What Scuba Gear Should You Buy First?

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If you’re just getting into the sport of scuba diving, you may be wondering when you should start to buy your own equipment. Not only that, but you may be wondering what you should buy first!

Many don’t want to spend the money required to purchase everything at once or aren’t sure what they should prioritize. We’re here to help answer that question for you so get comfortable and don’t go anywhere!

The truth is, that not every diver dives the same nor in the same location! This is why it’s not just a simple one-size-fits-all answer for everyone! However, by following our guide you will be able to pick out what’s right for you.

Fins, Mask, and Snorkel

The fins, mask, and snorkel are almost always the first pieces of gear people end up buying. Why? Because they’re relatively inexpensive, they’re easy to find in your average sporting goods store and in your local dive shops. You can also use them whenever you are hanging out at the beach without having to fiddle around with any fine details.

If you’re heading out to do an open water course, you can use all these pieces for this as well. This way you don’t have to wonder who just used your mask or had their feet in the fins you’re now wearing. You will also save time by never having to wonder if your gear will fit properly.

Despite them being so accessible, you still want to make sure you’re selecting the right type. With fins, go with open-heels and booties. The mask needs to be low-volume and made of top-notch materials.

Dive Computer

A diving computer offers real-time info from your depth and time data to track the dissolved nitrogen in your body as you’re diving. It will constantly display how much time you have to dive safely, to ensure your health which is our top priority. With that, if we were to recommend purchasing just one piece of gear, it would be this one.

While the number of dive centers and shops that rent out computers are increasing, in most situations they’re difficult to find. Not only that, but you need to make sure it is running at 100% accuracy.

To be frank, we don’t feel there’s any excuse not to have your own dive computer considering the price of them has significantly lowered over the last few years. As most brands are pretty much as accurate as the next, you can get a cheap one and be able to rely on it fully. Plus, does your health and safety really have a price?

If your budget is tight, simply get a generic, cheap model and you’re good to go! It could just save your life!


The urgency and importance of getting your own wetsuit will depend on where you plan on diving. If you’re planning on going down to Mexico, for example, you’ll be in much warmer waters which probably won’t warrant a wetsuit.

However, if you’re regularly going to be diving in colder waters you’ll need one of your own. You need one that you know fits you well, and that won’t be too tight or loose once you get in the water. You’ll save a ton of time and money by having your own, as renting each time can really start getting up there in expenses.

Not only that, but instead of heading to the rental shop, you can go directly to dive, spending more time having fun!


A Buoyancy Control Device, or “BCD”, offers improved control and streamlines your body while you’re diving, while helping to keep you safe. Not only that, but it protects marine life which can be easily harmed and disrupted by uneducated divers. It’s one of the most complex pieces of gear you’ll get but also one of the most crucial to your health and diving experience.

A high-quality, well-fitting BCD will make your dives much more pleasant and comfortable. It’s honestly annoying when you’re looking forward to a dive and you get out there with a rental BCD and it’s awkward to use.

Moreover, you should know where the pockets are located, how the weight system functions, and all its other little intricacies! They do vary in how bulky they are, though, so take into consideration how often you’ll be traveling with them and your method of transportation. If you’re traveling by air, for example, you’ll want a more lightweight model.

Just remember that these do vary quite a bit in price depending on the model, manufacturer, and overall level of quality. If you’re unsure, a nice middle-of-the-road option will suit just about anyone.


Your regulator is what connects you directly to your air source, so you could say it’s pretty important! It controls the breathing gas pressure necessary for diving, and it’s a must that you know when it was last serviced and by who. This lets you configure it exactly to your preferences.

While most other diving gear can be compromised on in terms of pricing, with your regulator you really don’t want to skimp out. While cheap models are usually quite safe, trust us when we say you’ll want a regulator that comes with extra features.

These features include but are not limited to cold water setup (recommended if diving in cooler waters) and adjustable flow.

Now, as these pieces of equipment are pretty hefty in price and weight, we recommend purchasing your own when you’ve already obtained quite a bit of experience or are diving regularly.

Dive Knife

While the huge, intimidating dive knives may be the most cool-looking, they’re really unnecessary, especially if you’re just starting out. Instead, opt for a compact, lightweight dive knife that you can slide into your BCD pocket or hook onto your low-pressure inflator hose. We highly suggest getting a titanium knife which will last the longest and perform the best.


Now that you’ve had a good run through what you should prioritize in terms of what scuba gear to purchase first, do you know what your next piece of equipment will be? We recommend eventually getting everything on our guide, but if you can’t afford it all, then you’re definitely not out of luck and should just focus on a couple pieces of essential gear for now.

We hope that our guide has been able to get you situated in this regard and that you’re ready to take the scuba world by storm! Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you again shortly!


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Richard Remick

Richard is the founder and the chief editor of Outside Pursuits. Passionate about the great outdoors, Richard spends much of his time in Colorado enjoying skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. When at home in Florida, he is most often found in the water. He loves water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. He is a certified scuba diver. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Richard has been invited to contribute articles to many outdoor-focused websites, such as Florida Rambler, and has been profiled on travel websites such as JohnnyJet.

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