There is a kit that I cannot live without. In addition to a first aid kit, or an emergency kit, is a Dive Essentials Kit that I believe can make a diver’s life that little bit easier. Rattling around in an old mask container, are an array of objects which accompanies me on boat dive trips or can easily be chucked in the car. Some of the items are useful in other situations too, but I love the fact that as a good scout, I can always ‘be prepared’.
1. Fave socks – Post dive numb feet is one of my personal hatreds, and is why I have added socks to my kit. I might be a little obsessed with socks for every occasion, (movie socks, driving socks, bed socks, cold air conditioning restaurant socks etc…) or, I might just have bad circulation!
2. Mask Strap – It has been said that the humble mask is the most important piece of diving equipment. As without it, all other gear is obsolete. A backup strap could prevent a dive holiday ending situation!
3. Mouthpiece – My buddy once hired gear at a remote dive centre, and the regulator mouthpiece had a sharp edge that caused uncomfortable stress to the dive, not to mention an ulcer. Taking a personal mouthpiece to any place you will be hiring can then be simply transferred over and save a lot of annoyance.
4. Cable Ties – Used to attach you spare mouthpiece to you reg, or attach bits and pieces to your BCD as replacement straps.
5. Emergency Numbers – My dive insurance company provides a waterproof tag each year of renewal, so a spare one in the kit could come in handy, though hopefully will never get used.
6. Seasickness Tablets – Be aware of increased effects on deep dives, but I still rely on them for long boat trips out. (Worst. DM. Ever.)
7. Bandaids- There are many other useful items which belong in a first aid kit, but keeping bandaids in the dive essentials is handy for small ailments.
8. Pen – Even if you aren’t a writer, a pen is the best tool. Filling out safety forms, jotting down dive deets, or maybe getting a number (wink wink).
9. Silicon Grease – Smooth out those wetsuit zippers. Popping a zipper at cold depth is sooo bad. Camera o-rings will also benefit.
10. Compass – I just like to know where I am. Because getting abandoned on a deserted tropical island can happen more easily than you think… (And one day, when I am very drunk, I will tell you that story.)
11. Wetsuit Wash – As with most products in this kit, bring a miniature! Perfect for one wash when you travel and don’t want to take the whole bottle.
12. Sunscreen – Yes, tan is nice. But BCD straps rubbing on red raw shoulders is not.
13. Toothpaste – For your mask! A new mask will often fog. This is because of a build up of production film on the lens. Rubbing a gentle exfoliating paste on the inside of the mask and leaving overnight will clear the fog! And be minty fresh. I take on trips regardless of the age of my mask, just in case. Especially in the tropics.
14. Chapstick – Guys and girls. Chapstick is a unisex item that makes everybody’s life easier. Deal with it.
15. Snorkel Strap – Snorkels can be an underrated tool, and will probably only prove itself useful if you don’t have one handy, or if the strap breaks.
16. 0-Rings - Never, ever, assume that an o-ring will magically appear if your current one splits. Especially miles from shore where o-ring trees are scarce.
17. Carabineer - Not just for rock climbing! Just make sure you buy aluminium ones (or solid gold, your choice) to stop rust.
18. Absorbent Pouches – Just in case your camera housing springs a leak or develops moisture in the tropics due to condensation. These are a quick fix to stuff inside the cavity. (Tip: Keep the sachets from shoeboxes to put in your kit).
19. Lens Cloth – Gentle cloth for cleaning your camera lens or parts. Or even to dust off your mask and avoid sand scratches.
20. SNAKES! Trust me, you will be the hero of the boat if you reveal a bag of these for the ride home. All those cotton-mouthed (oh! It’s a snake pun!) buddies will be stoked on life. Everyone loves a post dive treat!
Have I forgotten anything? We’d love to hear what other essentials are in your kits. Drop us a comment!