Lists and Rituals

Gear for 2 and a weekend of diving.

Gear for 2 and a weekend of diving.

When you’re gearing up for a trip, a lot of time is spent making sure your gear is in good working order and making sure you have everything. It takes a lot of stuff to go diving here in Indiana, especially in the colder months. It is easy to overlook the small stuff. Put together a list of things you like to have for your dives and keep it in your dive bag. Developing a routine is great, but lists make sure you don’t miss on execution. It sucks to have your gear strapped on when you hear a slight hiss and you realize you have a bad O ring. If you then have to spend the next 15-20 minutes hunting around or asking for a spare and replacing it, your buddies will already be kicking around on the bottom without you. Not that this has ever happened to me… Even worse is arriving at the dive site only to realize that you forgot some critical bit of kit. We dive a lot of sites that don't have scuba shops on site, so what we bring with us is what we have for the day,

In addition to the standard mask, fins, BC, Reg, Exposure suit, weight etc, here is a list of miscellaneous small items to keep in the dive bag that frequently come in handy and sometimes save a dive. These are all quite inexpensive and can be assembled and carried easily on every dive. 

  • O Rings
  • Dental pick or small knife
  • Hand warmers
  • Water bottle
  • Dry box
  • Gear/hose clips
  • Flashlight batteries
  • Zip ties
  • Baby Shampoo or Mask Defog
  • Snacks
  • Waterproof bag
  • 550 Cord
  • Paint Marker
  • Ball Cap
  • Chem lights
  • Small Towel
  • adjustable wrench
  • allen keys

I like to crank up my favorite tunes, lay out my gear and check it all off as I go. It's easy to miss things. Having a checklist and establishing a ritual for packing helps insure that you have everything for a fun, safe and enjoyable day. Check out this post for the comedy of errors that occurs when we did not follow our preparation rituals. Equally important are the pre-dive rituals on site. Ben follows a pattern in his gear assembly and dressing that helps to insure a step is not missed. It's easy to get distracted, so don't forget the buddy check!

Everything is hung up in the garage between dives so it can dry thoroughly. In the winter, I might bring some of it inside so it can dry in the bathtub without freezing. Gear isn’t cheap, so a little extra care goes a long way to extending its life. As I prepare for a trip, I take it off the hooks in reverse order of how I hung it up which helps ensure I’m bringing it all. 

Ben's list is twice as long with all the camera gear. We dive a lot of more remote sites. Many of them do not even have air on site, much less rental services. We have only what we bring with us. It is not un-common to have an extra regulator, BC or power inflator between us, but in case. Gas planing is also important. Without air on site, the amount of diving is limited by what you bring, so plan ahead or it could be a short day. 

The one thing you can always count on is that things will not go as planned. But a little preparation ahead of time can insure that most situations are easily managed and there is sa fun day of diving for all. As warm weather approaches here in the midwest, now is a great time to check over everything and make sure the gear is in proper order and ready for diving.

What items are always in your gear bag?