What gear do I use?
During my time as a diver I optimized my gear to my personal needs. You might have a different opinion and that’s absolutely fine. There is no “only 1” solution, though some associations teach you this. In the end it has to work for you and your buddy. It absolutely makes sense to standardize gear and where to put it, but sometimes there are 2 answers to one question. And it also depends on the challenge you face. I will write some stuff about gear in this blog but like to give you a first overview about the current status (10/2017).
Yes it’s plural, because when you extend your range of diving you need more tanks – therefore you need more regulators. When it comes to OC (open circuit) diving I rely on Apeks regulators. But there are many others outside which are as safe and valuable as Apeks – so no fundamental religious chitchat about what to use, though they should at least meet the US Navy EN 250 standards for diving in cold water down to 2° Celcius (35.6 Fahrenheit) . I was diving my Apeks XTX 100 (2nd stage) with Apeks DS4 (1st stage) in 1.2 Celcius (34.1 Fahrenheit) cold water and they never let me down. So as you can see now, in this blog I will only talk about gear I dived.
So here’s my list of regulators:
- 2x Apeks Tek 3 1st stages with XTX 100 as 2nd stages when diving a double tank configuration (all O2 clean)
- 3x Apeks DS4 1st stages with XTX 50 for my stages (all O2 clean)
- 1x R2 TEC O2 Stageset from Tecline for my 100% O2 stage (of course O2 clean)
- 1x Apeks DS4 1st stage with ATX50 (my holiday configuration and only used for vacation) (O2 clean)
Apeks recommends a full regulator maintenance (1st and 2nd stage) each year or after every 100th dive. A lot of people dread the costs of a full maintenance and do it every 2nd year. In my opinion these regs are our insurances underwater and therefore I want them to work as best as possible. Personally this means, I do the service every year, however I had 150 dives or 50 dives a year.
All tanks are O2 clean and are only filled via a personal filter like the Maximator. It’s crucial that the personal filter has a NRV (non-return valve) that nothing from the filled tanks can flow back to the compressor.
If you need your tanks to be filled at e.g. a dive centre you need a special tank-test by the German Technical Inspection Association called TÜV. If you own a compressor and the needed gases there’s no need for that test and certification.
- 2x D12 232 bar tanks, which are 12 litres twin tank systems with Halcyon valves
- 4x 80 cft (11,1 litres) stage tanks for travel and decompression gas
- 1x 40 cft (5,6 litres) stage tank for 100% O2
- 1x 7 litres stage tank for 100% O2
- 4x 3 litres 300 bar CCR tanks for the Liberty rebreather (2 tanks with M26x2 threads for 100% O2)
Gases & Booster
I own a Coltrisub MCH 6 which deliveres 80 litres/minute of regular air. I bought this one to fill the 3 litres CCR tanks. You can also fill larger bottles with it, but I wont put additional workload on this kind of booster.
The needed gases are ordered as large storage cylinders. Important are the hoses and manometers you use when mixing gas. The hoses MUST be O2 clean, made of stainless steal or approbriate and I use digital manometers to avoid mistakes while mixing.
- 50l 300 bar O2 storage cylinder
- 50l 300 bar Helium storage cylinder (for Trimix fills)
- 50l 300 bar Argon storage cylinder (drysuit inflation)
To control my gas I use the Professional Set Blender Max from Divesoft. When the storage cylinders get less pressure I also use a special booster which is driven by pressure of another tank and compresses the O2 or Helium into the tank to be filled.
Due mostly diving in German lakes the thermal isolation is a little bit thicker.
- Drysuit SANTI E.Lite Men in black with heating connector and pee-valve.
- Undersuit SANTI BZ 400X which is a very thick undersuit which was designed for temperature less than 7° Celcius (44.6 Fahrenheit)
- Undersuit SANTI BZ 200 which was designed for down to 7° Celcius and is way more flexible than the 400X – I dive the BZ 200 much more because of this
- Underwear Kallweit V-Warm SFT Arctic Fleece when it’s getting colder outside (below 8-10° Celcius / 46.4-50 Fahrenheit)
- Other thermal underwear like underwear for skiing which is not that warm the Kallweit is.
- K01 Hood and Gloves – awesome structure, absolutley warm and so easy to put on and off
- During summer regular wool socks and in winter the KWARK fleece socks
Fins, mask and BCD
Since 2010 I use my Turtle Fins. It seems they are unbreakable and maybe the best buy I made in my diving career – from a cost benefit perspective. Since 2011 I dive a Halcyon Explorer MC with 40 lbs and when it comes to 3+ stages I use a 55 lbs Explorer. Masks is some sort of an odyssey. For many years I dived a Hollis M1 (single frame mask) but since i lost a lot of weight (25 kg ~ 55 lbs) it seems my face got slimmer and I had to deal with water ingress. Therefore I changed my mask to an Aqualung Reveal single frame.
I am happy to call a Liberty CCR my own and love to dive silently and get closer to fishes. I decided to go with an eCCR and in special with the Liberty CCR, because it is the most sophisticated technology todays and the doubled redundancy of O2 and He sensors conviced me that everything possible was done to make it a safe system. There’s a blog post about the Liberty on my blog.
Since a few weeks I own a Seacraft Scooter Model Future with 1.000 Wh. This Scooter is a power-house!
For many years I use the OSTC (Open Source Tauch Computer, which means Open Source Diving Computer) of the German company Heinrichs Weikamp. I started with the model Mk.2, then 2N and 2C and now I run a OSTC 4 and as backup the OSTC 2 (don’t ask me about the model naming policy of Heinrichs Weikamp, I don’t know why they started with with e.g. 2N and now only 2 is the latest model). When I dive my rebreather there are already 2 handsets included and I use the OSTC as a 3rd independent backup (just in case).