There are several brands of regulators and BC's out there (I am not naming names) that do a lot of advertising but the products do not live up to their (assumed) reputation - so don't be sold on brand alone. If the dealer is willing to let you take the product in the pool/quarry and try it before you buy it (even from his rental stock) that is a very good sign.
Regulator - buy the best you can afford. Go for environmental protection because you will be diving cold waters and because they tend to be more reliable. I personally dive with Atomic T2, but also own Sherwood Blizzards and Oceanic Delta III regulators. I like all of them. The choice of octupus vs integrated safe second is a personal one - also based on your comfort level. I happen to like the integrated models because they mean fewer hoses that I have to control.
My favorite Computer is Uwatec but I also own and dive with Oceanic Atom and Datatrans. Again I like the hoseless air integrated variety in computers because it means fewer hoses to bother with. This is a factor of comfort and personal preference - as well as cost. You will eventually end up with two or three dive computers so get one that does what you want it to do NOW. If you take that nitrox class (and I highly recommend it) you will want your computer to be nitrox compatible.
The BEST Buoyancy Compensator is the one that fits you most comfortably IN THE WATER and fully inflated. Trying one on in the dive center is only a rough guess-timate of how it will work for you. You need to get it in the water, with tank on and fully weighted
to see how you really like it. I personally like weight integrated BC's because they take the hassle out of the weight belt thing and the weight off your back and hips. I presently dive with a bc (from XXX company) and I "hate it". If I were to purchase a new BC it would probably be a Seaquest Diva (ladies cut - but they have men's cuts too), because I used to own a Seaquest and was really pleased with it. I am not a fan of back inflation models for new divers. They work great underwater but can be difficult to manage on the surface - and this seems to be were new divers have a challenge. This is one piece of equipment that you will probably change sometime along the line as you become more advanced, so don't stress yourself out - find one that works well now and expect to upgrade.
I dive with a DUI TLS350 Dry suit and am very pleased with it. Previously I owned a Viking and a very old brand called Unisuit. They were both awkward to use. If I were to go to another Dry suit it would also be a DUI but it would be a CF200. The good news on Dry suits is that you can come to DUI Demo Days the first weekend of June at Gilboa and try out several suits for the cost of a meal (about $10).
What ever your decisions buy locally through a dealer you trust and are comfortable with. That way you can be assured of good customer service if you want/need it.
When I was in the business we would always exchange or adjust anything that the customer was not comfortable with. Our goal was to service the customer. A couple other things: asking the dealer how long he has carried "so and so" brand is a good indication of dealer confidence in the products he sells. If the brand is new to him, be wary. Every product has "issues" from time to time. If the dealer says he has "never had a problem" - he is either a new dealer or he is lying to you. If he honestly says there was an issue with such and such and the company backed it up and satisfied the customer - that is a very good sign.
Comments to: TheScubaLady
This site was last updated 07/08/12