Going on a dive trip? Chances are you’re wondering what you do and don’t need to pack! If you are anything like me, you are trying to squeeze your entire wardrobe and bathroom cabinet into a tiny suitcase. I have compiled a list of packing essentials for us girls to take with us, and if you think I have missed anything please let me know in the comments!
Seems obvious, right? But think about your trip, are you going on a liveaboard, where the whole purpose of your holiday is to dive? In that case I would say take all of your gear! However, if you’re are going for a family getaway and hoping to sneak in a few dives here and there, it may be more sensible to rent your gear, or just take what you consider your “essentials”! Personallly I wouldn’t go anywhere without my computer and mask, but I know others who love their fins unconditionally. It’s all about personal preference, and how much luggage you are allowed! I would also recommend somehow labelling your own gear if going on a boat, as it can get very confusing if there is a lot of people and a lot of gear around. There is a great article on Girls That Scuba about dive gear for women. Consider conditions and what is essential: Reel and SMB, reef hook, torch etc.
Ok so it is equipment, but it gets a special mention. What wetsuit you will need really depends on the water temperature and yourself. For example, I know I feel the cold and so would bring my 5mm to the Carribean. Bear in mind if you’re doing multiple dives, you are more likely to feel the cold. Most shops will stock wetsuits for rent, but they are usually well worn and well peed in, so I much prefer taking my own. If you’re are looking for something super feminine and flattering, check out Truli and Sirensong, as their wetsuits are super cute and just for us women!
It’s another obvious one, but remember to take at least 2 sets, because no one likes getting into a dripping wet bikini! Also, if you’re going somewhere super tropical and not wearing a wetsuit, consider that stringy, skimpy two pieces may cause you some embarrassing underwater wardrobe malfunctions. I absolutely adore Batoko swimsuits, made from recycled plastic, with super cute prints and cut modestly!
Even if you are going to a super tropical location, you are more likely to feel chilly after diving, so consider taking layers. Also, putting socks on when you are damp can be a pain so I live in my flip flops when I am diving, unless it is really cold. Working as an Instructor, one of my most loved items that I own is my poncho! I throw it on as soon as I am out of the water, and with a bit of skill and manouvering, I can get completely changed without anyone realising! I always get compliments on it, and my only regret is that I didn’t get 2 because when I wash it I have to take a day off!
If you are considering taking underwater photos, then I highly recommend finding a red filter for your camera! I bought a set of 5 for my Go Pro in different red shades so they can be used everywhereBe careful when using a camera, especially if you are a novice, as it can demand your concentration and cause big problems if you are not focussed. You could even consider incorporating the PADI Digital Underwater Photography course into your trip.
Insurance and Paperwork
Please don’t even consider diving with no insurance. If still on the fence, google just how much a trip to a hyperbaric chamber will cost you, and you will understand why insurance is so important! DAN is the biggest name in dive insurance, and generally well trusted. Many insurance companies will provide travel insurance to also cover diving, but always check the small print. Before I became professional, I used World Nomads to cover my recreational holidays and diving. I also give a copy of my insurance policy to my mum! Print out your insurance details (Dive Centres may ask to see proof you are insured), as well as your doctors contact details and any reservations you have made. And try not to forget your certification cards!
No one ever comes out of the ocean looking their best, but being in the salty water and sun for hours can take it’s toll. Sunscreen is essential, especially as you may end up with a ridiculous mask tan. Many people don’t realise the harm they are doing with sunscreen, (Hawaii is leading the way in banning harmful products, yay!) which is why reef safe sunscreen is so important. Stream2Sea is my personal favourite and has a great reputation among divers. Add it to your packing list, pass it round to your dive buddies and start up the conversation about why using reef safe products is so important! Lip balm and moisturiser are also my go to beauty bits for post dive dry skin!
Lets talk about hair…!
It is a hot topic amongst female divers with long locks, and I am currently working on a post dedicated solely to keeping your hair tangle free during dives! I can tell you though, that as above, many products are harmful. I hear of many people slathering on leave in conditioner before dives, but you will be protecting the ocean a lot more if you save this until after your dives. If you feel you really need to put something on your hair, try something natural like coconut or argan oil. I have tried many different hairstyles, some work better than others. Braids can be good but I find my hair is too long and it gets tangled in my first stage. A tight top knot, with my mask underneath works well, but be sure to buy a Mask strap cover as the rubbing can take it’s toll and snap hairs. Recently, I have moved to Malta to work and the water is almost unbearably cold for me! That means a hood, which I have discovered keeps me hair really neat and tangle free! So whatever you choose to do with your hair, be sure to pack a wide toothed comb for the tangles and some hair ties!
Food and drink
I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely ravenous after diving (and I dive everyday near enough so yeah, I am always eating!). You probably can’t carry food abroad but I always use Tupperware boxes and my own water bottle, so consider packing these for a dive trip.
And the rest!
- A dry bag is always a good investment, and perhaps even a mesh bag for keeping your small bits together.
- Dive log! I must be the only Instructor who still logs their dives (it is mainly just scribbled notes and funny stories) but I think it is a nice keepsake. If you are artistic, take a big sketchpad and some pens and get inventive! I recently found Dive Proof log books too, which are waterproof and you can customise the cover!
- Any medication or birth control pills
- If you’re on a liveaboard perhaps a good book, some ear plugs and sleep mask!
- Small first aid kit
- Diva Cup – I have heard so much good things about it but yet to try myself! I know many female divers love theirs
- Consider taking relevant courses before a trip to get the most out of it – for example Dry suit diver for cold climates, Drift Specialty if you know there will be current or even Divemaster if you fancy really honing your dive skills.
What are your essentials? Let me know if I have missed something!
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