast in these. However, I do find that they’re quite negatively buoyant, so I end up floating in a standing position very easily. They came with the spring straps.

S uses Tusa Solla SF-22 fins. They’re yellow. S is looking into getting new fins that will give her more power. She bought them from Toronto Scuba Club and she is satisfied with it, though it may be the reason she’s not getting enough power when swimming against a current (either that, or she needs more leg strength!).


Regulators are the most important piece of equipment you’ll own and you’ll likely spend the most of your money on a good regulator. Some are equipped for cold water diving (where other regulators would freeze and free flow air).

DIN vs. Yoke

Regulators also come in either DIN or yoke which are then attached to a DIN or yoke tank. For a DIN setup, the regulator screws into the tank. For a yoke arrangement, the regulator goes on and around the top of the valve, with a screw putting pressure between the regulator and tank valve. We have seen both types of tanks (including at home in Toronto!) and DIN tanks are often easily adapted into yoke tanks by inserting a metal bit into the tank valve.

What We Own

We bought two sets of Hog D1 regulator packages from Divers’ Supply in the US for $350 USD each set including free shipping to the US. They were marked at discount because the product was being discontinued and I believe Divers Supply may be related to the manufacturer in some way. We had the regulators delivered to a friend in Nashville, and S brought it back up within her duty-free allowance. The regulators were marked as having been last serviced in June 2016, the month before but when we first put it onto a tank, the regulator second stages were already leaking air and we had to make adjustments to the second stage to increase the resistance within the second stages.

We make good use of the Yoke to DIN adapter when DIN tanks are not available, and have replaced all the hoses with more flexible high pressure hoses that are more comfortable than the original stiff hoses, the 22 inch hoses of which were too long to use for recreational diving.

HOG is not a mainstream brand, so there are significantly fewer stores around the world that will service it. In Toronto, there is only Toronto Scuba Club and AquaSub, and the latter doesn’t even sell it. Dan’s Dive Shop in St. Catharines also services HOG equipment and will be our go-to shop next time it needs servicing.

In general, I would recommend going with regulators sold from a local store (perhaps you can ask them to price match the cheapest price you can find) in order to make sure that they will take care of you when you first get it set up.


The bare minimum is an analog gauge that can tell you the air pressure left in your tank. Higher end gauges may also inclue in the same console a depth gauge as well as a compass. There are also wireless transmitters that can wirelessly transmit pressure information directly to your dive watch. However, even if you have a wireless transmitter, it’s recommended to have an analog gauge as backup. I’ve heard people talk about the local help on liveaboards inadvertently breaking wireless transmitters, as it sometimes looks like a handle on your octopus, but the transmitter was not designed to carry the weight of your tank, regulator and BCD!

What We Own

We have the Suunto Wireless Transmitters, which we purchased for $325.97 CAD + 5% tax from Dive IDC located in Vancouver, after price-matching it with Canada Boat Parts. We also purchased two analog gauges from Toronto Scuba Club for $60 each in cash. They were old triple console gauges that were part of their rental fleet but the plastic housing had broken off leaving just the round metal pressure gauge by itself. I was less than impressed when TSC installed the gauge onto my octopus, but didn’t tighten it enough so it leaked air the first time I dived. I also wanted to test it to make sure it wouldn’t leak on a spare tank, but they didn’t have a tank in the store.

We have since replaced one of the high pressure hoses for those gauges.

We’re thankful we bought backup analog gauges, because the wireless transmitter had failed once, failing to pair. In late 2017, we sent the transmitters in under warranty with over a month to spare and did not get them back until a month and a half later - we were well into our next liveaboard at that point.

Dive Computer

Dive computers come in many levels, but for our purposes so far, we’ve only needed a dive computer that can handle nitrox and memory log to record dive information until you can write it into your log book which is virtually all dive computers. Other minor considerations for the beginner diver - whether it can be synced with a wireless transmitter and whether it’s small enough that you can wear it everyday as a dive computer watch. Some people also find the configuration of buttons a major factor. For instance, the Mares Puck is a popular entry-level dive computer that has one button. Navigating through the computer’s function occurs through using short and long presses.

What We Own

S did some research and really wanted a stylish dive computer watch like the Suunto d4i Novo, which comes in a wide variety of colours. However, the Suunto d4i Novo regularly retails for $879.95 CAD. I found a deal for the more advanced previous-generation Suunto d6i and convinced S that we should get that instead of the d4i Novo. Over our dive trips, we’ve noted that several of our dive guides also use the Suunto d6i or d6 (which is another generation older). One dive guide even had the internals of a d6i in a d6 casing! When the wireless transmitters are working, the sync functionality works great with the dive computers and the dive computer logs the air pressure in the tank throughout the dive.

I have a black Suunto d6i that I purchased from Dive IDC in Vancouver (online - free shipping) for $699.99 + 5% GST. S has a white Suunto d6i that was purchased from Aquarius Scuba for $699.99 plus 13% HST since Dive IDC didn’t have the white colour in stock. The extra 8% sales tax - we’ll consider that the premium for colour choice. Aside from all the basic features, most notable for us is that it also has a built-in compass (which is a bit awkward to use on such a small screen) and sapphire crystal glass which is very resistant to scratches. I’ve scratched the metal housing around the glass rubbing it inadvertently up against rocks, while above water but the glass is still pristine and clean looking. If we had owned the cheaper d4i with the mineral sapphire glass, it would probably have scratches on it.

In hindsight, we should have gone with a much cheaper entry-level dive computers, as S doesn’t wear her dive computer except when diving anyway. I do wear mine everyday, but I would have worn another watch anyway (though I really prefer water-resistant watches). That being said, I still feel good about getting such a deal on a dive computer watch that’s normally up to double the price.


BCD’s come in a wide variety of configurations and it’s very overwhelming to even start considering what kind of BCD you want. They can either come in one integrated piece which most recreational divers use, or you can assemble your own backplate and wing which is more advanced. BCD’s also come generally in two types - back inflation (main air compartment in the back) or jacket-style (main air compartment in the back with air compartments in the front as well). I’ve read that back inflation is better for keeping good trim (i.e. horizontal position). However, jacket-style has a secure PFD-like feeling as you’re hugged by buoyant pockets of air - this is more relaxing when you’re floating on the surface, you don’t need as much effort to stop yourself from going face-first.

Additionally, there’s a segment of the market for travel BCD’s - these are BCD’s designed to be light and less bulky, removing additonal pockets and straps that would otherwise take up a lot of volume in your suitcase.

You might also consider the durability of the BCD (measured in denier), the amount of lift the BCD can provide and whether it has integrated weight pockets (as well as the position of these pockets!). Aqualung also has a proprietary system called i3 that uses a lever to add or replace air.

What We Own

Since we live in Canada, most of our diving will be international, so we tried to find some good travel BCD’s to use. However, we found that the travel BCD’s varied in the amount of available lift drastically between XS/S sizes compared to larger sizes and that the amount of lift available in those XS/S BCD’s might not be sufficient for where S wanted to go diving.

S fell in love with the concept of AquaLung’s i3 system and chose a (pink!) AquaLung Lotus i3 for herself which we got from Dive IDC for $660 + 5% GST (there was a price-match here too, but I don’t recall with where). I got an AquaLung Zuma travel BCD for myself from Yoon at My Dive Center for $395 CAD + 13% HST (a special price I believe on existing stock).

Both BCD’s have worked well for us and we have no complaints.


There are lots of different types of wetsuits of varying thickness, depending on the types of water you dive. Older wetsuits (regardless of whether it’s been used or not!) will have stiffer, less flexible neoprene which will be difficult to put on - the same way your tires get stiff and hard over time.

What We Own

Bare Sport S-flex Men 7mm ($299.95 at Dive IDC) Scubapro Sport 5mm ($279.99 CAD at Aquarius Scuba) Bare Elastek Women 7mm ($264.95 USD with gloves, hood and boots from Leisurepro) O’neill Women 3mm (Toronto Scuba Club)

Waterproof Camera

Getting a camera to take with you on dives is very expensive. If you want to shoot high quality pictures with a full set up like National Geographic that could run you at least two to three thousand dollars, much of it just for the cost of the lighting. All the lights make the pictures turn out much better, because at depth (and particularly when there’s less visibility), the water filters out all the red light, making everything appear blue and brown. Your lighting set up (if any) may include flood lights, strobe lights and/or a flash.

Budget Cameras

For the beginner who just wants photo/video evidence that they were underwater, a cheap Chinese waterproof camera (GoPro imitation, sometimes known as ‘SJ4000’ or similar) is a barebones solution. Typically, the camera itself will come with a waterproof housing, extra battery and possibly a whole bunch of accessories you’ll never use (and/or you can also buy GoPro accessories, if the camera allows it).


GoPro’s are decent for videos, but don’t quite shoot pictures as well as other cameras do. There are a lot of accessories sold for GoPros, including red filters, mounts and arms for additional lighting sources.

Some SeaLife and Olympus waterproof cameras also fit into this range. They’re the same size as your typical point-and-shoot making them less cumbersome.

Higher End

High-end point and shoot cameras (e.g. Canon’s G series cameras) and DSLR cameras belong in this group. Often, the underwater housing for these cameras cost just as much as the camera itself.

What We Own

I bought a cheap GoPro imitation action camera off of, which was sold by VicTsing and called a Vtin Waterproof Action Camera, HD 1080P 12MP Camcorder. It has since been replaced by a newer and more expensive model. Its original price was listed at $89.99 CAD on and I bought it by stacking a lightning deal and a coupon code for a total price of $52.09 (no tax). The first one we received developed a black blemish that couldn’t be removed by cleaning the lens exterior so we wrote in to complain and VicTsing sent us a new camera after a bit of back and forth. Unfortunately, we lost the replacement camera at North Point/Christmas Point in Thailand in November 2017 but mysteriously the blemish disappeared on the original camera so we’re still using this.

I also owned a Luxebell folding handle for that camera, but that was also lost at North Point/Christmas Point. I don’t think the handle was all that useful, except as a way to hold the camera more steadily. The compartment with the stand would fill with salt water during a dive and I would forget to take out the stand to empty it of salt water. Fortunately, it was made of plastic and didn’t rust.

The remaining camera is attached to me by a wrist strap on the bottom of the housing. It died as well, and became unresponsive. VTIN sent us another replacement that replaced our current model and we will see how this works.

Dive Lights

There are lots of name brand divelights that go from $100 for the smallest lights up to $1,000 for large canister heavy flashlights. Then there are a whole pile of no-name Chinese dive lights on, some of which are good and many of which aren’t so much.

Switch Types

Dive lights are often activated by twisting the battery compartment tight (eg. closing the battery compartment all the way will turn on the light), sliding a magnetically activated switch, operating a rotary switch separate from the battery compartment or a button where clicking through it will activate different modes. I am not a fan of buttons as they can accidentally get turned on just banging around your side in a pocket or strapped to your BCD. Having to twist the battery compartment sounds scarier, but I find it the simplest to use and has been reliable for us thus far. It would take a lot of turning before it came off far enough that water could flood the battery compartment.

What We Own

We have two Tonelife dive lights from which I can’t find a listing for anymore. It cost $99.99 USD for the set of two including express shipping to Toronto. Fortunately, we didn’t owe any duties on the shipment. Originally, I was quite skeptical because the only selling fact for these dive lights was that a couple of people in Thailand took the dive lights on a dive down to 100m. I tried to find any mention or reviews of these dive lights online, but failed to find any. The lights work great, there are 3 O-rings on each dive light and they came adequately greased. The light is bright, though I wish it had more of a flood light than a spotlight since sometimes the centre of the light appears to bright in pictures.

We also have another cheap dive light we got on a lightning deal which I don’t at all recommend. It has 2 O-rings, a push-button operation and runs warm outside of water so there may be an issue with circuitry itself and was priced in the $30 CAD range.

Since the batteries are 18650 batteries, I purchased a more reliable Nitecore i2 charger to charge the batteries, rather than rely on the relatively unknown chargers that came with the ToneLife dive lights.

Travel Bags

There is a huge market of bags for transporting scuba gear. Many of the branded gear are predominantly duffel bag or suitcase style, with abundant use of mesh for wet things. There are also bags and boxes for every conceivable item or accessory - masks, snorkels, fins, regulators, etc.

What We Own

We have an IKEA bag (the one with a zipper) that works great for wet dive equipment (especially with sand/dirt) as well as a couple of the FRAKTA bag without zippers which we bought for about <$5 CAD each. We also have two AquaLung regulator bags which we bought for $19 USD each from Dolphin Scuba (Canadian shipping at $12.83 USD, but we bought rattles too!).

When we travel internationally, our regulator bags are our personal items (loaded up with batteries and dive lights as well to reduce the weight in our suitcase/carryon) rather than carrying a handbag or laptop/camera bag. Our fins, wetsuit and BCD go into our normal suitcase(s). We try to avoid carrying or brandishing branded items whenever possible, because we don’t like people knowing that our bags/suitcases contain expensive scuba diving equipment.

Other accessories

And just a few more odds and ends…

Rattles ($10.97 USD ech plus $12.83 shipping split with regulator bags above) Whistle (Fox 40 Pea-less whistle) Dive knife (EEZYCUT Trilobite Line Cutter - $25.95 from Dive IDC each after pricematch)