Travel Smarter: Traveling with Dive Gear

Photo by Stephen Frink

Traveling with dive gear isn’t easy. Between the stress of lugging around a bag of heavy yet fragile equipment and hoping that its valuable contents make it intact to your destination, you might spend more time worrying than thinking about the fun you are about to have. If you’re tired of fretting about gear or hauling around more than you need, consider the following points before you pack your bags.

Trip Itinerary

Think about your trip itinerary: If you’re going on a 10-day rainforest excursion with a single day of diving, consider packing only smaller essentials such as your mask and dive computer and rent the rest. If you’re spending those 10 days on a liveaboard vessel, however, it might be best to bring all your own gear. 

Some dive centers provide specific equipment or limit the amount of personal gear you can wear in their facilities. Cage diving with great white sharks, for example, may require you to bring only a mask, computer, exposure suit and booties since you dive with surface-supplied air. Aquariums may not allow you to wear any personal gear when diving there. Hauling all your gear and being unable to use it can be a major inconvenience and could result in unnecessary equipment loss or damage.

To avoid these situations, ask your dive operator for an itinerary before you travel. Many dive operators send pretrip information that explains the expected conditions (including water temperature), rental gear availability and costs, the time between dives and more. They should also warn you of potential hazards involved with the travel and diving. Do not hesitate to ask the operator for any information you need to help you decide on what gear to bring.

Trip Location

Consider your destination when deciding how to pack. If you are traveling far from home or to a remote location, you may have several flights or use several modes of transportation. Smaller planes may have weight restrictions, so call your airline before you pack to make sure they can accommodate what you plan to bring. Contact your dive operator if you cannot gauge a boat’s stowage capacity from the company’s website.

If you often travel to dive, consider investing in a set of compact and lightweight travel gear. If you only travel to dive once or twice a year, however, renting might be more practical. Whether you rent every time or plan to rent gear for one trip, do some research. Confirm that dive centers at your destination have rental gear and that it will be reliable. Checking the company’s website may not suffice, so this may be another reason to contact your dive operator. If you determine that the rental gear at your destination does not meet your standards, your local dive shop may have rental gear that is easier to travel with than your own.

Once you have a good idea of what to expect on your trip, finalize your gear checklist to make your packing experience stress-free and efficient and to help confirm that you packed everything you need and nothing more.

© Alert Diver — Q4 2019