Holiday time has finally arrived, and you have a week of XR diving or a place on a technical liveaboard booked. With the airlines these days clamping down on weight allowance, here is what we recommend as the top 10 dive travel essentials to take on your XR dive trip.
Being able to plan your decompression dive is a critical part of your diving day. There are many varieties of decompression planning software available on the market for desktop computers, iPads smartphones, and Androids.
Some software programs are free to download but may have limited features and others are available for a small fee. Examples can include but are not limited to:
Our advice is to leave the heavier laptop at home and opt for a tablet or smartphone-based software. Be sure to practice on your new software before you pack up your dive travel essentials. This will ensure you have a basic understanding of the program before you need it!
Nobody likes to be on the boat with “that guy” who did not come prepared and always needs to borrow stuff from others!
After analysis of your gas, which will be before every dive, you will need to mark and label your cylinders with their contents and the maximum depth of the gas. Marker tape like duct tape is a perfect option for this and comes in a wide variety of bright colors that make it highly visible in the water.
Be sure to have a new roll of tape with you and keep it locked away as it is one of the first things to go missing! Thick permanent marker pens are essential for clear labeling.
A kind gesture at the end of the week would be to offer to leave the tape behind with your dive guides. In many remote destinations, this type of tape may be hard to come by.
Nothing cleans the pencil off your slate or from your wetnotes better than good old-fashioned nail polish remover. A small amount goes a long way, so just bring a small bottle and it will last the week.
Alternatively, bring a Magic Sponge. These dense, white sponges were developed as tools for house cleaning, but they are also fantastic for cleaning both dive slates and wetnotes. The Magic Sponge can be stored in a sealed plastic sandwich bag to keep it in better condition for a longer time.
Another tip is to cut it into several smaller pieces. When carrying the sponges into harsh environments (such as on dive boats or jungle treks), they are likely to get salty or dirty. Cutting one large sponge into several smaller pieces allows a diver to get more use out of a single sponge during their dive travel.
Get prepared for most equipment issues by having a few specific tools in your dive travel essentials box. We recommend carrying these:
It does not matter how many times you check the battery life in your computers, rebreather electronics or cameras. You can guarantee that at some point a battery will die at the most inconvenient time.
Be armed and ready with spare ones to hand, as access to charging stations may be limited.
In some countries, specific rebreather batteries may not be readily available. Get extra organized and pack a few extras in your XR dive travel essentials kit.
Attention all rebreather divers out there, oxygen sensors are not that easy to come by once you leave home, especially if traveling abroad!
Even if you have new sensors for your trip, take a spare one or two just in case. Worst case scenario is that you will not need to use them, but your technical guide may be happy to buy them from you. It is the perfect way to lighten your load on your return leg home!
Most mobile phones can provide a calculator facility and it is a very useful tool to have around. When you analyze your gas before every dive, you will need to work out the maximum depth of the gas. Or maybe you need to calculate your breathing rate or gas volumes.
In all instances, a calculator will come in very handy. If you are completing an SSI Extended Rangeprogram of any kind, your instructor will be throwing calculation questions at you left, right and center. Be armed and ready!
During your trip, there may be other divers who record footage of your diving experiences and vice versa. Make sure you can easily swap the memories of your dives by adding a memory stick to your dive travel essentials kit.
You may also find that your guide or other XR divers have some technical diving articles or interesting information that you would like to have. Supply a memory stick and now the information is yours to keep.
And remember, you may like to make a deal with your fellow divers over some beers to share these things!
After a longer decompression dive, there is nothing better than off-gassing with a good book or looking at the back of your eyelids in the sun! Be sure to come armed with the tools you need to relax between your dives.
Keep your mind open, relax and enjoy your XR dive trip! We know you will want to plan your next vacation after hearing your new buddies share their top dive recommendations.
Check out MyDiveGuide to get inspired and find the best countries, regions, and specialist dives that are a perfect fit for you!