If you want to get a good dose of lies and damn lies, all you need to do is Google “Best Scuba Gear.” One of my biggest pet peeves is the lack of quality and the promotion of gimmicky gear.
I can’t think of a manufacturer that has a full line of scuba gear that is garbage-free, and I can’t think of a line that has nothing worthwhile either… My problem is more to do with the seller and promoter of the gear. Let’s take a look at what Google recommends when I search “best scuba gear.” Note that I’ve removed most of the manufacturer information.
1-8, top to bottom, left to right
- Jacket BCDs are throwaway junk. Cheap regs might serve some purpose in the future, but that SPG/Compass is a pointless weight to drag around. You won’t want to travel with your BCD (it’s bulky) and you’ll end up replacing it sooner or later. Some other sucker might give you 100 dollars for it.
- Shearwater computers are awesome. I wish we sold them, but I wholeheartedly endorse them.
- More junk (and at that price, it’s probably a scam to boot).
- Holy, overpriced gear Batman! You’d be better off buying #1 and saving yourself a thousand dollars on basically the same junk.
- I left the manufacturer’s name in on this one. This isn’t really scuba gear, but it’s the kind of gear that could easily kill a kid or an untrained diver in a pool. (Hint: There are cases of air gas embolism [AGE] that have been documented in the shallow end of the pool!)
- That’s a decent price for a dive skin… Maybe?
- Snorkels that don’t roll up and fit in a pocket end up being left behind.
- The full face mask has its place, but in my experience, most people who want them, want them because they are an equipment solution to a training problem. I”m on the fence about them most of the time, but Rudy loves his.
When we started Viking Dives, one thing we didn’t want to do was lose the trust of our customers to get a sale. We routinely send folks away to buy equipment that’s right for them (see #2 above). We believe that is worth more than selling someone something that they’ll regret buying (see #4).
That’s why we don’t stock jacket BCDs, and we try to get you to buy something that will last you a lifetime, like a backplate and a wing. One of the problems with the “Best Scuba Gear” reviews is they are bought and paid for by the manufacturers, another problem is there isn’t a BEST for everyone. That’s why you’ll always get our best advice and assistance and you never get any lies, or “Best Scuba Gear of the Year!” posts here.